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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 34 min ago

Links 16/11/2018: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, Mesa 18.2.5, VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2

6 hours 28 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows 10 1809′s new rollout: Mapped drives broken, AMD issues, Trend Micro clash

      Within days of Microsoft’s first release of Windows 10 1809 at the beginning of October, IT pros noticed that Windows File Explorer indicated that mapped network drives appeared to be broken.

      “Testing the new 1809 update, and everything seems to be fine except all mapped drives to Windows 2012 file servers show disconnected (red x) after reboots or logoff/on,” wrote one IT pro on October 5, with many others confirming the same issue on company networks.

    • Windows 10’s October 2018 Update Breaks Mapped Network Drives

      Microsoft’s October 2018 Update drama is largely over, but there are still a few lingering bugs. Microsoft has confirmed an issue where mapped network drives are broken after a PC restarts. This will not be fixed until 2019.

    • Chrome OS Linux apps will soon be able to access your entire Downloads folder and Google Drive

      Google is working hard to turn Chrome OS into more than just a browser, but a real, functional operating system for consumers of all kinds. Most recently, they’ve invited developers to the platform with Linux app support that enables all of their tools, including Android Studio, to work as expected. Soon, your Chrome OS and Google Drive files will be even more accessible to your Linux apps.

      [...]

      According to a new commit on the Chromium Gerrit, that’s all about to change. The commit primarily pertains to a new dialog that will be shown when sharing ‘root’ folders like My Drive or Downloads with your Chrome OS Linux apps (internally known as Crostini) container. The dialog is intended to forewarn you that sharing a root folder is a bit more serious than just sharing a sub-folder, and to be sure you know what you’re doing.

    • Samsung Note 9 and Tab S4 owners can run a full Ubuntu Desktop – Linux on Dex

      We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display.

      Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.

  • Server
    • Don’t cross the Application Streams! Actually, maybe you can now in RHEL 8 beta

      Hot on the heels of its OpenStack Platform 14, Red Hat has announced the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

      It has been four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 emerged. Things in the Linux world have changed considerably since then.

      Naturally, there are hundreds of minor (and not so minor) tweaks and modifications in the release, but one stands out.

      Application Streams allows user space packages to be delivered more simply and with greater flexibility. The user space components can be updated without having to wait for a new version of the operating system. The thinking goes that things can be made a bit more agile and custom without breaking the stability of the platform. Nice.

      While chatting about the OpenStack Platform (OSP) 14, Red Hat’s Nick Barcet got a bit excited about the impending RHEL 8 release and what it would mean for the next version of OSP. “Red Hat OpenStack 15, if all goes well, will fully support RHEL 8. That means that the host on which we will deploy OpenStack will be RHEL 8. That means RHEL 8 guests will be fully supported.”

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta is here!

      And it’s been built with production stability and development agility in mind.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 makes its debut

      Four years on from the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, open source software company Red Hat Inc. finally announced today that version 8 of its computer server operating system is now in beta.

      A lot has changed in the world of Linux during that time, with vastly more workloads running in public clouds and more agile software development practices increasingly becoming the norm. The new RHEL reflects those differences.

      Whereas the RHEL 7 release was all about better support for virtual machines and improved Windows interoperability, today’s version gives a nod to the fact that most information technology operations are increasingly all about the cloud and software containers.

    • Red Hat releases Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 beta

      Four years ago Red Hat released its last major flagship operating system update: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7. A lot has changed since then. In 2014, the big changes were about improved Windows interoperability, better Virtual Machine (VM) support, making XFS the default file system, and, oh yes, making Docker available as a beta feature. Now, RHEL 8 is in beta, and it’s clear RHEL 8 is for today’s cloud and container-based IT world and not the server and datacenter-driven infrastructure of four years ago.

    • Powering IT’s future while preserving the present: Introducing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta

      Linux containers, Kubernetes, artificial intelligence, blockchain and too many other technical breakthroughs to list all share a common component – Linux, the same workhorse that has driven mission-critical, production systems for nearly two decades. Today, we’re offering a vision of a Linux foundation to power the innovations that can extend and transform business IT well into the future: Meet Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta.

      Enterprise IT is evolving at a pace faster today than at any other point in history. This reality necessitates a common foundation that can span every footprint, from the datacenter to multiple public clouds, enabling organizations to meet every workload requirement and deliver any app, everywhere.

      With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, we worked to deliver a shared foundation for both the emerging and current worlds of enterprise IT. The next generation of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform helps fuel digital transformation strategies across the hybrid cloud, where organizations use innovations like Linux containers and Kubernetes to deliver differentiated products and services. At the same time, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta enables IT teams to optimize and extract added value from existing technology investments, helping to bridge demands for innovation with stability and productivity.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta Released With Stratis, Yum 4, Application Streams

      The long-awaited public beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is finally available!

      Red Hat surprised us with the beta roll-out this morning of RHEL8 ahead of the official Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 in 2019. Highlights of RHEL8 include:

      - Application Streams (AppStreams) for better separating user-space packages from the core kernel operations. This allows for shipping newer versions of applications prior to major/minor RHEL updates, utilizing multiple versions of the same package concurrently, etc.

    • Introducing Application Streams in RHEL 8

      With the introduction of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) we have tried to greatly simplify the layout of the content available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The main repository, BaseOS, provides the parts of the distribution that give you a running userspace on physical hardware, a virtual machine, a cloud instance or a container. The Application Stream (AppStream) repository provides all the applications you might want to run in a given userspace. The Supplemental repository provides other software that has special licensing. The CodeReady Linux Builder provides mostly build time components for developers (see Introducing CodeReady Linux Builder).

      As a result, most RHEL 8 systems will only need two repositories enabled. However, this may lead to the the question, where do I find alternate versions of software if there is only 1 application repository? In prior versions, you would look to the RHSCL or Extras repositories. However, in RHEL 8, through a new technology called Modularity, we can offer those alternate versions in the same physical repository.

    • Introducing CodeReady Linux Builder

      The RHEL8 Beta introduces a new repository, the CodeReady Linux Builder (or “Builder” for short) that developers may need while developing applications for RHEL. As you all know “developer” is not a one size fits all term. As a result, I am taking this opportunity to try to explain when you might need Builder enabled for your development activities.

      First off, if you are a typical web developer, dealing with PHP, Ruby, or Perl you are unlikely to need the content delivered through Builder. The PHP packages, Ruby gems, and Perl modules provided in the AppStream repository will, in most cases, provide sufficient functionality to develop and run applications you create yourself and to run frameworks like Drupal, WordPress, Rails, or Twiki. Please see the appropriate HowTos for getting these things up and running.

      Ruby and Perl both have additional libraries made available in the Builder repository. However, they are less commonly used or used at build time only.

    • RHEL 8 Beta arrives with application streams and more

      Much of the impetus for RHEL 8 has been the growing need for a common foundation that can span every IT stronghold from the data center to multiple public clouds and make application delivery a lot more manageable. Four years have passed since RHEL 7 came our way, and so much has changed in the world of IT since then, with continued virtualization and containerization along with a growing need for rapid deployment.

      [...]

      Red Hat is interested in having existing customers and subscribers experience RHEL 8 Beta. Go to Red Hat’s RHEL Beta site to get a feel for the flexibility and control this new release can provide to you. RHEL 8 Beta is built on the 4.18 Linux kernel as a baseline and provides many features that you are likely to appreciate.

    • Red Hat talks upgrades and bare metal with its new OpenStack Platform

      Red Hat used this week’s OpenStack Summit to announce the impending arrival of its OpenStack Platform 14. We had a chat with Red Hat’s Nick Barcet about cadence, Kubernetes, and most definitely not IBM.

      It’s been a while coming, but Red Hat has taken the latest OpenStack release, Rocky, and folded it into its OpenStack Platform, with version 14 due to hit a waiting world in the next few weeks.

      The goal of Red Hat’s take is, as ever, to make life easier for admins tasked with setting up the occasionally challenging OpenStack platform. Simplifying cloud-native application adoption and getting containers on bare metal is the name of the game here.

      OpenShift, of course, gets a look-in as well as Red Hat continues to tightly integrate the container platform with OpenStack to bring more Kubernetes-based goodness to the party. Red Hat has pointed to Gartner research which claimed that 75 per cent of organisations will have either a multi-cloud or hybrid environment by 2020, meaning that OpenStack’s private cloud infrastructure is likely to play a part. And Red Hat would be very happy to help set that up for you, for a fee.

    • Carahsoft Receives the Red Hat Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year Award
    • Red Hat launches mobile app to enable partners to save time and build connections
    • Supporting support: How TAMs bring stronger value to customers by collaborating with support delivery

      Red Hat Technical Account Managers (TAMs) have many responsibilities, all of which center around meeting customers’ needs and ultimately working to help customers succeed. One major responsibility for a TAM is providing support for the products that customers have purchased through subscriptions.

      Each of Red Hat’s products has a skilled and specialized support engineering team, dedicated to provide assistance for Red Hat’s customers. TAM customers receive the added benefit of having someone they know personally standing by, ready to assist them to get issues resolved as quickly as possible. Through close relationships, Technical Account Managers play a key role in providing that necessary support.

    • What’s New in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14

      Red Hat announced its OpenStack Platform 14 update on Nov. 15, providing users of the open-source cloud platform with an incremental set of new features.

      Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 is based on the upstream OpenStack Rocky milestone, which became publicly available on Aug. 30. Among the new features in OSP 14 are improved networking capabilities, including enhanced load balancing capabilities for container workloads. Red Hat is also continuing to push forward on the integration of its OpenShift Kubernetes container orchestration platform with OpenStack.

      In a video interview with eWEEK, Mark McLoughlin, senior director of engineering of OpenStack at Red Hat, outlined some of the new features in OSP 14 and the direction for the road ahead.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 delivers unified foundation for Kubernetes and virtual machines

      Red Hat Inc. announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, its latest version of Red Hat’s massively-scalable, cloud-native apps-ready Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution.

      Based on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 integrates with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, a comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, bringing even more support for Kubernetes to enterprise-grade OpenStack.

      Paired with capabilities to improve bare-metal resource consumption and enhance deployment automation, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 aims to deliver a single infrastructure offering that can lay the foundation for traditional, virtualized and cloud-native workloads.

    • OpenStack: We’ve seen the future, and it’s metal (and infrastructure, natch)

      The OpenStack Foundation took to the stage in Berlin this week to talk infrastructure because, heck, everyone loves infrastructure, right? Especially open infrastructure.

      With its roots in a joint project set up by NASA and Rackspace back in 2010, the open-source OpenStack platform comprises a suite of components aimed at managing pools of compute, storage and networking resources for those wary of throwing their lot in with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.

      Over two days of keynote speeches in which the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) wheeled out a succession of customers to insist the framework was a breeze to set up and not just for telcos, there was a tacit admission that perhaps it was time for the group to focus a bit more on the whole infrastructure thing. And China.

    • How AT&T Is Using OpenStack to Deploy 5G Networks

      The next generation of wireless networks known as 5G is being enabled at AT&T through a series of open source efforts, including the OpenStack cloud platform.

      At the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany, executives from AT&T discussed how they are building out 5G networks and also demonstrated a live 5G phone call running on top of an OpenStack deployment.

      “5G is a revolution. The capabilities that 5G will enable are things that will be a step function increase in latency, in reliability and resiliency with ultra-low latency and at very high speeds.” Amy Wheelus, vice president, Network Cloud at AT&T, said. “5G Is really more than just another generation; it’s more than just another G, because 5G is going to enable new services, new products, and even new industries that you and I haven’t even thought about that today.”

      She noted that among the 5G application use cases are smart factories and autonomous vehicles. AT&T also expects that 5G will be used for augmented reality, not just for entertainment, but also for critical functions, such as search and rescue or troubleshooting at the top of a tower.

    • OpenStack Expands Focus to Enable Open Infrastructure

      The OpenStack Foundation is no longer exclusively focused on its namesake cloud platform as the open-source effort is now expanding to enable the broader realm of open infrastructure.

      In a video interview at the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Collier, chief operating officer, and Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, detailed the group’s new approach. It’s an approach that now includes four pilot projects outside of the core OpenStack cloud platform—the Airship code deployment, Kata containers, StarlingX edge compute and Zuul continuous integration projects.

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #55 – Kubernetes as the new Application Server
    • Video: The Beginning, Present, and Future of Sysadmins
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation
      • Uber Demonstrates its Dedication to Open Source With Linux Foundation Gold Membership

        Uber Open Summit — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announces Uber has become the newest Gold member of the foundation.

      • Uber joins Linux Foundation, cementing commitment to open-source tools

        What’s surprising is not that they joined, but that it took so long. Uber has been long known for making use of open source in its core tools, working on over 320 open-source projects and repositories from 1,500 contributors involving over 70,000 commits, according to data provided by the company.

        “Uber has made significant investments in shared software development and community collaboration through open source over the years, including contributing the popular open-source project Jaeger, a distributed tracing system, to the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2017,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch.

      • Uber Joins the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member

        Uber has been an active and committed member of the open source community, leveraging, contributing, and developing open source solutions across our tech stack since launching our platform nearly 10 years ago. Announced today during Uber Open Summit 2018, we extend our commitment by joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member, continuing to support the open source community through the Linux Foundation.

        [...]

        “Open source technology is the backbone of many of Uber’s core services and as we continue to mature, these solutions will become ever more important,” said Thuan Pham, Uber CTO. “The Linux Foundation not only provides homes to many significant open source projects, but also creates an open environment for companies like Uber to work together on developing these technologies. We are honored to join the Linux Foundation to foster greater collaboration with the open source community.”

      • CNCF Survey: Cloud Usage in Asia Has Grown 135% Since March 2018 [Ed: They just call every server "cloud" because they call themselves "cloud"]

        The bi-annual CNCF survey takes a pulse of the community to better understand the adoption of cloud native technologies. This is the second time CNCF has conducted its cloud native survey in Mandarin to better gauge how Asian companies are adopting open source and cloud native technologies. The previous Mandarin survey was conducted in March 2018. This post also makes comparisons to the most recent North American / European version of this survey from August 2018.

      • AI in the Real World

        We are living in the future – it is just unevenly distributed with “an outstanding amount of hype and this anthropomorphization of what [AI] technology can actually provide for us,” observed Hilary Mason, general manager for machine learning at Cloudera, who led a keynote on “AI in the Real World: Today and Tomorrow,” at the recent Open FinTech Forum.

        [...]

        As progress is made in the development of AI, machine learning and deep learning, there are still things we need to keep in mind, Mason said. “One of the biggest topics in our field right now is how we incorporate ethics, how we comply with expectations of privacy in the practice of data science.”
        She gave a plug to a short, free ebook called “Data Driven: Creating a Data Culture,” that she co-authored with DJ Patil, who worked as chief data scientist for President Barack Obama. Their goal, she said, is “to try and get folks who are practicing out in the world of machine learning and data science to think about their tools [and] for them to practice ethics in the context of their work.”
        Mason ended her presentation on an optimistic note, observing that “AI will find its way into many fundamental processes of the businesses that we all run. So when I say, ‘Let’s make it boring,’ I actually think that’s what makes it more exciting.’”

    • Graphics Stack
      • RADV Vulkan Driver To Enable Vega Primitive Binning By Default – Helps Performance

        The RadeonSI OpenGL driver offered Vega primitive binning support the past year followed by the RADV Vulkan driver, but it hadn’t been enabled by default. Those working on the RADV driver are now planning on unconditionally enabling this Vega performance optimization for up to a few percent performance boost.

        It seems the primitive binning driver support for RADV is mature enough that it can be flipped on by default and at least doesn’t appear to be hurting any prominent Vulkan-powered Linux games. Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux driver team sent out the patch today for flipping it on by default. On that patch message he describes this Vega feature as helping out some games by a few percent, “After doing a bunch of benchmarks, primitive binning helps some games like The Talos Principle (+5%) or Serious Sam 2017 (+3%). For other titles, either it doesn’t change anything or it hurts very few (less than 1%).”

      • NVIDIA 410.78 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Corruption, Adds Quadro RTX 4000 Support

        For those using the NVIDIA long-lived 410 Linux driver series over the in-beta 415.xx driver series, the 410.78 driver release is out today as the newest stable binary driver build.

        The NVIDIA 410.78 rolls out with official support for the Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card and a handful of bug fixes. The bug fixes include addressing a possible X Server hang when using legacy VGA mode, mode-setting failure with SDI output, and Vulkan rendering corruption.

      • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 18.2.5

        A patch for nine state tracker that fixes several crashes using nine’s thread_submit feature. There are other patches to other state trackers.

        A couple of patches for Meson build system, as well as for autotools.

        In the drivers side, there are a couple of fixes for RADV, one regarding subgroups and another regarding conditional rendering. There are also fixes for virgl, r600, and i965.

      • Mesa 18.2.5 Brings Fixes For Direct3D 9 State Tracker, RADV Vulkan Driver

        For those sticking to the Mesa stable release train, Mesa 18.2.5 is now available ahead of the Mesa 18.3 quarterly feature release due out in the weeks ahead.

        As is the case for Mesa point releases, Mesa 18.2.5 is geared to deliver the latest bug/regression fixes. this 18.2.5 release has around three dozen changes, including fixes for the Gallium “Nine” D3D9 state tracker when using its thread-submit functionality, Meson build system updates, RADV Vulkan driver fixes, and also some basic fixes/tweaks to the common NIR, Mesa, and Intel code. There is no particular standout prominent fixes unless you were personally affected by one of the bugs.

      • Firefox Nightly now with experimental Wayland support

        As of last nightly (20181115100051), Firefox now supports Wayland on Linux, thanks to the work from Martin Stransky and Jan Horak, mostly.

        Before that, it was possible to build your own Firefox with Wayland support (and Fedora does it), but now the downloads from mozilla.org come with Wayland support out of the box for the first time.

        However, being experimental and all, the Wayland support is not enabled by default, meaning by default, you’ll still be using XWayland. To enable wayland support, first set the GDK_BACKEND environment variable to wayland.

      • AMD Radeon RX 590 Launches, Linux Support Presumably Okay

        While it comes as no surprise given all the leaks in recent weeks, today AMD officially announced the Radeon RX 590 graphics card as another update to Polaris.

        The new Polaris PCI ID addition we spotted back in September indeed turned out to be for a new high-end Polaris refresh. The Radeon RX 590 is this new high-end Polaris graphics card that is manufactured on a 12nm FinFET process.

    • Benchmarks
      • Benchmarking Packet.com’s Bare Metal Intel Xeon / AMD EPYC Cloud

        With the tests earlier this week of the 16-way AMD EPYC cloud comparison the real standout of those tests across Amazon EC2, Packet, and SkySilk was Packet’s bare metal cloud. For just $1.00 USD per hour it’s possible to have bare metal access to an AMD EPYC 7401P 24-core / 48-thread server that offers incredible value compared to the other public cloud options for on-demand pricing. That led me to running some more benchmarks of Packet.com’s other bare metal cloud options to see how the Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC options compare.

        Packet’s on-demand server options for their “bare metal cloud” offerings range from an Intel Atom C2550 quad-core server with 8GB of RAM at just 7 cents per hour up to a dual Xeon Gold 6120 server with 28 cores at two dollars per hour with 384GB of RAM and 3.2TB of NVMe storage. There are also higher-end instances including NVIDIA GPUs but those are on a dynamic spot pricing basis.

      • Linux 4.20 Showing Some Performance Slowdowns

        Bseing well past the Linux 4.20 merge window I have moved onto benchmarking more of this development version of the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, there are some clear performance regressions.

        This week I got to firing off some Linux 4.20 kernel benchmarks… I started with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and Intel Core i9 7980XE for being the interesting HEDT CPUs in my possession at the moment. On the 7980XE I spotted several performance regressions with this Linux 4.20 development kernel compared to Linux 4.19 and 4.18, so then I fired up the completely separate Intel Core i9 7960X box to carry out the same tests. Sure enough, with that different hardware, there is further confirmation of slowdowns with Linux 4.20.

        The common trait of these systems was Ubuntu 18.10 x86_64 and using the Linux 4.18.18, 4.19.1, and 4.20 Git kernel packages provided by the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. With the differing hardware the intention is not to compare the performance between the systems but in looking at the direction of the Linux kernel performance.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Python and Qt: 3,000 hours of developer insight

        With Qt for Python released, it’s time to look at the powerful capabilities of these two technologies. This article details one solopreneur’s experiences.

        [...]

        The big problem with Electron is performance. In particular, the startup time was too high for a file manager: On an admittedly old machine from 2010, simply launching Electron took five seconds.

        I admit that my personal distaste for JavaScript also made it easier to discount Electron. Before I go off on a rant, let me give you just one detail that I find symptomatic: Do you know how JavaScript sorts numbers? Alphabetically. ’nuff said.

        After considering a few technologies, I settled on Qt. It’s cross-platform, has great performance and supports custom styles. What’s more, you can use it from Python. This makes at least me orders of magnitude more productive than the default C++.

      • Inkscape Dark Theme on KDE Plasma

        On KDE Plasma, it’s very easy to setup Inkscape Dark Theme. To do so, go to System Settings > Application Style > GNOME/GTK+ Style > under GTK+ Style: switch all themes to Dark ones and give check mark to Prefer Dark Theme > Apply. Now your Inkscape should turned into dark mode. To revert back, just revert the theme selections. This trick works on Kubuntu or any other GNU/Linux system as long as it uses Plasma as its desktop environment.

      • Atelier at Maker Faire and QtCon 2018!

        On the weekend of November 3 and 4, it happened on Rio de Janeiro the first Maker Faire of Latin America. And I was able to do a talk about Atelier and the current status of our project. The event hold more than 1.500 people on the first day, that saw a lot of talks and the exposition of makers of all over the country that came to Rio to participate in this edition of the Maker Faire.

  • Distributions
    • Fedora
      • Introducing rpm-macros-virtualenv 0.0.1

        This is a small set of RPM macros, which can be used by the spec files to build and package any Python application along with a virtualenv. Thus, removing the need of installing all dependencies via dnf/rpm repository. One of the biggest usecase will be to help to install latest application code and all the latest dependencies into a virtualenv and also package the whole virtualenv into the RPM package.

        This will be useful for any third part vendor/ISV, who would want to package their Python application for Fedora/RHEL/CentOS along with the dependencies. But, remember not to use this for any package inside of Fedora land as this does not follow the Fedora packaging guidelines.

      • Akash Angle: How do you Fedora?

        Akash is a fan of the GNOME 3 desktop environment. He loves most of the goodies and bells and whistles the OS can throw in for getting basic tasks done.

        For practical reasons he prefers a fresh installation as a way of upgrading to the latest Fedora version. He thinks Fedora 29 is arguably the the best workstation out there. Akash says this has been backed up by reviews of various tech evangelists and open source news sites.

    • Debian Family
      • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, October 2018

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Derivatives
        • Linux Deepin 15.8 Released with Various Neat Improvements

          Deepin 15.8, the latest version of the Deepin Linux distribution, is now available to download.

          Building on its previous (well received) release, Deepin 15.8 adds some polish and refinement, boasts a smaller download size, and makes a number of design tweaks to improve the form and function of the distro.

          “[Deepin 15.8 offers] an attractive and efficient, excellent user experience”, the team say in a blog post announcing the new release.

        • deepin 15.8 Linux distribution available for download — replace Windows 10 now!

          As more and more people wake up to the fact that Windows 10 is a giant turd lately, computer users are exploring alternatives, such as Linux-based operating systems. First impressions can be everything, so when searching for a distribution, it is important that beginners aren’t scared off by bewildering installers or ugly and confusing interfaces.

          Linux “n00bs” often opt for Ubuntu, and while that is a good choice, there are far more pretty and intuitive options these days. One such operating system that I recommend often is deepin. Why? It is drop-dead gorgeous and easy to use. It is guaranteed to delight the user, and its intuitive interface will certainly impress. Today, the newest version of the excellent Linux distro, deepin 15.8, becomes available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux Support to 10 Years

            In a keynote at the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical Inc and Ubuntu, detailed the progress made by his Linux distribution in the cloud and announced new extended support.

            The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) debuted back on April 26, providing new server and cloud capabilities. An LTS release comes with five year of support, but during his keynote Shuttleworth announced that 18.04 would have support that is available for up to 10 years.

            “I’m delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years,” Shuttleworth said. “In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IOT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade .”

          • ​Mark Shuttleworth reveals Ubuntu 18.04 will get a 10-year support lifespan

            At OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said in a keynote that Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support (LTS) support lifespan would be extended from five years to 10 years.

            “I’m delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years,” said Shuttleworth, “In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IoT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade.”

          • Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth wishes Red Hat and IBM a happy marriage

            Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote at the second of this year’s Openstack Summits was considerably less controversial than the last, where he explicitly compared the price between Red Hat and Ubuntu’s services in Vancouver. However he still had plenty to say when Computerworld UK caught up with the hobby astronaut and entrepreneur on the show floor.

            When asked to expand on his thoughts about IBM’s recent acquisition bid for Red Hat, Shuttleworth wished them “every happiness in their marriage”, with some caveats.

            “It depends how forcefully they can steer RedHat Enterprise Linux (REL) on-prem users to the IBM cloud,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s the only way for them to get a premium on REL itself. They’ve paid a very high premium, so they have to generate a premium, and the only way to do that, would be to use on-prem REL as a forcing function to get workloads onto the IBM cloud,” he said.

          • OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018, Mark Shuttleworth keynote

            The OpenStack community has, and attracts, amazing people and amazing technology, however, that won’t be meaningful if it doesn’t deliver for everyday businesses. “I say that representing the company which doesn’t just publish Ubuntu and the reference OpenStack distribution on Ubuntu, we actually manage more OpenStack clouds for more different industries, more different architectures than any other company,” said Shuttleworth.

            There are things that have to be right – we have to support every single OpenStack release with upgrades. That means when Stein and Train are released, we will deploy, as part of the test process, Icehouse on 14.04, then deploy workloads on Kubernetes on Icehouse. With that running in the cloud, and without losing a workload, the version is then upgraded up to Mitaka. We then take the running cloud and upgrade to 16.04 under the hood, then upgrade to Queens, then upgrade to 18.04 and on to Rocky, Stein and beyond, as standard.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six HoursUbuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six Hours

            This week we’ve been resizing partitions. We interview Andrew Katz and discuss open souce and the law, bring you a command line love and go over all your feedback.

            It’s Season 11 Episode 36 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • A reliance on open source in enterprise: Necessary for digital transformation

    Enterprises have embraced the cloud; and now they’re focusing on open source.

    Open source lends itself to innovation, something competing enterprises need to seriously tap into, by allowing different developers from across the world to create and modify software to solve current challenges and open new avenues.

    To find out more about how open source is venturing into the enterprise community and spurring digital innovation, Information Age spoke to Stephan Fabel, director of product at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.

  • What blockchain can learn from open source

    Over the 10+ years I’ve been involved with open source, I’ve been part of small projects with innovative ideas that grew into large projects with solid communities. I’ve also witnessed the way dysfunctional communities can suck the energy from projects.

    I’ve also recently become active in blockchain by writing and contributing to projects. I’ve noticed that blockchain projects are like startups with open development and open business models. Therefore, to be successful, blockchain startups must learn how to build communities the open source way.

  • OpenStack regroups

    Only a few years ago, OpenStack was the hottest open-source project around, with a bustling startup ecosystem to boot. The project, which gives enterprises the tools to run the equivalent of AWS in their own private data centers, ran into trouble as it tried to tackle too many individual projects at the same time and enterprises took longer than expected to adopt it. That meant many a startup floundered or was acquired before it was able to gain traction while the nonprofit foundation that manages the project started to scale back its big tent approach and refocused on its core services.

  • SD Times news digest: Docker and MuleSoft’s partnership, ActiveState’s open-source language automation category, and Instana’s automatic Python instrumentation

    Docker and MuleSoft have announced a new partnership to modernize applications and accelerate digital transformation. As part of the partnership, the companies will work together to deliver new capabilities for legacy apps with APIs, legacy apps without APIs and new apps created in Docker. In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform will be combined with Docker Enterprise.

  • ActiveState Creates Open Source Language Automation Category
  • New open source cloud discovery tool arrives from Twistlock

    Cloud Discovery connects to cloud providers’ native platform APIs to discover services such as container registries, managed Kubernetes platforms, and serverless services, and requires only read permissions. Other key features include:

  • Google Open-Sources “Amber” Multi-API Shader Test Framework

    The newest open-source graphics project out of Google is called Amber and it’s a multi-API shader testing framework focused on capturing and communicating of shader bugs.

    Google’s Amber tries to make it easier to capture/communicate shader bugs with a scripting-based workflow. The captured shaders can be in binary form, SPIR-V assembly, or a higher-level shading language. Amber is currently focused on supporting the Vulkan and Dawn graphics APIs.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Thunderbird version 60.3.1 now Available, Includes Fixes for Cookie Removal and Encoding Issues

        Thunderbird happens to be one of the most famous Email client. It is free and an open source one which was developed by the Mozilla Foundation back in 2003, fifteen years ago. From a very basic interface, it has come a long way to be what it is today in 2018. With these updates, a recent one into the 60.x series from the 52.x series was a significant one.

        While the 60.x (60.3.0) update started rolling out, Mozilla was keen to push out 60.3.1. This new version of Thunderbird had a few bugs and kinks here and there which needed to be addressed which Mozilla did, most of them at least.

      • Ian Bicking: Thoughts on the Firefox Email Tabs experiment

        We recently released Email Tabs in Firefox Test Pilot. This was a project I championed, and I wanted to offer some context on it.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • Program Synthesis is Possible in Rust

      Program synthesis is the act of automatically constructing a program that fulfills a given specification. Perhaps you are interested in sketching a program, leaving parts of it incomplete, and then having a tool fill in those missing bits for you? Or perhaps you are a compiler, and you have some instruction sequence, but you want to find an equivalent-but-better instruction sequence? Program synthesizers promise to help you out in these situations!

      I recently stumbled across Adrian Sampson’s Program Synthesis is Possible blog post. Adrian describes and implements minisynth, a toy program synthesizer that generates constants for holes in a template program when given a specification. What fun! As a way to learn more about program synthesis myself, I ported minisynth to Rust.

    • The devil makes work for idle processes

      TLDR: in Endless OS, we switched the IO scheduler from CFQ to BFQ, and set the IO priority of the threads doing Flatpak downloads, installs and upgrades to “idle”; this makes the interactive performance of the system while doing Flatpak operations indistinguishable from when the system is idle.

      At Endless, we’ve been vaguely aware for a while that trying to use your computer while installing or updating apps is a bit painful, particularly on spinning-disk systems, because of the sheer volume of IO performed by the installation/update process. This was never particularly high priority, since app installations are user-initiated, and until recently, so were app updates.

    • Rcpp now used by 1500 CRAN packages

      Right now Rcpp stands at 1500 reverse-dependencies on CRAN. The graph is on the left depicts the growth of Rcpp usage (as measured by Depends, Imports and LinkingTo, but excluding Suggests) over time. What an amazing few days this has been as we also just marked the tenth anniversary and the big one dot oh release.

    • Python in RHEL 8

      Ten years ago, the developers of the Python programming language decided to clean things up and release a backwards-incompatible version, Python 3. They initially underestimated the impact of the changes, and the popularity of the language. Still, in the last decade, the vast majority of community projects has migrated to the new version, and major projects are now dropping support for Python 2.

      In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Python 3.6 is the default. But Python 2 remains available in RHEL 8.

    • How to stand out, and get hired, at Grace Hopper Celebration

      During the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), attendees flooded the George Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas to network, learn and share information in celebration of women technologists. For students at GHC, the expo hall also doubled as a career fair. Here’s how to stand out when you’re trying to leave GHC with opportunities to chart your own path in technology.

      Recruiters, engineers, scientists and technologists were stationed at company booths to talk about their workplaces. They screened resumes, interviewed candidates and shared their experiences.

      This year I was able to attend GHC for the first time, not as a student seeking a position but as an employee of Red Hat. At Red Hat we do many things differently, interviewing at GHC is one of those things. Red Hat is seeking associates who possess both a strong technical aptitude as well as a passion for our products and services.

    • Vim in the Future

      I have learned Vim as a programming-centric tool, but I use it for other tasks, too. This post assumes a reader isn’t necessarily a programmer but is curious about how tech things get done.

    • The Huge Security Problem With C/C++ And Why You Shouldn’t Use It

      Alex Gaynor gives an example of a program that has a list of 10 numbers. Theoretically, in an event where someone asks for the 11th element, the program is expected to show an error of some sort, or at least that’s what a “memory safe” programming language (like Python or Java) would do.

      However, in case of a memory unsafe language like C/C++, the program looks for the 11th element wherever it is supposed to be (if it existed) and accesses its content. This is called a “buffer-overflow” vulnerability that is exploited by bugs like HeartBleed to access up to 60 KB data past the end of a list — that often includes passwords and other sensitive data.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Being bionic: how technology transformed my life

      Prosthetics have been around for more than 3,000 years: wooden toes, which strapped on and were specifically designed to work with sandals, were found on the feet of Ancient Egyptian mummies. For most of history, prosthetics have been designed to make life more comfortable for adults, to afford the wearer some limited movement, and to avoid drawing attention to their disability (by filling an empty jacket sleeve, or concealing a stump). It is only recently, as advances in robotics and computing power have been incorporated into artificial limbs, that function has become paramount, and the needs of active disabled people, especially children, have begun to influence design.

    • Researchers develop optical fibre capable of over 1 petabit per second

      A coupler created by Macquarie University in Australia, combined with a fibre fabricated by Hokkaido University and equipment maker Fujikura, and a transmission system developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan, has led to transmission speeds in excess of 1 petabit.

      The new four-core, three-mode fibre was touted as being the same width as existing standard fibre, but was capable of 12 times the data speed. Macquarie University said the fibre was less prone to damage due to its narrower diameter, and could be used with existing equipment.

    • Optical Fiber Capable of 1 Petabit/Second Transfer Speed Developed

      A number of research teams came together and have successfully developed a Fibre Cable which can generate Internet speed up to one Petabit per second. Hokkaido University developed the fiber with the help of tools from the equipment maker Fujikura.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Medical cannabis: Death sentence prompts Malaysia to re-think harsh laws

      A death sentence given to a young man selling cannabis oil to the ill has stirred debate in Muslim-majority Malaysia about its ultra-tough drug laws. The case has prompted calls for the country to become the first in Asia to legalise medical marijuana – but long-held stigma and a mostly conservative population means change could come slowly.

    • In Echo of Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Now Hits Newark

      Officials were finally compelled to act after an engineering study commissioned by the city found that measures to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water were failing at one of Newark’s two treatment plants.

    • Baltimore Becomes First Major City to Ban Water Privatization

      Now that privatization is out of the picture, Baltimoreans can work with our elected officials to improve the accountability and affordability of our water system and ensure every person in our city has access to safe water at a price they can afford to pay. Food & Water Watch looks forward to working with other cities to protect their water systems from corporate control and using Baltimore as a model for water justice for the nation.”

    • Without Action, Drug-Resistant “Superbugs” Will Kill Millions in Europe

      Antibiotic-resistant infections could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, North America, and Australia by 2050 without further action to combat the infections, according to a report released yesterday (November 7) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But the report also says that short-term investments by governments could push back against diseases and save money in the long run.

    • The Other Victims of California’s Fires: Workers Inhaling Toxic Fumes

      With the death toll now standing at 42 and with some 7,200 structures destroyed, officials are now calling the wildfire in Paradise, CA (dubbed the “Camp Fire”) the deadliest and most destructive in California’s recent history. Two other massive fires—dubbed the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire are simultaneously scorching Southern California.

      As frontline firefighters—including many prison laborers—continue to battle the blaze while healthcare providers work around the clock treating fire victims, millions of other workers far away from the inferno are feeling a secondary impact: toxic smoke.

      In the San Francisco Bay Area, over 160 miles away from the Camp Fire, air quality dramatically declined almost immediately after the fires broke out. Over the past week, AirNow, a government website reporting real-time air quality data has shown the Bay Area hovering between 150-200 on the federal Air Quality Index (AQI), surpassing 200 (or “very unhealthy” levels) in parts of the Bay. The higher the AQI value, the more polluted the skies are and the more concern there is for public health.

    • Trump Administration Plots Costly Private-Care Expansion for Veterans

      Last June, President Donald Trump signed a landmark law on veterans’ health care after months of tense negotiations. At the ceremony in the Rose Garden, Trump said the bill would deliver on his campaign promise to let veterans see private doctors instead of using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ government-run health service: “I’m going to sign legislation that will make veterans’ choice permanent,” he said.

      Standing behind him, the leaders of major veterans groups looked around uncomfortably. What Trump called “choice” these veterans groups called “privatization,” and they’d been warning for years that it would cost taxpayers more money and deliver worse care for veterans. The veterans groups had endorsed the bill, but Trump’s description of it was not what they thought they were there to support.

      The moment left no doubt that the Trump administration is determined to use the new law to expand the private sector’s role in veterans’ health care. The administration is working on a plan to shift millions more veterans to private doctors and is aiming to unveil the proposal during Trump’s State of Union address in January, according to four people briefed on the proposal. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose information about the administration’s plans.

    • Trumpeted New Medicare Advantage Benefits Will Be Hard For Seniors To Find

      For some older adults, private Medicare Advantage plans next year will offer a host of new benefits, such as transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars or air conditioners for asthma sufferers.

      But the new benefits will not be widely available, and they won’t be easy to find.

      Of the 3,700 plans across the country next year, only 273 in 21 states will offer at least one. About 7 percent of Advantage members — 1.5 million people — will have access, Medicare officials estimate.

    • So done with the NFL

      I’ve been an NFL for fan for a long time. It started before university when I rebelled against any sport that was vaguely popular at school (and seemed absolutely terrible). For no other reason than they did well at the time, I became a Washington Redskins fan (yes I’m old).

      I started a football team at university, I was involved in it. I even heard Chuck Noll speak once. If there was a Redskins game on TV, I would go up to the local pub in my jersey and watch the game.

      Over the last few years I’ve become pretty upset with what the NFL has become. Well the NFL has always been this way – but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the game, the drama, the strategy, the rivalies, and I ignored or excused away all the problems for my own enjoyment.

      [...]

      The treatment of players and the problems with concussions has been terrible. The NFL has swept it under the rug for so long. Yes they’ve introduced changes, but tried to balance the fundamental problems that constant head contact is part of the game.

    • From Plate to Plough: Less crop per drop

      In sum, public irrigation needs major overhauling in the country, especially in states like Maharashtra. Also, there is the question of who uses how much of irrigation water. In Maharashtra, although about 19 per cent of gross cropped area is irrigated, in case of sugarcane, it is 100 per cent and, in case of cotton, just 3 per cent. So there is massive inequity in the distribution of irrigation water in the state. Can the Fadnavis government take up this challenge and distribute irrigation water from public canals more equitably amongst farmers, on per ha basis?

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • A Systematic Evaluation of Transient Execution Attacks and Defenses

      [...] we present a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks. Our systematization uncovers 7 (new) transient execution attacks that have been overlooked and not been investigated so far. This includes 2 new Meltdown variants: Meltdown-PK on Intel, and Meltdown-BR on Intel and AMD. It also includes 5 new Spectre mistraining strategies. We evaluate all 7 attacks in proof-of-concept implementations on 3 major processor vendors (Intel, AMD, ARM). Our systematization does not only yield a complete picture of the attack surface, but also allows a systematic evaluation of defenses. Through this systematic evaluation, we discover that we can still mount transient execution attacks that are supposed to be mitigated by rolled out patches.

    • New IoT Security Regulations

      Due to ever-evolving technological advances, manufacturers are connecting consumer goods­ — from toys to light bulbs to major appliances­ — to the Internet at breakneck speeds. This is the Internet of Things, and it’s a security nightmare.

      The Internet of Things fuses products with communications technology to make daily life more effortless. Think Amazon’s Alexa, which not only answers questions and plays music but allows you to control your home’s lights and thermostat. Or the current generation of implanted pacemakers, which can both receive commands and send information to doctors over the Internet.

      But like nearly all innovation, there are risks involved. And for products born out of the Internet of Things, this means the risk of having personal information stolen or devices being overtaken and controlled remotely. For devices that affect the world in a direct physical manner — ­cars, pacemakers, thermostats­ — the risks include loss of life and property.

    • University Researchers Publish Paper On GPU Side-Channel Attacks

      University researchers out of University of California Riverside have published a paper this week detailing vulnerabilities in current GPU architectures making them vulnerable to side-channel attacks akin to Spectre and Meltdown.

      With their focus on NVIDIA GPUs, UCLA Riverside researchers demonstrated attacks both for graphics and compute by exploiting the GPU’s performance counters. Demonstrated attacks included a browser-based attack, extracting passwords / keystroke logging, and even the possibility of exposing a CUDA neural network algorithm.

    • Firefox Will Now Show You Data Breach Alert If You Visit Hacked Sites

      Mozilla has announced a new security feature in its Firefox Quantum web browser to alert users when they visit a website that was recently reported in a data breach.

      So if you happen to stumble upon a website that was breached in the past 12 months, Firefox will send you a handy little notification.

      But Mozilla knows better than to throw too many notifications at you, so they have promised that the alerts will “appear at most once per site.”

      After sending you the first notification, Firefox will repeat such an alert only if you visit a site that was breached within the past two months and added to the database of breached sites.

    • Russian hackers are accused of infecting three Eastern European companies with malware
    • Hackers with Russian Ties Hit 3 E. European Companies: Cyber Security Firm
    • Japan’s cyber security minister admits he has never used a computer
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Malmö sees four shooting incidents in 24 hours

      But judged by the Malmö police’s press releases, the rate of shootings has since picked up, with seven this month, two in October and five in September.

      [...]

      Eleven young men have been killed in shootings in Malmö so far this year, [...]

    • Parents, Students Fear Mass Shootings Now the New Normal in US
    • Rep. Ro Khanna: By Blocking Yemen Resolution, House GOP Is Abdicating Its Duty to Decide War & Peace

      House Republicans have quashed debate on a resolution that aims to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, by sneaking a single line into an unrelated resolution about wolves. The House voted 201 to 187 on the bill Wednesday, approving a provision that blocks the Democrats from forcing a vote on the U.S. role in Yemen under the War Powers Act. For nearly four years the United States has played a key role supporting the Saudi-led invasion, which has devastated Yemen, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The U.N. is warning 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine. One new study has estimated the war has killed at least 57,000 people since the beginning of 2016. We speak with Congressmember Ro Khanna, who introduced the resolution in the House.

    • George W. Bush Accepts Prestigious Liberty Award With Bloody Hands

      Like a ghastly echo that is old enough to vote, the news is once again thrumming with stories of an election recount in Broward County. Eighteen years ago, a similar recount was disrupted by one of the most indefensible Supreme Court decisions ever made, and the world began its inexorable slide toward the abyss that now confronts us. Because gallows humor is how doom is endured, there is (of course) an internet meme to mark the moment: A photo of an older, grayer Al Gore above a caption that reads, “Florida Recount Wraps Up, Al Gore Declared President.”

      Good one, internet. It only hurts when I laugh.

      Compounding the existential misery that is always present when anything related to George W. Bush comes up, George W. Bush himself has come up once again. Last weekend, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a nonpartisan institution dedicated to educating people about the country’s founding documents, awarded Bush its prized Liberty Medal. The medal is given “to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom,” and has also been awarded to Nelson Mandela, Rep. John Lewis, Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Ali and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

    • Witness shot after testifying in Gothenburg murder trial

      A man who had testified in a murder case was treated in hospital after being shot multiple times just hours after the trial.

    • Saudi Arabia executes Indonesian maid for killing employer who tried to rape her

      According to reports Tuti Tursilawati was killed on Monday in the city of Ta’if. The maid’s execution marked the fourth such case of Saudi Arabia killing an Indonesian migrant worker without telling diplomats or the family of those on death row before carrying out the death sentence, reports the Telegraph.

    • Authorities believe Saudi sisters found by Hudson River were alive when they entered water, source says
    • Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America

      What transforms American elections from participatory politics into farce is the exclusion of crucial issues. Environmental crisis, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the wildly skewed distribution of political and economic power will affect how people live in coming years, regardless of how effectively they are excluded from electoral consideration.

      Each of these are historical accumulations— they exist in different time-space than the binary oppositions of political marketing. Environmental crisis has been accumulating since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The threat of nuclear annihilation emerged from WWII as the lunatic id of technological innovation. Class relations have determined the realm of official power since the birth of capitalism.

      This history grants presence to each, regardless of how hidden they are in any given political moment. If a bomb is dropped on a city in the forest, it destroys the lives of those it is dropped on regardless of whether you and I hear it. The subtexts of modernity are automatically written to preclude reflection.

      Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would unilaterally end the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) treaty with Russia. The calculated irrelevance of American electoral politics to the side, this didn’t happen in an historical vacuum. It ties back to Bill Clinton’s unilateral placement of NATO troops on Russia’s border following George H.W. Bush’s promise not to do so.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Justice Department reportedly looking to prosecute Julian Assange amid increased prospects of bringing him to the US for trial

      The Justice Department is getting ready to prosecute Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks founder’s relationship with Ecuador deteriorates, The Wall Street Journal reported citing people in Washington familiar with the matter.

    • U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange

      The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

      Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

    • Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing
    • Justice Department Preparing To Prosecute WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: WSJ

      The U.S. Justice Department said it is planning to prosecute controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Sources told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the department is also hopeful it will get Assange ― who has been holed up in an Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 ― into a U.S. courtroom.

      Assange fled Sweden in 2012 over allegations of sexual assault and rape. Though prosecutors dropped the case last year, he still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions should he leave the embassy.

    • WaPo: Wikileaks Boss Julian Assange Charged According To Court Documents | The 11th Hour | MSNBC
    • Assange’s Lawyer: Ecuador May Be Planning Extradition Under Deal With UK, US

      Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when he fled there to avoid prosecution by the Swedish authorities in a sex assault case. The sex offence charges against Assange have eventually been dropped but the whistleblower has not left the diplomatic mission, where he was granted asylum, over fears that he might be seized by the UK authorities and extradited to the United States where he is wanted for leaking classified documents.

      In October, media revealed that the embassy introduced home rules that Assange should follow, that included restrictions on the whistleblower’s communications and visits. Assange’s defence team subsequently sued Ecuador over the conditions of his stay in the embassy, which, according to them, violate the WikiLeaks founder’s rights.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange facing possible prosecution by DOJ: report

      Assange has been seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but WikiLeaks supporters have claimed that Assange fears being extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy.

    • US Prosecutors Reportedly Optimistic About Bringing Julian Assange to Court

      Barry Pollack, Assange’s lawyer, told the Journal he had “heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent.”

    • Justice Department is preparing to prosecute Julian Assange

      Ecuadorean officials have long since grown tired of hosting Assange, with that country’s new president Lenin Moreno calling the white-haired leaker a “stone in our shoe.”

      The Journal speculated that Justice officials could pursue charges related to the Espionage Act, which bars the disclosure of national defense-related information.

    • Julian Assange ‘WILL be prosecuted for ESPIONAGE’: US officials ‘increasingly hopeful of getting WikiLeaks founder extradited from his London embassy bolthole to face charges in an American courtroom’
    • New filing from U.S. government inadvertently reveals Julian Assange is facing sealed charges

      The United States government has charged — under seal — Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The Washington Post reported late Thursday evening.

      The disclosure came in an unrelated case.

      While urging a judge to keep a matter sealed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, wrote “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

      The prosecutor added that the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

    • Ex-FBI counter-intel chief: Newly revealed Assange charges may be part of Mueller’s plan to target Trump

      MSNBC “11th Hour” anchor Brian Williams broke in with breaking news on Thursday after the Department of Justice inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      Williams was fortunate to have as a guest Frank Figliuzzi, the former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      “So, Frank, what’s the significance of this development to you?” Williams asked.

      “Well, this has deep meaning also for me personally, because I was in Washington at headquarters when the entire intelligence community was wrestling with what to do with Julian Assange and Wikileaks,” he noted. “And that the great debate about whether we should even treat him as a foreign power — they were doing that much damage to us.”

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange charged under seal in the US: reports
    • Justice Department reportedly preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      After a year of discussions, Justice Department officials are optimistic they will be able to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a U.S. courtroom, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

      In 2012, Assange received political asylum from Ecuador, and he has been living in the country’s London embassy ever since. Prosecutors do not yet know what charges they might file, but it could involve the Espionage Act, the Journal reports. Prosecutors are also reportedly considering publicly indicting Assange so the Ecuadorian government could see evidence against him and would have a reason to remove him from the embassy.

    • US optimistic it will prosecute Julian Assange

      The US Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

    • U.S. optimistic it will soon prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments. Ecuador’s relationship with Assange has deteriorated sharply since last year’s election of President Lenin Moreno, who has described him as a “stone in our shoe” and said his continued presence at the embassy is unsustainable.

      An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign. Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

    • US preparing to prosecute Assange: report

      The Department of Justice is reportedly preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and hopes to try him in a U.S. courtroom.

      The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that prosecutors have been discussing different charges to level against Assange and how to bring him back to the U.S.

      Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012 and he has been living in that country’s embassy in London ever since.

      However, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who was elected last year, has reportedly soured on Assange.

      “On that, I’ll just say, ‘we’ll see,’” John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, told the Journal on the possibility of the DOJ prosecuting Assange.

    • US prosecutors get Assange indictment
    • Q&A: what’s it like handling PR for Julian Assange?

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange became a polarising figure when he broke through on the global stage thanks to his organisations’ storing and publishing of secret documents. In recent years he has sought political refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, avoiding an arrest warrant, which he denies and claims to be part of a political conspiracy as a result of his work with Wikileaks.

      Representing Assange is PR man Richard Hillgrove who spoke to The Drum about what the role has been like, having also worked with other politically charged clients such as legendary fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and activist, author and actress Rose McGowan over the years.

    • U.S. prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange: court document

      American prosecutors have obtained a sealed indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose website published thousands of classified U.S. government documents, a U.S. federal court document showed on Thursday.

      [...]

      On social network Twitter, Wikileaks said it was an “apparent cut-and-paste error.”

      U.S. officials had no comment on the disclosure in the document about a sealed indictment of Assange. It is unclear what charges Assange faces.

      But Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office which filed the document that was unsealed, told Reuters, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”

      Reuters was unable to immediately reach Assange or his lawyers to seek comment.

    • Julian Assange charged in US: WikiLeaks

      The exact nature of the charges against Assange was not immediately known.

    • Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has been charged in US, prosecutors accidentally reveal

      The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal with unspecified offences in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed in an unintentional court filing.

      Federal prosecutors had hoped to keep the indictment against Mr Assange a secret “due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case”, and so that Mr Assange would “no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter”.

      Wikileaks said on social media that the US Justice Department had “accidentally revealed existence of sealed charges (or draft of them) against [Mr Assange] in apparent cut-and-paste error”.

      The document that reveals the charges, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Mr Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.

    • The DOJ is reportedly preparing to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to bring charges against Julian Assange, the founder of the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

      Over the past year, prosecutors are said to have discussed a variety of charges they could bring against Assange and are reportedly optimistic that they could get Assange, who is currently seeking asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, into a US court.
      The US’ push comes as Assange’s relationship with Ecuador is in decline, and as the South American country is looking to bolster its relationship with the US.

      The DOJ has been investigating Assange since 2010, and according to The Journal, while the exact charges prosecutors want to bring against him are unclear, they may involve the Espionage Act.

      Assange and WikiLeaks are at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

    • Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals

      The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government’s yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group.

      It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange. The indictment came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him.

      “The court filing was made in error,” said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. “That was not the intended name for this filing.”

      Mr. Assange has lived for years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and would have to be arrested and extradited if he were to face charges in federal court, altogether a multistep diplomatic and legal process.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Pipeline Vandals Are Reinventing Climate Activism

      Getting arrested was part of the plan. Across the country, the Valve Turners and their support teams had closed the valves in the hope of getting into court to present to a jury what is called a “necessity defense,” arguing that their crime was an act of civil disobedience meant to prevent a greater harm—in this case, death by climate catastrophe. If the plan worked they would create a legal precedent that would put a powerful new tool in the hands of eco-warriors.

    • Iceland’s Christmas ad was brave and necessary. It shouldn’t be banned

      Concern about our planet has never been greater, thanks to last month’s UN report warning that we have 12 years to stop irreversible damage to the Earth. Yet, one month on, a supermarket’s Christmas advert showing the damage palm oil is doing to the natural world has been deemed too political to put on TV. If that doesn’t make you weep, I’m not sure what will.

      Iceland repackaged a short film by Greenpeace showing the destruction of an orangutan’s rainforest habitat due to palm oil growers. Palm oil is about as unsustainable as it gets, and contributes to habitat loss and the endangerment of species, including elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans.

    • The World’s Wilderness Is Nearly Gone

      Nearly every day’s news cycle seems to bring another harbinger of environmental doom: from soaring global temperatures, to new statistics showing vast declines in wildlife populations along with constant stories of coral bleaching, chemical spills, and accelerating climate disasters. Now scientists have zoomed out to examine the world’s endangered landscapes on a macro scale, revealing that human society is not only exterminating flora and fauna—it’s literally ripping up the ground beneath them. Just a small fraction of the world’s wilderness lands can be considered relatively free of human interference. And without dramatic policy measures, the remaining wild places will soon be paved, farmed, mined, and polluted into oblivion.

      Using geospatial mapping data, a research team based at the University of Queensland has depicted the massive hemorrhaging of wilderness over time. Their new study, published ahead of a United Nations biodiversity summit, shows that the remaining vestiges of marine and land habitats relatively untouched by human intervention are facing extinction.

    • Mining the deep ocean will soon begin

      The licensees include Belgium, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore and South Korea, as well as several small Pacific island states. America, which is not party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that established the ISA, is not involved directly, but at least one American firm, Lockheed Martin, has an interest in the matter through a British subsidiary, UK Seabed Resources. And people are getting busy. Surveying expeditions have already visited the concessions. On land, the required mining machines are being built and tested. What worries biologists is that if all this busyness does lead to mining, it will wreck habitats before they can be properly catalogued, let alone understood.

    • “The Last Animals”: a journey to the frontlines of extinction

      Indeed, despite official estimates that elephants and rhinos may become extinct in the next ten to 20 years, Ms Brooks says “the reality is that localised extinction is happening now”. At the start of filming, there were seven northern white rhinos left in the world but this figure quickly decreased to five. In zoos in San Diego and the Czech Republic, and in Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya, the animals are named individuals, making it all the more shocking when they die—Nola, Nabire, then Sudan, the last male, until there are only two. They die of various natural causes while in captivity; interventions to make them breed have failed. According to Ms Brooks, it is a cautionary tale of what happens when humans try too little too late. There is nothing left to do but watch an extinction taking place.

    • Avni was tagged ‘man-eater’ without proper evidence; authorities behind her ‘ruthless killing’ must be brought to book

      Considerable substantiation based on field evidence is required to declare a tiger a “man-eater”. Avni is believed to have been given the tag without any precise establishment of her predatory habits and also without any conclusive evidence of her role in 13 human deaths over two years, which authorities have maintained was the reason she had to be killed.

      The damning “man-eater” label also contradicted the “Guidelines of Declaration of Big Cats as Man-eaters”, which state that a tiger can only be deemed a danger to humans if he or she ventures into human territory and kills someone. However, the deaths that the Maharashtra Forest Department attributed to Avni were results of humans entering tiger territory, possibly to allow cattle to graze in the forest reserve.

    • Climate should be an election issue

      There is no longer any doubt that this extreme situation will almost certainly occur. But governments, corporations, and international agencies have thus far not done enough to mitigate the problem, and appear increasingly incapable of implementing effective adaptation strategies either. Perhaps it is time for a people’s revolution to jolt the powerful out of their lethargy. The need of the hour is to make climate and the environment an election issue; and only vote to power those who grasp the gravity of the situation, and the need for urgency in climate adaptation policies.

    • Fracking halted again as biggest earthquake yet is recorded at Cuadrilla’s new site in Lancashire

      Anti-fracking campaigners have voiced their alarm at the earthquakes, with 27 now noted since fracking started on Monday, October 15.

    • Climate change: Oceans ‘soaking up more heat than estimated’

      Researchers say that the world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years.

      Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought.

      They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated.

    • Why India’s air pollution is so horrendous

      When you look at the database’s ranking of particulate pollution in cities, 11 of the 12 cities with the highest levels are located in India. Kanpur, India, population 3 million, tops the list with a yearly average of 319 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, the most hazardous particle commonly measured. (Bamenda, Cameroon, is the one city outside of India in the top 12.)

    • The Global Extinction Rebellion Begins

      Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

      A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

      Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

      A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

      Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.

    • Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site

      The Woolsey fire in California began Nov. 8 near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), site of a partial reactor meltdown, the consequences of which have never been cleaned up. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control released a statement early Nov. 9 saying its scientists “don’t believe that the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.”

      The fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned, according to the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility which has investigated SSFL radiation risks for 30 years.

      Use of the phrase “don’t believe” [the fire caused risk] by the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) had to stand in for a clear denial of radiation risk because none of the site’s air monitors had yet been seen by the department. The following words of DTSC’s Nov. 9 announcement were: “There is an air monitoring network around the perimeter of the SSFL site. As soon as access is open we will evaluate the air monitoring stations.” The department seemed to be reading from a script identified by the oceanographer Jacque Cousteau who said, “…before specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’”

  • Finance
    • Industrial Union chair slams gov’t “ignorance” of working life

      Aalto said his criticism comes from the recognition that the government is the head of Finland’s representative democracy.

    • Trump May Soon Deal Yet Another Blow to Union Rights

      At stake is the joint-employer standard, the arcane labor rule that governs an increasingly common labor arrangement today: the “fissured” workplace, where workers are technically employed by a subcontractor, but their working conditions are essentially controlled by the parent company to which they are assigned (in many cases today, so-called “permatemps” do virtually the same job as regular workers, with less pay and job security).

      [...]

      By making it easier for companies to outsource their labor while casting off their responsibilities to protect their workers, the NLRB’s proposed joint-employer reforms wouldn’t just threaten to further stratify a fissured labor force; it would separate workers from the labor movement.

    • Danish chef fined for money laundering after taking cash payment [iophk: "if nothing is done, soon cash payment will be illegal completely"]

      The chef received the fine after being paid 53,000 kroner in cash for preparing the meal at a silver wedding celebration in central Jutland.

      Herning’s district court found that, by accepting cash in payment for the service, he was in breach of laws designed to prevent money laundering.

      According to the law, businesses are prevented in principle for accepting payments of over 50,000 kroner in cash.

    • Entercom: Don’t Overlook This 5% Yield Concern

      ntercom Communication (ETM) is Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania based radio broadcasting company. Exiting 2016, the company owned the fourth largest portfolio of radio stations – 127 – in the United States covering 28 top markets. The company derived over 50% of its revenue from 8 markets: Boston, Buffalo, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle. The company was controlled (through class B voting shares) by the Field family.

      [...]

      For those unfamiliar, a Reverse Morris Trust transaction is a tax-optimization strategy for the parent company – in this case CBS Corporation – that wishes to spin off unwanted assets. To actuate this transaction, CBS Corporation spun off its CBS Radio subsidiary into a separate company and merged it with a third-party company: Entercom. This merged entity then issued shares to shareholders of the original parent company. Even though CBS owns more than 50% of the company, Entercom management controls the day-to-day operations and have five board seats to CBS’s four. Another example of this type of transaction was the 2007 Verizon Communications (VZ) spinoff and subsequent merger of its Northeast landline subsidiary with FairPoint (FRP). The tax structure was not likely the only motivation for this type of transaction: CBS Radio’s declining revenues over the past couple of years make bad optics for a standard IPO. Currently the company has a market capitalization of just over $1 billion and sells for just north of $7.00 a share.

    • Amazon HQ Move Criticized by New York City Council, U.S. Senator

      The gathering in Queens included dozens of elected officials, including City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the district that includes Long Island City and who said he’d been shut out of any negotiations and only learned the deal had been consummated by reading about it in the newspaper. Part of the deal involves a state takeover of land involved so that the City Council would have no zoning oversight.

    • Why Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters Backfired

      Amazon announced Tuesday that the 14-month public bidding war for its so-called second headquarters was coming to an end. After reviewing 238 proposals from cities across North America, the company says it will build two large regional offices in Queens, New York and Arlington, Virginia as well as a smaller campus in Nashville, Tennessee. The search was largely a success for CEO Jeff Bezos, who can use valuable data from the losing cities to inform Amazon’s business and future expansion. But in at least one respect, Amazon’s Hunger Games-style civic competition backfired: It’s shined a spotlight on how Amazon and companies like it have benefitted enormously from taxpayer funds.

    • What cities offered Amazon: helipads, zoo tickets, and a street named Alexa

      Philadelphia was promising to add its own $1.1bn to the pot, promising that local taxes collected from Amazon for 20 years would be returned to the company as well. Pittsburgh’s mayor has not yet revealed what his city was promising.

      Atlanta and Dallas have now revealed their losing hands as well: $2bn and $1.1bn in incentives, respectively.

    • Amazon Signs Deal With Horror King Jason Blum for Eight Movies
    • Amazon HQ2 Won’t Improve Quality of Life for New York and Virginia Residents

      Now that the deal for Amazon’s second headquarters has been struck, it’s worth asking if this is a package that its recipients should never have ordered.

      Amazon announced that its “HQ2” will be split between two locations, Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. Amazon says it intends to employ more than 25,000 workers at each site. But that does not mean that Amazon will be employing many residents from either the Washington, DC, metropolitan area or the boroughs of New York City. Rather, it will be attracting people from elsewhere to work on its new campus for more than $150,000 a year. Indeed, this is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s stated reason for siting the headquarters in two of the US’s richest and most rapidly gentrifying cities, according to its news release: “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”

      In exchange for a subsidy of over $1.5 billion, New York has been promised a donation of land for a single new school, a “tech startup incubator” and “new green spaces.” In exchange for a subsidy of almost $800 million, Arlington, Virginia, of which Crystal City is a part, will apparently not receive anything.

      What the politicians who negotiated these deals will receive is a richer population. Not for their current population to become more financially stable, more secure or more fulfilled – but for a new population, which will push out many of the previous residents. They will govern a richer community, and the old community will be forced to move somewhere else.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why Elissa Slotkin took heat from angry Democrats during her campaign

      “Flint was an apocalyptic poisoning of an American city but not the only story, unfortunately,” she said. “As a CIA analyst, I am trained to look at patterns and data. Data tells us there’s a problem with our drinking water — with lead, PFAS, toxic chemicals and other things.

      “In my district, in the Huron River, we can no longer eat the fish. We cannot eat the deer that forage around the Huron River. We have a problem. We need to accept that problem. We need a once-in-a-generation investment in our water infrastructure. Our state has the greatest concentration of fresh water and we cannot cannot provide clean drinking water to our citizens.”

    • Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

      But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.

    • Mark Zuckerberg to the governments of Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland and Argentina: “Go fuck yourselves”

      Mark Zuckerberg has told the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina, Australia and Ireland that he is “not available” for a planned hearing on political disinformation and Facebook.

    • Zuckerberg: I didn’t know of Facebook ties to firm attacking George Soros

      Mark Zuckerberg defended his leadership of Facebook on Thursday, claiming ignorance of the company’s relationship with a political consultancy that used an antisemitic narrative to undermine critics.

    • Mark Zuckerberg ‘not able’ to attend international disinformation hearing

      Damian Collins, chair of the committee, is leading the charge and noted that the social network’s response is “hugely disappointing.”

      “The fact that he has continually declined to give evidence, not just to my committee, but now to an unprecedented international grand committee, makes him look like he’s got something to hide,” he said in an emailed statement.”

    • How Facebook Wrestled With Scandal: 6 Key Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation

      An investigation by The New York Times revealed how Facebook fought back against its critics: with delays, denials and a full-bore campaign in Washington. Here are six takeaways.

    • Facebook Cuts Ties With Washington Firm That Sought to Discredit Social Network’s Critics
    • No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm

      Definers was hired as part of a lobbying effort intended to counter mounting criticisms of Facebook over the past year. The firm’s role, among other things, included circulating a document tying a prominent anti-Facebook group to financing from billionaire George Soros. Efforts to link liberal causes to Soros are a tactic often used by the alt-right and other conservatives as a dog whistle for anti-Semitism.

    • Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT

      We are watching Facebook unravel in real time. I hope.

    • Florida’s Recount Isn’t Really a Recount

      But even as the state’s 67 counties scramble to finish the machine recount of more than 8 million ballots, it’s not clear the results will give a true picture of the race’s winner. That’s because the method Florida uses to conduct election recounts is not a true recount of voter ballots, but simply a rescan of ballots through the same machines that initially counted them. If problems with the software — either through glitches or [cracking] — produced faulty results the first time, they will reproduce the same faulty results during a rescan.

      “To call it a recount is false,” says Ion Sancho, who for 27 years was supervisor of elections for Leon County, Florida, and who led the manual recount in Miami-Dade County for the 2000 presidential recount. “It’s a failure in the state of Florida that the manual recount is not a recount; it’s a scan of ballots.”

    • The battle over a citizenship question on the 2020 census heats up

      It has been 70 years since a query regarding citizenship appeared on the census. Now Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, faces six consolidated lawsuits—two each in California, Maryland and New York—over his announcement in March this year that he intends to type it back in. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia—together with 15 cities, several counties and immigrant-aid groups including the New York Immigration Coalition—are suing Mr Ross and the Commerce Department for flouting proper rule-changing procedures, discriminating against immigrants and attempting to scare them away from participating in the census. [...]

    • Trump DOJ Argues “No Journalist Has First Amendment Right to Enter White House”

      The ACLU fired off a reminder Wednesday that the “White House belongs to the people, not the president” after the Trump administration asserted in a legal filing that the president has “broad discretion” to bar reporters from press briefings.

      “No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” Justice Department lawyers argued in a 28-page filing in response to CNN’s lawsuit against the administration for revoking the “hard pass” of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, last week.

      CNN said in a statement announcing the legal action on Tuesday that the suspension violated Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights and that it is seeking to have the credentials reinstated.

      “While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials,” CNN stated.

      The president himself suggested that it was not only Acosta, with whom he’s sparred frequently, or his frequent target CNN, but that “it could be others” who face the same retaliation.

    • Goodbye, and Thanks for all the Fish

      It is rather disconcerting to be watching the UK continue its disintegration in such spectacular fashion, from as far away as Ghana. I wonder whether events appear quite so ridiculous close up.

      It surprises me that, in all the discussion and analysis of the withdrawal agreement, there has been so little analysis of the much more important conjoined Political Declaration, which is about the UK’s prospective relationships once the divorce is over. It particularly surprises me that so very little has been said about fish.

      It is very unfortunate for British, and especially Scottish, fishermen that their political leaders are strange right wing bigots of a particularly repellent stamp. This blinds decent people to the truth that the fishing communities of the UK did suffer a dreadful historic injustice, on the same scale as Thatcher’s assault on the miners.

      It is seldom remembered now that the UK’s initial entry to the European Communities was achieved against a background of traditional hostility from European states, especially France. Ted Heath’s government decided that the economic benefits of joining the Common Market were so huge, it was for the greater good to sacrifice the fishing community.

    • Who, Us? Corporate Media Ignore Their Role in Trump’s Refugee ‘Invasion’ Panic

      Joshua Holland (The Nation, 10/26/18): “Trump floods the zone with bullshit, they dutifully convey it, and we end up swimming in it.”If the establishment media’s coverage in the home stretch of the 2018 midterm elections is any kind of prologue to 2020, be prepared for an avalanche of right-wing xenophobic propaganda during our next presidential election. That’s because, once again, the political press dutifully chased Trump’s rhetorical tail as Election Day neared, and repeatedly ceded its editorial judgment and newshole to the nativist fearmongering he used to stoke the Republican Party’s base. And nowhere was this fecklessness more apparent than media’s breathless “migrant caravan” coverage.

      Left-wing media critics documented these failures almost in real time. Joshua Holland at The Nation (10/25/18) noted in late October how Trump was all but acting as the de facto segment producer for all those ubiquitous cable news panel shows that were spending all their time discussing a few thousand asylum seekers that were more than a thousand miles from the US southern border.

      Likewise, a study by the liberal media research site Media Matters (11/2/18) found that Trump might as well have been the front-page assignment editor for elite newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times, which simply couldn’t resist the siren song of his manufactured crisis. In all, those two papers published nearly 30 different stories about the migrant caravan on their respective A1 pages in the two weeks before Election Day. And on three different days, the Times devoted two front-page stories to what Trump had not-so-subtly began calling an “invasion.”

    • For Once, Theresa May is Very Accurate

      Theresa May today chose to compare herself with Geoffrey Boycott. For once, she was being very accurate, especially when it comes to relationships with her own team. Boycott’s players hated him so much during his captaincy they actually ran him out on purpose during a test match.

    • Facebook’s Use Of Smear Merchants Is The Norm, Not The Exception

      In a conference call this afternoon, Zuckerberg then tried to claim that neither he nor Sandberg knew anything about Definers being hired, while insisting that Facebook would be taking a much closer look at their DC policy and lobbying partners moving forward. But companies routinely hire firms like Definers knowing full well the kind of tactics they employ, and the idea that neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg knew anything about the work Definers was doing is generally being seen as either a falsehood or incompetence.

      While Facebook’s decision to smear critics instead of owning their own obvious dysfunction is clearly idiotic, much of the backlash has operated under the odd belief that Facebook’s behavior is some kind of exception, not the norm. Countless companies employ think tanks, consultants, bogus news ops, PR firms, academics, and countless other organizations to spread falsehoods, pollute the public discourse, and smear their critics on a daily basis. It’s a massive industry. Just ask the telecom sector.

      In the last decade alone broadband providers and firms far worse than Definers have been caught paying minority groups to generate bunk support for bad policy, hijacking consumer identities to support bad policy, creating bogus consumer groups to generate fake support for bad policy, flooding the news wires endlessly with misleading op/eds without disclosing financial conflicts of interest, stocking public meetings with cardboard cutouts (so real people can’t attend), or filling news comments sections and social media with bullshit criticism of corporate critics.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi’s husband fears for wife’s safety

      But on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough evidence against her and ordered her release, though not until after the court makes a final review of its verdict. The decision prompted angry protests by the Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which only ended after the government under Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to bar Bibi from leaving the country and to release a number of arrested protesters.

    • Blasphemy in Pakistan: calls are multiplying to ask for the reception of Asia Bibi in France

      The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the president of the Republicans, Laurent Wauquiez, asked Monday, November 5 in separate messages to the French authorities to intervene to “save the life” of the Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi. More than 40 personalities, including Elisabeth and Robert Badinter, Luc Ferry and Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, also put the same message in a forum published in Le Figaro , Wednesday, November 7. Denounced by neighbors for drinking the water of a well reserved in principle for Muslims, this Christian had been sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, before being found innocent of this crime [sic] at the end of October. She remains, however, for the time imprisoned.

    • Protesters Delay Release Of Pakistani Woman Acquitted For Blasphemy

      Asia Bibi’s sentence was reversed on Wednesday in Islamabad. Almost simultaneously, followers of a hard-line Pakistani religious group rushed onto major highways across the country to paralyze traffic in protest of the decision.

      They called for Bibi to be killed, along with the three Supreme Court judges who issued the verdict. They also called on Pakistani military forces to disobey the army chief of staffs, accusing him of not being a Muslim.

    • An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg: The World’s Freedom of Expression is in Your Hands

      Today, we the undersigned civil society organizations, call on Facebook to provide a mechanism for all of its users to appeal content restrictions, and, in every case, to have the appealed decision re-reviewed by a human moderator.

    • ARTICLE 19 and 70+ civil society groups write to Mark Zuckerberg over content removal

      A series of well-publicised cases, such as the banning of the Little Mermaid for nudity, have highlighted how arbitrary the moderation of Facebook’s content can be. In many of these high profile cases, content has been restored after negative publicity. But for ordinary users, Facebook only allows appeals in a limited set of circumstances. In many cases, they have absolutely no option to appeal and may have their accounts removed.

    • Turkish Case Against Former Wall Street Journal Reporter Is Thrown Out

      A Turkish court threw out the conviction against a former Wall Street Journal reporter on Tuesday, annulling a widely criticized verdict at a time when Turkey is looking to improve relations with the West.

    • A Note From Matt Murray About Ayla Albayrak

      I’m very happy to share the news that the unjust criminal conviction in Turkey against our friend and former colleague, Ayla Albayrak, was today thrown out by an appeals court.

      This was overdue. Ayla should never have been put in this position. Her original conviction in October 2017 for a straight and factual story was totally unfounded and wholly unjust. Her work was balanced and it was fair. It included comment from all relevant parties. In essence, she was convicted for honest, objective and irrefutable reporting. In other words, the kind of work that all of us strive to produce every day.

      While welcome, the decision is not completely satisfying. The Turkish appeals court dismissed the case on procedural grounds, ruling that the prosecution violated the statute of limitations, rather than addressing the merits.

      Legal action in Turkey against Ayla began after the August 2015 publication of an article under the headline “Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast.” It was accompanied by a video. The work focused on the conflict between Turkey’s armed forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, called PKK. PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European Union and Turkey.

    • Rights Groups Demand Facebook Set Up Real Due Process Around Content Moderation

      For quite some time now, when discussing how the various giant platforms should manage the nearly impossible challenges of content moderation, one argument I’ve fallen back on again and again is that they need to provide real due process. This is because, while there are all sorts of concerns about content moderation, the number of false positives that lead to “good” content being taken down is staggering. Lots of people like to point and laugh at these, but any serious understanding of content moderation at scale has to recognize that when you need to process many many thousands of requests per day, often involving complex or nuanced issues, many, many mistakes are going to be made. And thus, you need a clear and transparent process that enables review.

      [...]

      While the reasons that Google and Facebook have not yet created this kind of due process are obvious (it would be kinda costly, for one), it does seem like such a system will be increasingly important, and it’s good to see these groups pushing Facebook on this in particular.

      Of course, earlier this year, Zuckerberg had floated an idea of an independent (i.e. outside of Facebook) third party board that could handle these kinds of content moderation appeals, and… a bunch of people freaked out, falsely claiming that Zuckerberg wanted to create a special Facebook Supreme Court (even as he was actually advocating for having a body outside of Facebook reviewing Facebook’s decisions).

      No matter what, it would be good for the large platforms to start taking these issues seriously, not only for reasons of basic fairness and transparency, but because it would also serve to better make the public comfortable with how this process works. When it is, as currently construed, a giant black box, that leads to a lot more anger and conspiracy thinking over how content moderation actually works.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook Might Use Your Photos To Find Who You Live With & Ad-Targeting

      Facebook, one of the biggest social media platform, has taken targeted advertising to new heights. I am often taken aback by the creepiness of ads displayed on my Facebook profile.

      Now, a patent filed by Facebook suggests that targeted ads would be much pervasive and relevant in the near future. The application describes a technology that can predict who your family and other household members are, based on images and captions that were posted on the social media platform.

    • Sheriff’s Dept.: The 1,079 Privileged Jailhouse Calls We Intercepted Was Actually 34,000 Calls

      A few months back, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department admitted it had been listening in on privileged conversations. Calls from inmates to lawyers were being swept up along with everything else by service provider Global Tel Link. This violation of state law (among other things) jeopardized dozens of prosecutions. In all, GTL’s so-called “technical error” resulted in the interception of more than 1,000 privileged calls.

      The Sheriff’s Department claimed it told GTL to fix the problem, but didn’t appear to have been terribly bothered by this evidentiary windfall… some of which made its way into the hands of prosecutors. It made several disappointed noises about its provider when confronted in court, but its quasi-proactive “knock it off” — directed towards GTL — didn’t explain its lack of proactivity when it came to informing criminal defendants and their legal reps their cases may have been compromised by attorney-client privilege violations.

      This was only the tip of the iceberg. The OC Register reports there’s been an exponential increase in the number of privileged calls trapped by this “technical error.”

    • EFF and MuckRock Release Records and Data from 200 Law Enforcement Agencies’ Automated License Plate Reader Programs

      EFF and MuckRock have filed hundreds of public records requests with law enforcement agencies around the country to reveal how data collected from automated license plate readers (ALPR) is used to track the travel patterns of drivers. We focused exclusively on departments that contract with surveillance vendor Vigilant Solutions to share data between their ALPR systems.

      Today we are releasing records obtained from 200 agencies, accounting for more than 2.5-billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017. This data is collected regardless of whether the vehicle or its owner or driver are suspected of being involved in a crime. In fact, the information shows that 99.5% of the license plates scanned were not under suspicion at the time the vehicles’ plates were collected.

      On average, agencies are sharing data with a minimum of 160 other agencies through Vigilant Solutions’ LEARN system, though many agencies are sharing data with over 800 separate entities.

    • Impact assessment shows privacy risks Microsoft Office ProPlus Enterprise
    • Google gives the Pixel camera superhuman night vision

      Night Sight is momentous because it’s a software change that delivers a leap in performance that previously only new hardware could bring.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Christian converts from Islam arrested and tortured in Darfur, Sudan

      The agents released two believers with Christian backgrounds from the Nuba mountains, the oldest Christian region in Sudan, but detained eleven converts from Islam including the pastor, Tajdeen Yousif.

      A Barnabas Fund contact reported, “They tortured them beating them a whole day and night and telling them you face death because you changed your religion.”

    • Sheikh Hasina: Whoever insults Islam will be punished according to the law

      The religion of Bangladesh “is Islam. Anyone who pronounces offensive comments against it or against the Prophet Muhammad, will be prosecuted according to the law” stated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday. She was speaking at a gathering of madrassas [Koranic schools] in Dhaka. “I know that on social media – she added – there is a lot of propaganda. Pay them no attention “.

    • Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment

      “Sharia criminal procedure allows the court to determine where the sentence will be carried out, and requires that it must be witnessed by a number of other Muslims,” he said.

    • Man Pleads Guilty to ‘Swatting’ Hoax That Resulted in a Fatal Shooting

      Mr. Barriss called the police in Wichita, telling them that he had killed his father, was holding two family members at gunpoint, had doused his house in gasoline and was contemplating suicide. Police officers arrived at the address they were given, and one fatally shot a fourth man, Andrew Finch, 28, in his doorway after he stepped outside to investigate the commotion and dropped his hands. Mr. Finch, though, had done nothing wrong and did not know about the swatting call.

    • Bar Refaeli Slammed For Removing Muslim Face Covering In Ad
    • 6 People Who Broke (Stupid) Laws In The Best Way Possible

      Anyone who’s tried to look up a scientific paper online (most likely to win a bar argument, though we guess there are other uses) knows that publishers have a pretty good racket going. It typically costs around $30 to see a full paper, which builds up to over $24 billion in yearly profits. That’s right between the music and film industries, but with a much bigger profit margin, since scientific publishers don’t have to pay Brad Pitt’s salary or put up with Kanye West. They don’t even pay the scientists themselves, since the studies are usually funded by universities or, uh … you.

      As a result, researchers and institutions end up having to buy back their own work in the form of academic journals, and if they can’t afford the increasingly expensive subscriptions? There’s nothing they can do. Well, not legally. Enter Sci-Hub, which is to science what the Pirate Bay is to The Walking Dead.

    • Could Your Police Department Be Inflating Rape Clearance Rates?

      Many law enforcement agencies across the U.S. may be pumping up their reported rape clearance rates using a little-known category called “exceptional clearance,” according to an analysis by Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica. The designation allows police to clear cases when they have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control.

    • How We Analyzed Rape Clearance Rates

      As part of the FBI’s standardized Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country regularly tell the FBI how many serious crimes were reported in their jurisdictions and how many of them they “cleared.” Police agencies often point to the annual clearance rate — the number of cases cleared divided by the number of total crimes (excluding unfounded cases) — as a measure of their effectiveness. Clearance rates are often presented to the public as “solve” rates.

      While clearance rates have been described as “cleared by arrest” rates in FBI documents, FBI rules actually allow the police to clear a case without making an arrest.

      [...]

      A review of the NIBRS data indicated that rape offenses are frequently cleared by exceptional means, yet neither the FBI nor the public has any way to know how many rape crimes are being cleared without arrest in the majority of cities across the United States. We hoped to uncover the arrest and exceptional clearance rates previously hidden from the public by requesting data from police internal case management systems in those places.

    • When It Comes to Rape, Just Because a Case Is Cleared Doesn’t Mean It’s Solved

      Andy Leisher didn’t like what he was seeing on the security cameras from his post at the front desk of the Ramada Inn in Janesville, Wisconsin. On the closed-circuit television in front of him, Leisher watched as a man in his 30s kissed what appeared to be a teenager in the motel hot tub.

      It put him on alert. “It just felt awkward,” Leisher said of the scene. “She just seemed really young, and he seemed really old. Or too old to be with her.”

      When Leisher, a part-time pastor, confirmed that the girl was 16, he called the police. A few hours later, police arrested 31-year-old Bryan Kind, and he was charged with having sex with a child and possession of child pornography. He’s pleaded not guilty.

      After collecting Kind’s cellphones, Janesville police also found naked photos of a girl from Maryland, and they sent the information to authorities there.

      It wasn’t news to the Baltimore County Police Department. About a month before the May 2017 arrest, the department closed its investigation into Kind on allegations that he had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

      It went on Baltimore County’s books as a success, another rape case cleared.

      But Kind had walked free. He wasn’t charged with any crime. The Police Department hadn’t arrested him, even though it had a thick investigative file on him.

    • Prisoners Are Getting Paid $1.45 a Day to Fight the California Wildfires

      Incarcerated workers fighting wildfires deserve the same wages and protections that civilian workers receive.
      As firefighters in California battle the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history, they are joined by unlikely allies against the blaze. About 200 prisoners in California’s Conservation Camp program are fighting the fires alongside civilian employees, earning just $1.45 a day for their work. Their pay as workers is a fraction of minimum wage. The hazard to their lives is real, as evidenced by a death toll that has climbed steadily.

      The prisoners battling the fires in California deserve real wages. And their rights as workers lead us to larger issues of prison labor, fires or not.

      I’m often asked what the ACLU thinks about this and other prison work programs. The answer isn’t black or white. Most prisoners want to work, and jobs for prisoners can be a very positive thing. A job can provide an escape from the crushing monotony of prison life – a chance to do something productive, earn a little money, and maybe even learn some skills that are useful in and of themselves and useful when reentering society. And as we know, 97 percent of people in prison will return to their communities.

      That said, given the vast power inequality between prisoners and their employers, there is also a persistent and real potential for exploitation and abuse.

      Prisoners are excluded from the legal protections enjoyed by all other workers. They’re not allowed to unionize. They’re not covered by minimum wage laws, and the paltry wages they do earn can be seized by the prison. If they’re injured or killed on the job, they’re not covered by workers’ compensation, and their ability to recover damages in court is severely limited. All of these factors combine to make prisoners a uniquely vulnerable workforce.

    • “He Was a Protector”: Remembering Jemel Roberson, 26-Year-Old Chicago Security Guard Slain by Police

      Community members are demanding answers for the police killing of a black security guard in the Chicago suburbs, after 26 year-old Jemel Roberson was shot and killed by a white policeman Sunday. Roberson jumped into action early Sunday morning when a shooting broke out at a bar where he was working as a security guard. He was restraining a shooting suspect when several police officers arrived on the scene, and a white police officer from the Midlothian Police Department shot and killed Roberson. Witnesses said the police officer opened fire even though people at the bar were screaming that Roberson was a security guard. Roberson was armed and held a valid gun owner’s license. We speak with Avontea Boose, the partner of Jemel Roberson and mother of his 9-month-old son Tristan. She is currently expecting their second child. We also speak with Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing the children of Jemel Roberson.

    • Why “Countering Violent Extremism” programs won’t stop white supremacists

      As the daughter of Muslim Egyptian immigrants, I’m used to getting surprised looks when I tell people I grew up in a small Appalachian town in Western Maryland. A town where teens dared each other to drive up to the old church where local KKK members would supposedly meet. Boys I knew and rode the school bus with would go on to become Neo-Nazis.

      I had just started high school in 2001, making me – the only Muslim girl in high school in our county – a walking target after Sept. 11.

      I know the violence of white supremacy intimately. But I disagree with those who are currently criticizing the Trump administration for defunding Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs that supposedly target white supremacists. CVE is not simply racist because it disproportionately impacts Muslims – it was always intended to target Muslims using disproven methods under the guise of fighting “all types of violent extremism.”

      CVE was started under the Obama administration in 2011, by the Department of Justice and expanded through the Department of Homeland Security in 2017. The program purports to prevent violent extremism in the United States. In reality, CVE recruits trusted community members such as Muslim organizations, teachers, and mental health professionals, to become part of the surveillance state by identifying people who might be “vulnerable to radicalization.”

      In practice, CVE is based on junk science. In most of the pro-CVE literature, you’ll find a disclaimer that states “there is no profile for who will commit violence.” Instead, CVE relies on religious, racial, and political indicators, such as mosque attendance, feeling religious discrimination, and frustration with U.S. politics and uses Muslim-invoking dog whistles like terrorism, radicalization, and extremism to make it clear, but not explicit, who this is really about.

      Expanding CVE to groups that claim to address white supremacy only provides further cover for CVE to profile and criminalize Muslims and other marginalized communities.

    • Secret CIA Document Describes Abu Zubaydah’s Waterboarding As ‘Amateurish Experiment’

      A 2007 report from the CIA’s Office Of Medical Services (OMS) was released after a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It reveals news details on the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program, which included torture techniques used against detainees.

      The top secret document [PDF] was drafted by the CIA’s top medical official to combat press coverage that OMS viewed as “caricature.” Coverage was seen as a “distorted picture” that warranted a “more informed internal account of how OMS understood and experienced this program.”

      In the “secret history” written to defend the reputation of doctors involved in the torture program, the author melodramatically refers to “crippling leaks” as inevitable and suggests “human rights activists” will continue to target “approved techniques.” The author argues publicity will allow terrorists to develop “resistance measures.” Weapons of mass destruction will be used, and then, this report will be valuable as a “re-evaluation of what interrogation measures are acceptable” unfolds.

    • Who Runs This Police Department? Lots of Officers Who’ve Been Reprimanded or Even Suspended.

      Windbigler declined comment. Elkhart’s mayor, Tim Neese, said police work, by its nature, can lead to complaints because officers deal with people in stressful circumstances. Garvey said he has learned from his mistakes, and that he’s a better officer now than when his career started.

    • Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

      When Ed Windbigler became Elkhart’s police chief in January 2016, one of his first tasks was selecting his top command staff.

      For assistant chief, his second in command, Windbigler named Todd Thayer. Less than three years before, Thayer had been demoted two ranks for making flippant comments about a fatal shooting. Witnesses reported he said a fellow officer could now check shooting a person off his “bucket list.”

      For patrol captain, Windbigler named Brent Long. Less than two years before, Long had received a four-day suspension for sending inappropriate emails to fellow officers. One email included gruesome photos of a man in another city who, while running from police, jumped or fell from an overpass and was decapitated on a wrought-iron fence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Sprint Throttled Skype Without Telling Anyone… And Nobody Seems To Care Much

      Last month we pointed to research out of Northeastern University that showed U.S. wireless video performance was thoroughly mediocre thanks in large part to arbitrary carrier throttling. The study, spearheaded by researcher David Choffnes, found that this carrier throttling usually had absolutely nothing to do with congestion. Instead, much of it was driven by carriers trying to impose arbitrary limits on your connection, then charge you more money to avoid it. For example, Verizon now throttles all video on its “unlimited” wireless data connections to 480p (around 1.5 Mbps), unless you pay Verizon for a more expensive plan.

      Choffnes is tracking ISP network management by using crowdsourced data from his Wehe app. More recently Choffnes released an updated report that continues to show that carriers arbitrarily throttle video and select apps. But his report and data also found that Sprint (and its prepaid subsidiary Boost Mobile) routinely throttles Skype performance on its networks… without telling consumers about it.

    • Telstra BGP routing error hits other Australian ISPs

      Australia’s biggest telco Telstra took down part of the Internet in the country on Thursday morning due to a stuff-up with the routes it advertised through the border gateway protocol.

    • Donald Trump Suddenly Pretends To Care About Comcast Antitrust Violations

      For years, smaller cable companies have complained that giants like Comcast do everything in their power to make life miserable (and expensive) for them. These smaller providers have complained that Comcast often mandates they buy and include NBC channels and regional sports networks in their lineups, driving up costs. Many of these companies have considered getting out of the TV business entirely as their margins get tighter and they find themselves increasingly out-maneuvered by ever-growing, vertically-integrated media, telecom, and broadcast giants like Comcast and AT&T.

      [...]

      Normally these cries would simply be ignored in M&A manic America. Much like the TV market, smaller cable companies can’t compete with the immense political power Comcast’s wealth and size buys on Capitol Hill, so their concerns are pretty consistently ignored. As a result, whether we’re in the throes of Obama or Trump administrations, blindly letting the biggest media and telecom companies merge, then standing around with a dumb look on our collective faces as these titans do what they always do (raise rates and use their newfound power to hamper competitors) is kind of our thing.

    • The Power of Web Components

      As a group, the standards are known as Web Components. In the year 2018 it’s easy to think of Web Components as old news. Indeed, early versions of the standards have been around in one form or another in Chrome since 2014, and polyfills have been clumsily filling the gaps in other browsers.

      After some quality time in the standards committees, the Web Components standards were refined from their early form, now called version 0, to a more mature version 1 that is seeing implementation across all the major browsers. Firefox 63 added support for two of the tent pole standards, Custom Elements and Shadow DOM, so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at how you can play HTML inventor!

      Given that Web Components have been around for a while, there are lots of other resources available. This article is meant as a primer, introducing a range of new capabilities and resources. If you’d like to go deeper (and you definitely should), you’d do well to read more about Web Components on MDN Web Docs and the Google Developers site.

      Defining your own working HTML elements requires new powers the browser didn’t previously give developers. I’ll be calling out these previously-impossible bits in each section, as well as what other newer web technologies they draw upon.

  • DRM
    • Hitman 2′s Denuvo Protection Busted 3 Days Before The Game’s Launch

      So, we were just talking about how Denuvo’s new ownership, Irdeto, was busily making the case via the example of some unnamed AAA sports game that even when Denuvo DRM is cracked in a few days it’s still worth it to protect a game’s initial release window. The comments from Irdeto got so ridiculous that it claimed that even if Denuvo kept titles safe for a few hours, that was still worth it. As specious as this claim might be, it’s also formulated to be hard to argue with. After all, with this low of a bar, all Irdeto’s Denuvo has to do is barely work for any measurable amount of time before the release of game in order for Irdeto to claim victory. So how can it possibly fail?

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • The Wonky Donkey: How Infringement Helped Create A Best Seller… Which Would Be Impossible Under Article 13

        But this is also an excellent example of the massive harm that the EU is about to do with Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive. Under Article 13, platforms like YouTube and Facebook would be required to block this kind of video or face massive liability. Of course, how these platforms might detect such a video is unclear. There is no form of ContentID that would see that video and know that it was infringing, but it pretty clearly is. But, once the video got so popular, with over a million views and news stories about it, sooner or later the companies would recognize that it was infringing and would be forced to take it down or face crippling liability.

        All weekend long, various supporters of Article 13 have been screaming at me on Twitter about how Article 13 won’t harm the internet or creators at all, and that’s it’s really just about “making YouTube pay its fair share.” I’m curious how they could possibly explain what to do in this particular case. Under the law they want, a content creator (and tons of happy parents) would be at a loss. This book likely wouldn’t be such a massive success. The companies would be forced to take that content down and to block anyone else from ever uploading it.

        And what do you do if you’re a smaller platform? The risk of letting just one such video through would almost certainly bankrupt you. But how is a smaller platform going to police for this kind of video that none of the copyright holders want policed? But, as a platform, Article 13 leaves them no choice.

      • EU Council poised to insist on mandatory upload filters

        The closed-door trilogue efforts to finalise the EU Copyright Directive continue. The Presidency of the Council, currently held by Austria, has now circulated among the EU member state governments a new proposal for a compromise between the differing drafts currently on the table for the controversial Articles 11 and 13.

Berkheimer or No Berkheimer, Software Patents Remain Mostly Unenforceable in the United States and the Supreme Court is Fine With That

Thursday 15th of November 2018 05:38:06 PM

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101, which is based on cases like Alice and Mayo, offers the ‘perfect storm’ against software patents; it doesn’t look like any of that will change any time soon (if ever)

THE NEW management of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is rather hostile towards 35 U.S.C. § 101, which it is hoping to change in complete defiance of caselaw or by cherry-picking Federal Circuit decisions (only those which suit the Director’s bias). The USPTO must raise patent quality, not lower it.

“They try to overturn or at least override Alice. 4.5 years later they’re still not successful.”A few days ago Watchtroll’s Steve Brachmann said that the “Supreme Court Refuses Another 101 Patent Eligibility Appeal” (this was the headline. Yes, Alice is here to stay. SCOTUS gives the middle finger to software patents, even after Trump added a couple of new Justices. “On Monday, November 5th,” Brachmann noted, “the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition asking the Court to take up Real Estate Alliance Ltd. v. Move, Inc., et. al. on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). The case becomes just another example in a long line of patent appeals involving questions of patent eligibility the Supreme Court has decided to sidestep instead of offering clarity for what some believe has become an unintelligible test for patent eligibility.”

They will carry on trying; each time there’s a petition like this sites like Watchtroll, IAM, Patently-O and so on try hard to solicit briefs. They try to overturn or at least override Alice. 4.5 years later they’re still not successful. Chasing shadows.

Then there’s the Berkheimer case, which the above sites boosted for almost half a year before they finally gave up. As we noted several times before, citing relevant/supporting data, Berkheimer has not really changed invalidation rates of abstract software patents; it could, in theory, but it did not (or barely did, if at all, for reasons we explained before). Weaker patents aren’t even being enforced anymore because confidence associated with their validity is very low.

The “EFF, together with the R Street Institute,” the EFF said yesterday, “has filed an amicus brief [PDF] urging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari, and fix yet another flawed Federal Circuit decision.” To quote:

This year, we celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank. Alice made clear that generic computers do not make abstract ideas eligible for patent protection. Following the decision, district courts across the country started rejecting ineligible abstract patents at early stages of litigation. That has enabled independent software developers and small businesses to fight meritless infringement allegations without taking on the staggering costs and risks of patent litigation. In other words, Alice has made the patent system better at doing what it is supposed to do: promote technological innovation and economic growth.

Unfortunately, Alice’s pro-innovation effects are already in danger. As we’ve explained before, the Federal Circuit’s decision in Berkheimer v. HP Inc. turns Alice upside-down by treating the legal question of patent eligibility as a factual question based on the patent owner’s uncorroborated assertions. That will just make patent litigation take longer and cost more because factual questions generally require expensive discovery and trial before they can be resolved.

Even worse, Berkheimer gives patent owners free rein to actually create factual questions because of its emphasis on a patent’s specification. The specification is the part of the patent that describes the invention and the background state of the art. The Patent Office generally does not have the time or resources to verify whether every statement in the specification is accurate. This means that, in effect, the Berkheimer ruling will allow patent owners to create factual disputes and defeat summary judgment by inserting convenient “facts” into their patent applications.

[...]

Our brief explains that Berkheimer is wrong on the law and bad for innovation. First, it exempts patent owners from the rules of federal court litigation by permitting them to rely on uncorroborated statements in a patent specification to avoid speedy judgment under Alice. Second, it conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, which has never required factfinding deciding the legal question of patent eligibility. Third, it threatens to undo the innovation, creativity, and economic growth that Alice has made possible, especially in the software industry, because Alice empowers courts to decide patent eligibility without factfinding or trial.

So the EFF wants to overturn Berkheimer, we get it, but at what cost/risk? If Berkheimer was to be upheld at this level (with two new Justices), that might jeopardise the status quo. Berkheimer can be mostly ignored because as we last noted about a fortnight ago, it’s barely even mentioned anymore (only about once a week, despite being the same year).

Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 has actually been a very positive development; as per Professor Chien's (and Jiun Ying Wu's) paper, the litigation 'industry' very habitually spreads lies and sensationalises 35 U.S.C. § 101 (to make it seem as though all patents are suddenly void and the sky is falling). Professor Michael Risch, citing Colleen Chien (Santa Clara) and her student Jiun Ying Wu, has just written about “Measuring Alice’s Effect on Patent Prosecution,” citing a paper by the wrong URL. His outline of it:

The essay is a short, easy read, and the graphs really tell you all you need to know from a differences-in-differences point of view – there was a huge spike in medical diagnostics rejections following Mayo and software & business patent rejections following Alice. We already knew this from the Bilski Blog, but this is comprehensive. Interesting to me from a legal history/political economy standpoint is the fact that software rejections were actually trending downward after Mayo but before Alice. I’ve always thought that was odd. The Mayo test, much as I dislike it, easily fits with abstract ideas in the same way it fits with natural phenomena. Why courts and the PTO simply did not make that leap until Alice has always been a great mystery to me.

Another important finding is that 101 apparently hasn’t destroyed any other tech areas the way it has software and diagnostics. Even so, 10% to 15% rejections in other areas is a whole lot more than there used to be. Using WIPO technical classifications shows that most areas have been touched somehow.

In a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) just noted by James Korenchan, the notorious Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED) rejected a 35 U.S.C. § 101 challenge; time to escalate this to CAFC then?

Plaintiff CyWee Group Ltd. (“CyWee”) sued Defendants Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (collectively, “Samsung”), asserting various claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,441,438 (the ’438 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 8,552,978 (the ’978 patent) (a child of the ’438 patent). Samsung responded with a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of all asserted claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Last week, Circuit Judge William C. Bryson (sitting by designation in the Eastern District of Texas) denied the motion.

The claims of the asserted patents generally involve using a particular combination of sensors of a “3D pointing device” to gather raw data points representative of a position of the device, and then inputting those data points into a mathematical formula to determine an orientation of the device in a spatial reference frame. As an example, a 3D pointing device can be a mouse or other controller used to play video games such that, when a user moves the device, a pointer on the screen moves along with the orientation of the device.

As we noted in our previous post, it is nowadays fashionable to bash the courts, including CAFC. Dennis Crouch continues to belittle the Federal Circuit (the court) and SCOTUS (TC Heartland) because he supports patent trolls and harassers; he fails to even hide that…

His latest rant is titled “Get that Case Out of Here! Federal Circuit Continues to Allow Mandamus Actions to Cure Improper Venue” and the tone resembles his many rants about decisions with no written opinions/decisions. To quote this latest one:

The outcome of this case is simple: Oath doesn’t have to defend a patent infringement lawsuit in E.D.N.Y. because that location is an “improper venue.”

Under TC Heartland (2017), patent owners in patent cases now have a fairly limited set of options for filing infringement actions.

[..].

TC Heartland falls directly in line with the prior supreme court decision in Fourco Glass (1957). However, during the interim, the Federal Circuit had expanded its definition of proper venue to include any court that has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Thus, for someone who studies only Supreme Court law, TC Heartland was a continuation of an unchanged law. On the other hand, the case was a major shift for those of us whose gaze is directed to the Federal Circuit (and practical district court litigation). The Federal Circuit has identified the latter frame of reference as appropriate — holding that TC Heartland was a change in the law. In re Micron Technology, Inc., 875 F.3d 1091 (Fed. Cir. 2017). The Micron decision was important because it prompted district courts to revisit the venue question even if the issue was seemingly waived.

What’s the alternative? CAFC ignoring the higher court? The highest court, too? Perhaps Dennis Crouch would like to join his friends at Watchtroll and routinely attack the Supreme Court, too. Wouldn’t that be classy?

Ignoring and Bashing Courts: Is This the Future of Patent Offices in the West?

Thursday 15th of November 2018 04:03:16 PM

President Battistelli went as far as publicly attacking and threatening judges — the hallmark of President Donald Trump

Summary: Andrei Iancu, who is trying to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101 while Trump ‘waters down’ SCOTUS (which delivered Alice), isn’t alone; António Campinos, the new President of the EPO, is constantly promoting software patents (which European courts reject, citing the EPC) and even Australia’s litigation ‘industry’ is dissenting against Australian courts that stubbornly reject software patents

BOTH the European Patent Office (EPO) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have been granting software patents in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and in spite of software patents in Europe being de facto banned (bar loopholes that António Campinos is happy to exploit and even expand).

“This merely lowers confidence in US patents and, accordingly, lowers their collective worth.”Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’, will soon be a speaker at the IP Awareness Summit (IPAS), which is an indoctrination/lobbying campaign set up by parasites who cause as much litigation as possible, making themselves ‘necessary’. IPAS is promoted by various sites of patent lawyers this week. Here’s one that takes note of Iancu’s participation:

US Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu, will speak at the event.

Looking at the past week’s news regarding software patents, we can’t help but notice that the Andrei Iancu-led Office is again issuing fake patents or software patents that courts would almost certainly reject. They just never learn, do they? This merely lowers confidence in US patents and, accordingly, lowers their collective worth. Here’s a new press release about a new patent grant on how to “correlate across static analysis so that development teams can fix one bug, push this fix down the line, and seamlessly remediate multiple vulnerabilities within the code.”

“Looking at the past week’s news regarding software patents, we can’t help but notice that the Andrei Iancu-led Office is again issuing fake patents or software patents that courts would almost certainly reject.”How is that not a software patent? IBM, we should probably add, is still patenting software. Red Hat’s takeover is not looking good in light of IBM’s software patents policy, which remains unchanged. IBM’s software patents (or filings thereof) on management of patents have gotten a ton of press coverage; earlier this week there were over a dozen articles like [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], probably because of the “Blockchain” factor alone. The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) thinks that IBM will use/adopt Red Hat patents in the usual ways (IBM is a longtime patent bully). “The open source business’s portfolio is not big,” IAM wrote about Red Hat’s patents, “but should bolster Big Blue’s attempts to bridge the gap with Amazon, Google and Microsoft in a space that is rapidly growing in importance.”

Red Hat should never have pursued software patents in the first place; now all these patents are at the hands of the corporation that lobbies the most for software patents. We warned about it. Some Red Hat employees even sympathised with our warnings.

“Red Hat should never have pursued software patents in the first place; now all these patents are at the hands of the corporation that lobbies the most for software patents.”Over at the EPO the situation isn’t so promising either because earlier today the EPO once again promoted (as usual) software patents using hype waves (like “Blockchain”). “This conference will explore the IP protection & patenting of #blockchain technology and of its applications in different technical fields,” it said. It’s about software patents. It also did the usual “SDV” thing, writing: “European patent applications related to autonomous driving have grown 20 times faster than those across all technologies.”

Many of those are software patents pertaining to algorithms running on a computer inside a car. The EPO hopes that by emphasising “cars” it’ll successfully make such algorithms look/sound “physical” or “technical” or whatever.

We should probably mention, at least as a side-/sub-note, that SUEPO has removed yesterday’s post about USF (covered in this post of ours). Did the EPO under António Campinos once again threaten them? It happened before. If someone with contacts/connections to SUEPO can ask them why they removed that page and then tell us, we’ll appreciate it. If SUEPO was forced to remove links about unions, there would be something poetic about it (like censorship of information about censorship).

“It is noteworthy that in some of the largest “Western” economies (we recognise that Australia isn’t in the West, but it’s heavily influenced by the Western ‘bloc’) the courts say “no!” to software patents, yet the only ones complaining about that are those who profit from litigation.”Last but not least, posted behind paywall today was this piece titled “Computer Software Inventions Patentability Case Has Got IPTA’s Patents in a Bunch” (slang). It says: “A high profile appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia about the patentability of computer inventions could reset the IPTA’s bar on the…”

As a reminder, the Australian legal system nowadays rejects software patents (see our wiki under Australia), so Macpherson Kelley’s Mark Metzeling and Mitchell Willocks (i.e. the patent litigation ‘industry’) keep bashing courts etc. to promote bogus patents and IPTA's clients. It is noteworthy that in some of the largest “Western” economies (we recognise that Australia isn’t in the West, but it’s heavily influenced by the Western ‘bloc’) the courts say “no!” to software patents, yet the only ones complaining about that are those who profit from litigation. They occasionally smear judges and courts (we find new examples every week).

Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Figure Out How to Stop PTAB or Prevent US Patent Quality From Ever Improving

Thursday 15th of November 2018 02:28:56 PM

Older: Trump’s USPTO Nominee is a Supporter of Software Patents

Summary: Improvements are being made to US patents because of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which amends/culls/pro-actively rejects (at application phases) bad patents; but the likes of Andrei Iancu cannot stand that because they’re patent maximalists, who personally gain from an over-saturation of patents

Photo credit: The American Lawyer

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is grappling if not struggling with the fact that many of the patents it grants are worthless, useless, toothless in courts. It’s like they’re just a pile of papers, claiming some idea to be ‘owned’ by someone when in reality it’s as good as a pupil’s note from mommy, saying something along the lines of “the dog ate my homework!”

“The coordinated (albeit at times sporadic and disorganised) attack on PTAB almost always comes from litigation ‘industry’ insiders.”Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) are upsetting Iancu, a patent litigation insider — if not ‘mole’ — whom Donald Trump made Director of the Office (they had worked together before Trump became President). We warned about him from the very start (early nomination stages [1, 2, 3, 4]).

The coordinated (albeit at times sporadic and disorganised) attack on PTAB almost always comes from litigation ‘industry’ insiders. IAM, Watchtroll etc. come to mind. PTAB stands in their way and they cannot stand it.

Michael Loney, who writes for a site that derives its income from the litigation ‘industry’ (the business model of Managing IP is pretty revealing), takes note of the PTAB-crushing ‘reform’ and its effect on IPRs:

November is already 2018’s record month for Patent Trial and Appeal Board filing, with 178 petitions in the month ahead of November 13’s shift to the Phillips claim construction standard

Petitioners rushed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ahead of November 13’s change to using the Phillips claim construction standard and ditching the broadest reasonable interpretation standard.

That was two days ago. What will be the impact on filing numbers? Will 35 U.S.C. § 101 still squash hundreds of software patents per month owing to PTAB?

Unified Patents has meanwhile brought up Unified Patents v Collision Avoidance Techs (a patent troll), taking note of a development from the same date as above:

On November 13, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Collision Avoidance Techs., LLC, IPR2017-01355 invalidating claims 21, 22, 24, 25 and 28 of U.S. Patent 6,268,803 owned and asserted by Collision Avoidance Technologies, a subsidiary of well-known NPE Quarterhill Inc. (f/k/a Wi-LAN Inc.). The ’803 Patent, directed to a system and method to help drivers of vehicles avoid collisions, was previously asserted in district court litigation against Ford and Toyota.

Quarterhill, the ‘puppetmaster’ of this troll, was mentioned here before, e.g. [1, 2, 3].

Unified Patents is a strong proponent of PTAB because of its business model, but at least Unified Patents actually serves science and technology (or companies that produce something). Contrariwise, PTAB foes are proponents of trolls, parasites, bullies, charlatans and lawyers. Scholars almost always side with the former (industry), not the ‘industry’ which is litigation. But law professors less so. Case of point? Dennis Crouch.

“No Costs to Government when it Intervenes in IPR Proceedings,” Crouch wrote earlier this week, taking note of a case against AMD. Crouch has long attempted to crush PTAB in all sorts of ways (we wrote a lot about it). Here’s the latest situation:

In a R.36 Affirmance, the Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB obviousness judgment. The USPTO promptly filed a request for a bill of costs for $387.60. The Federal Circuit has now rejected that request since the PTO was an intervenor, not a party.

LG Electronics (LG) sued Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) for infringement back in 2014 and AMD responded with the filing of this inter partes review (IPR) petition. U.S. Patent 7,664,971. The PTAB found all the challenged claims obvious and LGE appealed, but AMD did not defend the case on appeal since the parties settled the underlying infringement dispute. At that point, the PTO “exercised its right to intervene” under 35 U.S.C. 143.

Crouch then mentioned “inventor-professor-billionaire David Cheriton [who] was formerly employed as Cisco’s chief product architect” and now wants his own patent invalidated (PTAB is the only option). To quote:

The traditional rule of assignor estoppel prevents prior owners of a patent from later challenging the validity of the patent. The doctrine stems from old property law cases and is based upon the idea is that the assignor “should not be permitted to sell something and later to assert that what was sold is worthless, all to the detriment of the assignee.” Diamond Scientific Co. v. Ambico, Inc., 848 F.2d 1220 (Fed. Cir. 1988); see Westinghouse Elec. & Mfg. Co. v. Formica Ins. Co., 266 U.S. 342 (1924). Of course, most ‘assignors’ are inventor-employees who assign away rights well before even conceiving of their inventions.

[...]

In this case, the inventor-professor-billionaire David Cheriton was formerly employed as Cisco’s chief product architect. After inventing an improved “logging module,” Cheriton assigned rights to Cisco who patented the invention. The assignment included several promises , including a promise to “do everything possible to aid said assignee, their successors, assigns and nominees, at their request and expense, in obtaining and enforcing patents for said invention in all countries.” Cheriton later left Cisco and founded Arista. At that point, Cisco turned around and sued Arista for infringement. Arista responded with the IPR challenge.

This whole situation is noteworthy because here we have people actually regretting their own patents. We wrote a great deal about the appalling case against Arista, which yielded partial embargoes through the ITC. Had PTAB had more clout and capacity, ITC would have thrown out the complaint filed by Cisco, a company which itself (oddly enough) supports PTAB, albeit only when it suits Cisco.

Links 15/11/2018: Zentyal 6.0, Deepin 15.8, Thunderbird Project Hiring

Thursday 15th of November 2018 01:01:37 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Server
    • Getting Clarity on the Private vs. Public Cloud Decision

      News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures.

      Private (or on-premises) cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to “Busting the Myths of Private Cloud Economics,” a report 451 Research and Canonical released Wednesday. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.

      Half of the enterprise IT decision-makers who participated in the study identified cost as the No. 1 pain point associated with the public cloud. Forty percent mentioned cost-savings as a key driver of cloud migration.

      “We understand that people are looking for more cost-effective infrastructure. This was not necessarily news to us,” said Mark Baker, program director at Canonical.

    • ​OpenStack: Beyond the cloud

      Kata “Containers” is something of a misnomer. Rather than true containers, such as LXC, Kara Containers are lightweight VMs designed to feel and perform like containers. Why bother? Eric Ernst, an Kata Containers Architecture Committee member, explained, they “provide the workload isolation and security advantages of VMs.”

    • 6 Best Practices for High-Performance Serverless Engineering

      When you write your first few lambdas, performance is the last thing on your mind. Permissions, security, identity and access management (IAM) roles and triggers all conspire to make the first couple of lambdas, even after a “hello world” trial just to get your first serverless deployments up and working. But once your users begin to rely on services your lambdas provide, it’s time to focus on high-performance serverless.

    • The IBM-Red Hat Deal Cuts Both Ways for Canonical

      Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, made some negative comments about his competitors’ licensing fees during his speech at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver in May. People in the audience were looking at each other with raised eyebrows, and a few people even laughed out loud at the audacity. Still, Shuttleworth was invited to keynote the OpenStack Summit in Berlin this week. But this time, he says he was asked “not to name names.”

      Shuttleworth said for his keynote this week he planned to continue the discussion about the long-term operability of OpenStack and the economics of operating it. “We’re very conscious that organizations will only do private cloud if it makes common sense,” he said. “And they can also work in public cloud. We’re very focused on deploying the cloud cost effectively.”

    • Scalyr Rolls Out New Troubleshooting Features to Advance Engineering Productivity and Collaboration Across Modern Architectures
    • Red Hat expands PHL operations, opens new office in Makati
    • 7 open source platforms to get started with serverless computing

      The term serverless has been coming up in more conversations recently. Let’s clarify the concept, and those related to it, such as serverless computing and serverless platform.

      Serverless is often used interchangeably with the term FaaS (Functions-as-a-Service). But serverless doesn’t mean that there is no server. In fact, there are many servers—serverful—because a public cloud provider provides the servers that deploy, run, and manage your application.

      Serverless computing is an emerging category that represents a shift in the way developers build and deliver software systems. Abstracting application infrastructure away from the code can greatly simplify the development process while introducing new cost and efficiency benefits. I believe serverless computing and FaaS will play an important role in helping to define the next era of enterprise IT, along with cloud-native services and the hybrid cloud.

    • DLT Named Red Hat Public Sector Partner for 2019; Brian Strosser Quoted

      Red Hat has selected DLT Solutions as its Public Sector Partner of the Year in recognition of the Herndon, Va.-based tech firm’s contributions to the former’s business efforts.

      DLT said Tuesday it provides government agencies with resale access to open-source technologies such as Red Hat’s cloud, middleware and Linux software offerings.

      The company has provided services in support of Red Hat’s products through contracts under the General Services Administration‘s GSA Schedule, NASA‘s SEWP V, the Defense Department‘s Enterprise Software Initiative and the National Institutes of Health‘s Chief Information Officer – Commodities and Solutions vehicles.

  • Kernel Space
    • AMD Is Hiring Another Mesa/RadeonSI Driver Developer

      AMD is hiring another open-source Linux graphics driver developer with a focus on the Mesa/RadeonSI driver stack.

      There is a new job posting for a Senior Software Development Engineer with a focus on open-source graphics. This job role will be working on their open-source graphics driver, work on driver bring-up, debug issues, improve driver performance, coordinate with Linux distributions, and engage with the open-source graphics development community. I’ve been able to confirm with AMD that this is focused on their Mesa/RadeonSI driver as opposed to say just their AMDGPU kernel driver.

    • AMD Stages Latest Radeon/AMDGPU Changes For Linux 4.21 Kernel

      AMD has posted their initial set of AMDGPU driver changes slated to go into the future Linux 4.21 kernel by way of DRM-Next.

      This is the first of likely two or three feature pull requests to DRM-Next for staging until the Linux 4.21 kernel cycle kicks off in the final days of 2018 or early 2019.

    • Zinc: a new kernel cryptography API

      We looked at the WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) back in August and noted that it is built on top of a new cryptographic API being developed for the kernel, which is called Zinc. There has been some controversy about Zinc and why a brand new API was needed when the kernel already has an extensive crypto API. A recent talk by lead WireGuard developer Jason Donenfeld at Kernel Recipes 2018 would appear to be a serious attempt to reach out, engage with that question, and explain the what, how, and why of Zinc.

      WireGuard itself is small and, according to Linus Torvalds, a work of art. Two of its stated objectives are maximal simplicity and high auditability. Donenfeld initially did try to implement WireGuard using the existing kernel cryptography API, but after trying to do so, he found it impossible to do in any sane way. That led him to question whether it was even possible to meet those objectives using the existing API.

      By way of a case study, he considered big_key.c. This is kernel code that is designed to take a key, store it encrypted on disk, and then return the key to someone asking for it if they are allowed to have access to it. Donenfeld had taken a look at it, and found that the crypto was totally broken. For a start, it used ciphers in Electronic Codebook (ECB) mode, which is known to leave gross structure in ciphertext — the encrypted image of Tux on the left may still contain data perceptible to your eye — and so is not recommended for any serious cryptographic use. Furthermore, according to Donenfeld, it was missing authentication tags (allowing ciphertext to be undetectably modified), it didn’t zero keys out of memory after use, and it didn’t use its sources of randomness correctly; there were many CVEs associated with it. So he set out to rewrite it using the crypto API, hoping to better learn the API with a view to using it for WireGuard.

      The first step with the existing API is to allocate an instance of a cipher “object”. The syntax for so doing is arguably confusing — for example, you pass the argument CRYPTO_ALG_ASYNC to indicate that you don’t want the instance to be asynchronous. When you’ve got it set up and want to encrypt something, you can’t simply pass data by address. You must use scatter/gather to pass it, which in turn means that data in the vmalloc() area or on the stack can’t just be encrypted with this API. The key you’re using ends up attached not to the object you just allocated, but to the global instance of the algorithm in question, so if you want to set the key you must take a mutex lock before doing so, in order to be sure that someone else isn’t changing the key underneath you at the same time. This complexity has an associated resource cost: the memory requirements for a single key can approach a megabyte, and some platforms just can’t spare that much. Normally one would use kvalloc() to get around this, but the crypto API doesn’t permit it. Although this was eventually addressed, the fix was not trivial.

    • 4.20 Merge window part 2

      At the end of the 4.20 merge window, 12,125 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline kernel repository; 6,390 came in since last week’s summary was written. As is often the case, the latter part of the merge window contained a larger portion of cleanups and fixes, but there were a number of new features in the mix as well.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Results: Linux Foundation Technical Board Election 2018

        The results of the 2018 election for members of the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board have been posted; the members elected this time around are Chris Mason, Laura Abbott, Olof Johansson, Dan Williams, and Kees Cook. Abbott and Cook are new members to the board this time around. (The other TAB members are Ted Ts’o, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet, Tim Bird, and Steve Rostedt).

      • LF Deep Learning Delivers First Acumos AI Release Making it Easier to Deploy and Share Artificial Intelligence Models

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation, a project of The Linux Foundation that supports open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), today announced the availability of its first software release of the Acumos AI Project – Athena.

        Acumos AI is a platform and open source framework that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. Acumos AI standardizes the infrastructure stack and components required to run an out-of-the-box general AI environment. This frees data scientists and model trainers to focus on their core competencies and accelerate innovation.

      • Linux Foundation’s Acumos Wants To Make It Easier Deploying AI Apps

        The latest software initiative out of the Linux Foundation — and in particular their Deep Learning Foundation — is the Acumos AI “Athena” release that tries to make it easier dealing with artificial intelligence apps.

        Acumos Athena is an effort to make it easier to deploy AI applications across private/public clouds and other environments. Acumos is a framework for building, sharing, and deploying AI applications and provides a standardized stack for these components.

      • Linux Foundation launches Acumos platform for quick AI deployment

        LF Deep Learning Foundation today announced the first publicly available release of Acumos AI, an open source framework and platform for the training and deployment of AI models.

        Created in March, the LF Deep Learning Foundation is part of the Linux Foundation project and supports open source projects for machine learning, deep learning, and AI.

        Founding members include Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, ZTE, AT&T, and Nokia.

        Acumos AI, whose release version is codenamed Athena, also began in March and includes the participation of about 75 developers, a foundation spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. An updated version is due out in mid-2019, according to a statement provided to VentureBeat.

      • Observatory joins Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage

        Yesterday in Berlin SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and artificial intelligence applications.

        The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced that over 30 global technology leaders are forming a new foundation to support the Ceph open source project community. The Ceph project develops a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces.

        “Ceph has a long track record of success when it comes to helping organisations effectively manage high growth and expanding data storage demands,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “This partnership will assist us to store and retrieve the huge volumes of data that will be collected by the MeerKAT radio telescope,” says Dr. Rob Adam, Managing Director of SARAO.

        The MeerKAT is a 64-antenna array radio telescope that has been built on the SKA site in the Karoo, and which will be integrated into the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array. MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275 gigabytes per second in real time – that equates to approximately 58 DVDs per second. SARAO currently uses Ceph to synthesise a ~20 petabyte object-based storage system, for the data generated by the MeerKAT radio telescope array.

      • SARAO joins the Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage
      • SA astronomers go open source for massive MeerKAT data

        MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275GBps in real-time, equating to approximately 58 DVDs per second.
        The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has joined the Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage.

        SARAO manages SA’s activities in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope in engineering, science and construction.

        It is a national facility managed by the National Research Foundation. It incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry programme in nine African countries, as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

        This week, in Berlin, Germany, SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and artificial intelligence applications.

    • Graphics Stack
      • The Newest Mesa NIR/SPIR-V Code For Handling OpenCL Kernels

        It’s now been nearly one year since longtime Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst joined Red Hat where one of his big projects has been working on OpenCL support for this open-source NVIDIA driver by bringing up NIR/SPIR-V support and making the necessary improvements for allowing OpenCL kernels to be represented in that IR commonly used by the Mesa drivers. The work still isn’t yet in Mesa Git, but Karol this week sent out his newest patches.

        Karol Herbst sent out 22 patches this week in regards to adding support for OpenCL kernels within Mesa’s NIR and SPIR-V common code. The patches are mostly adding the necessary OpenCL bits to the common NIR/SPIR-V compiler code for handling the intricacies of OpenCL kernels with features like physical pointer support, cl_size/cl_alignment, and other bits.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Carlos Garnacho: On the track for 3.32

        It happens sneakily, but there’s more things going on in the Tracker front than the occasional fallout. Yesterday 2.2.0-alpha1 was released, containing some notable changes.

        On and off during the last year, I’ve been working on a massive rework of the SPARQL parser. The current parser was fairly solid, but hard to extend for some of the syntax in the SPARQL 1.1 spec. After multiple attempts and failures at implementing property paths, I convinced myself this was the way forward.

      • Robert Ancell: Counting Code in GNOME Settings

        I’ve been spending a bit of time recently working on GNOME Settings. One part of this has been bringing some of the older panel code up to modern standards, one of which is making use of GtkBuilder templates.

        I wondered if any of these changes would show in the stats, so I wrote a program to analyse each branch in the git repository and break down the code between C and GtkBuilder.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • A Linux Noob Reviews: The Pop!_OS Installer From System76

        Welcome to a new series here at Forbes that zeroes in on your very first experience with a new desktop Linux operating system: the installer. In this debut review I’m going to explain why the heck I’m doing this, and give you a closer look at the relatively new Pop!_OS installer from boutique PC manufacturer System76 — the same installer that actually inspired these articles. (Spoiler: yes it’s that good.)

        [...]

        That tagline, present in the default wallpaper for Pop!_OS, also says a little something about the installer itself. This is, in my experience, sets a benchmark for other installers in the desktop Linux world. Even the most complex aspect of installing a Linux OS — partitioning — is explained in detail. Granted, the simplest partitioning tasks will take rookies a few tries to comprehend and master (myself included), but System76 did an exemplary job with the included help pages, and the interface is the most intuitive I’ve used. So far anyway!

        Seriously folks, I never thought I’d walk away from an installer and feel excited. Nor did I imagine it would inspire an entire series of articles. But here we are! System76 has crafted an intuitive, fast and streamlined installation process that improves the incoming perception of desktop Linux for newcomers, and may perhaps feel like a breath of fresh air for Linux veterans. Overall, it looks fantastic and made me eager to dig into the daily Pop!_OS experience.

    • New Releases
    • Fedora
      • Fedora Perfecting Their Flicker-Free Boot Experience With A New Plymouth Theme

        The recent release of Fedora 29 the long-desired goal of a flicker-free boot experience to the Linux desktop was finally achieved… Well, assuming you are for now using Intel graphics and set a couple extra settings and don’t have any quirky hardware. While all of the key components are in place, for Fedora 30 and beyond they will likely be taking care of the “rough edges” and already there is work on a new Plymouth boot theme for pairing with this flicker-free boot process.

      • New plymouth theme for flickerfree boot

        Since the transition to plymouth is not entirely smooth plymouth by default will wait 5 seconds (counted from starting the kernel) before showing itself so that on systems which boot under 5 seconds it never shows. As can be seen in this video, this leads to a very non-smooth experience when the boot takes say 7 seconds as plymouth then only shows briefly, leading to a kinda “flash” effect while it briefly shows.

        Another problem with the 5 second wait, is now that we do not show GRUB the user is looking at the firmware’s bootsplash for not only the often long firmware initialization time, but also for the 5 seconds plymouth waits on top, making it look as if nothing is happening.

        To fix this I’ve been working on a new plymouth theme which draws a spinner over the firmware boot splash, eliminating the ugly transition from the firmware boot splash to plymouth. This also allows removing the show-delay, so that we provide feedback that something is happening as soon as plymouth starts.

      • Fedora Community Blog: Elections nominations now open
      • Linux Day 2018 – Italy

        Every year, on the last Saturday of October, in Italy there is a national event called “Linux Day”. This year was the 18th edition and it was held on October 27.

        The event is promoted by the Italian Linux Society, and it is independently organized in many cities all around the country by groups of volunteers, LUGs and various associations. Even if it is highly fragmented (many little events in many cities), it is probably the biggest Italian event related to Linux and FLOSS, that is directly organized by people involved in the communities and by ordinary users.

        The aim of such event is to to promote Linux and FLOSS in general: in each city there are many talks, presentations and installation parties. The target audience is not limited to computer enthusiasts, hackers or IT professionals, but newbies, students and curious citizens are welcome as well.

    • Debian Family
      • Limiting the power of package installation in Debian

        There is always at least a small risk when installing a package for a distribution. By its very nature, package installation is an invasive process; some packages require the ability to make radical changes to the system—changes that users surely would not want other packages to take advantage of. Packages that are made available by distributions are vetted for problems of this sort, though, of course, mistakes can be made. Third-party packages are an even bigger potential problem because they lack this vetting, as was discussed in early October on the debian-devel mailing list. Solutions in this area are not particularly easy, however.

        Lars Wirzenius brought up the problem: “when a .deb package is installed, upgraded, or removed, the maintainer scripts are run as root and can thus do anything.” Maintainer scripts are included in a .deb file to be run before and after installation or removal. As he noted, maintainer scripts for third-party packages (e.g. Skype, Chrome) sometimes add entries to the lists of package sources and signing keys; they do so in order to get security updates to their packages safely, but it may still be surprising or unwanted. Even simple mistakes made in Debian-released packages might contain unwelcome surprises of various sorts.

        He suggested that there could be a set of “profiles” that describe the kinds of changes that might be made by a package installation. He gave a few different examples, such as a “default” profile that only allowed file installation in /usr, a “kernel” profile that can install in /boot and trigger rebuilds of the initramfs, or “core” that can do anything. Packages would then declare which profile they required. The dpkg command could arrange that package’s install scripts could only make the kinds of changes allowed by its profile.

      • Derivatives
        • Deepin 15.8 – Attractive and Efficient, Excellent User Experience

          Deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops and all-in-ones. deepin preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. In addition, about a thousand of applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet your more needs. deepin, developed by a professional operating system R&D team and deepin technical community (www.deepin.org), is from the name of deepin technical community – “deepin”, which means deep pursuit and exploration of the life and the future.

          Compared with deepin 15.7, the ISO size of deepin 15.8 has been reduced by 200MB. The new release is featured with newly designed control center, dock tray and boot theme, as well as improved deepin native applications, hoping to bring users a more beautiful and efficient experience.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Snaps are the new Linux Apps that work on every Distro

            See, when using Linux, you couldn’t exactly Google the name of a program you want, then download the .exe file, double click it and it is installed like you would on Windows (although technically you can do that now with .deb files). You had to know your way around the Terminal. Once in the Terminal, like for the case of Ubuntu, you needed to add the software source to your Repository with sudo apt commands, then now update the cache, then finally install the app you want with sudo apt-get install. In most cases, the dependencies would be all messed up and you’d have to scroll through endless forums trying to figure out how to fix that one pesky dependency that just won’t allow your app to run well.

            You’d jump through all these hoops and then finally the app would run, but then it would look all weird because maybe it wasn’t made for your distro. Bottom line, it takes patience and resilience to install Linux Apps.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Finos launches open source programme

    Finos (the Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit foundation promoting open innovation in financial services, today announced the launch of a new Program focused on Decentralized Ecosystem Growth (DEG).

    Amber Baldet, CEO of Clovyr and former Blockchain Program Lead for J.P. Morgan Chase, revealed the Program in London during her keynote at FINOS’ annual flagship Open Source Strategy Forum – the only conference dedicated to open source in financial services. IHS Markit, FINOS Gold Member, will sponsor the program with Baldet serving as the first Program Management Committee (PMC) lead.

  • Open Source Identity and Access Management

    Looking back on the year as we enter the homestretch of 2018, one thing is apparent. With 2018 on track to be one of the worst years for security breaches ever, strong identity and access management (IAM) needs to be at the top of any IT organization’s checklist. Those that are cost conscious are asking, are there any viable open source identity and access management solutions on the market?

  • Free Open Source Techologies Are Big Business. Wait, What?
  • SpamAssassin is back

    The SpamAssassin 3.4.2 release was the first from that project in well over three years. At the 2018 Open Source Summit Europe, Giovanni Bechis talked about that release and those that will be coming in the near future. It would seem that, after an extended period of quiet, the SpamAssassin project is back and has rededicated itself to the task of keeping junk out of our inboxes.
    Bechis started by noting that spam filtering is hard because everybody’s spam is different. It varies depending on which languages you speak, what your personal interests are, which social networks you use, and so on. People vary, so results vary; he knows a lot of Gmail users who say that its spam filtering works well, but his Gmail account is full of spam. Since Google knows little about him, it is unable to train itself to properly filter his mail.

    Just like Gmail, SpamAssassin isn’t the perfect filter for everybody right out of the box; it’s really a framework that can be used to create that filter. Getting the best out of it can involve spending some time to write rules, for example.

  • Web Browsers
    • WebP images won’t load in Microsoft Edge with Application Guard

      This issue affects a lot of prominent websites who’ve opted to take advantage of the higher compression gains they get with a modern image format like WebP. You can also see it here on Ctrl blog where most images will just not work in Microsoft Edge.

      There isn’t really anything web developers can do to work around this issue other than strip out unsupported photo formats when encountering the Microsoft Edge User-Agent. The images won’t fire an error even when it fails to display, and you can’t detect that Microsoft Edge is running in Application Guard mode from the web platform.

    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • The Thunderbird project is hiring: Software Engineers

        We need your help to improve and maintain Thunderbird. Moving Thunderbird forward includes replacing/rewriting components to be based primarily on web technologies, reducing the reliance on Mozilla-internal interfaces. It also includes boosting the user experience of the product.

        Maintenance involves fixing bugs and regressions, as well as addressing technical debt and enhancing performance. Most tasks have a component of both maintenance and improvement, and any new component needs careful integration with the existing system.

        We have compiled a high level list of tasks here; the work assigned to you will include a subset of these items. Let us know in your cover letter where you believe you can make most impact and how.

      • Firefox 64 Beta 12 Testday, November 23th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, November 23th, we are organizing Firefox 64 Beta 12 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Multi-Select Tabs and Widevine CDM.

      • New & Experimental Web Design Tools: Feedback Requested

        A year ago, the Firefox DevTools team formed a subgroup to focus on new tools for working in web design, CSS, and HTML. Motivated by the success of the Grid Inspector, and with help from the Developer Outreach, Gecko Platform, and Accessibility teams, we launched the Variable Fonts Editor and the Shape Path Editor, added an Accessibility Inspector, and revamped our Responsive Design Mode.

        [...]

        We’re just getting started, and now we want to learn more about you. Tell us about your biggest CSS and web design issues in the first-ever Design Tools survey!

      • Firefox Monitor Launches in 26 Languages and Adds New Desktop Browser Feature

        Since the launch of Firefox Monitor, a free service that notifies you when your email has been part of a breach, hundreds of thousands of people have signed up.

        In response to the excitement from our global audience, Firefox Monitor is now being made available in more than 26 languages. We’re excited to bring Firefox Monitor to users in their native languages and make it easier for people to learn about data breaches and take action to protect themselves.

        When your personal information is possibly at risk in a data breach, reading news and information in the language you understand best helps you to feel more in control. Now, Firefox Monitor will be available in Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh.

        We couldn’t have accomplished this feat without our awesome Mozilla community of volunteers who worked together to make this happen. We’re so grateful for their support in making Firefox Monitor available to more than 2.5 billion non-English speakers.

      • When does Firefox alert for breached sites?

        Data breaches are common for online services. Humans make mistakes, and humans make the Internet. Some online services discover, mitigate, and disclose breaches quickly. Others go undetected for years. Recent breaches include “fresh” data, which means victims have less time to change their credentials before they are in the hands of attackers. While old breaches have had more time to make their way into scripted credential stuffing attacks. All breaches are dangerous to users.

        As stated in the Mozilla Manifesto: “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.” Most people simply don’t know that a data breach has affected them. Which makes it difficult to take the first step to secure their online accounts because they don’t know they’re insecure in the first place. This is why we launched Firefox Monitor.

      • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #30

        Hi! This is the 30th issue of WebRender’s most famous newsletter. At the top of each newsletter I try to dedicate a few paragraphs to some historical/technical details of the project. Today I’ll write about blob images.

        WebRender currently doesn’t support the full set of graphics primitives required to render all web pages. The focus so far has been on doing a good job of rendering the most common elements and providing a fall-back for the rest. We call this fall-back mechanism “blob images”.

        The general idea is that when we encounter unsupported primitives during displaylist building we create an image object and instead of backing it with pixel data or a texture handle, we assign it a serialized list of drawing commands (the blob). For WebRender, blobs are just opaque buffers of bytes and a handler object is provided by the embedder (Gecko in our case) to turn this opaque buffer into actual pixels that can be used as regular images by the rest of the rendering pipeline.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • The Houdini Project: Fundraising Software for Non-Profits Joins Conservancy

      First we were excited find out that a project like the Houdini Project even existed and now we can proudly say that they are also a Conservancy member! Services and applications for non-profits — that are also free software — are very close to our fiscal umbrella heart here at Conservancy. Houdini is our second incoming project this year that specifically caters to the needs of non-profits. Back in May, we welcomed Backdrop CMS a lightweight content management system that is great for non-profits, to the Conservancy fold. As long-time readers of the Conservancy blog know, the offerings for non-profits that care about software freedom are pretty slim, which is why we’ve also been working on our own non-profit accounting solution.

      The Houdini Project’s (‘Houdini’s) software is used by many worthy and hard-working organizations, but perhaps the most notable is the Panzi Foundation. The foundation focuses on ending sexual violence in wars and supporting survivors at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they rebuild their lives. Panzi Foundation’s co-founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a surgeon and activist who has devoted his life to this work received a Nobel Peace Prize this year. Other major users include Public Radio Exchange,WeMove.eu and Charter for Compassion.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • A “joke” in the glibc manual

      A “joke” in the glibc manual—targeting a topic that is, at best, sensitive—has come up for discussion on the glibc-alpha mailing list again. When we looked at the controversy in May, Richard Stallman had put his foot down and a patch removing the joke—though opinions of its amusement value vary—was reverted. Shortly after that article was published, a “cool down period” was requested (and honored), but that time has expired. Other developments in the GNU project have given some reason to believe that the time is ripe to finally purge the joke, but that may not work out any better than the last attempt.

      The joke in question refers to a US government “censorship rule” from over two decades ago regarding sharing of information about abortion. It is attached to documentation of the abort() call in glibc and the text of it can be seen in the patch to remove it. One might think that an age-old US-centric joke would be a good candidate for removal regardless of its subject matter. That it touches on a topic that is emotionally fraught for many might also make it unwelcoming—thus unwelcome in documentation. But, according to Stallman, that’s not so clear cut.

      [...]

      When pressed for more information about what these larger issues are, as O’Donell did, Stallman counseled patience. He did not offer any more information than that; perhaps the discussion has moved to a private mailing list or the like.

      For many, including me, it is a little hard to understand why there is any opposition to removing the joke at all. It is clearly out of place, not particularly funny, and doesn’t really push the GNU anti-censorship philosophy forward in any real way even if you grant that anti-censorship is a goal of the project (which some do not). There are, of course, those who oppose removing it because they are opposed to “political correctness” and do not see how it could be “unwelcoming”, but even they might concede that it is an oddity that is poked into a back corner of a entirely unrelated document. And it is not hard for many to see that tying the topic of abortion to a C function might be upsetting to some; why waste a bunch of project time defending it when it has effectively no impact in the direction that Stallman wants, while putting off some (possibly small) percentage of glibc manual readers?

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Protecting the open-source license commons

      Enforcement, especially involving version 2 of the GPL, has always been a part of the open-source landscape. It only reached the point of actual litigation in the early 2000s, where we saw enforcement efforts showing up in three broad classes. Community enforcement came directly from the developers, either individually or through organizations like the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). Commercial entities have done some enforcement, usually in support of an associated proprietary licensing model. And “non-community developers”, such as Patrick McHardy, have been pursuing extortionate actions in search of commercial gain. These are the so-called copyright trolls, though he does not like that term. There has been an increase in all three types of enforcement in the last few years; one outcome has been the SFC enforcement principles that try to distinguish the first two types of enforcement from the last, he said.

      A lot of thought has gone into enforcement at his employer Red Hat; Fontana said that enforcement activities should be judged by whether they promote collaboration or not. Enforcement that promotes certainty, predictability, and a level playing field will do that, while commercially motivated enforcement will reduce the incentive to collaborate. So he believes, like many others, that enforcement should not be done for commercial gain. Beyond that, there needs to be transparency around the funding of litigation and the selection of targets. Proceedings should be open; the secrecy built into the German legal system (where much enforcement activity to date has taken place) has not helped here. And, overall, litigation is a poor way to achieve license compliance.

  • Programming/Development
    • Amazon Web Services promises to support OpenJDK through 2023 with release of internal tool as new open source project

      Developers using the popular OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) software tool can breathe a little easier Wednesday after Amazon Web Services announced it would support the tool with bug fixes and enhancements for the next several years with the release of an internally developed implementation of OpenJDK known as Amazon Coretto.

      Announced at Devoxx in Europe Wednesday, Coretto is an open-source distribution of OpenJDK developed for internal use at Amazon to manage Java applications. While Java is widely used to build enterprise applications, the future of OpenJDK has been in doubt thanks to Oracle’s decision to end support for the free version of OpenJDK as of this coming January.

    • One More Reaction to IBM’s Acquisition of Red Hat

      Now that the dust has settled around the explosive announcement that IBM will be acquiring open source software provider and longtime Java Community Process (JCP) leader Red Hat, I wanted to share the reaction to the deal of one of the keenest (and most fearless) observers of the Java universe.

    • New Open Source Java SDK Helps Devs with Active Directory Projects [Ed: When this Microsoft propaganda site mentions Java it’s actually promoting Microsoft’s lock-in, proprietary AD]

      Information security provider Imperva has been in the headlines recently, thanks to news that tech investment firm Thoma Bravo LLC plans to acquire it. But the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company caught my eye again last week when it announced that it has open sourced a new Java SDK designed to simplify interaction with Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) for small, medium and large development projects using LDAP.

    • PHP Lands Preload Feature, Boosting Performance In Some Cases 30~50%

      PHP developers unanimously approved and already merged support for the new “preloading” concept for this web server language. PHP preloading basically allows loading PHP code that persists as long as the web server is running and that code will always be ready for each subsequent web request, which in some cases will dramatically speed-up the PHP performance on web servers.

      While PHP has long supported caching to avoid PHP code recompilation on each new web request, with each request PHP has still had to check to see if any of the source file(s) were modified, re-link class dependencies, and similar work. PHP preloading allows for given functions/classes to be “preloaded” that will survive as long as the web server is active. It effectively allows loading of functions or entire/partial frameworks that will then be present for each new web request just as if it were a built-in function.

    • Google Announces a Managed Cron Service: Google Cloud Scheduler

      Google announced a new Service on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – Cloud Scheduler, a fully managed cron job service that allows any application to invoke batch, big data and cloud infrastructure operations. The service is currently available in beta.

      With Google Cloud Scheduler customers can use the cron service with no need to manage the underlying infrastructure. There is also no need to manually intervene in the event of transient failure, as the services retries failed jobs. Furthermore, customers will only pay for the operations they run — GCP takes care of all resource provisioning, replication and scaling required to operate Cloud Scheduler. Also, customers can, according to Vinod Ramachandran, product manager at Google, benefit from:

Leftovers
  • Science
    • US travel ban blocking students from presenting their research

      At an academic conference, the question “where are you from?” can have many meanings. “For anybody who’s in science, that’s a complicated question,” says paleontologist P. David Polly. “Where are we now, where did we get our degree, where did we grow up, where did we get the other degree?” For many people in science, the list of answers will span multiple countries.

    • Real-world IT vs. computer science: 4 ways colleges are morphing

      While cloud computing is IT’s present, artificial intelligence (AI) in many ways is its future. The practical application of AI in the enterprise has not typically been taught at the undergraduate level. But that’s beginning to change. Earlier this year, Carnegie Mellon University launched its bachelor of science degree in Artificial Intelligence to address the growing demand addresses for AI specialists in the marketplace.

      Offering the first undergraduate AI degree in the U.S., the program will focus on providing students with in-depth knowledge of how to transform large amounts of data into actionable decisions.

      CMU’s bachelor’s degree program in computer science “teaches students to think broadly about methods that can accomplish a wide variety of tasks across many disciplines”, research professor of robotics and computer science and director of the new AI degree program Reid Simmons said in a statement. However, the bachelor’s degree in AI “will focus more on how complex inputs, such as vision, language, and huge databases, are used to make decisions or enhance human capabilities.”

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Chicago City Council Members Seek Hearing on Psychiatric Hospital

      Two Chicago City Council members Wednesday called for a hearing to look into reports that children at a psychiatric hospital were physically and sexually abused, including those in state care.

      Alderman Ed Burke, the powerful chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, and Alderman Margaret Laurino, from the Northwest Side’s 39th Ward, introduced the resolution calling for a hearing on Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. The request, which cited ProPublica Illinois investigations, asks for details on the hospital’s business license and a review of the allegations.

      ProPublica Illinois found 16 allegations of abuse or neglect at the hospital in Uptown involving children since January. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which is charged with investigating those allegations, found sufficient evidence to support four. Seven were not substantiated, and five continue to be investigated.

      Some of those children had already been cleared for discharge but remained at the hospital because DCFS failed to find them a more appropriate placement.

    • A ProPublica and Malheur Enterprise Forum Asks: What Happens When People Found “Guilty Except for Insanity” Attack Again?

      This year, the Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica have examined how Oregon allows people charged with serious crimes, who were found “guilty except for insanity,” to be released from the state psychiatric hospital or supervised community programs. After reviewing the records of people set free by the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board from Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2015, Malheur Enterprise reporter Jayme Fraser found that in almost 35 percent of those cases, people were charged with new crimes within three years.

      [...]

      What changes might better protect the public without sacrificing the rights of people with mental illness

    • Pricey Precision Medicine Often Financially Toxic For Cancer Patients

      when Kristen Kilmer was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer at age 38, her first thought was of her 8-year-old daughter. Kilmer lost her own mother as a teenager and was determined to get more time with her only child.

      Kilmer searched for experimental treatments, opting for an unproven approach in which researchers select drugs based on the genes in patients’ tumors. Doctors have selected her treatments for the past three years based on the unique, ever-changing DNA of her cancer cells. Now 41, Kilmer has responded better than anyone dared to hope. Her cancer has gone into hiding; her tumors are no longer visible on medical scans.

      Kilmer’s insurance company calls it experimental. As a consequence, her insurer has covered only a fraction of her care, forcing Kilmer to make an agonizing choice: stop taking a drug that costs nearly $17,000 a month or pay out-of-pocket, burdening her family with tremendous debt.

    • Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts

      The twentieth first century continues the toxic business as usual of the twentieth century. Agribusiness, part of the military-industrial-complex, is king. The new weapon is spraying the world with mostly badly tested chemical poisons. And the strategy is the control of the natural world and societies.

      Few people know exactly what these chemical poisons do. Occasionally, they do kill insects and weeds. But they do much more, mostly harm. Scientists have revealed certain facts about those invisible effects. But agribusiness nullifies the significance of that knowledge. It does that by buying agricultural universities, the media and influencing politicians. Agribusiness guards its secrets, including how it has been controlling the politics of the world.

      [...]

      We see and hear a person in Miami Beach saying: “Well… they’re spraying again so I am just trying to shut it down and we’re going to the federal courts to try to do that. In August 2016, neurotoxic chemicals banned in Europe were first sprayed over Miami residents to kill Zika mosquitoes… many people were upset, including myself and have addressed the city of Miami Beach previously regarding the spaying of Naled onto our community.”

      Another Miami resident says: “I’m growing herbs that I’m thinking are organic, and they just sprayed Naled all over them.”

      Naled is a nerve poison related to chemical warfare agents.

      Spray planes “bombed” Miami Beach residents with the neurotoxic insecticide naled 2 to 3 times a day: “We only walked at night… I could see a thick layer of dust, smoke everywhere.” The helicopters flew about 100 feet over homes. The spraying lasted for five hours in the morning. The chemical coming down felt “like a little light rain.” The immediate effect was a “pounding headache you could not get rid of.”

  • Security
    • That Domain You Forgot to Renew? Yeah, it’s Now Stealing Credit Cards

      If you own a domain name that gets decent traffic and you fail to pay its annual renewal fee, chances are this mistake will be costly for you and for others. Lately, neglected domains have been getting scooped up by crooks who use them to set up fake e-commerce sites that steal credit card details from unwary shoppers.

      [...]

      If you’re on the fence about whether to renew a domain and it’s one of several you own, it may make sense to hold onto it and simply forward any incoming traffic to a domain you do want people to visit. In the event you decide to relinquish a domain, make sure you take stock of any online accounts you created with email addresses tied to that domain and move those to another email address, as those accounts will likely come under someone else’s control when the domain expires.

    • Stolen credit card details of nearly 250,000 British Airways customers on sale for up to £9.4m
    • Watch a real hacker hack into Hollywood’s hacky hacking scenes

      As with bad sex, most bad hacking scenes in movies and television involve someone needing to announce, “I’m in!” Since not long after people started connecting computers to other computers, Hollywood has been depicting fictional people attempting to use those connections for nefarious means. Naturally, Hollywood has also spent a lot of its time getting those depictions wrong. In the above clip from Wired, security researcher Samy Kamkar assesses a number of famous hacking scenes from TV and film to see just how off they are.

    • Red Team 101: Understanding Kali Linux

      Your security environment is complicated. You’re invested in multiple security tools – antivirus, firewalls, IDS, IPS, SIEM, DLP, and more. If you haven’t invested in a red team, however, you’re doing security wrong. How could you know that your expensive defenses are working unless you’ve tested them out?

      A red team is a great way to test your defenses. In brief, a red team is a small group of employees whose job is to try to hack into your organization, understand its vulnerabilities, and then help you patch them up.

    • Adobe Flash Player Update Version 31.0.0.148 Addresses a Significant Vulnerability Issue
    • It’s November 2018, and Microsoft’s super-secure Edge browser can be pwned eight different ways by a web page

      Microsoft and Adobe have delivered the November edition of Patch Tuesday with another sizable bundle of security fixes to install as soon as you’re able to.

      The trick is to test and deploy the fixes before exploits are developed to leverage the vulnerabilities.

    • A Research Paper Proposes Seven New Types of Spectre Attacks

      A group of nine scholastics has uncovered today seven new CPU attacks. The seven effect AMD, ARM, and Intel CPUs to different degrees. Two of the seven new attacks are varieties of the Meltdown attack, while the other five are a minor departure from the first Specter attacks – two surely understood attacks that have been uncovered toward the beginning of the year and found to affect CPUs models returning to 1995.

      Scientists say they’ve found the seven new CPU attacks while playing out “a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks” – a catch-all term the examination group used to depict attacks on the different inner instruments that a CPU uses to process information, for example, the theoretical execution process, the CPU’s interior reserves, and other inward execution stages.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Brothers Who Were Online Friends With Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Had Ties to Violent Neo-Nazis

      Ever since, the authorities have been piecing together a disturbing portrait of Clark and his older brother, Jeffrey Clark, 30, who had been online friends with the suspect in the Pittsburgh attack. Online, Jeffrey Clark had called the massacre a “dry run for things to come.”

      Now, there are new indications that the lives of the Clark brothers in Washington intersected with some of the most violent white supremacist groups in the country — including Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi organization that calls for racially motivated, lone-wolf terror attacks like Pittsburgh and whose members or associates have been charged in five murders in the last two years.

    • Paktia protestors say drone killed 7 civilians

      Residents of the Zazai Aryub district in southeastern Paktia province on Monday protested against what they claimed the killing of seven civilians in an American drone strike.

      The protesting residents said the seven innocent civilians were killed in Alikhel area on Saturday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Has Time Run Out For Julian Assange? Signs Point to Imminent Extradition

      It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put the government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put the government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.

      [...]

      Moral and racial superiority entitles the U.S. to occupy the world with military bases, ringing any nation that challenges its hegemony with military aircraft, battleships, assault vehicles, and military surveillance. Moral and racial superiority entitles its spy state agencies to shut down access to information deviating from its narratives and therefore to arrest and extradite Julian Assange.

      The Republican Party shares the same supremely intolerant nature as the Democrats, but differentiates itself by insisting that, although Russia is the enemy, Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.

      The Republicans also want to silence the founder of Wikileaks and find a way to shut the organization down. Trump’s former CIA director, and now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has called Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” and vowed to hunt Assange down.

    • Christine Assange Issues Call For All Journalists, Politicians, Medical Professionals and Activists To Stand Up For Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange is in dire need of health assistance, according to his mother in an emergency plea to the world uploaded to the Unity4J YouTube channel.

      Christine Assange urged officials to allow access to medical attention for her son, and for the UK and Ecuador to end Assange’s illegal 8-year detainment (2 years of virtual house arrest, 6 years confined inside the Ecuadorian embassy) without charge as determined by the UN.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • We’re Going to Keep Paying Price If We Ignore Climate Change
    • Forty-Eight Dead and Counting From California’s Deadliest Wildfire

      When it began, the Camp Fire in Northern California was growing at a rate of 80 football fields every minute.

      It has now killed at least 48 people, scorched 130,000 acres of land, and torched thousands of houses and commercial buildings.

      And that isn’t the only fire raging across the now chronically parched Golden State.
      Near Los Angeles the Woolsey Fire, which ignited last Thursday and doubled in size overnight, has torched 100,000 acres and killed at least two people.

      More than 200,000 people have been evacuated because of those two fires alone.

      The Hill Fire in Ventura County burned 4,500 acres.

    • 2018 Pacific Expeditions: Corals and Clean-Up

      The second expedition, aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette, focused on cleaning up marine debris from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. During this voyage, the team removed more than 160,000 pounds of lost or abandoned fishing nets and plastics from this ecologically and culturally significant area, part of Papahānaumokuāea Marine National Monument.

    • Landowners Fight the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Court

      New Orleans – Under the United States Constitution, can private fossil fuel companies legally seize private property to build oil pipelines? Do private oil pipelines that threaten sensitive ecosystems provide a real service to the public, or do they simply pad the profit margins of fossil fuel companies and their wealthy investors?

      On Friday, a state judge in rural Louisiana will consider these questions and more in a preliminary hearing on the most significant legal challenge to date against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a 162-mile oil pipeline that bisects much of southern Louisiana and the sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest river swamp.

      Most of the pipeline has already been built, and it’s expected to connect Louisiana refineries and export facilities to the Dakota Access Pipeline that faced sustained Indigenous-led resistance at Standing Rock in 2016.

      Across the country, states allow for-profit pipeline companies to seize private land under laws governing eminent domain, which is the government’s right to expropriate private property for public use in exchange for compensation. Many rural landowners lack the resources necessary to challenge wealthy oil and gas firms. A sweeping ruling against the Bayou Bridge’s attempt to expropriate private property in Louisiana could curb the fossil fuel industry’s ability to ram infrastructure projects through local communities nationwide. The Iowa Supreme Court recently heard a similar legal challenge to the Dakota Access Pipeline that also threatens the industry’s power.

  • Finance
    • 15 Months In Prison In Chicago’s First Cryptocurrency Conviction
    • Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

      Chicago’s most powerful alderman on Tuesday joined the growing chorus of leaders calling for reforms to the city’s ticketing and debt collection, introducing a measure to substantially limit the decades-old practice of seeking driver’s license suspensions over unpaid tickets.

      The proposal from Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke would require the city to take into account motorists’ income before taking away their driving privileges and create more affordable payment plans for them.

      Burke’s proposal was the latest in a series of reforms that aim to respond to growing public pressure over the way Chicago punishes motorists who can’t afford to pay tickets.

      “The impact of license suspensions truly hurts lower-income residents the hardest because of an inability they have to pay these steep ticket fines,” Burke, who represents the 14th Ward on the city’s Southwest Side, told the Finance Committee. “For many motorists, the loss of the privilege to drive equates to higher unemployment, and in worst-case scenarios, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings become necessary in order to protect licenses and vehicles required to get to work.”

      ProPublica Illinois has been reporting all year — including more recently in collaboration with WBEZ — on how unpaid tickets send thousands of mostly black Chicagoans into bankruptcy, a phenomenon seen nowhere else in the country. Bankruptcy gives motorists whose licenses have been suspended because of ticket debt the ability to get them back, in addition to other legal protections.

    • Chicago City Council Approves Modest First Reforms on Ticketing and Debt

      The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved the first reforms aimed at helping the city’s low-income motorists cope with ticket debt, with more significant changes potentially on the way.

      The approved measures, tucked into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s final city budget, chip away at a massive problem that has exploded during his tenure: debt and bankruptcies concentrated in black neighborhoods.

      In a way, the new policies come full circle, as they seek to undo some of the damage done by a hike in the price of tickets for mandatory vehicle stickers introduced in the mayor’s first budget, in 2011.

    • Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?

      Amazon has reached the far corners of the earth… and the highest elevations. Delivery men venture 11,562 feet up in the Himalayas to leave a package. While the company may serve a useful purpose in remote regions, its phenomenal growth also reveals that no town is immune from its less desirable consequences. The online retailer’s omnipresence has been all too apparent in Chicago, New York, and London in recent months, where stores have been closing in droves.

      Treasure Island Foods of Chicago, a family-owned business started by Christ Kamberos in 1963, announced at the end of September that after 55 years it was closing all remaining stores in just two weeks. Now, the lights are out and the shadows empty shelves are all that remain, with the scent of fresh sourdough and gyros cooking on the spit only in shoppers’ reminiscences as they walk by the darkened windows.

      Julia Child once described Treasure Island as “America’s Most European Supermarket.” In my memory, it was unforgettable. The stores always had treasure troves for every season, from delicious green picholine olives from France, to liver pâté and English Blue Stilton at Christmas, and of course, Marmite. Not to mention exotic cookies and chocolates from all over the world: marzipan and chocolate from Switzerland and Austria, shortbread from Scotland, and crisp butter wafers from the Netherlands are a few examples. It was a haven for special gifts during the holidays.

    • Former CIA Cryptographer Says Bitcoin Is Perfect Vehicle for ‘Entire Shadow Banking System’

      Bill Barhydt, a former cryptographer at the Central Intelligence Agency and the founder of cryptocurrency investment platform Abra, is mapping out how cryptocurrency can operate outside of the current regulatory environment to power a crypto bank.

      In a new Off the Chain interview with host Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital, Barhydt notes that his collective experience in various industries – from intelligence to the internet to finance – has all come together, allowing him and his team to lay the groundwork for a radically different banking model for everyday people.

      In addition to the CIA, Barhydt worked as a quantitative analyst in fixed income research at Goldman Sachs and as the former technical director at Netscape where he focused on e-commerce and banking projects.

    • Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet

      I’ve just left Ukania, where I attended the Historical Materialism conference in London. After some much needed psychological decompression, I’m now back in the Land of Caged Toddlers.

      In the UK at the same time was the UN Special Rapporteur on poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, travelling to some of the UK’s poorest areas to investigate the impact Tory austerity has had on the UK’s indigents.

      Ukania has been misruled for decades, indeed for centuries (if the truth be told). The sole possible exception to this was the immediate postwar Labour government, which created the welfare state.

      The all-party consensus around the NHS lasted for three decades, but every government after that, Tory and Labour alike, acquiesced in the slow whittling-down or outright gutting of the welfare state. Only Corbyn’s “old” Labour seems to be an exception to this trend.

      So what will Professor Alston find?

      The UK’s highest paid executive got the boot while I was there, but will keep his £75million/US$99 million bonus. Such is the state of corruption in Ukania that he might well have received a knighthood if he lasted another year or two, and would probably have been able to keep that as well.

    • As Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute, Why Are NY & VA Giving Amazon $3 Billion in Corporate Welfare?

      Amazon has selected a pair of cities to host its new, expanded headquarters: Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City in Queens, New York. Amazon’s decision came after a 14-month search that saw cities around the U.S. promise tax breaks, taxpayer-funded infrastructure and business-friendly ordinances in an effort to win what Amazon says will be $5 billion in new investment and thousands of jobs. Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam called the Amazon headquarter “a big win for Virginia,” and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has similarly applauded Amazon’s decision. But many local politicians have openly criticized authorities in New York and Virginia for backing the deals, which will create a total of 50,000 jobs. We host a roundtable discussion about Amazon and corporate welfare. In New York, we speak with Ron Kim, member of the New York State Assembly. He recently co-wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times headlined “New York Should Say No to Amazon.” In Washington, D.C., we speak with Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a watchdog group on economic development incentives. And in Portland, Maine, we speak with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. She is the author of “Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • CNN sues White House for using doctored video to bar Jim Acosta

      The lawsuit also cites White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s incoherent comments on Fox News on Sunday during which she acknowledged the video was “sped up,” but argued there’s a difference between that and doctoring footage.

    • Google Will Reveal Advertisers Behind Political Ads In India’s Next Election

      Google is planning to make the information of advertisers who will pay for political ads in the upcoming lower-house (Lok Sabha) elections in India freely available to the public.

      The company did the same with recent the U.S. Mid-term elections, where it took the initiative of publicly making information about who is spending on political advertisements. Also keeping a close eye on people who are paying for political adverts.

      Sunita Mohanty, Google India’s Director of Trust and Safety, said to Indian Express that the company is also establishing tools to fight misinformation and fake news, which often gets active in any elections.

    • House To Investigate Whether DOJ’s AT&T Antitrust Lawsuit Was Political

      When the Trump DOJ sued to stop AT&T’s $89 billion merger with Time Warner last year, more than a few eyebrows were raised. After all, the DOJ’s antitrust suit, allegedly a bid to protect consumers, came as other arms of the Trump administration were busy utterly dismantling a wide variety of popular consumer protections (like net neutrality) at the direct request of industry. It raised the question: why suddenly care about consumer protection and antitrust power when you’ve shown absolutely no general concern for those concepts previously?

      As a result, there’s always been a lingering question as to whether Trump’s obvious disdain for Time Warner owned CNN was driving a petty bid for vengeance. Others wondered if the DOJ’s lawsuit was a personal favor to Trump ally Rupert Murdoch, who had tried unsuccessfully to buy CNN from AT&T at least twice, and had spent much of 2017 lobbying Trump to scuttle the deal as a competitive favor to his Fox empire.

    • Con man exposed: Trump’s acting so erratic because midterms made him look like a loser

      President Donald Trump is not himself. And by “not himself” I mean he seems to have lost his swagger. Ever since the midterm elections, he’s been churlish and petulant. His brazen braggadocio is suddenly dull and off-key. The question is what exactly has him brooding and upset.

      Sure, he held a press conference the morning after the election at which he ludicrously asserted, “I’ll be honest: I think it was a great victory. And actually, some of the news this morning was that it was, in fact, a great victory.” The news that morning was nothing of the kind, of course. And even he couldn’t pull it off. He rapidly devolved into his patented media-bashing to change the subject and ended up looking like the worst sore loser in presidential history.

      That same day he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with someone he believed would protect him from the Mueller investigation — a man described by George Conway — Kellyanne Conway’s husband — as a “constitutional nobody.” And that wasn’t his worst day last week.

      On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a big scoop revealing that the feds have unearthed plenty of evidence that Trump had personally broken campaign finance laws. More troubling for him is that the three people given immunity — lawyer Michael Cohen, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — know where a lot of other metaphorical bodies are buried. (We hope there are no real bodies involved.)

    • Trump’s Attorney General Pick Is a Menace to More Than Mueller

      On the surface, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has a fairly respectable resume. He earned masters and law degrees at the University of Iowa, and even caught a touchdown pass for the Hawkeyes during the 1991 Rose Bowl. He was the US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, when he resigned after the election of Barack Obama. Whitaker ran against Joni Ernst in the 2014 Republican Senate primary but was beaten like a gong. He rejoined the DoJ in August of 2017 and became Sessions’s chief of staff.

      It is this last bit that serves to dent the boilerplate legal-beagle credentials Whitaker has amassed during his career, because his posting at the right hand of Jeff Sessions was almost certainly not an accident. According to The New York Times, “People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.”

      How did Matt Whitaker manage to land a gig as Trump’s secret squirrel within the Justice Department? Like as not, his many television appearances and opinion articles lambasting the Mueller investigation lifted his profile like a feather in an updraft. Trump loves his loyalists (until he doesn’t), and Whitaker carried Trump’s anti-Mueller water with enthusiasm. “It is time for [Rod] Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel,” wrote Whitaker in an August 2017 CNN editorial.

    • The 2018 Midterm Elections Demonstrate Criminal Justice Reform Is a Winner at the Ballot Box

      The criminal justice reform movement is thriving and building for continued success in dismantling decades’ worth of tough on crime policies.
      Criminal justice reform was on the ballot from coast to coast in the 2018 midterm elections. There were over 1,000 prosecutor elections. Pro-reform candidates ascended to powerful roles in cities like Birmingham, St. Louis, and Boston, including a historic number of first-ever Black and female district attorneys. Voters overturned Jim Crow laws in Florida and Louisiana. Judges that have tried to grind publicly supported reforms to a halt were swept out en masse by black women in Houston.

      These results alone are truly historic. But like any election, the outcomes are a result of a variety of factors, many that have little to do with the public’s actual demand for criminal justice reform. Digging deeper, and looking not just at what was won but how these races were run, reveals a movement that is thriving and building the long-term momentum and political infrastructure needed to undo decades’ worth of tough-on-crime policies that have decimated communities.

      It’s important to start with some perspective. At least since the 1980s, criminal justice reform has been an untouchable third rail in electoral politics. The 2018 midterms show that the landscape has shifted. This year, politicians across the country, led by Black candidates, took principled and passionate positions on criminal justice reform, including in high stakes gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, where they had everything to lose.

      To be sure, in these places and elsewhere, their opponents continued the age-old tradition of stoking fear and racism to defend harsh and punitive approaches — with some success. But while such positions were mostly met with silence in the past, the 2018 elections show how years of sustained grassroots activism has now begun to open up the political space for candidates to run on unabashedly pro-reform platforms, often for the first time in generations.

    • An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego

      The liberal ego poses an interesting contradiction. It insists not upon being“egotistical” in the way we think of it, of thinking “too much” of oneself, being self-centered, selfish, etc., but upon being servile, second-rate, low worth, “co-dependent” in relation to the existing power structures. The liberal, while accepting the rewards of bourgeois attainment and thus living comparatively well, in failing to challenge her ego’s supremacy, is automatically obedient to the illegitimate authority of the existing capitalist structures. She cannot do otherwise; she is profoundly disoriented in the metaphysical sense meant by Huston Smith. The drastically ungrounded liberal soul is oriented, not to its “noble origins” but to the reduced view of human life issuing from scientism, unalleviated by imagination, that says we ascend from lesser beings (thus we emphasize “progress”) rather than having descended from gods (i.e., having been born with perfection or wholeness in us). This is not an argument for creationism, but against the negation of imagination that has us training ourselves and our children to become cogs in a machine, rather than to love – and serve – “the Great” and “the Whole.”

      The dilemma we face is real: without orientation to the vertical, modern post-religious people have three ways to stay above the terrifying abyss of non-being, the task once performed by religion: 1) turn the clock back to rigid authoritarian tradition, to toxic masculinity, nationalism, militarism, fascism, 2) neoliberal vapid verticality, with its flattened masculinity, normalized neurosis and addictions, and covert barbarism, or 3) to in some non-authoritarian way, restore the relation to verticality (I include those who maintain that relation within traditional religion).

      For the secular liberal, following choice #2, the ego is practically unchallenged in the context of mediated reality and social fragmentation that supports neoliberal totality. We add to the debasement demanded by our imperial egos in countless ways. Our stories of childhood origins are narratives of defect and weakness (i.e., I’m ADHD, family dysfunctional, Dad a drunk, I was abused, neglected, etc.), rather than how once we saw that everything, magically, had meaning. Unquestionably childhood wounds must be brought to light, but they are part of the story not the whole. We slander our higher nature as we fixate on fitness and nutrition, and in other ways corroborate the conviction of low self worth (machine-hood) that is by now second nature. Always polite, sometimes witty and clever, we liberals never express authentic opinion for fear of exposure. Our positive will is atrophied; if it were possible to film the liberal will it would be seen to slink, flinch, evade, excuse itself, look sheepish. This is so even if we have all outward signs of material grace. We can pass a lie detector test only if we are not asked: why do you live?

    • Sixteen Midterm Races Are Still Up for Grabs by Democrats

      It’s been nearly a week since Election Day, but a number of races still lack an official winner. Massive voter turnout, archaic voting machines, outdated state regulations and Republicans determined to undermine the process all created a perfect storm, in which votes haven’t been finalized — and, in some cases, were never counted in the first place.

      [...]

      Sure, the GOP may have expanded its majority in the Senate, but it may not be nearly as big of a win as Republicans thought. They flipped seats in Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana as they hoped, but they didn’t nab West Virginia, Ohio or Montana – and they lost their seat in Nevada to the Democrats.

      On election night, the Republicans were certain that they would be keeping Arizona red and flipping the Senate seat in Florida, making their gains more significant. But now neither are a sure thing.

      As the final votes are being tallied, it turns out that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is actually the final winner, turning Republican Jeff Flake’s seat blue. Meanwhile, Florida’s Senate race is turning into a recount situation — one that will hopefully resolve the massive undervote in Broward County due to a faulty ballot design. Democrat Bill Nelson could keep his seat.

      If all goes well, the GOP may one gain one seat in the end, despite Democrats being forced to defend 26 seats this cycle.

    • Climate of Rage

      My former teaching colleague at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Warren Goldstein, who now teaches U.S. history and chairs the History Department at the University of Hartford, hit the nail exactly on the head in regard to the main source of hate in the United States in an article in The Villager, a New York City newspaper.

      “Enough squeamishness from the MSM. The violent, hateful rhetoric comes overwhelmingly from one side only and from its padron, Donald Trump. Period,” wrote Goldstein, who has a doctorate in American Studies from Yale University. He knows the U.S. well.

      “Who have their rhetorical targets been? Immigrants, Democrats, black people and George Soros. And who were actual targets last week? Democrats, blacks and immigrant- and refugee-supporting Jews,” he wrote in the piece published on November 1.

      As to what he relates is the reluctance by Mainstream Media to focus squarely on the main cause of the vitriol in U.S. society today, Goldstein wrote that “in order to make peace, we need first to talk truth, and say who provided the soil, the nourishment, the encouragement and the spark to these homegrown terrorists and killers: the would-be pipe bomber of Democrats; the racist Kentucky Kroger murderer; the Pittsburgh killer. Not, alas, according to Sunday’s New York Times: ‘The anguish of Saturday’s massacre heightened a sense of national unease over increasingly hostile political rhetoric.’”

      “Really? I don’t feel unease—I feel rage at the Trumpian big lies,” declared Goldstein.

      [...]

      Many of the “Trumpsters”—the angry people who populate Trump’s non-stop rallies—also seem to have found a father in Trump with his violent rhetoric, rhetoric not only full of vitriol but also of lies, thousands and thousands of lies.

      We’ve had some beauts as U.S. presidents. But Trump, according to a determination of nearly 200 top U.S. political scientists, is the worst. The social science researchers voted in recent months in a 2018 Presidents and Executive Policy Greatness Survey. Trump bumped James Buchanan out of the bottom spot of the survey done every four years. Other analyses confirm this determination as, surely, will history. Trump is the leading personification of hate, of malice, of ill will and of malevolence in the United States. We, indeed, all know who is fueling the hate—and we must say it.

    • In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics

      In the wake of the 2018 midterms, President Trump and his foot soldiers on the right have continued to repeat paranoid and fact-free claims about “electoral fraud” via the recounts in Florida and Arizona. Trump is seeking to save face by weighing in on the Florida gubernatorial race (Nelson v. Scott) and the Florida (Gillum v. DeSantis) and Arizona (Sinema v. McSally) Senate races. These are political battles, plain and simple, and Trump is trying to preserve as many Senate seats as possible for Republicans moving toward 2020.

      For progressively-minded Americans, the discussion now should focus on what the 2018 election tells us about the state of American politics and prospects for democratic change. For those who want an analysis of my thoughts on the election and how it relates to protest movements, take a look at my recent talk at the Open University of the Left (Chicago), which explores this issue in detail. For a shorter analysis of the election, I provide a brief review here of the exit polling data and what it tells us about the “pulse” of American voters following the large gains for Democrats in the House.

    • The Midterms Did Not Stop the March of Fascism, But We Can

      Twenty-two months into the Trump administration, the United States is a country in denial. Even amid the Democrats’ recent electoral gains, Trump’s would-be opposition is not poised to halt the rise of fascism. Nancy Pelosi announced plans to pursue “bipartisanship” and “common ground,” even before her own electoral victory was complete. Trump himself endorsed Pelosi as Speaker of the House — making clear that there is no leadership in the legislative branch that is equipped to confront the steady rise of Trumpian fascism. Meanwhile, as Pelosi flaunted her establishment takes, some on the left smugly mocked leftists who had joined Democratic electoral efforts, backing candidates and working to get out the vote. Was this what they had been fighting for, the critics asked? For a Pelosi-Trump partnership that would aid in Trump’s expansion of the military-industrial complex?

      Even as those divisions simmered, another moment of left-of-center conflict broke out when news emerged that protesters had paid a visit to Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington, DC. Protesters, who apparently knocked on Carlson’s door a few times, chanted and shook a tambourine, before one of them spray-painted an “A” on Carlson’s driveway, were characterized as “monstrous” by Stephen Colbert and condemned as “disastrous for any republic” by television producer David Simon. Colbert and Simon had apparently made no inquiry about the protests before commenting, instead basing their analysis on Carlson’s now-debunked version of events, thereby accepting the account of a white supremacist propagandist (who was not home at the time of the protest).

    • How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers

      The parallels between the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and that of Donald J. Trump have been widely noted. A new book by James M. Longo, Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Führer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals (Diversion Books, 2018) brings out similarities as well as differences. As in 21stcentury America, economic and political troubles clouded the judgment of many Germans and other peoples in the 1920s and 1930s. Across the Continent, as Longo says, people “searched for a leader, a savior, a dictator to rescue them from their economic and political woes. Hitler believed he was that man.” The aspiring Führer spoke only German but proved himself “a chameleon able to articulate the unspoken emotional language of his listeners.”

      Wealthy industrialists secretly financed Hitler’s rise to power after 1924. For unemployed workers he promised full employment; for the forgotten German, he pledged respect. Hitler won financial support and many followers, but he craved legitimacy and political power to make his vision a reality. In public Hitler met with enthusiastic crowds. Behind closed doors he beguiled wealthy monarchists. One-third of German’s ancient nobility joined his Nazi Party, while many others supported him through their silence. President Trump also craves symbols of legitimacy and seeks to destroy any sign that he was not duly and freely elected.

      The insightful American journalist Dorothy Thompson interviewed Hitler and described him as an “agitator of genius….the most golden tongued of demagogues.” She advised her readers: “Don’t bother about the fact that what he says, read the next day in cold news print, is usually plain nonsense.” To understand what was happening, “You must imagine the crowds he addresses: Little people. Weighted with a feeling of inferiority.” Appeals to their racial pride were “the cheapest form of self-exaltation.” If one was debt, if one had not made a success in life, there was still the consolation that one belonged to the master race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Macron wants to rein in Silicon Valley, from Brussels

      But Macron wants to go further, by upending the legal framework that currently underpins platforms in Europe and grants them limited liability over hosted content.

    • France to ‘embed’ regulators at Facebook to combat hate speech

      From January, Macron’s administration will send a small team of senior civil servants to the company for six months to verify Facebook’s goodwill and determine whether its checks on racist, sexist or hate-fuelled speech could be improved.

    • UCLA Flails Amid Pro-Palestine Group’s Planned Conference, While L.A.’s City Council Goes Full Stupid

      Those of you who geek out over trademark law like me may have seen the recent dust-up between UCLA and a group called National Students for Justice in Palestine this past week. I had intended on writing something up about the whole thing because of how blatantly stupid it was. The pro-Palestinian group has a chapter at UCLA and it is hosting a conference in the future, for which it put out some promotional materials that feature a bear flying a kite with the colors of the Palestinian flag and dared to mention that the conference was being held at UCLA. For this, UCLA lawyers sent a cease and desist to SJP, claiming that the way the promo material displayed the UCLA name and its use of bear imagery created confusion in the public suggesting that the school was affiliated with the conference.

      [...]

      None of that is hate speech, no matter what some silly State Department missive might suggest. Words matter, after all, and we can no more accept that the kind of political speech above, even if you disagree with it, is hate speech any more than we can condone the government crying terrorism anytime it’s convenient. It also seems obvious to me that if you replaced this pro-Palestinian group with a pro-Israel group, we never would have heard this story at all. Argue with that if you like, but you’re wrong.

      And, yet, the L.A. City Council is now getting involved in the stupidest way possible, passing a resolution that first acknowledges UCLA’s need to adhere to free speech rights and then somehow calling for the cancellation of this conference entirely.

    • Judge Lets NRA’s 1st Amendment Lawsuit Against Andrew Cuomo Move Forward

      Let’s put some cards on the table to start off this post: I think Andrew Cuomo is a terrible governor of NY (and he was a terrible Attorney General before that), and doesn’t deserve to be in office. I also think the NRA is a joke of an organization, that stirs up bullshit fear and racial divisions, and frequently shits on the 1st Amendment plenty of times when people try to challenge the 2nd Amendment. I recognize that some percentage of you probably feel differently about Cuomo and (chances are…) a non-overlapping venn diagram of you probably feel differently about the NRA. I think they’re both terrible and should disappear from public life. And I say that upfront because my position on this particular lawsuit has nothing to do with which side I “like.” I don’t like either one.

      But on the law in this particular case, clearly the NRA is in the right, while Cuomo is wrong. And thankfully, so far a judge agrees.

      Let’s take a step back, though, to look at what’s happening. Cuomo is no fan of the NRA. And he decided to use his position as governor to punish the NRA for its advocacy. Back in April, he put pressure on banks and other financial institutions to cut all ties with the NRA. It’s kind of incredible that he would think this would fly. Indeed, the situation is pretty damn close to that time that Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff Thomas Dart pressured credit card companies to stop doing business with Backpage, leading to a pretty massive judicial smackdown from Judge Richard Posner.

    • PayPal’s corporate censorship

      Since the populist revolts of 2016, much of the liberal establishment has turned on Silicon Valley. The tech giants were once held in great esteem, talked of as enablers of data-driven democracy or as the providers of invaluable tools for progressive campaigning. Today they are accused of promoting and profiting from the far right.

      Pressure has been piled on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to ban a number of right-wing activists and channels from their platforms. Most infamously, Alex Jones and his conspiratorial website Infowars were summarily banned by Apple, Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and payments processor PayPal in August this year.

      Last week, PayPal froze the account of Tommy Robinson after receiving a 60,000-strong petition from campaign group SumOfUs calling for him to be struck off its books. The group’s executive director, Hannah Lownsbrough, wrote in the Guardian that PayPal’s decision ‘will send an earthshaking message to the global far right: huge corporations will not enable your hatred’. The ban was ‘proof that people can take on big corporations and win’, she said.

      But while politicians, the Twitterati and much of the old media see themselves as ‘taking on’ the internet giants, the pressure piled on them to purge their platforms of ‘extreme’ political views is actually handing them vast amounts of unchecked power. Where tech companies were once keen to present themselves as neutral platforms, Silicon Valley is now expected to decide which political views it considers acceptable or beyond the pale.

    • PayPal Is Banning Accounts Employed By Gavin Mcinnes, The Proud Boys, And Antifa Groups

      PayPal claimed this week that it will cancel accounts employed by Proud Boys (the far-right group) as well as anti-fascist groups’ multiple accounts. The decision will make it much complicated for the groups to raise online money. The move is the newest act of “de-platforming” by the tech sector, which has been struggling with how to efficiently handle consumers that promote violent or hateful ideologies.

      The ban will comprise the Proud Boys account in addition to an account employed by Gavin Mcinnes (its founder), PayPal claimed to the media in an interview. The firm is also banning accounts for Antifa Sacramento, Atlanta Antifa, and the Anti-Fascist Network. PayPal had earlier banned accounts for Antifa Arkansas, Antifa Philadelphia, Rose City Antifa, and Belfast Antifa. The firm also banned an account employed by ex-leader of the English Defence League (the far-right group), Tommy Robinson.

    • Watch: PM insists on no information censorship

      Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that there needs to be assurance that information will not be censored, meanwhile action must be taken for people not to fall victim to misinformation.

      Muscat was speaking about censorship and fake news during an international conference in Paris about technology. In a statement, the Office of the Prime Minister said that Muscat spoke about how technology can be used to help in the fight against the spreading of fake news which is harming democracy around the world. The Prime Minister was speaking in a meeting in which the French President invited a small number of European leaders and international organisations to discuss the future of democracy in light of modern technological advances.

      [...]

      The Prime Minister also took part in a debate during the GovTech Summit about ‘Digital Identity: The Next Frontier for Smart Governments’ where he said that every individual should be given the liberty to use personal data however they please.

    • Online censorship enforced by governments is curbing people’s power to criticise

      Recently two leading Pakistani activists alleged the increased governmental censorship against critical voices on social media. The two activists, as per this report, received warnings from Twitter against tweets which, as per Twitter, violated Pakistani laws. The actual tweets of the activists, however, were against a cleric who had posted tweets threatening the government and inciting violence. The tweets of the activists themselves did not have such content. One of the tweets, as per the activists, was, in fact, a call for the government to take action against the cleric.

      The absurdity of the warnings, given that the tweets themselves (as per the report) were not incendiary, raised questions that Twitter’s warnings may have come from a governmental drive to censor critical voices, as opposed to being an actual violation of Twitter policy or Pakistani law.

      Closer home, instances of governmental censorship in India are on the rise, such as in the form of the increasingly frequent internet shutdowns, the blocking of websites or defamation suits.

    • Facebook Allowing French Censors To Embed With The Company, And Maybe That’s A Good Thing?

      While many people may have the instinctual reaction that having government regulators coming in to see how to “better” censor speech on your platform is inherently a problem, one hopes that the end result of this is influencing things in the other direction. A bad outcome would be French regulators deciding that this experience gives them enough info to craft impossible regulations to wave digital magic wands and “make the bad stuff disappear.” But a more optimistic argument would be that it gives these French regulators a chance to get some first hand knowledge of (1) how seriously Facebook takes this issue (don’t laugh, because the company absolutely does take this issue seriously now, even if it didn’t in the past) and (2) just how impossible it is to do a particularly good job at it (even as Facebook has gotten much better in the past year).

      So while I’m always a little concerned about the idea of having government regulators come into a company when the upfront stated objective is about more content moderation demands, it certainly would be beneficial for French officials not to be so incredibly ignorant about how content moderation at scale truly works, and why the easy solutions they always seem to propose won’t help (and could make problems significantly worse).

    • Exiled Chinese author attends Tai Kwun events

      Tai Kwun, an arts center managed by Jockey Club CPS, reversed its earlier decision to cancel two literary events arranged for exiled Chinese author Ma Jian amid criticisms that it was engaging in political censorship.

      Ma Jian, a Hong Kong permanent resident who now lives in London, showed up at the events held on Saturday as scheduled at Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station compound on Hollywood Road that has been transformed into a center for heritage and the arts.

    • Hong Kong Lawmakers Protest Over Reported Loss of Border Land to China

      Reports that a garrison of Chinese border guards has taken over land on Hong Kong’s side of the internal border, which its personnel also cross at will, have sparked protests in the former British colony over promises that the city would remain a separate jurisdiction after the 1997 handover.

      The investigative journalism group FactWire found that some 21,000 square feet of privately owned land within a high-security area along the Hong Kong side of the border with mainland China has been used by the 6th Detachment of the Guangdong provincial border defense corps of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for the past six years.

    • The death knell for freedom of speech in Hong Kong
    • CE denies gov’t link to self censorship and Ma Jian furore
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Tor anonymity gateway-maker InvizBox chases VPN subscriptions down rabbit hole

      The InvizBox Tor-gateway router stopped receiving firmware and secuirty updates two years after release. Ten months later, InvizBox decided to try and reinvent their product with an alternative firmware that focused on selling virtual private network (VPN) services from InvizBox instead of relying on the free Tor onion network.

      InvizBox was a specialized Wi-Fi router that acted as a gateway to the Tor onion network. That is no longer what the product does, but you can read my 2016 review of InvizBox for the historical perspective.

      The economy of maintaining device firmware have shifted from using the free Tor anonymizing network to selling ubscription services. InvizBox sent out an email to existing customers offering “90 days free VPN service” to incentivize existing customers to upgrade from their now unsupported Tor firmware to the newer VPN firmware.

      90 days of free VPN sounded interesting and I thought I could get a little more life out of my InvizBox. I was sold and proceeded to upgrade my device’s firmware. This experience would end up completely changing my impressions about the InvizBox.

    • Judge Says Amazon Needs To Hand Over Recordings Created By Murder Victim’s Echo Speaker

      New Hampshire investigators will be deposing Alexa in the near future, according to a recent court ruling. The advent of in-home digital, voice-activated assistants has created a wealth of personal recordings law enforcement may now have access to. It’s only been a couple of years since we first saw law enforcement attempt to obtain Alexa recordings from Amazon, but as Mike pointed out then, this was going to be the new normal. So the onus is on companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon to give customers more direct control of stored data and recordings.

      In this case, prosecutors are seeking recordings made by a murder victim’s Amazon Echo speaker. They hope the victim’s device captured the attack and the removal of her body. Amazon has issued some boilerplate about “valid legal demands” in response, but it’s likely the company won’t interject itself into this case.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Outgoing Congress Shouldn’t Reward Trump With More Homeland Security Funding

      Before Dec. 7, Congress will have to make a decision: Will they reward the department responsible for family separation, jailing immigrants, raids on communities of color, and abuses at the border by increasing their budget? Or will they stand up and rein in Trump’s detention and deportation force?

      The Department of Homeland Security is currently funded by a continuing resolution, a short-term bill that extends its budget from last year. It was passed in late September so that Congress could avoid a messy budget fight before the midterm elections. On Dec. 7, it will expire at midnight.

      By that time, Congress has to decide how it will fund the government next year — a negotiation that really comes down to how it will fund DHS, as The Washington Post reported. Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is treating funding for a border wall as a foregone conclusion, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), his counterpart on the House of Representatives side, said on Tuesday she isn’t interested in negotiating. Republicans, therefore, are going to try to jam through their anti-immigrant agenda in the last gasp of their majority in the House of Representatives, including increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection as well as billions of dollars for a border wall.

    • Inside the #MeToo Revolt at Google

      The November 1 walkout by 20,000 Google employees at some 50 offices around the world may be the largest international action of its kind in modern labor history — and it shined a spotlight on the potential for tech workers to stand up for justice for themselves and their co-workers.

      The immediate cause of the walkout — which involved more than 20 percent of Google’s nearly 95,000 workers worldwide — was the revelation of Google’s cover-up of sexual misconduct by Andy Rubin, a former top executive and the creator of the Android operating system.

      Google protected Rubin, giving him a $90 million exit package, while keeping silent about his history of sexual harassment and abuse. But Rubin is clearly one of many sexual harassers that Google has shielded, contributing to a hostile internal climate.

      The walkout gave voice to workers’ grievances about that work environment. At a rally at Google’s YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, one worker stated: “Where did they get that $90 million? They got it from every day you worked late. From every promotion you didn’t get. From every [temporary contract worker] who was never converted to full time.”

      The walkout was organized in less than a week, and workers harnessed Google’s tools — Drive and Gmail, Docs and Calendar — to make it a success.

    • Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition

      My education began where the school and church curriculum would not go.

      The tradition of radical thinking, writing, organizing, and fighting for a better world – the foundation of radical idealism – is a fringe tradition. I recognized this early on, and made a connection to things I read in the Bible, namely the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

      Jesus was a threat to the power structures during His time and was exiled immediately after birth. He taught his followers a lifestyle incompatible with greed, individualism, authoritarianism, militarism, and nationalism. He healed, preached, and educated without a place to lay His head because He knew what awaited Him if He was captured by the authorities. His Sermon on the Mount wasn’t meant to comfort the listener in turbulent times, but rather establish an ideal: an impossible standard to guide and provide hope for humanity. Like so many radical idealists before and after Him, Jesus was executed by the State.

    • Advocates: Trump Creating Border Crisis by Pitting Troops Against Women & Children Fleeing Violence

      Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is traveling to McAllen, Texas, today to visit some of the thousands of troops deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border by President Donald Trump. Nearly 6,000 active-duty troops are currently stationed in Texas, California and Arizona, following Trump’s escalating attacks against the Central American caravan heading toward the border. Trump has warned that that number could swell to 15,000—more than the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and almost triple the number of troops in Iraq. According to some reports, the border deployments could cost $220 million, despite the fact the Pentagon does not see the caravan as a risk. Mattis’s visit comes just days after the Trump administration announced new immigration rules to deny asylum to anyone who enters the country outside of a port of entry, a move the American Civil Liberties Union has called “illegal.” We speak with Fernando Garcia, the founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, an advocacy organization based in El Paso. We also speak with Liz Castillo, immigration reporter and managing editor with Neta, a community news outlet in the Rio Grande Valley.

    • Honoring the 2018 Pioneer Award Winners and John Perry Barlow

      EFF’s annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony recognizes extraordinary individuals for their commitment and leadership in extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. At this year’s event held on September 27 in San Francisco, EFF rededicated the Pioneer Awards to EFF co-founder and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. Barlow’s commitment to online freedom was commemorated by dubbing the Pioneer Awards statuette the “Barlow.” EFF welcomed keynote speaker Daniel Ellsberg, known for his work in releasing the Pentagon papers, to help award the very first Barlows. This year’s honorees were fair use champion Stephanie Lenz, European Digital Rights leader Joe McNamee, and groundbreaking content moderation researcher Sarah T. Roberts.

    • CIA WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS HE WAS TARGETED BY BRENNAN, MUELLER, STRZOK

      When the FBI asked John Kiriakou to meet at the Washington field office in January 2012, the former CIA officer says he gladly agreed to the request.

      “Anything for the FBI,” Kiriakou told the FBI agent who contacted him.

      Months earlier, as a senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kiriakou had helped the FBI investigate a Japanese diplomat who had approached him offering a bribe.

      Or so he thought.

      Instead, Kiriakou says the FBI was running a sting operation against him for what he claims is payback for revealing secrets about the CIA’s waterboarding program.

      The government officials behind that investigation have resurfaced in the probe of the Trump campaign, which officially began as an FBI matter on July 31, 2016 and is now overseen by the special counsel’s office.

      As the Obama White House’s number 2 official on the National Security Council at the time, John Brennan ordered the Justice Department to charge Kiriakou with espionage, Kiriakou says. As FBI director, Robert Mueller formed a 12-person task force to investigate the 15-year CIA veteran. And as a top counterintelligence official at the FBI’s Washington office, Peter Strzok oversaw the investigation and arrested Kiriakou on Jan. 15, 2012.

    • New Documents Reveal CIA Spied on Congress, Whistleblowers

      Newly declassified documents reveal the CIA—which is supposed to be strictly limited in the types of surveillance and other secret operations it conducts on U.S. soil—routinely monitors U.S. government computer systems.

      That information is contained in two formerly secret letters of “congressional notification” written in 2014 by the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. In the letters, McCullough reveals the CIA secretly intercepted and collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection. The collection was said to occur as part of the CIA’s “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems.”

    • Alabama Voters Say At Least One Sheriff Won’t Be Enriching Himself With Federal Inmate Food Funds

      Things will get a little less crooked in part of Alabama in the near future. Sheriffs will no longer be able be able to personally benefit from federal funds meant to feed the state’s prisoners.

      More than one sheriff in the state had been caught starving prisoners while picking up nice things for themselves with the leftover money. Weirdly, this is all legal under state law, which allows personal use of unused food funds by sheriffs running the state’s jails.

      [...]

      A sheriff in Etowah County also brought down the heat on himself by taking home $250,000 a year in federal food funds that were supposed to be used to feed inmates. The $750,000 that managed to be accounted for is likely only a small part of the sheriff’s total take. According to public records, Sheriff Todd Entrekin managed to acquire $1.7 million in property while officially taking home a $93,000 salary.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Colorado Voters Continue To Opt Out Of State’s Protectionist, ISP-Written Broadband Law

      For years we’ve discussed how ISPs like Comcast have spent millions of dollars quite literally buying shitty, protectionist laws in 21 states. Said laws either ban or significantly hamstring towns and cities from building their own broadband networks, or in some cases from even engaging in public/private partnerships. It’s a scenario where ISPs get to have their cake and eat it too; they often refuse to upgrade their networks in under-served areas (particularly true among telcos offering DSL), but also get to write shitty laws preventing these under-served towns from doing anything about it.

      This dance of dysfunction has been particularly interesting in Colorado, however. While lobbyists for Comcast and CenturyLink managed to convince state leaders to pass such a law (SB 152) in 2005, the legislation contains a provision that lets individual Colorado towns and cities ignore the measure with a simple referendum, something telecom lobbyists have certainly come to regret. Not surprisingly, with frustration mounting over sub-standard broadband and awful customer service, more than a hundred Colorado cities have voted to exempt themselves from the state law over the last few years.

      That happened again during the recent midterm elections, when eighteen additional communities voted to opt out of the restrictive, protectionist law. According to the Institute For Local Self Reliance (which helps communities help themselves to improve local connectivity) the votes weren’t even close in most of these towns and cities, with voter approval rates like 73%, 80%, and 90%. With this week’s votes, the group notes that more than 60% of Colorado communities have taken back their rights to make their own decisions on infrastructure for themselves…

    • Google Internet Traffic Wasn’t Hijacked, But It Was Out of Control

      Google noted that almost all traffic to its services is encrypted, and wasn’t exposed during the incident no matter what. As traffic pinballed across ISPs, though, some observers, including the monitoring firm ThousandEyes, saw signs of malicious BGP hijacking—a technique that manipulates the web’s Border Gateway Protocol, which helps ISPs automatically collaborate to route traffic seamlessly across the web.

      ThousandEyes saw Google traffic rerouting over the Russian ISP TransTelecom, to China Telecom, toward the Nigerian ISP Main One. “Russia, China, and Nigeria ISPs and 150-plus [IP address] prefixes—this is obviously very suspicious,” says Alex Henthorne-Iwane, vice-president of product marketing at ThousandEyes. “It doesn’t look like a mistake.”

    • Domain Registrars and Registries Don’t Want to ‘Police’ Piracy

      Copyright holders would like domain name registrars and registries to take a more active anti-piracy approach. There was some serious movement in this direction last year when a new copyright arbitration process was proposed that put domains including that of The Pirate Bay at risk. However, the plan has since been canned, as various parties believe that it went a step too far.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=6184

      The UK Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from Warner-Lambert in the Pregabalin second medical use case.

      The Supreme Court dismissed Warner-Lambert’s appeal with Lord Jonathan Mance and Lord Patrick Hodge questioning whether there was sufficient disclosure in the specification for certain claims.

      The court unanimously affirmed a lower court decision and rejected Warner-Lambert’s application to amend its patent in order to narrow it. The Supreme Court’s ruling could make patents for biotech pharma companies easier to avoid and make it them more vulnerable to invalidation.

    • UK Supreme Court affirms Warner-Lambert’s pregabalin patent is invalid

      Warner-Lambert patent was insufficiently disclosed and would not have been infringed by generics even if the claims were valid, in a ruling that raises the bar for plausibility of Swiss form claims

    • Pregabalin – The Ruling of the UK Supreme Court

      Today, after nine months of waiting, the decision of the UK Supreme Court in the pregabalin litigation was handed down. Like Brexit and the nation, it is clear that the Supreme Court Judges were divided on several crucial issues.

      In this post, we will not attempt to give a detailed analysis of the decision but rather to give a short summary of the principal points. A more detailed analysis will follow in the coming days.

      The background to the case is well known. Warner-Lambert had a patent with Swiss-type claims to the use of pregabalin in the treatment of pain (the “Patent”). The Patent had subsidiary claims to the use of pregabalin in inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. Following the expiry of the compound patent for pregabalin in spring 2013, various generics companies wanted to sell pregabalin for non-patented indications including epilepsy and general anxiety disorder. However, the law was unclear as to what additional steps the generics companies should take, besides carving out pain from their label, to try and ensure that their pregabalin medicines were not used for the treatment of pain whilst Warner-Lambert’s patent was in force. In addition to taking such steps, the generics companies also sought to revoke the Patent and thus clear the way ahead of sales of their medicines for the treatment of pain. Warner-Lambert denied that the Patent was invalid and alleged that the Patent was infringed.

    • Copyrights
      • Dear EU Politicians: You Really Don’t Have To Wreck The Internet

        As you’ll recall, back in September, the EU Parliament voted to approve a draft of the EU Copyright Directive, despite it including a bunch of very problematic pieces — mainly Article 13′s mandatory filters and Article 11′s snippet tax. What the EU Parliament approved was not the same as what the EU Council of member states had approved, nor what the EU Commission had approved, so now those three bodies have been working on a “trilogue” process to sync up the various versions and come up with a master version that will have to be approved again by all three institutions. There has been a lot of activity in the past few weeks — and Italy’s change of government has made things a bit interesting.

      • Piracy Debt Collectors Back Off After Massive Backlash in Finland

        Opponents of copyright trolling efforts in Finland scored a major victory last week. A local debt collection company, which came under fire after going after individuals with unpaid settlement letters, has announced that it has withdrawn from the piracy debt collection business.

A Question of Debt: António Campinos, Lexology, Law Gazette, and Sam Gyimah

Thursday 15th of November 2018 09:28:47 AM

Indebted to sponsors and the likes of them (to sell lawsuits and patent wars)

Summary: Ineptitude in the media which dominates if not monopolises UPC coverage means that laws detrimental to everyone but patent lawyers are nowadays being pushed even by ministers (not just those whose clandestine vote is used/bought to steal democracy overnight)

LAST NIGHT we finally saw the EPO Patent Information Conference (EPOPIC) summary (warning: epo.org link), focusing as usual on António Campinos (that old Battistelli tradition of promoting his own brand and sticking his name in every page in the Web site). Prior to that we had written about the third day (yesterday), second day and the first day of the event.

“…courts would reject these patents. Unless… the EPO can replace the courts themselves. They hope to accomplish this with the UPC.”The event’s summary is a tad revealing. It starts by obsessing about the place/venue and the Belgian officials there. Is the Office and/or the President paying back for votes/support (the example of Belgian favours was mentioned yesterday)? It would be one heck of a way for the European Patent Office (EPO) to return favours to Brussels (lots of money flowing this way, with politicians in attendance). Battistelli was sending millions of the EPO's euros (Office money) to his other employer only months ago (European Inventor Award held in Battistelli’s own theatre in Saint-Germain-en-Laye after several years elsewhere in France), so why not keep up this old tradition? The summary then mentions software patents in Europe, for example: “The training sessions gave delegates practical advice on a number of subjects including search strategies, understanding patent families, and protection beyond the expiry of a patent after 20 years. The presentations and discussions enabled participants to track key trends and debate the issues that may impact the future. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, software-related inventions, patent analytics, and linked open data were among the topics covered.”

“Artificial intelligence, blockchain, software-related inventions,” it says. Never mind if these are all software patents, marketed a little differently. But worry not; courts would reject these patents. Unless… the EPO can replace the courts themselves. They hope to accomplish this with the UPC.

“Watching/reading their coverage regarding UPC is like watching CNN for Trump coverage or watching Fox News for Obama coverage.”Yesterday we saw Osborne Clarke’s Arty Rajendra (mentioned here over a week ago and back in September) persisting with the two UPC lies. She did so in corporate media quite recently and now there’s Lexology coverage (we presume paid for, by the writer’s employer, not by the publisher). Lexology is like a marketing hub of law firms and pertinent lawyers. It’s disguised as a news site and it’s syndicated as such, accordingly (albeit not suitably).

Yesterday we also saw Max Walters amplifying Team UPC (yet again). Law Gazette’s coverage has lately been boosting talking points from the litigation giants. Weeks ago we took note of Walters’ misleading article, which preceded by a few days a parliamentary session stacked by Team UPC. They’re all in this together, pushing the UPC lies, pretending this thing is actually desirable, maybe because of the name/marketing (“unitary” and “unified”). This latest article is based on misguided (or worse — intentionally dishonest) word from the minister who ratified UPCA as a bizarre self-serving stunt on a day of propaganda (“IP Day”). Gyimah is quoted as follows:

Sam Gyimah said the government was ‘determined to make sure it works’ and that it recognises both the value that the UK would offer the UPC and vice versa.

Gyimah was appearing before the House of Lords’ EU Justice Sub-Committee which has been taking evidence over the past few weeks on intellectual property rights after Brexit.

The committee questioned Gyimah on whether the government is sufficiently committed to ensuring the UK remained in the UPC. Peers referenced quotes from IP barrister Daniel Alexander who had earlier told the committee that despite political uncertainty on whether the UK can remain in the system one view is to say ‘where there’s a will there’s a way.’

So they’re taking advice from the litigation ‘industry’ itself without even asking the real industry, i.e. science and technology? What a coup! It would be worth noting that the Law Society Gazette (aka “Law Gazette”) is owned by the “Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales,” according to their Web site. So it’s a lawyers’ lobby, not really a news site. They never ask the ‘opposition’ for its views; they totally ignore it. In that respect, they’re no better than the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) and professional promoters of the UPC, e.g. Managing IP. Maybe Walters wants to do the right thing (journalism), but he knows who the boss is and what the boss wants. Sadly, virtually all the media which covers UPC is directly owned by Team UPC or steered by its affiliates. Watching/reading their coverage regarding UPC is like watching CNN for Trump coverage or watching Fox News for Obama coverage.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah and the EPO Are Eager to Attack Science by Bringing Patent Trolls to Europe/European Union and the United Kingdom

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 07:39:33 PM

Summary: Team UPC has managed to indoctrinate or hijack key positions, causing those whose job is to promote science to actually promote patent trolls and litigation (suppressing science rather than advancing it)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has just ended EPOPIC. We wrote about the second and first day (more on the latter) because of the EPO’s promotion of software patents in Europe.

“It’s no secret that UPC is for patent trolls; its most vocal proponents and most aggressive pushers are technically serving patent trolls from the US.”The event was finished around midday today and no controversial talks were scheduled (we can agree with most of what was said there, focusing on patents as information sources that need to be linked, searched, and made accessible though open data).

The EPO wants this event to be more of an echo chamber next time and the only time it mentioned “AI” (earlier today) it was in relation to search, not patent scope. The EPO rewteeted this: “Honored to have the chance to contribute our thoughts about the future of #ArtificialIntelligence for #patent search at the #EPOPIC alongside three great speakers. https://twitter.com/epoorg/status/1062387433348710402 …”

It’s worth noting that at no point did the EPO mention the UPC, at least not in tweets. It’s almost as though it’s presumed dead.

One person remarked on the EPO’s promotion of software patents in Europe by saying: “1) On June, 2015 the Paris High Court, said: “Article 52 of the EPC is perfectly clear and does not require any interpretation: computer programs as such are excluded from patentability, and the reason for this is that they are covered by copyright”. https://www.april.org/en/paris-high-court-reaffirms-ban-software-patents …” (there’s more there)

I replied by stating that “today’s EPO is an enemy of judges and courts, yet it wants to dominate the courts themselves…” (UPC)

A few days ago Jean-Baptiste Thiénot (CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats), i.e. litigation ‘industry’, was spreading typical lies about the UPC right from the first sentence when he said: “Awaiting the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court, we are only one step away from the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court…”

No, there are more barriers and regarding the UK (one among several additional barriers), these people keep pretending it’s about to ‘stay’ in the UPC/A (which does not even exist). It cannot and it will not. But guess who creeps in? Sam Gyimah. He changed his job again, just as his predecessor did (he currently dissents against Brexit, but that’s outside the scope of this site). Gyimah is being either dishonest or foolish, having already shocked people with what he did [1, 2].

“Impossible is nothing,” one UPC sceptic wrote regarding this tweet: “Science minister @SamGyimah has insisted it is possible for the UK to remain part of the forthcoming unitary patent system after #Brexit, despite this only being open to European Union member states. rsrch.co/2K6Lq6J pic.twitter.com/W12LiOfTpH”

Again, Gyimah is being either dishonest or foolish (or both). Maybe he listened too hard or paid too much attention to last month’s stacked debates, which were stacked by Team UPC. Sam Gyimah continues to perpetuate UPC lies like Team UPC’s taking points and to make matters worse, what he does here is clearly and truly detrimental to science (of which he is minister!). Similarly, the EPO is supposed to help science, but nowadays it does the exact opposite.

It’s no secret that UPC is for patent trolls; its most vocal proponents and most aggressive pushers are technically serving patent trolls from the US. Now that patent trolls from the US struggle in the US they explore the possibility of preying on Europe, just as they do China. Some patent trolls now try to call themselves “ethical” [1, 2] and Managing IP, which attended EPOPIC, helps them, just as it helped UPC advocacy. These patent trolls are looking to prey on China next (they should know that China sometimes arrests trolls) and Managing IP has just trolled its readers with a loaded question as a headline: “Are NPEs good for China’s patent system?”

Of course not; it’s behind a paywall, but we can guess who’s behind it, at the very least based on the amount of money. “Brian Yates, CEO of iPEL, came out all guns blazing when he spoke with IAM about the NPE, which launched at the end of June with $100 million of money raised from what he described as “a hedge fund comprised of sophisticated investors”,” IAM wrote some months ago, noting the focus on China. Managing IP wrote:

A US company backed with $100m is making a big push to monetise Chinese patents, against a backdrop of rising IP tensions between the two countries

“At a time when US tensions with China are rising, one US company is confident big money can be made from buying Chinese patents and enforcing them,” Michael Loney added, then using the paywall to hide the identity of the troll.

Notice how all the major proponents of patent trolls are also proponents of the UPC. This is pretty much the same agenda that Battistelli had in mind and António Campinos continues down the same trajectory.

USF Revisits EPO Abuses, Highlighting an Urgent Need for Action

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 06:51:01 PM

Recent: EPO Insider: Under António Campinos “the Union Busting Done by the Administration Continues Even Worse Than Before”


Can Union Syndicale Fédérale (USF) stop the Mafia-like culture of EPO management?

Summary: “Staff Representation Disciplinary Cases” — a message circulated at the end of last week — reveals the persistence of union-busting agenda and injustice at the EPO

Some time this afternoon SUEPO published “Two press communications from USF – Union Syndicale Fédérale”. “Translations in German and French will follow soon,” it said. SUEPO is recalling the time Battistelli was brought up by USF again — perhaps one last time (way back in summer) — and one post published earlier today [1, 2]. USF links to this piece about the corrupt management; the curators use screenshots/images as a PDF with the one conspicuously missing name. They’ve rubbed off Elodie Bergot’s name. Why? She’s a big part of the problem at the European Patent Office (EPO); why would they be redacting her name as though she deserves protection from scrutiny? Were threats issued?

Here is the letter alluded to in some very recent articles (USF has uploaded it):

Munich 09.11.2018
sc18151cp – 0.2.1/5.2

Staff Representation Disciplinary Cases – Urgent action needed

Dear colleagues,

In June 2018, the ILO Administrative Tribunal, with a series of judgments, set aside disciplinary measures inflicted on EPO staff representatives / SUEPO officials, and on one former staff member now employed by SUEPO. It is clear to even the inattentive observer that the cases resulted from a political campaign launched by the previous President and his Administration, aimed at weakening any opposition to their plans.

In the meantime the new President, Mr. Campinos, has concluded the two cases concerning Malika Weaver and Ion Brumme. However, this does not clean the slate.

Amnesty

In Judgment 4047, the matter was remitted to the EPO to enable the charges against Elizabeth Hardon “to be considered afresh”. In Judgment 4052, the case was sent back to the EPO for the President of the Office “to undertake a new examination”. In this latter case, the Tribunal ordered that the examination “shall take into account the instruction to the President contained in Administrative Council Resolution CA/26/16 dated 16 March 2016.”

In that Resolution, the Council requested the President to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer for arbitration or mediation.

We do not see this happening. Quite on the contrary – Elizabeth Hardon will soon face a new disciplinary committee instigated by the same old Administration, and apparently with the same old charges – even though the Administration’s behavior has already been castigated by the Tribunal. In June 2019, the Tribunal will rule in the case concerning Laurent Prunier, the last of the staff representatives / SUEPO official dismissed by the previous President. He was disciplined despite CA 26/16, and for extraneous motives, similarly to Elizabeth, Malika and Ion. We cannot see that the Office has learnt from the other cases.

The Judgments have preserved the President’s dispositive powers. We, for our part, consider that amnesty would be a fair execution of the Judgments. In all cases, it would also serve social peace and justice.

Reparation and protection

A second pillar of the justice system, namely the functioning of the internal Appeals Committee, also needs to be repaired.

Staff representatives face difficulties accommodating their workload in the Appeals Committee with the workload in their other duties, mostly patent examination. Judgments 3971 and 4050 made public these difficulties, resulting in disciplinary measures against Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund, which the Tribunal considered “within the range of acceptability” or “not to be disproportionate”. It is now absolutely clear that those disciplinary measures were politically motivated as part of an intimidation campaign against staff representatives.

We consider that reparation of the torts inflicted on Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund would also serve social peace and justice.

This would draw a final line under an inglorious chapter in the Office’s history.

Against that historical backdrop, special attention must now be paid to ensure that members of the new Appeals Committee have both a minimum level of independence and peace of mind. As staff representatives, they are increasingly facing the same quandary as their predecessors: trying to reduce the backlog when workload is being increased on all fronts. This is why we expect that management will refrain from undue pressure, vexations or threats of retribution against them in their day-to-day business.

The Central Staff Committee

As we shall show in our next post, all the same EPO issues persist, aside from union-busting zeal, censorship (we’re still blocked by António Campinos and our site has been under sporadic DDOS attacks since Monday), corruption and nepotism. There are purely technical problems, the ‘politics’ aside…

Links 14/11/2018: KDevelop 5.3, Omarine 5.3, Canonical Not for Sale

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 05:37:59 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Meet TASBot, a Linux-Powered Robot Playing Video Games for Charity

    Can a Linux-powered robot play video games faster than you? Only if he takes a hint from piano rolls…and doesn’t desync.

    Let me begin with a brief history of tool-assisted speedruns. It was 2003. Less than half the developed world had internet access of any kind, and YouTube hadn’t been created yet. Smartphones were rare and nascent. Pentium III processors still were commonplace, and memory was measured in megabytes. It was out of this primordial ooze that an interesting video file circulated around the web—an 18MB .wmv labeled only as a “super mario bross3 time attack video” [sic]. What followed was an absolutely insane 11-minute completion of the game by someone named Morimoto replete with close calls, no deaths and Mario destroying Bowser after apparently effortlessly obtaining 99 lives. The only other context was a link to a page written in Japanese, and the rough encoding that Windows Media Video format was known for in that era made it difficult for casual viewers to observe that it was an emulator recording rather than the output of a real Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console.

  • Desktop
    • Windows 10’s October Update Returns, Promises Not to Delete Your Files

      Microsoft has finally re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update—in mid-November. All those file deletion bugs should be fixed, and Windows Update will soon automatically install it on your PC.

    • Windows Isn’t a Service; It’s an Operating System [Ed: No, it is neither. It is malware (keylogger and more) bundled/strapped onto a kernel that can boot the malware and get preinstalled -- by pressure and bribes -- by OEMs]

      “Windows as a Service” is failing. It’s obvious: Windows is not a service, and never was. It’s a desktop operating system, and it doesn’t need updates every six months. Even iOS and Android only get significant updates once per year.

    • Microsoft Is Talking About Windows 10’s Quality, But Changing Nothing

      Microsoft today re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. Rather than explaining what went wrong, Microsoft publicly patted itself on the back for its great quality assurance process. Microsoft promises increased transparency and better communication, but talk is cheap.

    • Microsoft lobs Windows 10, Server Oct 2018 update at world (minus file-nuking ‘feature’) after actually doing some testing

      In early October, Microsoft made Windows 10, Windows Server, and Windows Server 2019 build 1809 available for download, and within days pulled them after all kinds of terrible shenanigans started happening, primarily people’s files going AWOL.

    • Microsoft Responds to Criticism, Adds Snapdragon 850 to the List of Supported Processors for Windows 10

      Meanwhile, it remains a good omen for Windows 10 users that the October update is temporarily being provided in an error-corrected version, possibly to be re-released tonight with other updates for various systems.

    • Microsoft Finally Re-Releases Windows 10 October Update

      Apart from recurring sound issues that always seem to find its way in every Windows 10 update, the 1809 update also brought a file deletion bug that brought havoc on users by deleting their personal files. And there’s the recent Windows Activation Bug, not to mention.

    • UserLAnd Review: a little Linux in your pocket
    • Hands-on: Linux on DeX finally gives the Samsung mobile desktop system a purpose [Video]

      Whilst I’m not a developer or even a user of any Linux distro, I do think that having a proper desktop environment might open up a huge number of use-cases for those that want to have access to a real Linux experience on a device. Remember the failed IndieGoGo from Canonical way back in 2013? They tried — and failed — to convince enough people that the Ubuntu Edge was a viable product.

      Now, Samsung is trying to do something similar, to convince us that DeX can bridge that mobile-to-desktop gap, but (at present) solely with the help of Canonical. That means that at the minute you’ll only be able to install a tailored version of Ubuntu (Ubuntu 16.04 LTS provided by Canonical) for your Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. There is no word on if or when older devices might get the functionality.

    • Samsung’s Linux on DeX turns your phone into a Linux PC

      I remain convinced that this is eventually what all our phones will be able to do – adapt to whatever input method and/or display you hook up to it. We’re in the early stages today, with lots of rough edges, performance hiccups, and other issues, but eventually, we won’t bat an eye at walking into our homes and without us doing anything, our phone wirelessly hooks up to all displays in our house. Want to work on that presentation for tomorrow? Walk into your office, sit down, and your phone automatically wirelessly connects to the mouse, keyboard, and display on your desk. Want to watch Netflix? Just yell a command at your TV, and your phone plays season 7 of Game of Thrones: The Next Generation on your TV. And so on.

    • Samsung Linux on DeX beta APK ready to download

      Before last week ended, Samsung made it known to us the Linux on DeX beta program would be ready soon for the Galaxy Tab S4 and the Galaxy Note 9. This was almost exactly a year since we learned the South Korean tech giant would bundle Linux on Samsung DeX. We’ve only been waiting for it to happen and looks like it’s finally happening although still in beta. Just shared on XDA Developers form is the Linux on Dex Beta APK you can now download.

      Samsung launched the DeX station last year and it’s getting an important update with Linux in the picture. Initially, it’s out for the Galaxy Tab S4 and the latest Galaxy S9 duo.

      The DeX functionality is better than ever now with Linux support, it will be more advanced yet simpler because it will only need a video cable. No need for the DeX docking station.

  • Server
    • OpenStack Now Powers 75 Public Clouds Worldwide

      While there is a lot of talk about large public cloud providers and other open-source cloud efforts in the media and elsewhere, the OpenStack Foundation continues to move forward, albeit with less hype than it once was able to muster.

      On Nov. 13, the OpenStack Foundation announced that it is rebranding its OpenStack Summit event, which is running here Nov. 13-15, to the Open Infrastructure Summit, as part of the open-source organization’s continued movement to look beyond just its own core open-source cloud effort.

      On the other hand, even as the OpenStack Foundation looks beyond its namesake project for the future, the present reality is that OpenStack is quietly powering a lot of cloud infrastructure. Although OpenStack is not thought of among the big three public cloud providers—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure—it does power more than 75 other public cloud providers worldwide. At the OpenStack Summit, multiple operators and vendors including Huawei, Deutsche Telekom and OVH detailed how they are scaling increasingly larger cloud platforms, all powered by OpenStack.

    • PHP 7.2, Node.js 10, NGINX 1.14 and others now GA for RHEL

      These versions are available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (Devtools or RHSCL channel) for x86_64, s390x, aarch64, and ppc64le. Read more details about each component in the “New Components details” section.

    • GCC 8.2 now GA for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

      We are pleased to announce general availability of Red Hat Developer Toolset 8 beta for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7.

      [...]

      Like other tools, these are installable via yum from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or 7 Devtools or RHSCL channel. For more details, see the “New Features” section below.

    • Clang/LLVM 6.0, Go 1.10, and Rust 1.29 NOW GA for RHEL

      These toolsets can be installed from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Devtools channel. See the “New compiler details” below to learn about the new features.

    • HelpSystems Gets Into JAMS for Scheduling

      HelpSystems yesterday announced the acquisition of MVP Systems Software, the Connecticut-based developer of the JAMS workload management and scheduling software. While JAMS supported IBM i, HelpSystems will count on the product to deliver capabilities primarily in the open systems realm, with cloud possibilities looming in the future.

      The acquisition came together as the result of mutual respect that HelpSystems and MVP Systems Software had for each other, says Kate Bolseth, general manager of cross platform products at HelpSystems.

    • What’s the reality of OpenStack and public cloud?

      My colleague, Margaret Dawson, spends a lot of time talking with customers. And in those conversations, questions about cloud and OpenStack invariably come up. She shared this message a while back, during her keynote at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, and it still resonates. While public cloud looms large in many companies’ plans, OpenStack’s future looks bright in the hybrid cloud reality we see today — and tomorrow.

      “Most of you, especially if you’ve been working on OpenStack for a while, hear ‘Game’s over. Why are we even still doing this? AWS has won, so let’s just put everything in the public cloud and call it a day.”

    • Impact of IBM-Red Hat Merger

      Recently, there have been numerous machine learning, and AI algorithms developed to achieve the desired output in a dynamic, efficient, and effective manner. However, in a real-time scenario, an individual algorithm has its own advantages and is restricted to certain limitations. These limitations can be minimized by integrating different algorithms to achieve the desired task. By capturing the insights into the integral approach, IBM has announced its acquisition of Red Hat technologies to enhance its cloud-based business services to its clients.

      In the past year, nearly a quarter of IBM overall revenue was achieved through the cloud service platform. But with an increase in competitors, the company was overshadowed by other cloud rivals such as Microsoft and Amazon. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, stated that at present, only 20 percent of the companies are renting cloud services to cut costs; over 80 percent are still unlocking their business values and can shift their business applications to the hybrid cloud in the near future for data extraction and optimization.

    • OpenStack Expands With New Projects, Canonical’s CEO Is Not Thrilled About It

      For those who have been paying attention (and SDxCentral has been), the OpenStack Foundation has been expanding its scope beyond the basic compute, storage, and networking sub-projects of its cloud infrastructure software. Today at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin the group made it official, announcing that it will host new open source projects with a new governance framework.

      The OpenStack Foundation board approved the governance framework to incubate new pilot projects that are relevant to the open infrastructure community. As part of this new framework, the first four pilot projects are Kata Containers, Airship, Zuul, and StarlingX. All of these projects have been previously announced.

    • Open source is growing up – and here’s how

      If you’re among those who still think that open source is just for hobbyists and academics, think again. Open source is mature now, both as a concept and as tools for building enterprise IT, and we have two major shifts in understanding to thank for that.

      The first key change is that there’s a much more mature understanding now of how the layers of IT architecture relate to each other – of what fits where, in other words. Instead of trying to do too much, adding in every feature or capability that might be related, open source projects have become more focused.

      For example, instead of misunderstanding them as rivals, we can now see OpenStack and Kubernetes for what they are. The former is an infrastructure layer, upon which you can run platform layers such as the latter.

    • Open-source and cloud-native, Kubernetes paves the way for new companies to bring DevOps to data

      With less than two months left, 2018 is poised to go down in tech history as the coming of age for open-source software.

      Need evidence? Over the past 10 months, notable open-source enterprises MuleSoft Inc., Magento Inc., GitHub Inc. and Red Hat Inc. have been purchased for a combined $50 billion.

      Yet before jumping on the open-source bandwagon, observers would be wise to keep in mind that these technologies still depend on a sizable community of contributors to keep innovation fresh, and monetization of many open-source projects remains a struggle. So what is all the fuss about?

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 coming soon with tighter Kubernetes integration

      Today, Red Hat has announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, saying it will become available in the coming weeks. The firm says that the latest version, which is built on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, more tightly integrates with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform which gives admins full control over their Kubernetes environments.

    • Red Hat commits to Openstack for ‘at least’ 10 years

      While Red Hat understandably wouldn’t discuss anything to do with the IBM mega-acquisition – for regulatory reasons – director of product management James Labocki and senior director for product management at Openstack Nick Barcet confirmed Red Hat’s commitment to Openstack for at least the next “10 years”.

      The open source giant today announced Openstack Platform 14, which Barcet said aimed to make Openstack a better platform to run container orchestration system Kubernetes on, while also helping to better manage the deployment of Red Hat’s container platform OpenShift on bare metal, as well as easing the integration of OpenShift and Openstack at the networking and storage layer. This, says Barcet, is a landmark move for Red Hat because it is part of a new strategy to focus on its whole portfolio as a single entity rather than individual products.

    • Kaloom Collaborates with Red Hat to Deliver a Virtual Central Office Solution for Multivendor NFV Deployments
  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.19.2
    • Linux 4.18.19
    • Linux 4.14.81
    • Linux 4.9.137
    • linux-4.19-ck1, MuQSS version 0.180 for linux-4.19

      Announcing a new -ck release, 4.19-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.180. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

    • MuQSS Scheduler Updated, Linux 4.19-ck1 Drops BFQ I/O Scheduler

      Con Kolivas is out with an updated version of his MuQSS scheduler (based on his former Brain BFS Scheduler work) as well as his “-ck” patch-set against the mainline kernel.

      MuQSS 0.180 is the latest version of the scheduler designed for working particularly well on desktop and mobile systems for maximum responsiveness and interactivity. This code has been re-based against the upstream Linux 4.19 stable series along with his 4.19-ck1 patch-set that has accounting fixes.

    • Linux Foundation
      • The Ceph Foundation has been launched by the Linux Foundation to support the open source storage project

        At Ceph Day Berlin, yesterday (November 12) the Linux Foundation announced the launch of the Ceph Foundation. A total of 31 organizations have come together to launch the Ceph Foundation including industries like ARM, Intel, Harvard and many more. The foundation aims to bring industry members together to support the Ceph open source community.

        [...]

        The Ceph Foundation will provide an open, collaborative, and neutral home for project stakeholders to coordinate their development and community investments in the Ceph ecosystem.

      • Linux Foundation Launches Open Source Ceph Storage Group

        Open source storage gets a boost today as the Linux Foundation launches the Ceph Foundation with more than 30 members including China Mobile, DigitalOcean, Intel, OVH, and Red Hat.

        The Ceph project is a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces. It was co-founded more than a decade ago by Sage Weil, who is now chief architect at Red Hat for Ceph, and University of California, Santa Cruz professor Carlos Maltzahn. A whole team of storage engineers now manage and maintain the open source code.

      • ZTE Joins Ceph Foundation as One of First Platinum Members

        ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, joined the Ceph Foundation as the founder member and one of the first Platinum members at the Ceph Day in Berlin, Germany.

      • OPNFV Gambia — Doing what we do best while advancing cloud native

        Today, the OPNFV community is pleased to announce the availability of Gambia, our seventh platform release! I am extremely proud of the way the community rallied together to make this happen and provide the industry with another integrated reference platform for accelerating their NFV deployments.

        At a high level, Gambia represents our first step towards continuous delivery (CD) and deepens our work in cloud native, while also advancing our core capabilities in testing and integration, and the development of carrier-grade features by working upstream. As an open source pioneer in NFV, it’s amazing to see the evolution of the project to meet the needs of a quickly changing technology landscape.

    • Graphics Stack
      • What Is Screen Tearing and How to Get Rid of It on Linux

        Unfortunately for Linux fans, screen tearing is, and has been, a persistent annoyance that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There are a couple of factors enabling the longevity of the screen tearing issue.

        First, and probably most obviously, is the dated, broken, and bloated X server. Even with the progress of Wayland, X is here to stay for the immediate future. Next is the strange and inconsistent graphics driver picture. One of the biggest offenders in causing screen tearing is also the most popular GPU manufacturer on Linux, NVIDIA. Throw in different desktop environments with their own display settings and compositors, and you have a real mess.

        These methods will hopefully eliminate screen tearing in most situations, but it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, thanks to the amount of variables involved. Try what applies to your system, and keep in mind that there might be new factors involved.

      • Collabora Revives Work On Alpha Compositing Protocol For Wayland

        Collabora’s Scott Anderson has revived work on the alpha compositing protocol for Wayland, which is based upon the work done by Google on this functionality for Chromium on Wayland.

        The Wayland Alpha Compositing Protocol is intended to control the alpha compositing and blending of surface contents within a Wayland environment. This experimental protocol allows for advanced blending and alpha operations on Wayland surfaces (wl_surface) and Google’s work on it dates back at least two years.

      • Radeon Linux Driver Preparing Adaptive Backlight Management (ABM)

        The “AMDGPU” Radeon Linux kernel graphics driver is preparing support for “Adaptive Backlight Management” as a backlight power-savings feature for laptops.

        Adaptive Backlight Management reduces the backlight level in an effort to save power but increases the pixel contrast and luminance to improve image quality and readability under the lower light condition.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • A Journey on Budgie Desktop #2: Raven

      Raven, the Super+A menu, is the special right panel on Budgie Desktop Environment. It’s represented by a white door icon with a left arrow on it beside the power icon on the top panel. It’s interesting as it’s fun to show/hide in end-user’s perspective. It’s unique, compared to same right-side panel concepts on BlankOn and deepin, it has own name Raven while being very minimal yet usable. See more below. This is the continuation after the first part talked about the Top Panel. Enjoy and please wait the next part about Applets!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDevelop 5.3 released

        A little less than a year after the release of KDevelop 5.2 and a little more than 20 years after KDevelop’s first official release, we are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.3 today. Below is a summary of the significant changes.

        We plan to do a 5.3.1 stabilization release soon, should any major issues show up.

      • KDevelop 5.3 Released With Better C++, Python & PHP Support

        KDevelop 5.3 brings the Clazy analyzer that makes use of Clang, many improvements to C++ support, a whole lot of PHP language support improvements, and the Python language support has seen some fixes as well as the ability to inject environment profile variables into the debug process environment. KDevelop 5.3 has also seen improvements for its support on BSD, Haiku, and other operating systems.

      • NVIDIA Working On An EGLStreams Back-End For KDE On Wayland

        With no recent activity on the NVIDIA-led Unix device memory allocation work that all developer communities could get behind to supersede GBM and EGLStreams for use by Wayland compositors, NVIDIA is working on an EGLStreams back-end for KDE’s KWin compositor.

        Similar to the work done on an EGLStreams back-end for GNOME and other EGLStreams work by the smaller Wayland compositors, a NVIDIA engineer is now officially working on an EGLStreams back-end for KWin so that the NVIDIA proprietary driver would play well with KDE on Wayland. Up to now KWin has only supported the Mesa GBM interfaces. KDE developers have said they wouldn’t invest in developing an EGLStreams back-end, but that they wouldn’t be opposed if say NVIDIA would contribute and maintain the code — that’s what is happening now.

      • Shop update! Digital Atelier and a new USB-Card

        And we’ve also created a new USB-card, with the newest stable version of Krita for all OSes. Includes Comics with Krita, Muses, Secrets of Krita and Animate with Krita tutorial packs.

      • KDE Bugsquad – Okular Bug Day on November 17th, 2018

        Thank you to everyone who participated last Bug Day! We had a turnout of about six people, who worked through about half of the existing REPORTED (unconfirmed) Konsole bugs. Lots of good discussion occurred on #kde-bugs as well, thank you for joining the channel and being part of the team!

        We will be holding a Bug Day on November 17th, 2018, focusing on Okular. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME Mutter Brings More Fixes, Shell 3.31.2 Has Some Performance Work

        New development releases of GNOME Shell and Mutter are out today in the 3.31 development series along with new 3.30 stable point releases that back-port more fixes for these important pieces to the GNOME desktop.

        Mutter 3.31.2 brings a number of fixes including better handling for non-UTF8 encodings, memory leak fixes from the 3.30 series, a possible crash when restarting the window manager, initial Meson build system support, a crash fix for monitor hot-plugging, and other fixes rounding this out as a practical update.

      • GSoC Mentors Summit 2018

        I represented GNOME, sadly alone because the other selected mentor didn’t get the US visa in time. This was my first trip out of India and I couldn’t plan it properly1, so I went there for just the two conference days.

  • Distributions
    • The Best Linux Distros For Beginners

      Everyone needs to start somewhere, and Linux is no different. Even though it became a meme, telling newcomers to install Gentoo isn’t very productive, and it harms the community as a whole.

      There are distributions that work to make themselves accessible to people of every skill level and technical aptitude. They’re often called “Beginner distributions”, but they aren’t just for beginners. Actually, any one of these choices would be great for everyone, but they’re also the best places for newbies to start.

    • Reviews
      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Elementary OS 5.0 Juno

        Elementary OS is currently riding high in the Distrowatch rankings and it has been a while since my last review so I thought it was high time I took another look.

        The tag line at the top of the Elementary OS website reads as “The fast, open and privacy respecting replacement for Windows and macOS”.

        In this review I am going to examine this claim in depth as well as other claims such as “Apps you need, without the ones you don’t”. The website states that the applications have been carefully considered to cater for your everyday needs so you can spend more time using your computer and less time cleaning up bloatware.

        Without further ado lets separate the fact from the fiction and explore Elementary OS with a virtual magnifying glass befitting a well known sleuth. After all it is “Elementary” my dear Watson. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

    • New Releases
      • LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.007 ALPHA

        The LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has continued and releases for Amlogic and Slice hardware have been added additionally to the test cycle. We official support now Khadas VIM (AML S905X) and the LePotato (AML S905X) too. Since the 8.90.006 release we support a wide range of Rockchip devices. There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC, we wrote an dedicated article about the future of LibreELEC.

        Alpha releases are important to the team because we cannot test every scenario and sometimes sidestep issues without realising. The project needs a body of regular testers to go find the problems we miss. Testing will be particularly important for LibreELEC 9.0 as Kodi v18 includes substantial internal changes to VideoPlayer and introduces new retro-gaming capabilities.

      • Omarine 5.3 released! (Nov 14 2018)

        This release updates dbus and glib together with all dependencies and related packages. Some of them are rebuilt, the rest are upgraded. Glib 2.58.1 can be considered a development threshold because many dependent packages must be caught it up. Below is a list of some typically upgraded packages:

    • Debian Family
      • Debian Packages To Eliminate Vendor-Specific Patches, Affecting Downstreams Like Ubuntu

        Debian packages have supported the concept of vendor-specific patches whereby when DPKG unpacks a source package on different operating systems / distributions (such as Debian vs. Ubuntu), different patches could be selectively applied. Ubuntu is one of the main benefactors of this feature while effective immediately these vendor-specific patches to source packages will be treated as a bug and will be unpermitted following the Debian 10 “Buster” release.

        This vendor-specific patch behavior for DPKG is mainly to help downstreams of Debian such as Ubuntu (not to be confused with vendor-specific hardware patches, etc). This vendor-specific patching has been used where say Ubuntu wishes to make some customizations to a Debian package that are minor in nature or basic alterations, they could land the changes in upstream Debian as a vendor-specific patch that would then be applied to the source package when building on Ubuntu… But keeping the package unpatched on Debian, or vice-versa. It reduces the maintenance burden for those wanting to selectively make basic changes to a package without having to maintain multiple largely redundant packages.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 19.04 Development Starts Off With Python 3.7, Merged Usr Directories

            Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” development is now officially underway.

            Following the initial sync from Debian unstable, Ubuntu developer Matthias Klose announced this morning that “Disco Dingo is now open for development.”

            The initial prominent changes in the archive include landing Python 3.7 as the default Python3 version after Ubuntu 18.10 shipped with Python 3.6, removal of OpenSSL 1.0 with intending to only ship OpenSSL 1.1.1 LTS, and upgrading to Perl 5.28.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 13 November 2018

            As announced, Cosmic Cuttlefish was released Oct 18. Check out the release notes for more information on changes, download the latest server ISO, or try out our live-server ISO. As of Friday last week, the Ubuntu archive is now officially open for development on Disco Dingo. See the Disco Dingo release schedule for important milestones of this upcoming release. Let’s continue to make Ubuntu excellent!

          • Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth Has No Plans Of Selling Canonical

            A couple of weeks ago IBM announced its plan to buy Red Hat for $34 billion. Following that, experts started speculating that rival companies like Canonical and Suse would sell as well.

            However, Canonical’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, doesn’t seem to have any plans of selling the company — at least not in the near future. In an encounter with TechCrunch, he said, “I value my independence.”

            One of the reasons behind this decision is that he doesn’t really need the money. But another big reason for not selling is his vision for Canonical and Ubuntu, which he would like to see through personally.

          • Mark Shuttleworth is not selling Canonical or Ubuntu — yet

            Actually, the question most of us wanted him to answer is: “After IBM paid a cool $43-billion would he consider selling Canonical?” After all, Canonical is also a top Linux company with a arguably a much stronger cloud and container presence than Red Hat. By The Cloud Market’s latest count of Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances, Ubuntu dominates with 307,217 instances to Red Hat’s 20,311. Even so, in a show floor conversation, Shuttleworth said, “No, I value my independence.”

            That’s not to say he’s not willing to listen to proposals. But he has his own vision for Canonical and Ubuntu Linux. If someone were to make him an offer, which would leave him in charge of both and help him further his plans, then he might go for it. Maybe.

            It would have to be a heck of an offer though, even by post-Red Hat acquisition terms. Shuttleworth doesn’t need the money. What he wants is to make his mark in technology history.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Is your startup built on open source? 9 tips for getting started

    When I started Gluu in 2009, I had no idea how difficult it would be to start an open source software company. Using the open source development methodology seemed like a good idea, especially for infrastructure software based on protocols defined by open standards. By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic—we underestimate the difficulty of starting a business. However, Gluu was my fourth business, so I thought I knew what I was in for. But I was in for a surprise!

    Every business is unique. One of the challenges of serial entrepreneurship is that a truth that was core to the success of a previous business may be incorrect in your next business. Building a business around open source forced me to change my plan. How to find the right team members, how to price our offering, how to market our product—all of these aspects of starting a business (and more) were impacted by the open source mission and required an adjustment from my previous experience.

    A few years ago, we started to question whether Gluu was pursuing the right business model. The business was growing, but not as fast as we would have liked.

  • Cisco partners using open source gain 10% sales advantage over rivals

    Cisco channel partners deploying open source software on top of network delivery are seeing higher sales than those who don’t, the vendor has revealed.
    Susie Wee, the president and CTO of Cisco’s developer program DevNet, claimed partners who had a staff member using the platform’s code and ecosystem exchanges, were seeing 10 per cent more sales revenue than their channel competitors.

    Speaking to ARN, Wee said that while the partners’ growth was not necessarily caused by DevNet, the numbers represented a strong correlation.

  • Events
    • Achievement unlocked! I spoke at PythonBrasil[14]

      PythonBrasil is the national Python community conference that happens every year, usually in October, in Brazil.

      I attended PythonBrasil for the first time in 2016, the year we had started PyLadies Porto Alegre. Back then, we were a very small group and I was the only one to go. It was definitely one of the best experiences I ever had, which, of course, set a very high standard for every single tech event I attended afterwards.

      Because of the great time I had there, I wanted to bring more and more women from PyLadies Porto Alegre to experience PythonBrasil in the next editions. So, during the PyLadies Porto Alegre 1st birthday party, I encouraged the other women to submit activities to try and to go to the conference that would happen in Belo Horizonte.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Browser Based Open Source Image Optimization Tool Squoosh Comes To Google Lab’s Latest Release

        Open source, browser-based image optimization tool Squoosh is Google’s new Chrome Lab release. This new web tool is meant to make web developers work a lot simpler to optimize web pages. Images loading in a website is usually the reason for them to take so long to load and Squoosh helps web developers shrink the image so that it consumes lesser data. Squoosh can downsize, compress, and reformat images. Its purpose is to make web developers’ work less tedious and hence quicker. Google chrome labs made this tool available offline and said it would be handy to have this tool work offline. Squoosh also supports editing image codecs that are not normally available in the browser.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla shares how AV1, the new the open source royalty-free video codec, works

        Last month, Nathan Egge, a Senior Research Engineer at Mozilla explained technical details behind AV1 in depth at the Mile High Video Workshop in Denver. AV1 is a new open source royalty-free video codec that promises to help companies and individuals transmit high-quality video over the internet efficiently.

        AV1 is developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), an association of firms from the semiconductor industry, video on demand providers, and web browser developers, founded in 2015. Mozilla joined AOMedia as a founding member.

        AV1 was created for a broad set of industry use cases such as video on demand/streaming, video conferencing, screen sharing, video game streaming, and broadcast. It is widely supported and adopted and gives at least 30% better than current generation video codecs.

      • Private by Design: How we built Firefox Sync

        Firefox Sync lets you share your bookmarks, browsing history, passwords and other browser data between different devices, and send tabs from one device to another. It’s a feature that millions of our users take advantage of to streamline their lives and how they interact with the web.

        But on an Internet where sharing your data with a provider is the norm, we think it’s important to highlight the privacy aspects of Firefox Sync.

        Firefox Sync by default protects all your synced data so Mozilla can’t read it. We built Sync this way because we put user privacy first. In this post, we take a closer look at some of the technical design choices we made and why.

      • This Week in Rust 260

        This week’s crate is cargo-nono, a cargo subcommand to check a crate’s dependencies for no-std compatibility. Thanks to Hobofan for the suggestion!

      • Your Privacy Focused Holiday Shopping Guide

        The lyrics to “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” detail an omniscient Saint Nicholas. But in 2018 — in an era of always-listening products and apps — the lyrics might as well be detailing the latest connected device.

        This holiday season, Mozilla is helping consumers identify which connected products are secure and trustworthy — and which aren’t. The goal: help consumers shop for gifts based on how well they protect the privacy and security of their friends and family, in addition to traditional factors like a product’s price and performance.

  • Databases
    • Meet TiDB: An open source NewSQL database

      As businesses adopt cloud-native architectures, conversations will naturally lead to what we can do to make the database horizontally scalable. The answer will likely be to take a closer look at TiDB.

      TiDB is an open source NewSQL database released under the Apache 2.0 License. Because it speaks the MySQL protocol, your existing applications will be able to connect to it using any MySQL connector, and most SQL functionality remains identical (joins, subqueries, transactions, etc.).

      Step under the covers, however, and there are differences. If your architecture is based on MySQL with Read Replicas, you’ll see things work a little bit differently with TiDB. In this post, I’ll go through the top five key differences I’ve found between TiDB and MySQL.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Trying DragonFlyBSD & FreeBSD On The Intel Core i9 9900K With ASUS PRIME Z390-A

      Since last month’s Intel Core i9 9900K launch for this eight core / sixteen thread processor we have explored its performance for Linux gaming, how the performance and power efficiency go from the Intel 990X to 9900K, the Spectre mitigation costs, and the Intel Coffeelake Refresh performance across various Linux distributions. For those curious about using the new Intel CPUs and Z390 motherboards with one of the BSD operating systems, I spent a few days over the weekend trying out FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD releases with the i9-9900K and ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard combination.

    • Upgrading OpenBSD 6.3 to 6.4 on Vultr
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • It Looks Like The Raptor Blackbird Open-Source Motherboard Will Sell For Just Under $900

        Many have been curious to learn more about the Blackbird from Raptor Computing Systems as a lower-cost POWER9, open-source hardware alternative to their higher-end Talos II hardware that we’ve been recently benchmarking. The possible price has been revealed.

        Overnight, Raptor Computing Systems tweeted a straw poll looking to gauge the interest level in “Would you pre-order a Raptor Computing Systems Blackbird system or board this year at a mainboard cost of $875?”

  • Programming/Development
    • C++20 Making Progress On Modules, Memory Model Updates

      This past week was an ISO C++ committee meeting in San Diego, which happened to be their largest meeting ever, and they managed to accomplish a lot in drafting more planned changes around the C++20 language update.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Intel and Rolls-Royce Team Up for Autonomous Shipping

      One business making a big push toward this future is Rolls-Royce’s commercial marine division, which is now part of Norwegian shipping company Kongsberg (NASDAQOTH:NSKFF). That division just inked a deal with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) to deploy Intel’s technology for autonomous shipping fleets, which could be roaming the seas by the time we welcome the 2030s.

      This is not the Rolls-Royce motorcar brand that you’re familiar with, which is now owned by BMW. Rather, this is the Rolls-Royce division involved in making engines for commercial shipping. That division was sold by the larger Rolls-Royce British parent company, which makes aerospace engines, to Kongsberg in June.

    • US Losing Its Luster for Foreign Students

      The U.S. remains the top destination in the world for more than 1 million visiting students — hosting more than double the next country, the United Kingdom. But while 1.5 percent more students studied in the U.S. last year, the rate of new enrollments — specifically, undergraduate students — declined by 6.6 percent, a trend first seen the preceding year, according to the Institute for International Education’s (IIE) annual Open Doors report.

  • Hardware
    • Apple’s T2 Security Chip Will Block Certain Third-Party Repairs, Users Might Have To Shell Significantly More For Repairs

      If you are a fan of Apple and a Gadget geek, you must be familiar with the T2 chip, which goes about as a co-processor in Apple’s devices and, is the key to a considerable lot of Apple’s freshest and most advanced features.

      Apple affirmed this is the situation for fixes including certain parts on more up to date Macs, similar to the rationale load up and Touch ID sensor, which is the first run through the organization has freely recognized the new fix necessities for T2 prepared Macs. In any case, Apple couldn’t give a rundown of fixes that required this or what gadgets were influenced. It additionally couldn’t state whether it started this convention with the iMac Pro’s presentation a year ago or if it’s another strategy organized as of late.

      The T2 is a customized component that performs different complex and essential functions such as preparing for Touch ID. It additionally stores the cryptographic keys important to boot the machines it keeps running on safely. According to Apple, the chip has new features, as well, for example, empowering the MacBook Pro to react to “Hello Siri” queries without expecting you to press a catch. It additionally keeps its workstation from being remotely worked on by programmers when the cover of the gadget is shut. Furthermore, the T2 chip is equipped for speaking with different segments with the end goal, to play out the simple most essential and advanced errands present day Macs are prepared to do.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health

      Millions of children die every year as a result of environment-related diseases. Their deaths could be prevented by using low-cost and sustainable tools and strategies for improving the environment. In some countries, more than one-third of the disease burden could be prevented by environmental changes. According to a WHO study carried out in 23 countries, more than 10 percent of deaths are due to unsafe water and indoor air pollution, particularly from solid fuel used for cooking.

      Children make up almost half the population of developing countries. Most of the deaths are among children under five and are attributable mainly to intestinal and respiratory infections. People living in industrialized countries are also affected by environmental factors such as pollution, occupational factors, ultraviolet radiation, and climate and ecosystem changes.

      The integrity of the global environment is being increasingly compromised by the deterioration of the atmospheric ozone layer and an ever-higher concentration of gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. To the degree that these factors intensify, the health of populations will be seriously affected.

      Environmental factors affect children’s health from the time of conception and intra-uterine development through infancy and adolescence. These factors can even exert an influence prior to conception since both ovules and sperm can be damaged by radiation and chemical contaminants.

      It has been widely demonstrated that children are more susceptible than adults to environmental factors because, among other reasons, they are still growing and their immune systems and detoxification mechanisms are not yet fully developed.

      Interventions both at the community and the national level can significantly improve the environment, including the promotion of safe-water treatment and storage, and the reduction of air pollution. The last measure by itself could save almost a million lives a year.

    • Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing

      The town of Libby is a striking and tragic example of corporate irresponsibility, weak regulation and the deadly effects of asbestos exposure. And it’s not just Libby. Nationally, the epidemic of deaths from asbestos exposure shows no sign of slowing down — it’s estimated that nearly 40,000 people die from asbestos exposure each year in the USA alone.

      Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and experts agree that no amount of use of the toxin is safe. The European Union already prohibits its use, and despite this ominous classification, the United States is woefully lagging behind in the banning of asbestos.

      Asbestos-related deaths in the United States demonstrate how our regulatory system for managing chemicals in the U.S. — known as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — has failed to protect the public. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to ban asbestos in 1980s, but despite the overwhelming evidence of its deadliness, a court ruled in 1991 that the EPA failed to clear all the hurdles under this law.

      When Congress passed bipartisan legislation in 2016 strengthening TSCA, many thought it would pave the way to banning asbestos use in the U.S. In fact, that was the intention under the newly strengthened TSCA and the accompanying regulations written by the Obama administration.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Protecting the Digital Supply Chain

      You first learn about the importance of the supply chain as a child. You discover a shiny object on the ground and as you reach down to pick it up your parent says “Don’t touch that! You don’t know where it’s been!” But why does it matter whether you know where it’s been? When your parents know where something came from, they can trust that it’s clean and safe for you to play with. When they don’t, their imagination runs wild with all of the disgusting bacteria and viruses that might taint it.

      The food supply chain is important. Food is sealed not just so that it will keep longer, but also so that you can trust that no one has tampered with it between the time it left the supplier to the time it goes in your grocery bag. Some food goes even further and provides a tamper-evident seal that makes it obvious if someone else opened it before you. Again, the concern isn’t just about food freshness, or even someone stealing food from a package, it’s about the supplier protecting you from a malicious person who might go as far as poisoning the food.

      The supply chain ultimately comes down to trust and your ability to audit that trust. You trust the grocery and the supplier to protect the food you buy, but you still check the expiry date and whether it’s been opened before you buy it. The grocery then trusts and audits their suppliers and so on down the line until you get to a farm that produces the raw materials that go into your food. Of course it doesn’t stop there. In the case of organic farming, the farmer is also audited for the processes they use to fertilize and remove pests in their crops, and in the case of livestock this even extends to the supply chain behind the food the livestock eats.

    • I found a security hole in Steam that gave me every game’s license keys and all I got was this… oh nice: $20,000

      A bloke has told how he discovered a bug in Valve’s Steam marketplace that could have been exploited by thieves to steal game license keys and play pirated titles.

      Researcher Artem Moskowsky told The Register earlier this week that he stumbled across the vulnerability – which earned him a $20,000 bug bounty for reporting it – by accident while looking over the Steam partner portal. That’s the site developers use to manage the games they make available for download from Steam.

    • Hacker Receives $20,000 From Valve For Discovering Steam Bug That Generates Free Steam Keys
    • Cryptojackers Come to Linux with a Brand-New Stealth-Like Crypto Mining Malware [Ed: This only impacts already-cracked machines -- an important distinction to be made -- and they blame "Linux" while calling Windows "PC"]

      Linux users are not immune from stealth cryptocurrency mining, also called cryptojacking, anymore. Japanese cryptosecurity company Trend Micro discovered that a cryptocurrency miner known as KORKERDS behaves in a strange way, with the potential to hide its activity from Linux users.

      Trend Micro posted information on its website that the route of infection is yet to be investigated. However, the mining malware might get installed onto the victim’s computer through a compromised plugin or software download.

    • Vulnerability In Android Exposes Sensitive Data From RSSI Broadcasts, Can Be Used To Locate Users In Local Wifi Networks [Ed: So-called 'phones' always broadcast that data widely, the question is just, how widely?]
    • Security updates for Wednesday

      Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (powerdns and powerdns-recursor), Debian (ceph and spamassassin), Fedora (feh, flatpak, and xen), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-rt, openstack-cinder, python-cryptography, and Red Hat Single Sign-On 7.2.5), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.4, python3.5).

    • iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9, Xiaomi Mi 6 Hacked At Pwn2Own Tokyo [Ed: All so-called 'phones' nowadays have a back door at the baseband OS, so cracking them and remotely controlling them is trivial, securing them a non-starter.]
    • It’s Amateur Hour in the World of Spyware and Victims Will Pay the Price

      We’re living in the golden age of spyware and government hacking, with companies rushing to join a blossoming billion dollar market. The weakest among us—activists or journalists—will suffer the consequences if we don’t regulate it appropriately.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • For What?

      Europe is now commemorating the 100 year anniversary of World War I, with all of the pageantry that accompanies it. I just can’t help but wonder, “Do they get it yet? Do they really understand what it was all about?” Do they realize yet that 20 million soldiers, people, killed and died for nothing?

      It was a stupid colonialist war that accomplished absolutely nothing of importance, just power changing hands. At least Lenin was smart enough to see that and immediately got Russia out of it. On the other hand, the Americans were particularly stupid since this war was strictly a European affair, in actuality, a European family feud. But Americans didn’t understand that. They thought that since it was a war between the Big Powers, they should be included and recognized. The Americans said, “Hey, we’re a big power too, you know. Take notice of us, Europe. We recently acquired some colonies of our own! We have every much of a right to send our boys overseas to proudly die in your colonialist war!” Of course, Europe welcomed them, but behind their backs, they snickered to each other in private, “These dumb Americans. They don’t realize that this is a family feud.” However, the futility of war was quite lost not only on the Americans but on the Europeans as well. Europe should instead hold a ceremony to mourn those who died for nothing. Ironically, at least then it would have some meaning. I could support that.

      Curiously, even after one century, no one seems absolutely sure why the war started in the first place. What was it all about? It was so crazy, demented, when you think of it, wasn’t it? Here was this huge, unprecedented world war that began after a century of relative peace in Europe, and for what? This is something people should think about before they revel in the pageantry. Some 20 million people died, which means that 20 million people killed others, which also means that so many, many millions more lost a father, a husband, a grandfather, a friend, a lover – and for what?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • US Intel Will Bring Assange to US in Chains

      It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.

      It created a trove of primary source material that serious journalists and researchers will mine for years to come. Its publications are accessible to readers who prefer primary sources to mostly mediated news.

      Wikileaks so infuriates the USA’s most violent, corrupt, and criminal institutions that Hillary Clinton half-jokingly suggested drone-bombing Assange. Other U.S. politicians called for his execution by other means.

      California’s 28th District Congressman Adam Schiff, who became the chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats reclaimed the House, said he would speak to Assange “when he is in U.S. custody, not before.”

      Schiff is a vociferous and supremely self-righteous leader of the Democratic Party’s “Resistance,” which sullies the name of the underground movement formed in France during World War II to fight Nazi Germany’s occupying forces and the collaborationist Vichy government.

    • Twitter Mystery: Fox News, Jill Stein, WikiLeaks, Prominent Right Wingers Abruptly Stop Posting At Same Time

      In the days that followed, a stream of other right-wing and Trump-connected individuals and organizations have also fallen silent on the site, widening the mystery of why they have so suddenly stopped posting. Speculation reigns as to whether there is any connection or co-ordination between these conservative outlets.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Century-Old West Virginia Leases Yield Paltry Gas Royalties. A Suit Could Cut Others’ Payouts to a Trickle, Too.

      Linda Stimmell gets upset every time EQT Corp.’s checks arrive in the mail. The energy giant extracts natural gas from beneath the Stimmell family’s old farm in Doddridge County, West Virginia, under the terms of a lease signed when Teddy Roosevelt was president.

      The royalty checks Stimmell receives from two “Bates Wells,” named for her great-great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Bates, amount to just $9 and $3 each quarter.

      The lease Bates signed more than a century ago with Carnegie Natural Gas Co. of Pittsburgh allowed legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s company to drill for, produce and sell as much natural gas as Carnegie wanted. In exchange, Bates got a flat fee of $300 a year per well.

      [...]

      The lawsuit, filed in April, challenges a 1982 law that aimed to give gas owners a bigger share of the profits. That law applied to situations where the gas lease was an old flat-fee arrangement and the well was drilled after the law took effect. In order to get a state permit for such wells, gas companies would have to pay the gas owners at least 12.5 percent of the revenue from the gas.

      EQT lawyers argue that the company invested time and money on leases, betting financially that, eventually, more modern drilling techniques would fuel skyrocketing production in West Virginia’s Marcellus Shale gas fields.

      “It was entirely foreseeable that, over time and with investment, mineral extraction technology and related infrastructure would continue to improve, new technologies would develop, and the market for natural gas would grow,” the company maintained in its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg.

      EQT wants a federal judge to throw out the entire 1982 statute. The company declined to comment on the lawsuit beyond its court filings.

      A victory for the company could shift millions of dollars in gas royalties from West Virginia residents and businesses to out-of-state gas producers like EQT, a politically connected company with a board member, Bray Cary, who is a top adviser to Gov. Jim Justice.

    • Alternatives to Wilderness?

      In recent years it has become fashionable for conservationists to substitute and promote other land classification in place of wilderness designation. Wilderness is “passé” so we are told, even though it is the “gold standard” for land protection.

      In a recent white paper, The Wilderness Society outlined some of these alternatives such as National Recreation Area, Conservation Management Area, Special Management Area (Newberry Crater), National Scenic Area, Wildlife Management Area, and other titles.

      While such designations may confer greater flexibility than wilderness designation, and often more protection than no special label, since there is no “organic act” for such classifications, there is no consistent policy protection for such designations. The degree of protection provided can vary and depends entirely on the original language that created such areas. By contrast, with Wilderness designation, we know what we are getting.

    • Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation

      David and I recently spent a couple weeks in the company of a group of Romanians who had come to the U.S. to learn what we had to offer about coexisting with grizzly bears, which are of the same species, Ursus arctos, as their local “brown bears.” They had come to Seeley Lake, Montana, for a week-long workshop sponsored by Humane Society International (HSI), because, in the words of Gabriel “Gaby” Paun of Agent Green, a Romanian environmental group: “we are losing our bears, not learning.” Afterwards, Gaby, Laszlo Gal, Levante (“Levi”) Peter and Lajos Berde (see their photos below) spent another week based at our place where they covered an astonishing amount of Yellowstone by car and foot, and where we continued our fascinating conversations about people and bears.

      We Americans alternate between bragging and complaining about the roughly 700 grizzlies that live, isolated, in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. But Romania’s Carpathian Mountains support 10-times more bears, an astonishing 7,000 or so, in an area of roughly the same size – more than in all other European countries combined, and, of them all, the most genetically robust. I came into the workshop believing that we have as much or more to learn from Romanians as they do from us, and I believe that even more strongly now. (For more, listen to this delightful interview with Manon Dene, Paris-based advocate for HSI, Episode 31– and here is my can’t-miss interview with Gaby, Episodes 32 and 33).

  • Finance
    • Five ways Amazon HQ2 could impact the DC area

      Amazon has spent more than $44 million lobbying Congress over the last four years, and doubled the number of lobbyists it employs.

    • Amazon Splits Coveted ‘HQ2’ Between New York and Washington

      The search was also a not-so-subtle message to the city of Seattle, where some political leaders have blamed Amazon for skyrocketing property values, gridlocked highways and a growing homeless crisis. Tension between Amazon and the city spilled into the public spotlight earlier this year, when the city council approved and then overturned a payroll tax on big employers to pay for affordable housing and programs to fight homelessness. Amazon, the city’s dominant employer, threatened to push growth elsewhere if it was approved.

    • ‘It’s obscene and wrong’: Amazon HQ2 gets typically warm New York welcome

      “To provide a billion dollars in taxpayer money at a time of scarce resources to one of the richest corporations in the world, that’s run by literally the richest man in the world – it’s obscene and it’s wrong,” Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Long Island City on the city council, told the Guardian.

    • After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North

      Change happens on many levels: cultural, economic, industrial, social, artistic, personal, psychological, spiritual, and more. We must work in all of them if we hope for lasting, systemic shifts. Don’t be fooled by the annual circus of voting. Go vote, sure, but don’t sit back down on the couch when you’ve cast your ballot. Go out into your community, businesses, churches, colleges, and so on, and work for the changes we wish to see in the world. In truth, no legislation has the power to enact the full scope of change without the cooperation of all those other institutions and the popular support in ordinary citizens.

      Want living wages, for example? Change the sickening culture of greed and the hero worship of the criminals at the top of capitalism’s cannibalistic food chain. Challenge the moral “right” our culture places upon exploitation and survival of the fittest. We will never see justice for workers while we salivate over billionaires and laud their “brilliance” (read: ruthless willingness to shove others under the bus) with which they “made their fortunes” (read: stolen from others by means of low wages, high prices, global exploitation, insider deals, destruction of the earth, corruption of democracy, self-serving laws and legislation.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • 11,000 Votes May Be Missing in Florida Congressional Race

      Counties across Florida are currently under intense pressure and scrutiny as they race to complete the unprecedented task of three simultaneous statewide recounts. According to a schedule provided to Truthout by the Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC), the deadline for finishing machine recounts and submitting those second unofficial results is Thursday, November 15, at 3 pm. Races that are close enough to require what is being described as a “manual” recount — where a limited number of ballots are counted by hand — must submit official returns Friday, November 16, by noon. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher has already stated that her county will be unable to meet the deadline, calling it “impossible.” The statewide races where recounts are required are for governor, agricultural commissioner and Senate, where current Gov. Rick Scott maintains a razor-thin lead of 12,562 votes in his attempt to take a Senate seat away from his rival Democrat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. That lead is now less than the mysterious 25,000 undervote that was reported previously in the race.

      According to The New York Times, if any county cannot complete the recount by the deadline, then Saturday’s results will stand in that county. Another county that is likely to find the recounts challenging is Broward County, a behemoth Democratic stronghold with over 700,000 total ballots cast. The supervisor of elections there, Brenda Snipes, received a summary judgment against her in May 2018 for illegally destroying ballots in the 2016 Democratic congressional primary race between incumbent Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova, a professor of law and public finance at Nova Southeastern University.

    • An Emoluments Suit Against Trump Is Moving Ahead. We Spoke to a Plaintiff About What’s Next. — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra
    • Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?

      That, however, is not what CNN contends. They’re not upset that you and I can’t plop ourselves down in White House press room chairs and start firing off questions at the president any time the spirit moves. Their lawsuit argues, rather, that because CNN is a popular cable channel and its White House correspondent is very special and important, Jim Acosta is entitled to a chair, a desk, and face time with Donald Trump.

      I suspect a lawsuit on similar supposed First Amendment claims from, say, Caitlin Johnstone, Alex Jones, Chris Hedges, or the “White House Correspondent” of a small-town Kentucky newspaper would get laughed right out of court (and out of the “mainstream press”), even if they all agreed to hand the microphones back over when their time ran out.

    • CNN Lawsuit Seeks To Show That Trump Can’t Kick Reporters Out For Asking Tough Questions

      As you’ve probably heard by now, last week there was a bit of a scuff up in which the President in his standard manner got irritable and annoyed when CNN’s Jim Acosta kept asking questions the President didn’t feel like answering. This has resulted in a bunch of nonsense involving everyone trying to justify their own side’s talking points — but the simple fact of the matter is that it’s a journalist’s job to ask tough questions of politicians. There was a made up controversy involving claims that Acosta “assaulted” an intern who sought to take away his microphone, and the White House supported it with video evidence that some have claimed was doctored, while others have noted just happened (coincidentally) to have been re-encoded in a way that made Acosta’s hand motions look more menacing than they really were. Either way, the end result was that the White House removed Acosta’s press pass, claiming it was because of what happened with the intern, when literally everyone knows it was because of his questioning (if you want to honestly argue that it was because of the intern, go away).

      On Tuesday, CNN announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the White House over the removal of the press pass, arguing that it violated both 1st Amendment and 5th Amendment rights. CNN and Acosta are represented by Ted Boutrous and Ted Olson (along with some other Gibson, Dunn lawyers) which is some serious firepower as they’re two of the most high profile lawyers out there. Olson, a former Solicitor General during the George W. Bush administration, was rumored earlier this year to be considering joining Trump’s legal team, before declining. And now he’s suing Trump’s White House.

    • The Government is Our Teacher

      At his death sentencing in 1997 Timothy McVeigh, the infamous Oklahoma City bomber, spoke words that every American should take to heart when confronted with violence perpetrated by US veterans. Quoting Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, McVeigh stated, “Our government is the potent, omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example.” In 1995, McVeigh, a decorated Gulf War veteran, who a comrade referred to as “the best soldier I met when I was in the Army”, carried out the largest terrorist act on US soil pre-9/11.

      Unfortunately, many US veterans like McVeigh have used skills and training acquired in the military to kill fellow Americans. The latest is Ian David Long, a former Marine allegedly responsible for a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California that left 12 people dead. Although authorities will search for motives, it is likely they will dismiss Long’s own words, as McVeigh’s have been ignored. Reportedly, in a Facebook post before the attack, Long wrote: “I hope people call me insane… (laughing emojis).. wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”

      If Long’s and McVeigh’s indictments fall on deaf ears, perhaps the words of a Marine Corps Pastor who served with Long in Afghanistan will carry more weight. The pastor, Thomas Burke, stated, “We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It’s not mental illness. It’s that we’re doing something to a generation, and we’re not responding to the needs they have.”

      [...]

      Johnson, like McVeigh, was a psychopath. But McVeigh’s pathology did not stop him from rationally spelling out the reasons he took his actions. For example, he claimed that he was awarded medals for killing enemy Iraqis but was a villain at home for fighting against a Clinton government he perceived as a threat to the Republic. McVeigh was a Christian from Upstate New York radicalized by the destruction wrought by the US military in Iraq in 1991, especially on the “highway of death”. The Waco Raid in 1993 that saw the FBI firebomb David Koresh’s compound, killing the radical preacher but also innocent women and children, pushed him over the edge. McVeigh stated, “[his] bombing was a retaliatory strike; a counter attack, for the cumulative raids (and subsequent violence and damage) that federal agents had participated in over the preceding years (including, but not limited to, Waco).”

    • The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend

      As per usual in my ongoing failure to “speak to the day” as a journalist should, this piece will come out after the “most important election of our lifetimes”-midterms. Part of the delay was having to deal with friends who were worried that I would say the sorts of things I say here—because, you know, as a philosopher and retired professor the influence I have is enormous! I’ll return to the all-important midterms at the end, now that they are (safely?) behind us.

      I imagine the “lifetimes” in question are those of the well-trained liberals, progressives, and “leftists” who are now in their twenties, thirties, and forties; “educated people.” For anyone older, I find it hard to understand how they think the stakes of things within the existing social system are so different than in any other election. Even for those in their forties, we have lived as adults in a time when the Supreme Court stopped an election and installed a president and vice-president in what looked like a right-wing coup. This unfolded into real elements of fascism, such as the abrogation of the U.S. constitution by the Patriot Act, the starting of wars on the basis of outright lies (lies that were easily seen through, but that were supported by Democrats in Congress such as Hillary Clinton); these wars continue today. But my liberal friends say, “never mind that, because … Trump.”

    • What Tester’s Win Means

      Montanans should be proud of their fellow citizens for sending Jon Tester back to the Senate on Election Day. Faced with the ugliest display of crude and degrading campaigning against him by the president, his son, the vice president and other out-of-state politicians, Tester — a true Montanan born and raised under our big sky — managed to prevail without once resorting to the lowlife tactics of his opponents.

      Not in recent memory has any sitting president come to Montana four times to campaign against an incumbent Montana senator. As President Trump made widely known, he considered it his revenge mission to unseat Tester, claiming that it was “personal” because Tester torpedoed Trump’s nominee to head the Veterans Administration.

      But in truth, Trump’s nominee, Ronnie Jackson, withdrew voluntarily after Tester released details provided to him concerning Jackson’s proclivity to pass out prescription drugs like candy and drink on the job. That Jackson bailed prior to his Senate confirmation hearing says a great deal about the validity of the concerns raised by Tester who, as a senator, has a constitutionally mandated duty to “advise and consent” on high-level administration nominees.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • The US Refusing To Sign ‘The Paris Call’ Is Not As Big A Deal As Everyone Is Making It Out To Be

      On Monday, a bunch of countries and companies officially announced and signed “The Paris Call,” or more officially, “the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace.” It’s getting a fair bit of press coverage, with a lot of that coverage playing up the decision of the US not to sign the agreement, even as all of the EU countries and most of the major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Cisco and many many more signed on.

      But, most of those news stories don’t actually explain what’s in the agreement, beyond vague hand-waving around “creating international norms” concerning “cyberspace.” And the reports have been all over the place. Some talk about preventing election hacking while others talk about fighting both “online censorship and hate speech.” Of course, that’s fascinating, because most of the ways that countries (especially in the EU) have gone about fighting “hate speech” is through outright censorship. So I’m not quite sure how they propose to fight both of those at the same time…

    • Nice Work EU: You’ve Given Google An Excuse To Offer A Censored Search Engine In China

      I both agree and disagree with this statement. What China is doing is to a different degree. But the mechanisms and the concepts behind them are the same. Indeed, we’ve pointed out for years that any move towards internet censorship in the Western World is almost immediately seized upon by China to justify that country’s much more aggressive and egregious political censorship. Remember, back when the US was considering SOPA/PIPA, which would have censored whole websites on the basis of claims of copyright infringement, the Chinese government gleefully pointed out that the US was copying China’s approach to the internet, and pushing for a “Great Firewall” for “harmful” information. It’s just that, in the US’s case, that “harmful information” was infringing information that hurt the bottom line of a few entertainment companies, while in China, they saw it as anything that might lead to political unrest. But, as they made clear, it was the same thing: you guys want to keep “harmful” information offline, and so do we.

      That push for SOPA/PIPA gave the Chinese cover to continue to censor the internet — and now the EU and its silly Right to be Forgotten is doing the same thing. So, yes, the style and degree of the censorship is not the same — but the nature of what it is and how it’s done continues to give massive cover to China in dismissing any complaints about its widespread censorship regime.

    • Pennsylvania Attorney General Sends Broad, Unconstitutional Gag Order To Gab’s New DNS Provider

      The subpoena wasn’t sent to Gab, but rather Epik, the domain provider Gab picked up after being dropped by GoDaddy in the days after the shooting. The whole subpoena — rescued from deleted tweets — can be found at Unicorn Riot. The subpoena demands Epik turn over pretty much any document the domain provider might have on Gab, including names and addresses of “any and all persons or entities employed by, representing, or otherwise acting on behalf of Gab.”

      Shapiro’s fishing expedition — which decided to bypass Gab (most likely in hopes of finding its DNS provider more cooperative) — comes complete with a very half-assed gag order request.

    • Enforcing copyright in government documents? Not as uncommon as one might think

      It was just a few days ago that Advocate General Szpunar issued his Opinion[discussed here]in the important Afghanistan Papers case, ie Funke Medien, C-469/17. This is a referral from Germany asking about the interplay between copyright protection and fundamental rights, notably freedom of information and freedom of the press.

      Pending all this, some interesting news comes from Germany. The IPKat is happy to host the ‘alert’ below, as provided by Katfriend Mathias Schindler (as of September 2018, an assistant to Anke Domscheit-Berg).

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • ProtectedText – A Free Encrypted Notepad To Save Your Notes Online

      Note taking is an important skill to have for all of us. It will help us to remember and maintain permanent record of what we have read, learned and listened to. There are so many apps, tools and utilities available out there for note taking purpose. Today I am going to talk about one such application. Say hello to ProtectedText, a free, encrypted notepad to save the notes online. It is a free web service where you can write down your texts, encrypt them and access them from anywhere from any device. It is that simple. All you need is a web browser in an Internet-enabled device.

      ProtectedText site doesn’t require any personal information and doesn’t store the passwords. There is no ads, no cookies, no user tracking and no registration. No one can view the notes except those who have the password to decrypt the text. Since there is no user registration required, you don’t need to create any accounts on this site. Once you done typing the notes, just close the web browser and you’re good to go!

    • [Old] Jaron Lanier: How we need to remake the internet

      I don’t believe our species can survive unless we fix this. We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.

      In the meantime, if the companies won’t change, delete your accounts, OK?

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ By Lee Reed

      The phrase “thoughts and prayers” is reflexively uttered by elites, who desperately hope acknowledging tragedy will be enough to avoid doing anything to meaningfully address carnage and destruction.

      And for every tragedy that demands “thoughts and prayers,” there are many more examples in the United States and throughout the world that do not receive attention from politicians.

      On Canadian hip-hop artist Lee Reed’s latest album, “Before and Aftermath,” he deconstructs the common political expression, exposing how it reinforces a status quo that benefits Western capitalism and empire.

    • How Georgia’s Probation System Squeezes the Poor and Feeds Mass Incarceration

      Poor Georgians are falling victim to probation policies that enrich private companies and contribute to recidivism rates.

      Charles “Skip” Eckartz, a 63-year-old disabled veteran, and his wife, Virginia “Ginny” Eckartz, were arrested in their Georgia home for manufacturing marijuana. They were incarcerated for five days until Ginny was able to use the small inheritance she’d received after her mother’s death as collateral for their bond.

      Although all of the charges were dropped against his wife, Skip accepted a plea agreement that allowed him to avoid a felony conviction and up to 10 years in prison. Skip, who had no criminal history, was sentenced to five years of felony probation under the First Offender Act in Georgia.

      Unfortunately, Skip didn’t realize that probation, which is promoted as a way to keep people out of jail and prison, is actually one of Georgia’s main feeder systems of incarceration. In 2016, Georgia had more people on felony probation — close to 206,000 people on felony probation — than any other state in the nation.

      In addition to his sentence, Skip was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine plus court costs and fees. The Eckartzes survive on a fixed income of $965.89 a month. They net just under $12,000 a year, and owe the state almost $10,000 in fees and fines that Skip is required to pay as a condition of probation. The result: Skip is forced to decide between paying the lease on his home, or fines and fees. He lives with the constant threat that if he continues to miss payments, he could be thrown into prison and given a criminal record for the first time in his life.

    • Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

      Chicago’s most powerful alderman on Tuesday joined the growing chorus of leaders calling for reforms to the city’s ticketing and debt collection, introducing a measure to substantially limit the decades-old practice of seeking driver’s license suspensions over unpaid tickets.

      The proposal from Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke would require the city to take into account motorists’ income before taking away their driving privileges and create more affordable payment plans for them.

      Burke’s proposal was the latest in a series of reforms that aim to respond to growing public pressure over the way Chicago punishes motorists who can’t afford to pay tickets.

      “The impact of license suspensions truly hurts lower-income residents the hardest because of an inability they have to pay these steep ticket fines,” Burke, who represents the 14th Ward on the city’s Southwest Side, told the Finance Committee. “For many motorists, the loss of the privilege to drive equates to higher unemployment, and in worst-case scenarios, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings become necessary in order to protect licenses and vehicles required to get to work.”

    • Oregon Board Says Those Found Criminally Insane Rarely Commit New Crimes. The Numbers Say Otherwise.

      About 35 percent of people found criminally insane in Oregon and then let out of supervised psychiatric treatment were charged with new crimes within three years of being freed by state officials, according to a comprehensive new analysis by ProPublica and the Malheur Enterprise.

      The analysis and interviews show that Oregon releases people found not guilty by reason of insanity from supervision and treatment more quickly than nearly every other state in the nation. The speed at which the state releases the criminally insane from custody is driven by both Oregon’s unique-in-the-nation law and state officials’ expansive interpretation of applicable federal court rulings.

    • What Oregon Officials Knew and When They Knew It

      Members of the Psychiatric Security Review Board have said it is not their duty to track what happens to people they set free. But in private, board members and staff pushed to study recidivism and found high rates among people the board frees.

    • How We Analyzed the Outcomes of Those Freed by Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board

      Studies of the criminal justice system rarely consider what happens after insanity defendants are freed. In Oregon, that has meant state leaders have had no objective measure of the state’s approach, which places more people into community treatment and frees them from state supervision more quickly than other states.

      The Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica calculated outcomes by reviewing public records collected from the Psychiatric Security Review Board, courts and state agencies. The analysis is among a handful of recidivism studies of insanity defendants, experts said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Medium is a poor choice for blogging

      Many people choose Medium lately as their go-to platform to blog. Kind of like Blogger a while back, it just seems what everybody has been doing (unless you are really nit-picky and care enough to host your own thing).
      And kind of like Blogger, Medium is a terrible thing for publishing. If you think about publishing an article, starting a blog or even just sharing a short rant on Medium, please consider what you’ll be putting your readers through.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Warner-Lambert’s painful Lyrica appeal

      In his pre-dinner speech at the CIPA life Sciences conference last week, Lord Neuberger wistfully commented that, if there was one case that he would like to have come back to the Supreme Court bench for, it was Warner-Lambert vs Actavis. Following the Supreme Court hearing of this case in February, IPKat has spent the summer on tenterhooks waiting for the decision to be handed down.

      The decision was handed down this morning, and can be read here. In summary, the Supreme Court dismissed Warner-Lambert’s appeal that the patent was sufficiently disclosed, and upheld Actavis and Mylan’s appeal that the disputed claims were not even partially sufficient. The Supreme Court also unanimously held that, if the claims had been found valid, they would not have infringed. The Supreme Court was also unanimous on construction and found that the post-trial amendment sought by Warner-Lambert was an abuse of process.

    • USA: Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2017-1525, 09 November 2018

      The assignor of a patented network security logging device that “broadcast” network security threats was not estopped from initiating an inter partes review of the patent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has determined.

    • Trademarks
      • The Girl Scouts Sues The Boy Scouts Over Trademark

        What happened here is pretty simple. And, frankly, pretty stupid on the part of the BSA. And we should acknowledge that Techdirt generally, and myself specifically, tend to advocate a more permissive attitude when it comes to trademark concerns. In this case, what BSA did was to rebrand itself without the “Boy”, instead recruiting girls into its ranks using the “Scouts BSA” branding and term. To be somewhat critical of the Girl Scouts, having that “BSA” in its name certainly does some work to differentiate it and call back to its original Boy Scouts of America name, but I’m not sure one could argue that “BSA” alleviates any concern. The Girl Scouts, of course, are still a thing. And this appears to have led to very real confusion in the marketplace.

      • Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts for trademark infringement

        The Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts, saying the organization’s inclusive rebranding effort has caused all sorts of consumer confusion from mistaken enrollment in the Boy Scouts to misinformation about a merge of the two groups.

        Tuesday’s trademark infringement lawsuit is an attempt to clear up the uncertainty, said the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

        The Manhattan federal case noted the two separate youth organizations have long coexisted.

    • Copyrights
      • Nintendo ‘Wins’ $12 Million From Pirate ROM Site Operators

        This summer, Nintendo made it totally clear that websites offering access to its retro-games and ROMs will not be tolerated.

        The Japanese game developer filed a complaint at a federal court in Arizona, accusing LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co of massive copyright and trademark infringement.

        Faced with millions of dollars in potential damages, the operator of the sites, Jacob Mathias, swiftly took the platforms offline. The legal action also led to the shutdown several other ROM sites, who feared they could be next.

      • Nintendo ‘Wins’ $12.2 Million From A Couple Who Ran ROM Sites [Ed: Nintendo destroys people who sought to preserve memories, nostalgia and culture without actually harming anyone's bottom line (these games aren't for sale anymore)]

        A husband and wife from Arizona have been ordered to pay Nintendo a sum of $12.23 million in damages for running a couple of sites that offered pirated ROMs.

        Jacob and Cristian Mathias have admitted guilt of copyright and trademark infringement by operating LoveROMS.com and LoveRetro.co. These sites were up until July this year when Nintendo finally intervened and slapped a lawsuit against the duo.

Second Day of EPOPIC: Yet More Promotion of Software Patents in Europe in Defiance of Courts, EPC, Parliament and Common Sense

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 07:15:01 AM

From the EPO Gazette:

Summary: Using bogus interpretations of the EPC — ones that courts have repeatedly rejected — the EPO continues to grant bogus/fake/bunk patents on abstract ideas, then justifies that practice (when the audience comes from the litigation ‘industry’)

YESTERDAY we covered day one of EPOPIC, taking note of overt promotion of software patents in Europe by the António Campinos-led European Patent Office (EPO).

Day two of this event had yet more of the same, namely promotion of software patents in Europe. As people who are programmers probably know already, "AI" just means software; it’s a particular kind of software, but it’s still software. I myself have written algorithms in this domain under more than one employer and more than one university. Despite the fact that we’re talking about algorithms here, the EPO is blatantly working around the law again. Yesterday it wrote: “AI and the patent system: The fundamental concepts of patent law will adapt – from the protection of hardware innovation, to the protection of software innovation.”

When they say “patent law will adapt” they mean to say “will be worked around” (or violated) and by “software innovation” they mean programming. The EPO mentioned “AI” in another context (management of patents themselves), e.g. “Patent information professionals will be able to leverage AI’s ability to quickly process massive amounts of data to surface important information. Samuel Davis shares great insights on this topic at #EPOPIC [] What are the areas where the EPO uses AI? Automatic pre-classification of applications Automatic CPC classification of patent documents Automatic searches on patent applications Automatic annotation of patent literature Patent Translate…”

It’s important to stress that this isn’t about software patents but about software being used to manage patents (we suppose that the EPO will deem such software patent-eligible too).

Methods of violating the EPC (and then ignoring courts that say EPO is violating the EPC) are then specified by the EPO: “The EPO has developed a methodology in order to determine if computer implemented inventions are patentable: (1) Technical character, (2) Inventive step based on technical features only.”

This is nonsense; the nonsensical interpretation above has already been rejected by courts. But on they go: “EPO expert Argyrios Bailas presents how the EPO is incorporating AI tools in its work and how it examines applications related to artificial intelligence.” (combining the two aspects above).

“Patent offices need to provide a predictable, stable & timely approach to the patenting of computer implemented inventions,” the EPO then added.

Examiners should say “NO!” immediately (to such patent applications), as per the law — a concept that the corrupt EPO fails to grasp. This would be “predictable, stable & timely,” to borrow the EPO’s own words.

We suppose that the remainder of EPOPIC will have more of these same lies. We shall watch these closely today.

Allegations That António Campinos ‘Bought’ His Presidency and is Still Paying for it

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 06:47:45 AM

When the politician met the banker

Summary: Rumours persist that after Battistelli had rigged the election in favour of his compatriot nefarious things related to that were still visible

THERE have been several rumours swirling about António Campinos, but evidence is at times lacking or relatively weak. The European Patent Office (EPO) is corrupt, no doubt, and there’s plenty evidence to show it. Demonstrating that Campinos plays an active role in it, however, isn’t easy. Days ago we mentioned EPO ‘outsourcing’ rumours; we asked for input and got some input a couple of days later.

“We already saw Battistelli doing this many times in the past. It’s a form of corruption.”As readers may recall, Battistelli clearly meddled/intervened to have Campinos ‘set up’ as his successor. Take Belgium for example (we wrote about half a dozen articles about it, since more than a year ago, as this relates the UPC and EUIPO). Inside sources said that its vote was more or less ‘bought’.

Based on LinkedIn job postings, sources tell us, other countries may have had their vote ‘bought’ (rewards given after the vote, not before or throughout). We already saw Battistelli doing this many times in the past. It’s a form of corruption. We’ve been giving examples since 2014.

We’re told that the job postings have nothing to do with outsourcing but more to do with national patent offices and Council delegates (as was the case in Belgium). As one source framed it: “Is António Campinos paying for the votes which made him the seventh president of the EPO, or for future support?

“His election was a rigged process (we wrote about it countless times before) and the effect of this rigged election may be more profound and long-lasting than people care to realise.”A curious aspect of this is that the job advertisements on the EPO’s LinkedIn page aren’t always on the EPO’s site. Some may have already disappeared (maybe due to public scrutiny). We leave it as an exercise for the reader, e.g. which jobs these are and the possible motivations. One thing we do know is that there are internal conversations about it and Campinos has much to worry about. His election was a rigged process (we wrote about it countless times before) and the effect of this rigged election may be more profound and long-lasting than people care to realise. Certain people are indebted or are owed “favours”. There are many ways to pass money around, e.g. jobs, EU budget, and EPO budget (see how Battistelli looted the EPO itself a few weeks before he left).

WIPO Corruption and Coverup Mirror EPO Tactics

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 05:58:15 AM

Older: The Dark Side of WIPO and Attempts to Suppress Information Mirror the EPO’s Tactics

Summary: Suppression of staff representatives and whistleblowers carries on at WIPO and the EPO; people who speak out about abuses are themselves being treated like abusers

THE suppressions at the European Patent Office (EPO) are profound. These involve a total lack of transparency (worse than before), including gagging of staff representatives. The EPO’s management keeps pretending that this isn’t happening, but only based on a bunch of nonsense (doublespeak). It remains true that the EPO lies to staff and to journalists (the public).

“It remains true that the EPO lies to staff and to journalists (the public).”Barney Dixon’s article which was cited by SUEPO on the same day (as publication) is the latest SUEPO-related coverage from IPPro Patents. Misleading article headline is followed by the part at the end which balances it somewhat, if not outright refutes it (EPO doubles down on “staff rep email ban,” unlike what’s being suggested in the headline and start/middle). To quote IPPro Patents:

The European Patent Office has partially ended a ban on mass emails to EPO staff from staff representatives.

Under immediate EPO past-president, Benoît Battistelli, a blocking system was introduced to occlude all mass emails to staff from staff representatives, including the Central Staff Committee (CSC), local staff committees, and the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO).

In a communiqué to staff on 5 November, Campinos revealed that staff representatives would now be able to send mass emails for “certain purposes”.

He explained: “In the scope of our regular discussions, staff representatives have requested authorisation to send mass emails to all staff.”

[...]

According to SUEPO sources, under all previous EPO presidents the CSC, local staff committees and SUEPO were all about to send messages without limitation.

The sources said it was not in any staff representatives culture to abuse this power with too much or aggressive content.

The sources explained that since SUEPO could issue “reasoned and substantiated critics about his wrongdoings, Battistelli decided to go for an office-wide ban of all emails from the staff representatives”.

The sources added that Campinos wanted to “give staff and the public the feeling that he is re-establishing the censored channels of communication, whereas in facts, this is not the case”.

“Mass emails are limited to two calls for general assemblies per year and not allowed for other day-to-day topics, which are precisely those of great concerns for the entire workforce since they impact on them.”

As we explained before, António Campinos blatantly blocks any meaningful communication because the quotas correspond to annual or biannual meetings.

“What we see from Campinos right now reaffirms what we saw before; people who observe corruption aren’t able to speak, not safely anyway. This merely perpetuates the corruption.”There’s now a new example of similar suppressions at WIPO.

“WIPO,” one reader told us, is in many ways “same as EPO,” citing the following letter from the 3 staff federations regarding the case of Mr. Wei Lei.

“Any resemblance to EPO, is purely coincidental,” our reader joked. The old pattern ensues: gag the messenger, discredit the messenger, intimidate the messenger. Here is the letter, dated yesterday:

13 November 2018

Dear Mr. Gurry,

We are writing to you on behalf of the three staff federations of the UN common system, CCISUA, FICSA and UNISERV, representing 120,000 international civil servants worldwide, regarding what would appear to be a serious act of reprisal against Mr. Wei Lei, who holds a D2 Chief Information Officer position at WIPO and who is also the Vice-President of the WIPO Staff Association. We have been informed that the WIPO Administration has suspended Mr. Lei (an Australian national) from duty and given him seven days to respond to a charge letter, following what seems to be a tainted investigation conducted by WIPO into an alleged ATM bank card fraud.

Mr. Lei has been accused by WIPO of having used a colleague’s ATM bank card to withdraw CHF 300 from that person’s bank account at the UBS bank ATM on the WIPO premises. Mr. Lei denies the accusation and neither UBS nor the Swiss authorities have provided WIPO with any evidence or record that would substantiate the accusations.

The staff federations find all of this rather strange given the context. Mr. Lei was a key witness in the investigation carried out by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) into the alleged misconduct (procurement corruption) by you as WIPO Director General. A violation of the standards of conduct was substantiated by the OIOS; however, Member States decided not to take any action against you. Following the investigation, you apparently received an unredacted copy of the OIOS report, thereby exposing the witnesses to retaliation – this is contrary to standard investigative practice at WIPO.

We have been informed that Mr. Lei has already been investigated twice over the last two years and cleared of any wrongdoing during both investigations.

Furthermore, he is not the only staff representative at WIPO being subjected to such type of investigation or undergoing alleged harassment. We understand that Mr. Christopher Mason, President of the WIPO Staff Association (WSA), would seem to be the subject of yet another such investigation and Mr. Olivier Steele, another Vice-President of the WSA, has allegedly been informed that his fixed- term contract will not be renewed after 31 January 2019, because of a negative performance evaluation and his supervisor’s explicit disapproval of his activities as a staff representative, despite the fact that he has provided twenty years of loyal service to the Organization. Additionally, the case of Ms. Miranda Brown, former D2-level Strategic Adviser to the WIPO Director General and a prominent, blacklisted whistleblower who was forced out of WIPO, has still not been settled by the WIPO Administration, despite renewed legal action.

Mr. Lei, having been refused whistleblower protection by the WIPO Ethics Office appealed, in accordance with the WIPO whistleblower protection policy, to the UNOPS Ethics Office which subsequently granted him the status of whistleblower and the protection which is supposed to be accorded thereto. Moreover, the UNOPS Ethics Office concluded that an independent investigation must be conducted at WIPO to investigate the reported retaliation against Mr. Lei for having been a key witness against you in the above-mentioned OIOS investigation. We have been informed that this long- awaited investigation has finally been initiated but that the Terms of Reference may have been manipulated in breach of WIPO policy.

It has now come to our attention that WIPO’s current investigation of Mr. Lei may be flawed and that the so-called evidence may possibly have been manipulated or otherwise clearly does not prove his culpability beyond a reasonable doubt.

We understand that, for all of the above reasons, Mr. Lei has filed a complaint with the Geneva Prosecutor General and has expressly requested and volunteered to have his privileges and immunities lifted so as to allow the competent Swiss authorities to conduct a proper and independent investigation. It seems, however, that WIPO has repeatedly refused to lift Mr. Lei’s privileges and immunities preventing the Swiss authorities to proceed with the investigation. Despite its inability to obtain cooperation from the UBS bank, WIPO has apparently concluded the investigation and initiated disciplinary processes against Mr. Lei for serious misconduct that is likely to result in his summary dismissal.

Against the backdrop of allegations, OIOS investigations, WIPO investigations focused on staff representatives, reported retaliation and the decision of the UNOPS Ethics Office that Mr. Lei must be protected from retaliation; it makes it increasingly difficult to give credibility to any investigation conducted by WIPO.

In line with an organization’s duty of care to its staff and to ensure that Mr. Lei is provided a fair and independent investigation conducted by the Swiss authorities which can interact with the bank concerned, the staff federations strongly encourage you to lift Mr. Lei’s privileges and immunities in order to allow the Swiss authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged ATM bank card fraud. We urge you, in our capacities as Presidents of the three UN common system staff federations, to immediately suspend the disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Lei until the UNOPS evaluation in regards to retaliation is completed, an investigation by the Swiss authorities has taken place and the matter is finalized. We also urge you to suspend all actions against other elected WSA officials until WSA’s complaint against the WIPO Administration has been settled by ILOAT.

Failing to do so can only lead the three staff federations to conclude that this and other investigations against staff representatives at WIPO are contrived in order to silence any voice of criticism or respectful dissident opinion. We would therefore insist that all ongoing forms of retaliation against the WIPO Staff Association, whistleblowers and staff at WIPO who raise allegations of misconduct by WIPO Administration be stopped immediately.

Lastly, we are alarmed that the policies in place at WIPO to protect staff from retaliation are still not functioning.

We shall continue to monitor this issue closely.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Richards
President
Coordinating Committee for
International Staff Unions and
Associations (CCISUA)

Brett Fitzgerald
President
Federation of International Civil
Servants’ Associations
(FICSA)

Steve Towler
President
United Nations International
Civil Servants’ Federation
(UNISERV)

cc. Ambassador Esmael Baghhai of Iran, Chairman, WIPO Coordination Committee
WIPO Member States
Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Executive heads of FICSA, CCISUA and UNISERV member organizations
Member staff associations/unions of FICSA, CCISUA and UNISERV

Gurry — like Battistelli — is a thug who (mis)uses immunity to avoid accountability if not arrest for corruption. What we see from Campinos right now reaffirms what we saw before; people who observe corruption aren’t able to speak, not safely anyway. This merely perpetuates the corruption.

Links 13/11/2018: HPC Domination (Top 500 All GNU/Linux) and OpenStack News

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 08:29:25 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • An illustrated tour of Unix history

    Unix pioneer Rob Pike was there from the start, physically transporting key elements of the “Toronto distribution” of Unix to Berkeley when he started grad school, and then to Bell Labs, working alongside Dennis Ritchie and other key Unix programmers to develop and refine everything from modern editors to compilers to windowing systems.

    His hour-long “illustrated memoir” of the deep history of Unix is delightful, touching on the people and institutional forces that shaped the operating environment that has come to dominate modern computing (he even gives a mention to Cardiac, the cardboard computer that shaped my own computing life).

  • All Servers Are Now On Linux!

    The next step for these servers is to massage them into actual Linux Daemons, which shouldn’t be HUGE, but it will take a minor rewrite of some bits of code. Not a huge issue until I have a real server though. So, really the next step is to get the base functionality built out in the next 3 Servers(Mob, Narrative, & Social)

  • The Linux desktop: With great success comes great failure

    And what do roughly 95.6% of all websites run on? With the exception of Microsoft sites, the answer is Linux. Facebook? Linux. Google? Linux. Yahoo? Linux. Netflix? Linux. I can go on and on. You may use Windows on your desktop, but it’s effectively just a front end to Linux-based services and data. You might as well be using a Chromebook (running on Linux-based Chrome OS, by the way).

    But as a matter of fact, Windows is no longer the top end-user operating system. Oh yes, it does still dominate the desktop, but the desktop hasn’t been king of the end-user hill for some time. By StatCounter’s reckoning, the most popular end-user operating system as of September 2018, with 40.85% market share, was — drum roll, please — Android. Which — guess what — is based on Linux.

    So, in several senses, Linux has been the top end-user operating system for some time.

    But not on the desktop, where Windows still reigns.

    Why? There are many reasons.

    Back when desktop Linux got its start, Microsoft kept it a niche operating system by using strong-arm tactics with PC vendors. For instance, when Linux-powered netbooks gave Microsoft serious competition on low-end laptops in the late ’00s, Microsoft dug XP Home up from the graveyard to stop it in its tracks.

    But Microsoft’s avid competitiveness is only part of the story. In fact, Microsoft has gotten quite chummy with Linux lately. It’s fair to say that it’s no longer trying to stop the Linux desktop from gaining ground.

  • Palliative care for Windows 10 Mobile like a Crimean field hospital, but with even less effort

    Last Monday, a Microsoft update gave users a buggy Outlook mobile email client. The update was rapidly withdrawn, but that left owners with no working email client at all.

    “They’ve barely responded at all,” one owner told us on Friday. “A couple of tech supports on the web forums have suggested it’s a memory problem, while another claims that they’re aware and are looking into it. An obvious strategy would have been to update with the old app last night – but they didn’t.”

    Microsoft finally acknowledged the issue in build 16006.11001.20083.0 later on Friday, and rolled out an update at the weekend that finally fixed the problem.

  • Desktop
    • Samsung brings Linux desktop to its mobile devices with DeX beta

      SAMSUNG HAS RELEASED its Linux on DeX solution to the quandary of how to best use phones as desktop machines more convincingly.

      For all its wonderful qualities, Android has never been aimed at keyboard and mouse users, and whilst five years ago everyone assumed that was fine because we’d all be using tablets anyway, it’s 2018 and most people have stuck to what they know.

      But with our devices becoming ever more powerful, sometimes as powerful as our PCs, there needs to be a way to harness them. Huawei has its Desktop Mode, but other solutions like Remix OS and Google’s own Pixel C, have fallen by the wayside. For Google – Android apps in the more sympathetic Chrome OS have been the solution.

    • Samsung’s Linux on DeX turns your phone into a Linux computer [APK Download]

      Samsung debuted DeX last year to make your phone behave a bit more like a computer when plugged into a monitor. This year, DeX functionality has improved so you don’t need to expensive custom dock, just a video cable. At Samsung’s developer conference last week, it announced DeX would also get full Linux support. It’s only officially available to those in the beta program, but we’ve got the APK.

      To use Linux on DeX, you’ll need an updated Samsung device that supports DeX. Currently, only the Note 9 and Tab S4 work with the beta. Install the Linux on DeX app to get started. This is just a few megabytes because it’s not a full Linux distro (you’ll download that later).

    • Review: the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptop

      Canonical recently made an official announcement on its company blog stating that the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop (that is, Project Sputnik) now ships with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) pre-installed. Upon reading this, I quickly reached out to Dell asking to review the laptop. I’m a Linux developer, and when a developer edition laptop is marketed with Linux pre-installed, I need to experience it for myself. The laptop eventually arrived, and like a child on Christmas morning, I excitedly pulled the device out of the box and powered it up for the first time.

      This is a pretty rock-solid notebook. The device is very light and easy to carry—meaning, it’s mobile (which is very important in my book), thin and sleek. Not only does the device look good, but it also performs very well.

      [...]

      Overall, I had a very positive experience with the 7th generation Dell XPS 13. It’s a powerful machine and fully capable of handling all sorts of developer workloads. And if used in a professional environment, it’s very mobile as well. You can carry it from conference room to conference room and resume your work with little to no disruption. Ubuntu is well integrated with the machine, and it shows. You can’t ask for more in a developer’s laptop. I definitely consider this device to be well worth the investment.

    • What does your Linux setup look like?

      Jim Hall: I run Fedora Workstation on a Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop, with an ASUS 24″ external display. That gives me a dual-display configuration that lets me work in one window on the larger display while having a separate space to run my music player or other apps. I love my Perixx ergonomic keyboard and my Microsoft Classic Intellimouse. When I’m feeling nostalgic, I swap out the ergo keyboard with my replica IBM Model M keyboard by Unicomp; the buckling spring keys are really easy to type with. My printer is an HP color LaserJet, which works seamlessly with Linux.

  • Server
    • Systems Engineer Salary Rises Even Higher with Linux Experience

      Some companies treat “systems engineer” and “systems administrator” almost interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the two positions. In broadest terms, systems engineers must design and implement a company’s system (comprising the network, servers, devices, etc.), whereas systems administrators are largely charged with keeping everything running.

      To frame it another way, system administration is a very reactive role, with sysadmins constantly monitoring networks for issues. Systems engineers, on the other hand, can build a system that anticipates users’ needs (and potential problems). In certain cases, they must integrate existing technology stacks (e.g., following the merger of two companies), and prototype different aspects of the network before it goes “live.”

    • OpenStack vs. Cloud Foundry vs. Kubernetes: What Fits Where?

      Open-source cloud application infrastructure can be a confusing landscape to navigate with multiple projects, including OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes. While there are some points of overlap, each technology has its own merits and use-cases.

      Among the vendors that uses and contributes to OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes is SUSE, which also has commercial products for all three technologies as well. In a video interview with eWEEK, Thomas Di Giacomo, CTO at SUSE explains how the three open-source technologies intersect at his company.

      “We see that our customers don’t use a single open-source project, most of the time they to use different ones, with different lifecycles and sometimes they overlap,” Di Giacomo said.

    • Moving house and moving applications are not the same. Or are they?

      As a Solution Architect I see my job as many things, from supporting customers in adopting Red Hat technology, educating organisations about using open source technologies and the benefits it brings, to thinking of ways to solve business challenges using technology and culture change. However, these are all generally in the space of “green field” app development. But what about all the systems keeping the business going today?

      The challenges businesses face in dealing with these “legacy” systems are complex, multi-faceted, involve many teams, and often businesses face knowledge gaps in how everything works together.

      In the public sector, where I work, this problem of legacy systems is arguably larger and more challenging, with the need for organisations to share information, outlined by things like Digital Service Standard. But, it’s worked that way for years, so why change it?

    • Red Hat at Supercomputing 2018: Bringing open source innovation from high performance computing to the enterprise

      All supercomputers on the coveted Top500 list run on Linux, a scalable operating system that has matured over the years to run some of the most critical workloads and in many cases has displaced proprietary operating systems in the process. For the past two decades, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has served as the foundation for building software stacks for many supercomputers. We are looking to continue this trend with the next generation of systems that seek to break the exascale threshold.

      SC18, a leading supercomputing conference, begins today. Red Hat hopes to hold conversations and share our insights on new supercomputers, including Summit and Sierra, nascent architectures, like Arm, and building more open computing environments that can further negate the need for proprietary and monolithic implementations. The updated Top500 list is an excellent example of how open technologies continue to proliferate in high performance computing (HPC) and highlights how the ongoing software optimization work performed on these systems can benefit their performance.

    • New TOP500 List Lead by DOE Supercomputers

      The latest TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers is out, a remarkable ranking that shows five Department of Energy supercomputers in the top 10, with the first two captured by Summit at Oak Ridge and Sierra at Livermore. With the number one and number two systems on the planet, the “Rebel Alliance” vendors of IBM, Mellanox, and NVIDIA stand far and tall above the others.

    • How IBM and Red Hat Will Impact Your Cloud Strategy

      Barring a heavy-handed approach to the recent acquisition, IBM and Red Hat can do some amazing things in the market.
      IBM is a long way from making physical machines. That part of the business went with Lenovo several years ago. So, what has been their focus ever since? Software and services. And, among those software pieces and services has been the cloud.

      Until today, you may have heard little about IBM’s cloud presence. Although I can assure you it’s there, it was really struggling to compete with the likes of AWS, Azure, and even GCP. Now, with predictions like those from Gartner stating that by 2020, 90% of organizations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities and that the market in general could be worth $240 billion or more – this was as good a time as any to really take a dive into the cloud management and delivery ecosystem.

    • Integrating Vault with Legacy Applications

      This is the third post of our blog series on HashiCorp Vault. In the first post, we proposed a custom orchestration to more securely retrieve secrets stored in the Vault from a pod running in Red Hat OpenShift.

      In the second post, we improved upon that approach by using the native Kubernetes Auth Method that Vault provides.

      Both of the previous approaches assumed that the application knew how to handle the renewals of vault tokens and how to retrieve secrets from Vault. In all of our examples we used Spring Boot, which, we believe, has a sophisticated and out-of-the box Vault integration.

      In this post, we are going to add further improvements with the purpose of enabling applications that cannot integrate directly with Vault.it. We will assume that these applications (henceforth referred to as legacy applications) can read a file to retrieve their secrets.

    • Kaloom Collaborates with Red Hat to Deliver a Virtual Central Office Solution for Multivendor NFV Deployments

      Kaloom, an emerging leader in the fully automated data center networking software market, today announced collaboration with Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, around the launch of the Red Hat virtual central office solution, a Virtual Central Office (VCO) solution for multivendor NFV deployments at the edge. The solution is designed to speed and simplify the deployment of value-added residential, enterprise and mobile services by telcos and enterprises.

    • ​Red Hat blends Kubernetes into Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14

      Red Hat’s new OpenStack is built on top of the OpenStack “Rocky” community release. This version is noted for its significant bare-metal improvements in Ironic, its bare metal provisioning module, as well as in Nova, its compute instances provisioning program. Red Hat makes use of both improvements by automated provisioning of bare metal and virtual infrastructure resources in its OpenShift Container Platform.

      To manage those containers, no matter if they’re on bare metal or in a Virtual Machine (VM), the new OpenStack Platform 14 is more tightly integrated than ever with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Together, OpenStack Platform 14 aims to deliver a single infrastructure offering for traditional, virtualized, and cloud-native workloads.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 coming soon with tighter Kubernetes integration

      Today, Red Hat has announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, saying it will become available in the coming weeks. The firm says that the latest version, which is built on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, more tightly integrates with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform which gives admins full control over their Kubernetes environments.

    • Red Hat Releases Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 and a New Virtual Office Solution, ownCloud Enterprise Integrates with SUSE Ceph/S3 Storage, Run a Linux Shell on iOS with iSH and Firefox Launches Two New Test Pilot Features

      Red Hat this morning released Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, delivering “enhanced Kubernetes integration, bare metal management and additional automation”. According to the press release, it will be available in the coming weeks via the Red Hat Customer Portal and as a component of both Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and Red Hat Cloud Suite.

    • Red Hat tightens container integration with latest OpenShift release

      Red Hat Inc. is upping its Kubernetes game with release of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, the latest version of its infrastructure-as-a-service product.

      The new version announced early today, which is based upon the OpenStack “Rocky” community version, improves integration with OpenShift, Red Hat’s own version of Kubernetes, and features better support for bare-metal deployments and improved automation.

      OpenStack is Red Hat’s platform for organizations and service providers that want to run a hybrid cloud infrastructure consisting of common elements that run both on-premises and in public clouds. Improved OpenShift integration is a nod to the surging popularity of Kubernetes, which enables applications to be encapsulated and moved across platforms.

    • Red Hat Drives Unified Foundation for Kubernetes and Virtual Machines with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14

      Built on the backbone of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, Red Hat OpenStack Platform enables enterprises to transform their IT infrastructure into a more agile, efficient and innovative environment. Modular by design, it helps to optimize IT operations for existing traditional applications while serving as the foundation for cloud-native application development and deployment.

    • Announcing Red Hat AMQ Streams: Apache Kafka on Red Hat OpenShift

      Today we are taking an important step toward helping customers build event-driven applications with the introduction of Red Hat AMQ Streams, a high-performance data streaming capability based on the Apache Kafka open source project.

      Integration plays a vital role in the development of modern container- and microservices-based applications. These architectures are inherently more modular and require robust, distributed messaging capabilities that can meet the demands for scale and performance. Kafka was born out of the need to enable microservices and other application components to exchange large volumes of data as quickly as possible for real-time event processing. The technology has excelled at this, and is used today by organizations of all sizes to power mission-critical business applications.

    • Red Hat Adds Kafka Streaming to OpenShift

      Red Hat is adding data streaming capability to its OpenShift container platform with the addition of a distribution based on Apache Kafka.

      AMQ Streams is described as a high-end data streaming tool built on Kafka stream processing. Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) said Monday (Nov. 12) it is integrating the streaming capability with its flagship OpenShift platform based on its enterprise version of the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator. The combination is designed to provide messaging services in the cloud to connect legacy and cloud-native applications.

      “As more of the software world has converged on Kubernetes as the standard platform for building cloud-native applications, it is increasingly important to be able to run the communication infrastructure on the same platform,” Red Hat noted in a blog post. The result, the company added, is integration of event-driven microservices with Kafka’s ability to quickly exchange large data volumes for real-time event processing.

    • The mainframe returns – as a platform for large-scale Linux

      There are several ways to build large scale Linux server environments, with x86 and public cloud being obvious ones. But there’s another option too, as I reminded myself when I caught up with Adam Jollans, program director for LinuxOne product marketing at IBM. LinuxOne is a solution built by IBM using the mainframe platform as its base, but it’s solely focused on running Linux workloads.

      We discussed the way some organisations are using LinuxOne to keep mission-critical open source solutions running without service interruption and, just as importantly, to keep them secure. Typical workloads his customers run include core banking services – where resilience is essential, not just desirable – and similar solutions for Telcos and SPs. These are services that must scale to hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines, doing so both cost-effectively and without risk.

      The characteristics of such mission-critical workloads clearly resonate with the traits of the venerable mainframe. After all, the mainframe is regarded by many, even those who have never seen one, as the gold standard for IT resilience and availability. Unfortunately for IBM, and arguably for the wider world, the mainframe is also widely thought of as being out-dated, expensive, and difficult to manage – even though this hasn’t been true for a long time, and is certainly not the case with LinuxOne.

    • Will throwing a Red Hat into a Big Blue ring mean a purple patch for both companies?

      The global comms industry and those who analyse and report upon it have grown more or less inured to hearing yet another announcement about yet another gigantic merger, acquisition or “strategic partnership” (which a year-or-so down the line turns out to be an acquisition that was initially disguised as a marriage of equals). Consolidation exercises and the inflated prices being paid when one comms company buys another are now so commonplace that, more often than not, the news of the latest spending splurge is greeted by the media with “Oh, another one. Big deal. Ho-hum”.

    • Retired U.S. Army General H. Hugh Shelton, on what makes a leader he’d follow to Hades

      General Shelton was chairman of Red Hat’s board of directors for seven years and, before that, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997‒2001. During his time at Red Hat, General Shelton helped guide both me and our organization through some truly great times. When he announced his retirement from Red Hat’s board last year, I jumped at the chance to sit down with him one more time and do what he taught me: listen.

    • OpenStack expands focus beyond the IaaS cloud

      In Berlin, at OpenStack Summit, Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack’s Executive Director, announced that this would be the last OpenStack Summit and it would be replaced next year by Open Infrastructure Summit. This is more than just a name change. It represents that OpenStack is evolving beyond its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud offerings to offering a full range of cloud services.

      This isn’t a sudden change. OpenStack has been expanding its offerings for some time. As Thierry Carrez, the OpenStack Foundation’s VP of engineering wrote, in 2017 OpenStack started “shifting our focus from being solely about the production of the OpenStack software, to more broadly helping organizations embrace open infrastructure: using and combining open source solutions to fill their needs in terms of IT infrastructure.”

    • Stay classy: Amazon’s Jassy gets sassy with Larry

      Amazon’s consumer business has switched off its Oracle data warehouse and will be almost Big Red-free by Christmas – at least according to AWS boss Andy Jassy.

      The claims – made over Twitter, so it must be true – were then doubled down on by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, who said that the database was one of the largest in the world, adding “RIP”.

      It’s the latest in a long-running war of words between the rival tech giants that normally sees Oracle CTO Larry Ellison smack-talking the online marketplace-cum-cloud vendor.

    • U.S Supercomputers Lead Top500 Performance Ranking

      The IBM POWER9 based Summit system has retained its crown that it first achieved in the June 2018 ranking. Summit is installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and now has performance of 143.5 petaflops per second, up from the 122.3 petaflops the system had when it first came online.

      [...]

      Though China doesn’t hold the top spot on the list, it now has more supercomputers than any other other nation with 227. In contrast, there are now only 109 systems on the Top500 list that are located in the U.S., which is an all-time low.

      That said, thanks to the enormous power of Summit and Sierra at the top, the U.S. is home to 38 percent of the total aggregate supercomputing power on the top500 list, while China’s systems account for 31 percent.

    • Introducing Red Hat virtual central office solution: An open pathway to modern telecommunications services

      Digital transformation and technology modernization aren’t trends that are limited just to the enterprise world. Behind the walls of proprietary stacks, many telecommunications service providers also want to use open innovation to evolve their infrastructure and services in an agile, flexible fashion. But these closed stacks are a problem and one that extends from the core datacenter all the way to the central offices.

      Central offices are the local “hubs” of many telecommunications networks, often handling “last-mile” operations like telephone switching, copper, and optical terminations. These operations lean on purpose-built equipment that can be rigid and complex. Coupled with a lack of open standards, these devices can struggle to interact with each other, making the life of operations teams in central offices harder, especially in the face of demand for modern services expected from 5G. These differentiated services increasingly require virtualized environments and computing power at the network edge, leading to substantial demand for resources, flexibility and operational simplicity.

    • What does IBM’s Red Hat purchase mean for the data center?

      RedHat was one of the first big open source businesses. It’s grown over the years to encompass more than Linux, building out a complete developer stack that stretches from IoT to hyperscale clouds. It’s a reach that goes well beyond IBM’s, but at a very different, much smaller scale. Where IBM has been a one-stop shop for all your data center needs, RedHat has been a company that’s relied on partnerships and on industry collaboration.

    • Could Red Hat deal be a ‘distraction’ for IBM? Unisys CEO hopes so
    • Red Hat Accelerates Back Office Processes and Unifies Global Workforce with FinancialForce

      FinancialForce, a leading customer-centric ERP and Professional Services Automation (PSA) cloud solution native to the Salesforce Platform, announced that Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, is successfully unifying its global workforce and accelerating back-office processes with FinancialForce PSA.

    • DLT Awarded Coveted 2018 Red Hat Public Sector Partner of the Year Award
    • IBM’s Bob Lord: Red Hat Acquisition Makes IBM the Top Hybrid Cloud Provider

      “We are going to be the company that is providing enterprise-ready hybrid cloud solutions and actually create the foundation of the infrastructure of the future,” IBM’s ($IBM) chief digital officer Bob Lord told Cheddar on Tuesday.

      IBM’s Red Hat ($RHT) acquisition will be a game-changer for the information technology giant ー and it better be, at a $34 billion price tag. The deal, which is IBM’s largest ever and the third biggest deal in tech, is expected to close at the end of 2019. It’s been less than one month since IBM announced the acquisition, but executives like Lord are already suggesting it will be revolutionary.

      “With Red Hat, we now become the number one largest provider of hybrid cloud solutions in the world,” Lord said, “which is really important for all our enterprise clients.” He said the deal also means that IBM is doubling down on open source and “committing to the developer community that these tools are something that they are going to be able to use and have impact on the world.”

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Episode 43 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode of This Week in Linux we cover a big batch of releases from distros, apps, hardware and more. System76 launches the option to order their new Open Source Certified Desktop, Thelio. We got a big update from the Solus team about the future of the project. openSUSE announces the launch of their Legal Review System, Cavil. Fedora 29 has been released along with other releases like KDE Connect, Sailfish, i3 Window Manager, GIMP, VirtualBox and the Game Manager, Lutris. We’ll also take a look at some upcoming projects like Ubuntu 19.04, Cinnamon 4.0 and the Samsung DeX running Ubuntu. All that and much more!

  • Kernel Space
    • Kernel Developers Debate Having An Official Linux System Wrapper Library

      As new system calls get added to the Linux kernel, these syscalls generally get added to Glibc (and other libc libraries) for developers to make easy use of them from their applications. But as Glibc doesn’t provide 1:1 coverage of system calls, sometimes is delayed in their support for new calls, and other factors, there is a discussion about providing an official Linux system wrapper library that could potentially live as part of the kernel source tree.

      This weekend was the initial proposal for having an official Linux system wrapper library. Though that initial proposal is a bit flawed in saying that “glibc is basically not adding new system call wrappers”, as they are, just sometimes it takes a while among other factors. But it is accurate in reflecting a problem with the status quo.

    • Linux Getting Two-Line Patch To Finally Deal With The Quirky Microsoft OEM Mouse

      While Microsoft is self-proclaimed to love Linux, their common and very basic Microsoft OEM Mouse has not loved the Linux kernel or vice-versa… The Linux kernel HID code is finally getting a quirk fix to deal with the Microsoft OEM mouse as it would disconnect every minute when running at run-levels one or three.

      The basic Microsoft OEM Mouse that’s been available for years (appearing as a PixArt vendor and USB ID 0x00cb) would disconnect every 60~62 seconds on Linux systems when connected out-of-the-box. This isn’t some high-end gaming mouse but Microsoft’s dead basic OEM optical mouse.

    • Linux Poised To Remove Decade-Old EXOFS File-System

      The Linux kernel will likely be doing away with EXOFS, a file-system that had been around since the Linux 2.6.30 days.

      EXOFS is a file-system originally derived from EXT2 file-system code for basing it on an external object store. This object-based file-system was originally developed by IBM.

      Veteran kernel developer Christoph Hellwig is now seeking to remove the EXOFS object-based file-system on the basis of it being “just a simple example without real life users.”

    • Linux Foundation
      • Cloud companies form Ceph Foundation to advance object storage tech

        The Linux Foundation Monday announced the formation of a new “Ceph Foundation” backed by more than 30 major technology firms hoping to support and manage the popular open-source storage technology.

        Ceph is a unified and distributed storage system used by some of the world’s largest cloud service providers, including Rackspace Inc. as well as major organizations such as Bloomberg L.P. and Fidelity Investments Inc. It provides object, block and file system storage and can also be used as a software-defined storage system for commodity hardware.

      • Ceph backers apply Foundation in storage makeover

        Ceph, the open source storage software platform, has gotten its very own foundation. Just like Linux.

        The Ceph Foundation is organised as a directed fund under the Linux Foundation. It “will organise and distribute financial contributions in a coordinated, vendor-neutral fashion for immediate community benefit. This will help galvanise rapid adoption, training and in-person collaboration across the Ceph ecosystem.”

        The foundation is the successor to the Ceph Advisory Board, which was formed in 2015 by Canonical, CERN, Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, Red Hat, SanDisk, and SUSE.

      • ​Ceph open-source storage takes an organizational step forward

        In Berlin, The Linux Foundation, announced over 30 global technology leaders have formed a new foundation to support the Ceph open-source, unified distributed storage system project community: The Ceph Foundation.

        Ceph is a unified distributed storage system. It provides applications with object, block, and file system interfaces. Ceph is also a software-defined storage (SDS) program. It’s designed to run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware.

        Behind the scenes, Ceph uses an Object Store to store data. Within it, each piece of data is stored in a flat, non-hierarchical namespace and identified by an arbitrary, unique identifier. Each item’s metadata are stored along with the data itself.

      • The Ceph storage project gets a dedicated open-source foundation

        Ceph is an open source technology for distributed storage that gets very little public attention but that provides the underlying storage services for many of the world’s largest container and OpenStack deployments. It’s used by financial institutions like Bloomberg and Fidelity, cloud service providers like Rackspace and Linode, telcos like Deutsche Telekom, car manufacturers like BMW and software firms like SAP and Salesforce.

        These days, you can’t have a successful open source project without setting up a foundation that manages the many diverging interests of the community and so it’s maybe no surprise that Ceph is now getting its own foundation. Like so many other projects, the Ceph Foundation will be hosted by the Linux Foundation.

      • The Linux Foundation Launches Ceph Foundation To Advance Open Source Storage

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announces over 30 global technology leaders are forming a new foundation to support the Ceph open source project community. The Ceph project develops a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces.

      • Linux Foundation launches Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organisation enabling mass innovation through open source, has announced that over 30 global technology leaders are forming a new foundation to support the Ceph open source project community. The Ceph project develops a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block and file system interfaces.

        Founding Premier members of Ceph Foundation include Amihan, Canonical, China Mobile, DigitalOcean, Intel, OVH, ProphetStor Data Services, Red Hat, SoftIron, SUSE, Western Digital, XSKY Data Technology, and ZTE. The Ceph Foundation will organise and distribute financial contributions in a coordinated, vendor-neutral fashion for immediate community benefit. This will help galvanise rapid adoption, training and in-person collaboration across the Ceph ecosystem.

      • Linux Foundation forms Ceph Foundation for open-source storage

        Driven in part by the increased use of containers, AI and ML, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Ceph Foundation for open-source storage.

        Ceph is being used by cloud providers and enterprises to lower the cost of storing information in private clouds while helping them better organize and access their information. The Ceph Foundation is developing a unified distributed storage system that will provide applications with high availability to object, block and file system interfaces.

        According to the Linux Foundation press release, unstructured data accounts for more than 80% of enterprise data, which is growing at rate of 55% to 65% a year. Block and file storage systems play a key role in keeping data organized and are crucial components of infrastructure platforms such as Kubernetes and OpenStack. According to an OpenStack survey, roughly two-thirds of OpenStack clouds use Ceph block storage.

      • A Free Guide for Setting Your Open Source Strategy

        The majority of companies using open source understand its business value, but they may lack the tools to strategically implement an open source program and reap the full rewards. According to a recent survey from The New Stack, “the top three benefits of open source programs are 1) increased awareness of open source, 2) more speed and agility in the development cycle, and 3) better license compliance.”

        Running an open source program office involves creating a strategy to help you define and implement your approach as well as measure your progress. The Open Source Guides to the Enterprise, developed by The Linux Foundation in partnership with the TODO Group, offer open source expertise based on years of experience and practice.

        The most recent guide, Setting an Open Source Strategy, details the essential steps in creating a strategy and setting you on the path to success. According to the guide, “your open source strategy connects the plans for managing, participating in, and creating open source software with the business objectives that the plans serve. This can open up many opportunities and catalyze innovation.” The guide covers the following topics:

    • Graphics Stack
      • Vulkan 1.1.92 Released, Finally Allows For Chunked HTML Documentation

        Vulkan 1.1.92 is out today to mark the newest specification update to this high-performance graphics/compute API.

        With it just being one week since Vulkan 1.1.91 that brought some new/improved extensions, there isn’t any new extensions to find with Vulkan 1.1.92. But there are a number of documentation/specification corrections and clarifications.

      • Wayland Protocols 1.17 Brings Explicit Synchronization & Primary Selection

        Jonas Ådahl of Red Hat today released a new version of Wayland-Protocols, the collection of stable and unstable protocols for extending Wayland functionality.

        With the Wayland-Protocols 1.17 release the big new feature is the initial (unstable) version of linux-explicit-synchronization. The Wayland explicit synchronization protocol provides a means of explicit per-surface buffer synchronization. This synchronization protocol is based on Google Chromium’s extension (zcr_linux_explicit_synchronization_v1) and lets clients request this explicit synchronization on a per-surface basis. Google, Intel, and Collabora were involved in the formation of this extension.

      • The Radeon GCN Backend Is Still Being Worked On For GCC, GCC 9 Deadline Looms

        Back in September Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics posted their new Radeon GCN port for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Two months later this port is still being worked on but not yet ready for mainline.

        This Radeon GCN back-end for GCC is being done with a focus on GPU computing with eventually a goal of allowing OpenMP / OpenACC offloading to newer AMD GPUs. At this current stage, single-threaded C and Fortran programs can be built for Radeon GPUs with this compiler but the multi-threading API offloading bits are still coming about. This back-end has been focused on Fiji/Tonga support and newer.

      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Sees Its First Tagged Release

        In the nearly one year that the AMDVLK official Vulkan driver has been open-source there hasn’t been any “releases” but rather new code drops on a weekly basis that is pushed out of their internal development repositories. But surprisingly this morning is now a v2018.4.1 release tag for this open-source AMD Vulkan Linux driver.

        The AMDVLK public source repositories have just been perpetual Git while AMD pulls from their internal repositories when building out their official closed-source Windows/Linux Radeon Software driver releases (that also use their closed-source shader compiler currently rather than the open-source AMDGPU LLVM back-end, as used by the public AMDVLK sources). Waking up this morning there is now the first release tag in AMDVLK as v2018.4.1.

      • Mesa Drops Support For AMD Zen L3 Thread Pinning, Will Develop New Approach

        It was just a few months back that the Mesa/RadeonSI open-source AMD Linux driver stack received Zen tuning for that CPU microarchitecture’s characteristics. But now AMD’s Marek Olšák is going back to the drawing board to work on a new approach for Zen tuning.

        Just a few days ago I wrote about another developer wanting to toggle the support around L3 thread pinning as it was found to hurt the RadeonSI Gallium3D performance in at least some Linux games. At that point the goal was to allow making it a DriConf tunable that could then be adjusted a per-game/app basis, but it turns out the gains aren’t there to keep it around.

      • Mesa Gets Testing Patches For New Zen Optimization Around Thread Pinning

        It was just yesterday that the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning was dropped from Mesa due to that optimization not panning out as intended for benefiting the new AMD processors with the open-source Linux graphics driver stack. Lead Mesa hacker Marek Olšák is already out with a new Zen tuning implementation that may deliver on the original optimization goal.

        The first patch posted by Marek as part of his new tuning effort is to regularly re-pin the driver threads to the core complex (CCX) where the application thread is. Basically, when Mesa is being used without the glthread (OpenGL threading) behavior, keep chasing the application/game thread on the processor so it will be part of the same CCX and share a cache. This chasing is done rather than explicitly pinning the application thread.

      • The Shiny New Features Of Mesa 18.3 For Open-Source Intel / Radeon Graphics Drivers

        Being well into the Mesa 18.3 feature freeze and that quarterly update to these open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers due out in about two weeks, here is a look at all of the new features and changes you can expect to find with this big update.

      • NVIDIA released a new 415.13 beta driver recently for Linux

        One I completely forgot to post about here, NVIDIA recently released the 415.13 beta driver for Linux.

        Released on the 8th of November, it includes a number of interesting fixes, including an issue fixed with WINE where it might crash on recent distribution releases. Nice to see WINE get some focus, since things like this can affect Valve’s Steam Play.

    • Benchmarks
      • 16-Way AMD EPYC Cloud Benchmark Comparison: Amazon EC2 vs. SkySilk vs. Packet

        With last week Amazon Web Services rolling out AMD EPYC cloud instances to EC2, I figured it would be an interesting time for a fresh benchmark look at how the AMD Linux cloud performance compares from some of the popular cloud providers. For this article are sixteen different instances benchmarked while looking at the raw performance as well as the value on each instance type relative to the benchmark performance and time consumed for the on-demand spot instancing. EPYC instances were tested from Amazon EC2, Packet.com, and SkySilk.

      • A Look At The GCC 9 Performance On Intel Skylake Against GCC 8, LLVM Clang 7/8

        With GCC 9 embarking upon its third stage of development where the focus ships to working on bug/regression fixes in preparation for releasing the GCC 9.1 stable compiler likely around the end of Q1’2019, here is a fresh look at the GCC 9 performance with its latest development code as of this week compared to GCC 8.2.0 stable while using an Intel Core i9 7980XE test system running Ubuntu Linux. For good measure are also fresh results from LLVM Clang 7.0 stable as well as LLVM Clang 8.0 SVN for the latest development state of that competing C/C++ open-source compiler.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Xfce Support For “Primary Display” Output Handling Finally Being Squared Away

      The latest feature on deck for the long overdue Xfce 4.14 desktop update is support for the RandR primary display/output functionality.

      The X11 Resize and Rotate (RandR) protocol has long had baked into it the concept of a primary output/display, which is intended to be where the desktop panel(s), icons, notifications and other central functionality of the desktop would reside. Basically, of a multi-monitor configuration, the display head that is most important for your workflow.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • [Krita] Second Edition of “Dessin et peinture numérique avec Krita” published!

        The first edition was written forfor Krita 2.9.11, almost three years ago. A lot of things have changed since then! So Timothée has completely updated this new edition for Krita version 4.1. There are also a number of notes about the new features in Krita 4.

        And more-over, D-Booker worked again on updating and improving the French translation of Krita! Thanks again to D-Booker edition for their contribution.

      • [Krita] Interview with HoldXtoRevive

        About 4 years ago I downloaded GIMP as I wanted to get back into art after not drawing for about 15 years. I got a simple drawing tablet soon after and things just progressed from there.

      • Elisa in FreeBSD

        Elisa (product page, release announcements blog) is a music player designer for excellent integration into the KDE Plasma desktop (but of course it runs everywhere, including some non-Free platforms). I had used it a few times, but had not gotten around to packaging it. So today I threw together a FreeBSD port of Elisa, and you’ll be able to install it from official packages whenever the package cluster gets around to it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Richard Hughes: More fun with libxmlb

        A few days ago I cut the 0.1.4 release of libxmlb, which is significant because it includes the last three features I needed in gnome-software to achieve the same search results as appstream-glib.

      • Usability Testing in Open Source Software (SeaGL)

        I’ve been involved in Free/open source software since 1993, but recently I developed an interest in usability testing in open source software. During a usability testing class in my Master’s program in Scientific and Technical Communication (MS) I studied the usability of GNOME and Firefox. Later, I did a deeper examination of the usability of open source software, focusing on GNOME, as part of my Master’s capstone. (“Usability Themes in Open Source Software,” 2014.)

        Since then, I’ve joined the GNOME Design Team where I help with usability testing.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • [Spanish GNU/Linux Distribution Void Linux] New images now available!

        Void also comes in musl C flavors, which use the musl C library, a lightweight alternative to the popular glibc library.

        Did you know you can run Void in the cloud? We provide ready to upload images for Google Cloud Platform that are compatible with the always free tier! You can also easily build images for other cloud providers from our ready to run x64 tarballs.

        Our rootfs tarballs can also be used anywhere you want a Void Linux chroot and are available for all architectures we currently compile for.

        You can find all images and rootfs tarballs at https://alpha.de.repo.voidlinux.org/live/current, or in the /live/current directory on any mirror near you.

      • Systemd-Free, XBPS-Powered Void Linux Releases New Images

        If you are looking for a new Linux distribution to experiment with, Void Linux is one of the interesting ones that is an original creation and community driven that often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. Void Linux is built off its BSD-licensed XBPS packaging system, is a rolling-release platform, uses runit as the init system instead of systemd, opts for LibreSSL in place of OpenSSL, optional musl libc usage, and has a wealth of other changes.

        Void Linux has put out new images for getting started with the Linux distribution and appears to be their first ISO re-spins since October of 2017. Granted, it’s a rolling-release, but new install media is always helpful particularly with newer hardware.

    • Fedora
    • Debian Family
      • Debian Project releases Debian 9.6

        The Debian Project announced the release of Debian 9.6 on November 10, 2018; it is the sixth release of Debian 9 which was released in 2017.

        Debian, one of the oldest GNU/Linux distributions that is still in active development, is the basis for other GNU/Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Kali Linux, or Tails.

        The new version of Debian 9.6 is available as a standalone ISO image download and the included update manager that administrators may use to upgrade to the new version.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.6 “Stretch” Released with Hundreds of Updates, Download Now

        The Debian Project announced the general availability of the sixth point release to the latest stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.6 “Stretch” is here about four months after the 9.5 point release to offer users up-to-date installation and live mediums if they want to deploy the Linux-based operating system on new computers or want to reinstall without having to download hundreds of updates from the official software repositories. This release includes more than 270 updated packages.

        “This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems,” Laura Arjona Reina wrote in the mailing list announcement. “Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media.”

      • Chris Lamb: Review: The “Trojan Room” coffee

        I was recently invited to give a seminar at the Cambridge University’s Department of Computer Science and Technology on the topic of Reproducible Builds.

      • Results produced while at “X2Go – The Gathering 2018″ in Stuttgart

        Over the last weekend, I have attended the FLOSS meeting “X2Go – The Gathering 2018″ [1]. The event took place at the shackspace make spacer in Ulmerstraße near S-Bahn station S-Untertürckheim. Thanks to the people from shackspace for hosting us there, I highly enjoyed your location’s environment. Thanks to everyone who joined us at the meeting. Thanks to all event sponsors (food + accomodation for me). Thanks to Stefan Baur for being our glorious and meticulous organizer!!!

        Thanks to my family for letting me go for that weekend.

        Especially, a big thanks to everyone, that I was allowed to bring our family dog “Capichera” with me to the event. While Capichera adapted quite ok to this special environment on sunny Friday and sunny Saturday, he was not really feeling well on rainy Sunday (aching joints, unwilling to move, walk interact).

      • Derivatives
        • Our achievements in 2018

          On October 12, we started our yearly donation campaign. Today, we summarize what we achieved with your help in 2018 and renew our call for donations.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • 8 Reasons Why You Should Stick With Ubuntu Linux

            Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system remains the most popular version of desktop Linux. But once the company stopped developing its own Unity interface, its focus moved elsewhere. Canonical’s eyes are now set more on the cloud than the device you’re reading this on.

            If Canonical no longer seems to care all that much about the Ubuntu desktop, why should you? Turns out there are plenty of reasons to stick with this particular version of Linux.

          • Using Juju to manage evolving complex software

            With developers increasingly moving towards microservices – and with the growing prevalence of the cloud as the default platform – software has become more complex than ever.

            While installing all of the interconnected applications that make up a modern software stack is becoming easier, the real sting in the tail comes on day two and beyond – when it is time to maintain, upgrade, and scale the deployment.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 553
          • Samsung Linux on DeX beta hands-on: do almost everything on your phone

            Among the various Linux on Android implementations, Samsung’s Linux on DeX definitely looks the most polished ready to use solution, even if it’s still in beta form. Although it uses a two-year-old version of Ubuntu, there is already a lot that can be done from that. Plus, just like Android users, Linux users can be pretty creative and only time will tell if they’ll be able to use Linux on DeX to make almost any Linux distro work.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Google open-sources AI that can distinguish between voices with 92 percent accuracy

    Diarization — the process of partitioning out a speech sample into distinctive, homogeneous segments according to who said what — doesn’t come as easy to machines as it does to humans, and training a machine learning algorithm to perform it is tougher than it sounds. A robust diarization system must be able to associate new individuals with speech segments that it hasn’t previously encountered.

  • Google Chrome Labs releases open source, browser-based image optimization tool, Squoosh

    Demonstrated briefly at the Chrome Dev Summit, Squoosh’s top priority is speed, and is primarily just a demo of new capabilities that recent improvements to Chrome already bring to the table. For example, by using WebAssembly, Squoosh is able to use image codecs that are not typically available in the browser.

  • OpenStack Foundation Board Expands Mission to Host New Open Source Projects as Part of Open Infrastructure Transformation
  • Wind River and CENGN Assist Open Source Developers in Accelerating StarlingX Adoption for Edge Computing Applications
  • Slidecast: BigDL Open Source Machine Learning Framework for Apache Spark

    In this video, Beenish Zia from Intel presents: BigDL Open Source Machine Learning Framework for Apache Spark.

  • Man embraces open source in push to lure tech talent

    The chief risk officer at one of the world’s largest hedge funds is competing with Google for technologists. And the applicants are asking to keep their open-source allegiance.

    The Man Group’s Darrel Yawitch said new hires are looking for assurances from the hedge fund that they will be permitted to contribute to the open-source coding communities that have underpinned some of the biggest advances in technology’s brief history, from the World Wide Web to the Android operating system.

  • Have you seen these personalities in open source?

    When I worked with the Mozilla Foundation, long before the organization boasted more than a hundred and fifty staff members, we conducted a foundation-wide Myers-Briggs indicator. The Myers-Briggs is a popular personality assessment, one used widely in career planning and the business world. Created in the early twentieth century, it’s the product of two women: Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, who built the tool on Carl Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types (which was itself based on clinical observations, as opposed to “controlled” scientific studies). Each of my co-workers (53 at the time) answered the questions. We were curious about what kind of insights we would gain into our individual personalities, and, by extension, about how we’d best work together.

  • Twistlock Improves Cloud-Native Security With Discovery Tool

    There is a simple truism in much of IT, and that is that organizations can’t manage what they’re not aware of. As organizations increasingly make use of distributed teams that use cloud-native services, there is a nontrivial risk of application sprawl.

    On Nov. 13, container security vendor Twistlock announced its new open-source cloud-native discovery tool, in an effort to help identify and locate applications running on different public cloud services. The Cloud Discovery tool’s initial release supports scanning on the three major public cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

    “Most customers tend to have a multicloud cloud strategy and then you combine that with the fact that everybody has got multiple accounts for different projects or business units, and so forth,” John Morello, chief technology officer at Twistlock, told eWEEK. “You get this big equation where organizations try to figure out all the possible things that could be out there deployed and running.

  • Twistlock Releases Cloud Discovery Open Source Tool for Cloud Native Services
  • Events
    • Why the Linux console has sixteen colors (SeaGL)

      At the 2018 Seattle GNU/Linux Conference after-party, I gave a lightning talk about why the Linux console has only sixteen colors. Lightning talks are short, fun topics. I enjoyed giving the lightning talk, and the audience seemed into it, too. So I thought I’d share my lightning talk here.

    • Jesień Linuksowa 2018

      Last weekend I participated in the conference Jesień Linuksowa 2018 in Krakow, Poland. It was my first time in a country with so much tragic historical experiences.

      On the hand, I was impressed by the community members and the organization of the event. We celebrated another edition of Linux Autumn in the hotel Gwarek and my post-event wrap up will take into consideration seven basic points:

      Organizers

      This time I was accompanied by my friend Ana Garcia, who is a student at the University of Edinburgh and the members of the organization were supportive and kind all the time with us. We felt a warm environment since we arrive at night in the middle of the fog at midnight. They helped us with our talks and workshops we offer related to parallelization.

      We meet new friends! Thanks to Dominik, Rafal, Filip, Linter and Matej from Red Hat.

    • Sustain OSS 2018: quick rewind

      This year, I attended the second edition of the Sustain Open Source Summit (a.k.a. Sustain OSS) on October 25th, 2018 in London. Sustain OSS is a one-day discussion on various topics about sustainability in open source ecosystems. It’s also a collection of diverse roles across the world of open source. From small project maintainers to open source program managers at the largest tech companies in the world, designers to government employees, there is a mix of backgrounds in the room. Yet there is a shared context around the most systemic problems faced by open source projects, communities, and people around the world.

      The shared context is the most valuable piece of the conference. As a first-time attendee, I was blown away by the depth and range of topics covered by attendees. This blog post covers a narrow perspective of Sustain OSS through the sessions I participated and co-facilitated in.

    • A Review of Hacktoberfest Year 5!
    • Hacktoberfest Celebrates 5th Anniversary

      Five years ago the community team at DigitalOcean wanted to create a program to inspire open source contributions. That first year, in 2014, the first Hacktoberfest participants were asked for 50 commits, and those who completed the challenge received a reward of swag. 676 people signed up and 505 forged ahead to the finish line, earning stickers and a custom limited-edition T-shirt.

      This year that number is an astounding 46,088 completions out of 106,582 sign-ups. We’ve seen it become an entry point to developers contributing to open source projects: much more than a program, it’s clear that Hacktoberfest has become a global community movement with a shared set of values and passion for giving back.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox Ups the Ante with Latest Test Pilot Experiment: Price Wise and Email Tabs

        Over the last few years, the Test Pilot team has developed innovative features for Firefox desktop and mobile, collaborating directly with Firefox users to improve the browser – from reminders to return to a tab on your desktop to a simple and secure way to keep track of your passwords.

        Today, just in time for the holiday shopping season, the Firefox Test Pilot team is introducing Price Wise and Email Tabs — the latest experimental features designed to give users more choice and transparency when shopping online. These game-changing desktop tools are sure to make shopping a breeze with more options to save, share, track and shop. We’ve also made a few updates to the Test Pilot program itself to make it even easier to become a part of the growing Firefox users testing new features.

      • Let Price Wise track prices for you this holiday shopping season

        The online shopping experience is really geared towards purchases that are made immediately. Countless hours have been spent to get you checked out as soon as possible. If you know what you want, and you’re happy with the price, this is great. On the other hand, sometimes you want to take your time, and wait for a deal. For those times, we have our new Test Pilot experiment, Price Wise.

      • Track Prices and Send One-Step Email Links With Firefox’s New Test Pilot Experiments

        Firefox Test Pilot is Mozilla’s way to test out interesting new features. Some of these features see the light of the day, and others just vanish into thin air. However, that doesn’t stop the Firefox Pilot team from experimenting with browser.

        Today, Firefox announced two new such experiments — namely Price Wise and Email Tabs. Both are ridiculously useful for a user who would like to crack tedious work in mere seconds.

      • Shop intelligently with Price Wise

        Tell Price Wise to keep an eye on a product, and it’s added to your watch list.
        Price Wise will automatically monitor the prices of products on your watch list. When they drop, we’ll let you know:

        When the price drops, Price Wise alerts you with a colorful heads-up.
        Price checks are done locally, so your shopping data never leaves Firefox. We’re particularly excited about that; Price Wise is the first Firefox feature designed around Fathom, a toolkit for understanding the content of webpages you browse.
        Existing software like this works by tracking you across the web, and it’s often run by advertisers and social networks seeking to learn more about you. Your browser can do these checks for you, while making sure the gathered information never leaves your computer. We know it’s possible to deliver great utility while protecting your privacy, and want you to get a great deal without getting a raw deal.

      • Mozilla Reps Community: New Council Members – Fall 2018 Elections

        We are very happy to announce that our 2 new Council members Monica Bonilla and Yofie Setiawan are fully on-boarded and already working moving the Mozilla Reps program forward. A warm welcome from all of us. We we are very excited to have you and can’t wait to build the program together.

      • Sharing links via email just got easier thanks to Email Tabs

        If your family is anything like ours, the moment the calendar flips to October, you’re getting texts and emails asking for holiday wish lists. Email remains one of the top ways people save and share online, so you likely do what we do: help make everyone’s life easier by diligently copy and pasting the URLs, titles and descriptions into a list. What if Firefox could make that process easier? Thanks to our new Test Pilot experiment Email Tabs, it can.

      • Mozilla Reps Community: Rep of the Month – October 2018

        Please join us in congratulating Tim Maks van den Broek, our Rep of the Month for October 2018!

        Tim is one of our most active members in the Dutch community. During his 15+ years as a Mozilla Volunteer he has touched many parts of the Project. More recently his focus is on user support and he is active in our Reps Onboarding team.

      • As far as I’m concerned, email signing/encryption is dead

        A while back, I used to communicate a lot with users of my popular open source project. So it made sense to sign emails and let people verify — it’s really me writing. It also gave people a way to encrypt their communication with me.

        The decision in favor of S/MIME rather than PGP wasn’t because of any technical advantage. The support for S/MIME is simply built into many email clients by default, so the chances that the other side would be able to recognize the signature were higher.

      • Firefox 64 Beta 8 Testday Results

        As you may already know, last Friday November 09th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 64 Beta 8.

        Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: Gabriela, gaby2300.

        From Bangladesh team: Maruf Rahman, Tanvir Rahman, Md. Raihan Ali, Sajedul Islam, Rizbanul Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Md. Rahimul Islam, Shah Yashfique Bhuian.

  • Databases
    • Michael Howard: Embrace of open source is destroying ‘artificial definitions’ of legacy vendors

      Michael Howard, Berkley grad and alumnus of Oracle and EMC, took the helm at open-source biz MariaDB almost three years ago. Reflecting on how things have changed, he reckons the biggest shift is in how both investors and enterprise have embrace open-source. Now, he has an IPO on his mind.

      In an interview with El Reg, Howard – who, as noted at the time of his appointment, has worked for a number of companies who were slurped up by bigger businesses – said the end of 2018 will see the end of the first year of a three-year plan he devised for the firm.

      Broadly, Howard sets out an overall roadmap of three pieces for the firm. Unsurprisingly, cloud native technology is first up. The other two are adaptive scalability, with the aim of supporting “mom and pop shops all the way to planet-scale processing for the largest social platforms”, and boosting the quality of service by professionalising people and technology, for instance through machine learning.

      But in addition to these technical goals, there’s the business side of things, and the boss said the plan “is being able to go public; to be able to get the company buttoned up at the right revenue level to go public”.

      “We have a voracious appetite for getting to our strategic goals, and part of that is revenue and going public.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Capsicum

      I spent a couple of years evangelizing about Capsicum. I wrote many articles about it. So, it is very natural that I would also like to update you on this blog about the progress of the Capsicum project in FreeBSD, because this is what I’m doing in my free time. That said I feel that this blog wouldn’t be completed without some introduction to what Capsicum is. This post should fill this gap. Over the next weeks and months we will extend this topic and discuss different parts of Capsicum. Without further introduction let’s jump into the topic

  • Licensing/Legal
    • FSF Update Rules Commons Clause Non-Free

      The Free Software Foundation has added the Commons Clause to its list of non-free licenses among a number of recent updates to its licensing materials. Other changes clarify the GNU GPL position on translating code into another language and how to handle projects that combine code under multiple licenses.

    • More companies want fairness to open source license enforcement

      The 16 new companies in this announcement are a diverse set of technology firms whose participation makes evident the worldwide reach of the GPL Cooperation Commitment. They comprise globally-operating companies based on four continents and mark a significant expansion of the initiative into the Asia-Pacific region. They represent various industries and areas of commercial focus, including IT services, software development tools and platforms, social networking, fintech, semiconductors, e-commerce, multimedia software and more.

      The GPL Cooperation Commitment is a means for companies, individual developers and open source projects to provide opportunities for licensees to correct errors in compliance with software licensed under the GPLv2 family of licenses before taking action to terminate the licenses. Version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2), version 2 of the GNU Library General Public License (LGPLv2), and version 2.1 of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv2.1) do not contain express “cure” periods to fix noncompliance prior to license termination. Version 3 of the GNU GPL (GPLv3) addressed this by adding an opportunity to correct mistakes in compliance. Those who adopt the GPL Cooperation Commitment extend the cure provisions of GPLv3 to their existing and future GPLv2 and LGPLv2.x-licensed code.

    • What you need to know about the GPL Cooperation Commitment

      Imagine what the world would look like if growth, innovation, and development were free from fear. Innovation without fear is fostered by consistent, predictable, and fair license enforcement. That is what the GPL Cooperation Commitment aims to accomplish.

      Last year, I wrote an article about licensing effects on downstream users of open source software. As I was conducting research for that article, it became apparent that license enforcement is infrequent and often unpredictable. In that article, I offered potential solutions to the need to make open source license enforcement consistent and predictable. However, I only considered “traditional” methods (e.g., through the court system or some form of legislative action) that a law student might consider.

    • Introducing Jake Glass, FSF campaigns and licensing intern

      Hello software freedom supporters! I am Jake Glass, and I will be interning for both the campaigns and the licensing teams this fall/winter. I am a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where I earned an engineering degree in computer science, and I am currently in the process of applying to law school.

      During my summers as an undergraduate, I worked in software development, where I began to consider the ethical ramifications of computing. I realized that my peers and I were often unintentionally building tools to exert social and political control. As the Snowden leaks were emerging around this time, it became clear to me that the pervasiveness of these tools is an imminent threat to freedom worldwide. This was my original motivation in supporting the free software movement: how can we be sure the programs running on our own machines are not spying on us without having access to the source, as required by the Four Freedoms? My interest in these issues concerning copyrights, patents, and civil rights on the Internet has convinced me to attend law school, where I can engage in formal study of these topics.

    • Free Software Foundation updates their licensing materials, adds Commons Clause and Fraunhofer FDK AAC license

      Commons Clause is added to their list of non-free licenses. This license is added to an existing free license to prevent using the work commercially, rendering the work nonfree. By making commons clause as non-free, FSF recommends users to fork software using it. So, if a previously existing project that was under a free license adds the Commons Clause, users should work to fork that program and continue using it under the free license. If it isn’t worth forking, users should simply avoid the package.

      This move by FSF sparked a controversy that the Commons Clause piggybacks on top of existing free software licenses and thus could mislead users to think that software using it is free software when it’s, in fact, proprietary by their definitions.

      However, others found the combination of a free software license + Commons Clause to be very compelling.

      A hacker news user pointed out, “I’m willing to grant to the user every right offered by free software licenses with the exception of rights to commercial use. If that means my software has to be labeled as proprietary by the FSF, so be it, but at the same time I’d prefer not to mislead users into thinking my software is being offered under a vanilla free software license.”

      Another said, “I don’t know there is any controversy as such. The FSF is doing its job and reminding everyone that freedom includes the freedom to make money.

      If your software is licensed under something that includes the Commons Clause then it isn’t free software, because users are not free to do what they want with it.”

  • Programming/Development
    • C language update puts backward compatibility first

      A working draft of the standard for the next revision of the C programming language, referred to for now as “C2x,” is now available for review.

      Most of the changes thus far approved for C2x don’t involve adding new features, but instead clarify and refine how C should behave in different implementations and with regard to its bigger brother C++. The emphasis on refinement is in line with how previous revisions to C—C11 and most recently C17—have unfolded.

    • 4 tips for learning Golang

      My university’s freshman programming class was taught using VAX assembler. In data structures class, we used Pascal—loaded via diskette on tired, old PCs in the library’s computer center. In one upper-level course, I had a professor that loved to show all examples in ADA. I learned a bit of C via playing with various Unix utilities’ source code on our Sun workstations. At IBM we used C—and some x86 assembler—for the OS/2 source code, and we heavily used C++’s object-oriented features for a joint project with Apple. I learned shell scripting soon after, starting with csh, but moving to Bash after finding Linux in the mid-’90s. I was thrust into learning m4 (arguably more of a macro-processor than a programming language) while working on the just-in-time (JIT) compiler in IBM’s custom JVM code when porting it to Linux in the late ’90s.

    • ARMv8.5 Support Lands In GCC Compiler With Latest Spectre Protection

      Landing just in time with the GCC 9 branching being imminent is ARMv8.5-A support in the GNU Compiler Collection’s ARM64/AArch64 back-end.

      This ARMv8.5-A support is an incremental upgrade over the existing ARMv8 support. The ARMv8.5 additions are similar to what we already saw land for LLVM / Clang.

    • Comparing The Quality Of Debug Information Produced By Clang And Gcc

      I’ve had an intuition that clang produces generally worse debuginfo than gcc for optimized C++ code. It seems that clang builds have more variables “optimized out” — i.e. when stopped inside a function where a variable is in scope, the compiler’s generated debuginfo does not describe the value of the variable. This makes debuggers less effective, so I’ve attempted some qualitative analysis of the issue.

      I chose to measure, for each parameter and local variable, the range of instruction bytes within its function over which the debuginfo can produce a value for this variable, and also the range of instruction bytes over which the debuginfo says the variable is in scope (i.e. the number of instruction bytes in the enclosing lexical block or function). I add those up over all variables, and compute the ratio of variable-defined-bytes to variable-in-scope-bytes. The higher this “definition coverage” ratio, the better.

    • Quo vadis, Perl?

      By losing the sight of the strategies in play, I feel the discussion degenerated very early in personal accusations that certainly leave scars while not resulting in even a hint of progress. We are not unique in this situation, see the recent example of the toll it took on Guido van Rossum. I can only sympathize with Larry is feeling these days.

Leftovers
  • All of the Stan Lee cameos from Marvel movies, and why we love them

    Stan Lee is the godfather of modern comics, and his death at age 95, although extremely sad, is a chance to celebrate exactly how much he gave to the world of pop culture. Today, the internet has been flooded with eulogies of his work, life, and his immense impact on comics and film. Many fans fondly recalled the cameos that Lee regularly made in Marvel films over the years, including the pre-Disney Marvel movies, the new Sony Spider-Man Universe, and, of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • Science
    • Imperial College’s quantum compass cools atoms to navigate without GPS

      Imperial College estimates that just a day without satellite access would cost the UK £1bn, which wouldn’t exactly be ideal. Fortunately, the university has ideas for a backup just in case all the satellites go caput. Though, as you can see from the picture above, it’s probably not quite ready to be built into a running watch, unless the athlete in question also does some serious lifting.

    • Behind-the-scenes audio from Apollo 11 mission made public for first time

      The main air-to-ground recordings and on-board recordings from the historic mission have been publicly available online for decades. But that was just a fraction of the recorded communications for the mission. Thousands of hours of supplementary conversations (“backroom loops”) between flight controllers and other support teams languished in storage at the National Archives and Records Administration building in Maryland—until now.

      Thanks to a year-long project to locate, digitize, and process all that extra audio (completed in July), diehard space fans can now access a fresh treasure trove of minutiae from the Apollo 11 mission. And those records are now preserved for future generations.

  • Hardware
    • Confirmed: Apple’s New T2 Chip In MacBooks Blocks Third-Party Repair

      The Cupertino giant has confirmed to The Verge that its new security-focused T2 chip will require the software check to be performed after components like logic board and Touch ID sensor are repaired. Apple has not mentioned all the components would require the software check to run in order to complete the repair.

      The new T2 security chip brings many security-related features for Mac users. One of the most interesting features is “hardware disconnect” that disconnects any audio device connected to a MacBook as soon as its lid is closed. This feature is touted to bring protection against surveillance and from getting eavesdropped by hackers.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Child care available for only 23 percent of Mississippi’s infants and toddlers, report finds

      Editor’s note: This story led off this week’s Mississippi Learning newsletter, which is delivered free to subscribers’ inboxes with trends and top stories about education in Mississippi. Subscribe today!
      Mississippi’s child care desert is especially evident for infants and toddlers: There are currently only enough spots at licensed child care centers for about 23 percent of the state’s youngest children.
      That’s one of the findings of a new report by the Center for American Progress, which analyzed census data and state child care licensing data to determine the extent to which infant and toddler care is available in nine states, including Mississippi, North Carolina and West Virginia, and in the District of Columbia. The report takes an in-depth look at data revealed last year in another Center for American Progress report that found 42 percent of children under the age of 5 live in a child care desert, defined as areas in which there are either no child care centers or so few centers that at least three children need care for every spot available.

    • What Can Be Learned From Democrat And Republican Delusions On Obamacare

      After a decade of intense political fighting and two of the largest wave elections in history, the United States finally has a quasi-stable political equilibrium on the Affordable Care Act.

      We have Obamacare, just minus the deeply unpopular stuff—i.e., the individual mandate and the Cadillac tax on employer-provided insurance. This fills me with both personal vindication, since this what I advocated Democrats pass in 2010, and deep concern because it shows neither major political party has any idea how to make laws popular.

      When it comes to big pieces of legislation, they are only as popular as the least popular major provision. Most voters don’t evaluate legislation with a complex utilitarian calculation weighing the net value of every provision. Most judge legislation the way they would a pizza. You could have five amazing toppings on that pizza, but if the sixth topping is rotten fish, no one will want to eat your pizza.

      If you understand this axiom and realize none of the so-called political gurus leading either major party in our country do, something becomes clear. The last decade of political fighting over the ACA has been less of a titanic struggle between genius ideological leaders and more of a farcical dark comedy performed by fools.

    • Why drug policy is a feminist issue

      People who use drugs face widespread stigma and criminalisation. This is well-known. But drug policy discussions often centre on men. The experiences of women, trans and gender non-conforming people who use drugs are ignored and silenced – though they face particular challenges accessing care and the gendered stigma of being perceived as unfit parents and ‘fallen’ women.

      In May, I participated in a meeting that AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) co-organised in Berlin with feminists and women who use drugs from across eastern Europe and Central Asia. We carried very different experiences and backgrounds, but had a common purpose: to learn from one another and connect the dots between drug policy and feminism in the region.

      Women shared their experiences with using drugs including shaming and violence from doctors, sexual violence, criminalisation and stigma within their communities. We looked at how feminism could help push for responses centred on their unique experiences. Three days and many conversations later, I was convinced that drug policy was a feminist issue.

    • On Veterans Day, Advocates Warn Against Pence & Trump-Led Attacks on VA Healthcare

      On the federal observance of Veterans Day, we take a closer look at the issue of veterans’ healthcare. On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence wrote an article for Fox News touting Trump’s record on veterans’ health and the passage of a policy known as “Veterans Choice,” which is seen by veterans’ advocates as an attempt to drain the Veterans Health Administration of needed resources and eventually force privatization of the system. We’re joined by award-winning journalist and author Suzanne Gordon. Her new book is “Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans.” She recently wrote an article for The New York Times titled “By Protecting Veterans’ Health, You May Protect Your Own.”

    • WTO TRIPS Council Debates Competition Law, Plain Packaging’s Spread To Other Products

      The World Trade Organization intellectual property committee met last week with lively discussions on the benefit of IP rights protection for new businesses, and on the role of competition law to prevent abuses of those rights and in particular ensure greater access to medicines. Also, considering the recent WTO Dispute Settlement Body ruling on the tobacco plain packaging, some countries warned against this decision becoming a precedent and spreading to other goods, and undermining trademark protection.

    • Key Hepatitis C Drug Licensed To Medicines Patent Pool, Access Expanded For LMICs

      A key drug to treat hepatitis C has been licensed to the Medicines Patent Pool, enabling generic production and expanding affordable access to the drug in low and middle-income countries, excluding the very largest. The agreement between the Pool and AbbVie had been over a year in the making, MPP Executive Director Charles Gore told Intellectual Property Watch.

  • Security
    • Buttercup – A Free, Secure And Cross-platform Password Manager

      In this modern Internet era, you will surely have multiple accounts on lot of websites. It could be a personal or official mail account, social or professional network account, GitHub account, and ecommerce account etc. So you should have several different passwords for different accounts. I am sure that you are already aware that setting up same password to multiple accounts is crazy and dangerous practice. If an attacker managed to breach one of your accounts, it’s highly likely he/she will try to access other accounts you have with the same password. So, it is highly recommended to set different passwords to different accounts.

    • Container Labeling

      Container policy is defined in the container-selinux package. By default containers run with the SELinux type “container_t” whether this is a container launched by just about any container engine like: podman, cri-o, docker, buildah, moby. And most people who use SELinux with containers from container runtimes like runc, systemd-nspawn use it also.

      By default container_t is allowed to read/execute labels under /usr, read generically labeled content in the hosts /etc directory (etc_t).

      The default label for content in /var/lib/docker and /var/lib/containers is container_var_lib_t, This is not accessible by containers, container_t, whether they are running under podman, cri-o, docker, buildah … We specifically do not want containers to be able to read this content, because content that uses block devices like devicemapper and btrfs(I believe) is labeled container_var_lib_t, when the containers are not running.

      For overlay content we need to allow containers to read/execute the content, we use the type container_share_t, for this content. So container_t is allowed to read/execute container_share_t files, but not write/modify them.

    • How my personal Bug Bounty Program turned into a Free Security Audit for the Serendipity Blog

      This blog and two other sites in scope use Serendipity (also called S9Y), a blog software written in PHP. Through the bug bounty program I got reports for an Open Redirect, an XSS in the start page, an XSS in the back end, an SQL injection in the back end and another SQL injection in the freetag plugin. All of those were legitimate vulnerabilities in Serendipity and some of them quite severe. I forwarded the reports to the Serendipity developers.

      Fixes are available by now, the first round of fixes were released with Serendipity 2.1.3 and another issue got fixed in 2.1.4. The freetag plugin was updated to version 2.69. If you use Serendipity please make sure you run the latest versions.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • IoT security and Linux: Why IncludeOS thinks it has the edge [Ed: Promoting IncludeOS by bashing Linux even though security of IncludeOS is yet unproven; Linux devices' Achilles heel: weak/consistent passwords, open ports]

      Per Buer, CEO and co-founder of Norwegian software company IncludeOS, thinks the growing use of Linux as an embedded operating system is giving it a role for which it is far from perfect.

      “Linux has impressive hardware and software support. It supports just about any protocol and any peripheral. It is all dynamic so anything at any time can connect to a Linux system,” he wrote recently.

      “The result is a massive amount of code and following this a considerable number of potential bugs that could lead to compromise.”

      He thinks his company’s OS offers a better solution. It has created an open-source OS that links into the application at compile time, resulting in one software image where the OS functionality is inside the application and running directly on top of the hardware.

      IncludeOS links only the OS functionality that the application needs into the binary software image, thus reducing both its size and possible attack surfaces. This approach is normally termed a ‘library OS’.

      IncludeOS runs in a single address space, so there are neither interprocess communications nor concepts like user space and kernel space.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #185
    • D-Link’s Central Wifi-Manager Seems To Be Vulnerable To Privilege Escalation Attacks Through Trojan File

      D-Link’s Central Wifi-Manager is quite a nifty tool. It’s a web-based wireless Access Point management tool, enabling you to create and manage multi-site, multi-tenancy wireless networks. Whether deployed on local computer or hosted in the cloud. But it seems there might have been a security issue with the software.

    • Kaspersky starts processing threat data in Europe as part of trust reboot
    • New Linux-Targeting Crypto-Mining Malware Combines Hiding and Upgrading Capabilities [Ed: When your system gets cracked anything can happen afterwards; does not matter whether there's an upgrade or not? No.]

      Japanese multinational cybersecurity firm Trend Micro has detected a new strain of crypto-mining malware that targets PCs running Linux, according to a report published Nov. 8.
      The new strain is reportedly able to hide the malicious process of unauthorized cryptocurrency-mining through users’ CPU by implementing a rootkit component. The malware itself, detected by Trend Micro as Coinminer.Linux.KORKERDS.AB, is also reportedly capable of updating itself.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • One-Hundred Years Later, It’s Time to Disarm Armistice Day

      The sulphurous smoke of cannon fusillades drifted over the field in hazy clouds as an Army chaplain declared in a voice booming with hooah how inspiring he found its scent, how much he loved the smell of the battlefield.

      An Army general then spoke. Those of us gathered there that day were “true patriots,” he said. We could find more “true patriots” like us in Texas and Oklahoma and throughout the Southern US states. We were in Kansas, but he didn’t explain why we could only find them in those states and here, or what especially made us (and them) “true patriots.”

      This was Memorial Day seven years ago at the National Cemetery where just a few months earlier my wife and I had buried our son, Francis. A veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan during some of the worst fighting in the early years of those conflicts, he died at home, like too many other young veterans, a casualty in the aftermath of these wars.

      The blustering and factionalism of that spectacle is strongly etched in our memories. It left us feeling empty, even sickened, not just for ourselves, but for our son, too. It was perhaps an extreme example of how both Memorial Day and Veterans Day have been wrung out of shape since their origins, yet it was also emblematic of the contrasting ways we collectively and individually experience them.

    • Veterans Resist: Deploying Art to Oppose Militarism

      It took me a long time to find words to describe the US-orchestrated injustices that I witnessed and participated in while in Iraq. I’ve now been out of the Army for over a decade, and for nearly half of that time I told few people I had even been in the military.

      Like many veterans, I didn’t know how to talk about war when I came home. People wanted to thank me for my service but they didn’t want to hear how disillusioned I had become with my country. Returning to college, I found that many students weren’t paying attention to the wars. Perhaps most frustrating, I found the frame of reference provided by Hollywood to be a grave distortion of what I had seen and done. I, like most veterans, hadn’t been a sniper, I didn’t defuse bombs, nor had I been in Special Forces. Major films like American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty only served to confuse the conversation about why the US was occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and what the day-to-day deployment routine really looked like. Ultimately, I repressed my guilt and stayed quiet.

      It wasn’t until I joined Iraq Veterans Against the War (now called About Face: Veterans Against the War) that I learned about the history of the veterans’ anti-war movement, simultaneously gaining a vocabulary that corresponded to what I had experienced. Now I had a frame of reference that made sense. I could see how my own war experience fit into the systemic corruption of the military-industrial complex. Finally, I began speaking out against US militarism.

    • Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?

      It’s been another fortnight of mass murder inside Fortress America. Carnage reigns from Coast to Coast, from a progressive synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, to a line-dancing bar in Thousand Oaks, CA. The high-profile shooters? Both white American men: One a 46-year-old die-hard white supremacist, publicly declaring his hatred for Jews and for immigrant “invaders,” opening fire on a morning Shabbat ceremony. The other, a 28-year-old, US Marine veteran, experienced with machine guns from tours in Afghanistan, targeting “College Night,” at the Border Line Bar and Grill, a country music establishment he reportedly frequented. Both commando-style killers wielded legally purchased Glock handguns (and one of them an AR-15 assault rifle), as they each slaughtered nearly a dozen people, just eleven days apart.

      [...]

      Looking back across the sixteen years since the film collected the Oscar for Best Documentary, Bowling for Columbine seems prescient, just as the shooting at Columbine High School that prompted Moore’s film looks more and more like part of a trend that is here to stay. From the 2006 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 dead, to the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting that killed 27, to the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre that same year, to the nightmare in Las Vegas last year that killed 58, to the Parkland, Florida shooting in February that triggered the massive “March for Our Lives,” the shameful ‘records’ set by the Columbine killers have been broken, time and again.

      According to recent reports, the shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA was the 307thmass shooting in 2018 alone. A subset of an American gun violence epidemic that altogether steals tens of thousands of lives per year,‘mass shootings’ in the United States now occur approximately once per day.[iii]

      Compared to other ‘Western powers,’ all these numbers are essentially off the charts. How to explain this ugly American exception?

    • CIA Whistleblower: Brennan and Clapper Should Not Escape Prosecution

      Recently declassified documents show that the former CIA director and former director of national intelligence approved illegal spying on Congress and then classified their crime. They need to face punishment, writes John Kiriakou.

      [...]

      Brennan and Clapper, in 2014, ostensibly notified congressional overseers about this, but in a way that either tied senators’ hands or kept them in the dark. They classified the notifications.

      As a result, Grassley knew of the hacking but couldn’t say anything while senators on neither the Intelligence or Judiciary Committees didn’t know.

      It’s a felony to classify a crime. It’s also a felony to classify something solely for the purpose of preventing embarrassment to the CIA.

      For all of this—for the hacking in the first place, and then the classification of that criminal deed—both men belong in prison.

      This kind of over-classification is illegal, but few Americans know that because this law is not enforced. The Justice Department has never brought over-classification charges against a U.S. spying authority.

      But this would be a good place to start.

    • Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary

      When it comes to the ruling elite’s corporate plunder and crimes against humanity, the U.S. national memory’s short and no one, not even its political henchmen, assume blame or suffer real consequences: take Halliburton and former chief executive and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for example. Not only did Cheney plan and justify the invasion, occupation and pilferage of Iraq’s oil, gold bars and national museum treasures under treasonous false pretenses, but its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR Inc.), overcharged the U.S. taxpayer to a tune of more than $2 billion due to collusion engendered by sole source contracting methods and shoddy accounting procedures. It’s even forgotten that Cheney received a $34 million payout from Halliburton when he joined the Vice President ticket in 2000, in advance of his unscrupulous maneuvers, according to news commentator, Chris Matthews; because on November 5th 2018, in celebration of its 100-year anniversary, its chief executives rang the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) opening bell.

      Sadly, as a nation, the U.S. doesn’t recall Cheney’s lies, or his role in planning the contemptible “Shock and Awe” saturation bombing campaign that destroyed a sovereign nation, which posed no threat to the United States, and left the world’s cradle of civilization in ruins. Conveniently, it doesn’t recall the over 500,000 deaths from war related causes, as reported by the Huffington Post in its 2017 updated article; nor does it recall that obliterating Iraq’s government created a sociopolitical vacuum that enabled the exponential growth of the CIA’s unique brand of Islamofascism and its resulting terrorism, which has culminated in war-torn Syria and Yemen.

      Iraq’s only “crime” against the United States, if you want to call it that, was being hogtied by Washington’s sanctions and embargo against it – in what can only be called a Catch 22 situation. Iraq couldn’t do business with U.S. corporations not because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to, but because the U.S. government effectively barred Iraq from doing so. This Catch 22 situation is presently being repeated in Venezuela and Iran in advance of its planned invasion and occupation.

    • Could integration help Ukraine’s Roma?

      Since the beginning of 2018, there have been five attacks on temporary Roma settlements in Ukraine. After people arrived in Kyiv, Ternopil and Lviv areas for seasonal work from other areas of the country, mostly Zakarpattya in the southwest, nationalist extremist groups evicted Roma from their camps, setting fire to tents and household goods. These far-right groups were angered by the fact that Roma set up camp in parks and wooded areas, while the police “did nothing about it”.

      In most cases, the attackers were charged merely with “hooliganism”, although the additional charge of “infringement of the equal rights of citizens in connection with their racial or ethnic origin or religious identity” was added in relation to attacks in Kyiv and Lviv after pressure from activists. In the most recent attack, in the Lviv area, a 24-year-old man, David Pap, was murdered, and four more were injured.

      Civil society remained unsatisfied with Ukrainian law enforcement’s reaction on the attacks against Roma settlements. Attacks on Roma aren’t only offences under the criminal charges of hooliganism, murder and infringement of equality. This kind of persecution contravenes Article 24 of Ukraine’s Constitution, which states that “there can be no privileges or restrictions on grounds of race, colour of skin, political, religious or other principles, gender, ethnic or social background, material position, place of residence, language or any other factor”.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Killing the Messenger: Truth in a Time of Universal Deceit

      When telling the truth is a revolutionary act, journalists and whistleblowers are targets. When politicians attack freedom of speech, media becomes weaponized.

      And here we are.

      How ironic that the government of Turkish President Erdoğan is postured as truth-leaker in the apparent gruesome murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkey is the leading per-capita jailer of journalists, whose “crime” often consists of speaking out against the repressive regime.

      CIA Director Gina Haspel’s recent meeting with Erdoğan about the Khashoggi case raises questions. Declassified cables reveal that when Haspel led a “black site” CIA prison in Thailand, prisoners were subjected to “extended sessions of physical violence, wall slamming, box confinement, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, shackling, stress positions, and waterboarding.” She later admitted to “being an advocate” of destroying evidence.

    • Crucifying Julian Assange

      The Democratic Party—seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference” rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate—attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime. Now, stories in newspapers that once published material from WikiLeaks focus on his allegedly slovenly behavior—not evident during my visits with him—and how he is, in the words of The Guardian, “an unwelcome guest” in the embassy. The vital issue of the rights of a publisher and a free press is ignored in favor of snarky character assassination.

    • Crucifying Julian Assange

      JULIAN Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.
      Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by Lenín Moreno — who calls Assange an ‘inherited problem’ and an impediment to better relations with Washington —is making the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.
      The Ecuadorians, reluctant to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes Assange’s current living conditions as ‘torture.’

      His mother, Christine Assange, said in a recent video appeal, ‘Despite Julian being a multi-award-winning journalist, much loved and respected for courageously exposing serious, high-level crimes and corruption in the public interest, he is right now alone, sick, in pain — silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact and being tortured in the heart of London. The modern-day cage of political prisoners is no longer the Tower of London. It’s the Ecuadorian Embassy.’
      ‘Here are the facts,’ she went on. ‘Julian has been detained nearly eight years without charge. That’s right. Without charge. For the past six years, the UK government has refused his request for access to basic health needs, fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper dental and medical care. As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. His examining doctors warned his detention conditions are life-threatening. A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London.’

    • Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador

      Lenin Moreno won Ecuador’s presidency in 2017 by campaigning to continue the economic policies of Rafael Correa (a leftist who was in office from 2007 until 2017) but upon taking office immediately shifted dramatically to the right. Andres Arauz, a former member of Correa’s economic team whom I interviewed for Counterpunch in May, provides an update on Moreno’s remarkably cynical Neoliberal Restoration. In addition to the troubling state of Ecuador’s economy under Moreno despite increased oil prices that help Ecuador, Aruaz discusses major assaults on the rule of law, looming corporate capture of Ecuador’s highest courts (including the role played by some environmentalists in helping it happen) and the fact that candidates in upcoming elections are forced keep alliances with Correa secret to avoid disqualification.

      [...]

      Additionally, Moreno’s accused Correa’s government of having exceeded a legal public debt limit, but then his brilliant solution to this alleged problem wasn’t to reduce the debt, like Correa famously did in 2008-9, but to remove the legal limit. A law was approved to remove it entirely for the next 4 years. That generates concern, because now this government has no limit.

      The government also now requires that any surplus revenue from high oil prices has to go into a fund. The budget was based on a price of $45 per barrel, but prices this year have averaged around $70. In spite of the fact that the law is in force, the fund hasn’t been created. Not one dollar has been deposited in any such fund, so they disregard their own self-imposed “austerity”. Why? The reason is that the government also issued two decrees.

      One decree eliminated the Law of Energy Sovereignty that established that windfall oil revenues were to be shared 50/50 with the Ecuadorian government. So that law no longer exists. A second decree did the same in the mining sector. The windfall revenues are no longer available to the government because they have given them away to transnational corporations. It shows the implications of Moreno’s political about face.

      Another thing is the so called “Trole” law that was approved a few months ago. It changed a bunch of regulations and was aimed at blocking the state’s ability to finance itself internally, to get loans from within the country. That was clearly done to be in tune with transnational capital markets. The best example of this is that instead of getting $500 million internally – something that would have been very easy for the Central Bank or the Social Security institute to provide – the government had to go to Goldman Sachs and guarantee the loan with $1.2 billion in bonds. So the sustainability of our public finances is now a concern.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA

      On Thursday, November 8, a federal court in Montana ordered a pause in the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Sounds like cause for celebration, doesn’t it? It’s not. Nothing can stop Keystone XL, and the reason is NAFTA.

      The order from Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana came in a lawsuit brought by the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), North Coast Rivers Alliance, and other environmental and Native American groups. Defendants are the US State Department, which approves trans-border oil pipelines, and TransCanada Corp., the Calgary-based corporation which is constructing KXL, a 1,179-mile long oil pipeline which will run from oil fields in Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, USA and from there via an already-existing pipeline to refineries in Texas.

      In his 54-page order, Judge Morris held that the State Department had failed to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of approving TransCanada’s permit application, particularly the impact the KXL pipeline would have on global climate change. KXL will transport Canadian tar sands oil, crude with a high carbon content. Judge Morris ordered that work on the pipeline be suspended until the State Department could conduct further environmental studies. Judge Morris’ serious treatment of global climate change places him in sharp contrast with President Donald Trump who dismisses climate change as a Chinese hoax.

    • Crazy Footage Shows Dog Playing With Wild Bears [Video]

      You might have also seen that recent drone video of the baby bear fighting its way through the snow to its mother. Cute, sure, but also another reminder of how drone operators are harassing animals to get the perfect shot.

    • Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity

      Let me tell you about why I woke up crying today. It has to do with just how close we are to full-blown climate disaster. I was thinking about children who are already experiencing the horrible consequences of global warming, and I was thinking about particular children I love and what’s in store for them. Most of all, I was thinking about the unthinkable: that we are on the verge of ensuring that most, if not all, life on Earth will be snuffed out.

      Everyone should be tossing and turning in their beds unable to sleep, experiencing the raw emotions that led me to tears this morning.

      This is not a joke, or a drill. This is it. Decision-point for humankind. The UN says we have to turn things around within 12 years to avoid catastrophe. Others give us even less time.

      We need to act. And we need to act quickly. But we need to act rationally as well. It won’t help to run out and just “do something, anything” to fight for our future. We need to look honestly at whether the things we’ve been doing so far are effective. They aren’t.

    • Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg

      The World Social Forum’s ‘Thematic Forum on Mining and Extractivism’ convenes from November 12-15 here in Johannesburg, just after the Southern Africa People’s Tribunal on Transnational Corporations. In between, at the notorious 2012 massacre site on the platinum belt to the west, there’s a launch of a new book – Business as Usual after Marikana– critical not only of the mining house Lonmin but of its international financiers and buyers.

      This is the moment for a profoundly critical standpoint to take root, unhindered by ineffectual reformism associated with Corporate Social Responsibility gimmicks and the mining sector’s civilised-society watchdogging at the mainly uncritical Alternative Mining Indaba. That NGO-dominated event occurs annually in Cape Town every February, at the same time and place where the extractive mega-corporations gather.

      The Thematic Forum firmly opposes ‘extractivism.’ Unlike the Indaba, it aims to connect the dots between oppressions, defining its target as extraction of “so-called natural resources” in a way that is “devastating and degrading,” since mining exacerbates “conditions of global warming and climate injustice. It subjects local economies to a logic of accumulation that privately benefits corporations,” and represses “traditional, indigenous and peasant communities by violations of human rights, affecting in particular the lives of women and children.”

      The last point is not incidental, as two of the main organisers are the Southern Africa Rural Women’s Assembly and the WoMin network: “African Women Unite Against Destructive Resource Extraction.” Inspired by Amadiba Crisis Committee activists in the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, they’ve campaigned hard for the #Right2SayNo.

    • West Virginia’s Natural Gas Industry Keeps Pushing to Whittle Away Payments to Residents

      For decades, Arnold and Mary Richards collected monthly royalty checks — most recently from $1,000 to $1,500 — for the natural gas sucked up from beneath their West Virginia farm by small, old wells.

      So in 2016, when EQT Corp. drilled six new gas wells, the Ritchie County couple expected to see their royalty payments skyrocket. The much-larger wells would collect far more natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation, which is fueling the boom in the state’s gas industry.

      The Richards’ checks did grow considerably. But the couple also saw something they didn’t expect: EQT was cutting the size of those new checks.

    • In an Age of Climate Change, Even “Titanic II” Is Not Safe From Icebergs

      Titanic II is set to sail in 2022. It’s a $500 million replica of the doomed Titanic that hit a North Atlantic iceberg in 1912. A local news report about the new ship postulated this logical but not valid prevailing attitude regarding climate change today: “The Titanic II will undoubtedly have less trouble with icebergs because of global warming.”

      This statement could not be further from reality. If we as a culture could just remember that climate change is almost always not as it seems, it might be possible that we could survive as a species. On a warmer planet, cold extremes can become more common, drought can increase with more rainfall and icebergs can become more numerous.

    • “An Incredible Victory”: Opponents of Keystone XL Pipeline Praise Judicial Order Blocking Construction

      On Thursday, a federal judge in Montana temporarily halted the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands region in Alberta to refineries as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. The court’s decision will require the Trump administration to review more thoroughly the potential negative impacts of the pipeline on the surrounding environment and climate change. President Obama halted the construction of the pipeline, which is being built by TransCanada, in 2015 following mass public protests, but Trump reversed the order shortly after he came into office. Environmental and indigenous groups hailed the decision Thursday. Sierra Club attorney Doug Hayes said in a statement, “The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can’t ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities.” We speak with May Boeve, executive director of 350 Action, the political arm of the climate organization 350.org.

    • Demands for ‘Real Climate Action’ as Death Toll From California Wildfires Hits Grim Record

      The statewide death toll from the wildfires blazing in northern and southern California hit 31 as firefighters on Monday continued to battle the flames that have already destroyed thousands of structures and displaced thousands of humans and animals alike. The increased death toll comes as scientists rip President Donald Trump’s recent tweet about the fires avoiding any climate crisis connection to the destruction.

      With the Camp Fire raging in nothern California now having claimed the lives of 29 people, it ties the record (pdf) set back in 1933 for the deadliest single wildfire in the state. Having destroyed more than 6,000 structures, it also tops the record for most destructive fire.

      It’s only 25 percent contained, and is one of several wildfires ravaging the state, as firefighters are also battling the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the Hill Fire in Ventura County, and the Nurse Fire in Solano County. And, with over 225 people are still unaccounted for, the death toll may rise.

    • Welcome to the Ultimate Escape Room

      You’ve done enough escape rooms to know the drill by now. You are escorted into what seems like an ordinary room. There’s a table and a chair. On the table is a book. As soon as you step across the threshold, the door closes behind you. You hear the lock click into place.

      You are now trapped in a room with four strangers. Three of them look as concerned as you are. The fourth is nonchalant.

      The instructions this time are a little different. As with other escape rooms, you have a certain amount of time to figure out how to get out. Also, you know that clues to the puzzle are hidden somewhere in the room. Figure them out and you’ll be able to unlock the door.

      But here’s the difference: the temperature in this room will go up a degree with every minute that passes. If you and those four strangers can’t figure out how to stop it from rising, you’ll succumb to heat stroke. In other words, if you don’t escape in the allotted time period, you’ll die.

      You immediately set to work looking for the clues. Maybe one or two are in the book on the table or maybe a code is carved on the underside of the table. Maybe you need to use the chair to climb up close enough to scrutinize the crown molding near the ceiling. Three of the strangers are doing what you’re doing: trying to uncover clues.

      The fourth is leaning against the wall, looking relaxed. “It’s just a joke,” he says to no one in particular.

      “I already feel it getting warmer in here,” you respond.

      “It’s just your imagination,” he replies. “Power of suggestion. Fake news.”

      The clock is already ticking. It can’t be your imagination. It’s definitely hotter in the room than when you first entered. You’re sweating. Everyone’s sweating, even the leaning man. “Temperatures naturally fluctuate,” he comments. “It might be going up now, but it will go down again. Count on it.”

  • Finance
    • VA’s software so SNAFU’d that vets were made homeless waiting for benefits

      The Department of Veterans Affairs has acknowledged that the failure of a new IT system for processing claims for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits has been holding up payments for months and causing financial hardship for thousands of veterans. “Many of our Post-9/11 GI Bill students are experiencing longer than typical wait times to receive monthly housing payments,” the VA said in a statement, with processing times averaging “a little over 35 days” for first-time veteran applicants. More than 82,000 veterans were still waiting for housing payments for the fall semester as of November 8, with some having lost housing as the result of non-payment.

    • RBI refuses to state how much destruction of banned notes cost: RTI

      The RBI had informed in August this year that as much as 99.3 per cent of the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes returned to the banking system.

    • SAP agrees to buy Qualtrics for $8B in cash, just before the survey software company’s IPO

      Enterprise software giant SAP announced today that it has agreed to acquire Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash, just before the survey and research software company was set to go public. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. Qualtrics last round of venture capital funding in 2016 raised $180 million at a $2.5 billion valuation.

      This is the second-largest ever acquisition of a SaaS company, after Oracle’s purchase of Netsuite for $9.3 billion in 2016.

    • Jack Ma Heads Toward Retirement With Singles’ Day Record

      In its 10th iteration, the annual Singles’ Day event on Nov. 11 notched 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in merchandise sales, an increase of 27 percent, according to a tally posted at the event’s media center in Shanghai. The final number compares with 39 percent growth last year.

      Ma will hand the chairman’s role to Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang next year, passing along one of China’s highest profile corporate roles at a time when the country is embroiled in a trade spat with the U.S. Concerns about the impact of those tensions on a slowing economy have contributed to a 16 percent slump in Alibaba’s share price this year.

    • Kyrgyzstan survives on money made by migrant workers, but it doesn’t know how to spend it

      Altynai, 24, doesn’t know what she will do if her parents stop sending money from Russia. She’ll be in a hopeless situation without those 20,000 soms (£220) a month — this money is her only way of surviving. For the past three years, Altynai (name changed) has been living with her grandmother, whose pension isn’t enough to buy anything.

      She says that residents of her village in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan frequently leave to work abroad. There’s never enough jobs here in Leylek district, which is bordered by Tajikistan on three sides. There are no new enterprises being opened. Most people work for low wages in state institutions.

      Indeed, over the past decade, more and more people have been leaving Kyrgyzstan to work abroad. In Russia alone, there are more than 800,000 Kyrgyz citizens on the migration register. Most of them come to work. In 2017, they made money transfers to Kyrgyzstan totalling $2.5 billion — which was more than the total state annual expenditure.

    • What Wells Fargo’s $40.6 Billion in Stock Buybacks Could Have Meant for Its Employees and Customers

      The 2016 corruption scandal at Wells Fargo, in which executives pressured employees to meet “wildly unrealistic sales targets,” created a work environment described as “relentless pressure.” Once revealed, the massive fraud committed against millions of consumers led to congressional hearings, substantial fines by state and federal regulators, and a series of announced changes by Wells in which they committed to “building a better bank.”

      You might think that this renewed commitment by Wells Fargo would start with targeted attention to its workforce. Instead, Wells Fargo has announced that it is laying off workers, while lining the pockets of share traders.

      [...]

      Even worse, Wells Fargo has laid off an additional 26,500 employees since the Trump tax bill. If the company chose to save just one-tenth of the $40.6 billion it has authorized for spending on stock buybacks, all 26,500 of those jobs could have been saved, assuming each employee takes home $100,000 annually.

      Wells Fargo chose to enrich its shareholders at the expense of its workers, and, ultimately, the security of its customers. To build better banks, a better financial sector, and a better economy, we need better rules that encourage productive — not extractive — corporate behavior and foster the shared prosperity US companies can clearly afford to provide.

    • Learning From 3.7 Percent Unemployment: It’s More Than Just a Number

      This is a problem, and not just because it allows economists to avoid being held accountable for their errors. It is also a problem because the denial and obfuscation prevent us from learning from the mistakes and therefore make it more likely they will be repeated.

      The country saw a great example of this sort of obfuscation around the 10th anniversary of the crash of Wall Street’s Lehman Brothers, which is generally regarded as the peak of the financial crisis. The 10th anniversary stories were all about the financial crisis and how it was caused by complex financial instruments that regulators were not able to monitor. In short, history is being written to show that the crisis was a system failure, not the fault of the people guiding economic policy.

      In reality, the main factor causing the Great Recession (and the financial crisis) was the collapse of a massive housing bubble that had been driving the economy. Recognizing the bubble and its impact on the economy didn’t require great insight, it just required paying attention to widely available government data on house prices, construction and consumption that were released monthly. The problem of the housing bubble is basically that the people at the Federal Reserve Board and other economic policy makers were not doing their jobs.

    • Diversion Programs Say They Offer a Path Away From Court, but Critics Say the Tolls Are Hefty

      After he was charged in January with burglary, D’Angelo Springer had a decision to make.

      Springer, 24, had been pulled over after running a stop sign in Kankakee County. He was giving a ride to an acquaintance, who had an arrest warrant in a neighboring county. When officers searched the car, according to police reports, they found a checkbook behind the passenger seat that had been taken in a car break-in. Springer denied he was involved, but he was charged with felony burglary, which could have sent him to prison.

      Before trial, the Kankakee County prosecutors gave Springer another option: He could enroll in a new diversion program the county was offering. If he completed the program and performed community service, his charges would be dropped.

    • Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank

      In November 2016, two of Russia’s largest banks MDM and B&N completed a merger. This new entity now ranked (by size of assets) in the top 10 of all Russian banks and the top 5 for private lenders. Following the merger CEO Mikail Shishkhanov declared, ‘We have laid the foundation for the creation of an international-class bank’.[1] Yet a mere 10 months later it required a bailout in what could be one of the mostly costly rescues in Russian banking history. [2] Mr Shiskhanov blamed these difficulties largely on MDM, whose losses ‘turned out to be much more serious than assumed in the conditions of a falling market’. [3]

      How had those tasked with assessing MDM’s health prior to the merger failed to recognise such problems? Part of the answer lies 6000 kilometres away in the Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC), via Ireland’s large shadow banking sector. Irish registered special purpose vehicles (SPVs), or shell companies in common parlance, have become widely used by Russian MNEs for off balance sheet financing and wider tax/regulatory avoidance. Between the years 2005-2016 around €110 billion was raised by Russian connected vehicles in the IFSC, [4] with Russian banks also using it as a location to hide losses. [5]

      Concerned with the latter usage, this article examines MDM’s use of several IFSC based vehicles as part of a scheme that helped to create fictitious assets on its balance sheet, whilst simultaneously hiding losses. By providing loans to these off-balance sheet vehicles the bank was able to increase the size of its assets. These shell companies then used the proceeds to purchase some of the bank’s stock of non-performing loans (NPLs), thereby hiding some of its losses. An examination of the data contained in financial statements of MDM and its associated shell companies allows us to explore this insider dealing scheme, the techniques used to conceal what was happening and its effects on the bank’s balance sheet.

    • UK media say Brexit is becoming a catastrophe

      “Deadlocked,” “Titanic,” “Failing,” and “Life support.” If you believe the British media, the United Kingdom is heading for a Brexit catastrophe.

      Rising political tensions around what seems like the impossible task of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union were displayed in dramatic fashion in the British media over the weekend and on Monday.

      Prime Minister Theresa May has been scrambling to clinch a deal by the end of this month. But she’s facing fierce political headwinds at home and in the European Union.

    • Brexit (and Boris) torpedoed

      When the Argentinian dictatorship of General Galtieri seized the Falkland Islands, known to them as the Malvinas, in 1982, Parliament echoed with the rage of wounded, Anglo-British patriotism. It endorsed the dispatch of a “task force” to ensure Britain’s claim. As the ships sailed across the equator the balance of public opinion opposed the use of force. Then, Thatcher ordered HMS Conqueror to torpedo the antiquated Argentinian battleship Belgrano. The nuclear-powered submarine sunk its target. Over 300 of its crew drowned in the South Atlantic. The ruthless display ensured war would follow. Opinion swung decisively behind the Prime Minister. While some of his soldiers and pilots fought hard, Galtieri’s bravado display of puffed up aggrandisement collapsed, humiliated by an utter lack of preparedness for a real battle.

      Today, it is the Generalissimo of Brexitannia, Boris Johnson, who has been torpedoed. After two long years of preparation the battle of Brexit has finally been joined by a well-aimed, perfectly executed strike which has holed the Leave campaign that he led below the water line. The torpedo was the stunning resignation statement of his younger brother Jo Johnson MP. Johnson junior was Theresa May’s loyal Minister of Transport. Now, he has pulled out of the government denouncing its negotiations with the EU as a catastrophe of statecraft while clinically skewering his brother’s braggadocio. He has pledged to vote against the prime minister’s deal with the EU should it reach the House of Commons, where its defeat is now likely. He has called for a People’s Vote instead, to endorse remaining in the European Union.

      Johnson junior was a Remainer, like all ‘sensible’ ruling class conservatives including the prime minister, and he backed her attempt to deliver a Brexit that ‘works’. But the prime minister could not escape its contradictions. As I have shown the EU is above all a union of regulation. This is its central achievement: a customs union and single market, accomplished with the British, who played a central role in its creation over the course of 40 years. Regulation is not the same as sharing traditional sovereignty and for EU members like the UK who are outside of the Eurozone the classic pillars of sovereignty remain overwhelmingly national. Such is its strength, whatever happens to the common currency, Europe’s regulatory union will continue. Its advantages explain the commitment to continued membership of countries strongly opposed to many of the EU policies. It offers over 500 million people a growing cosmos of opportunity across all their nations with shared human rights and high environmental, safety and employment standards as well as an exceptional open market for capital and business – both manufacturing and services.

    • When Media Say ‘Working Class,’ They Don’t Necessarily Mean Workers—but They Do Mean White

      “Working-class voters tried to send a message in 2016, and they are still trying to send it,” writes columnist David Brooks (New York Times, 11/8/18). By “working class,” he means “white working class,” since people making less than $100,000 voted decisively for Democrats in 2018.

      Since the 2016 elections, corporate media narratives about US politics have fixated on the “white working class” as a pivotal demographic, presented as a hardscrabble assortment of disaffected outsiders. Piece after piece has been published in establishment outlets attempting to decipher the motivations of this racialized socio-economic group, depicted as fighting from the Heartland against “cultural elites” on both coasts.

      [...]

      This misrepresentation of working-class whiteness extends to discussion of the voting habits of organized labor, as in a Washington Post piece (10/10/18) speculating that Sen. Sherrod Brown’s pro-union rhetoric in Ohio might help Democrats “reverse the flight of the white working class to President Trump.” Though the typical union worker is often depicted as a gruff white man nearing his 50s, union membership is more common among African-American workers than whites, at 13.0 percent vs. 10.5 percent.

      Despite the significant number of people of color in the working class, non-white members of this class are rarely talked about as such. While use of the phrase “white working class” has been ubiquitous in political journalism in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the “black working class” is discussed much less often. While the New York Times will occasionally put out a piece with explicit analysis of working people of color—including one op-ed by Tamara Winfrey-Harris (6/16/18) and another by Alexis Okeowo (6/2/18)—they are few and far between compared to the multitude of pieces published on their white counterparts.

      This promotes a homogenous image of the working class as sweaty, middle-aged white men in hard hats, with MAGA bumper stickers on their pick-up trucks and a fear of social change in their hearts. This depiction erases the multitude of working people who do not meet this stereotype, and ignores the fact that the working class has far more people of color and more women than the professional and ownership classes.

    • The Narrowness of Mainstream Economics Is About to Unravel

      Recent extreme volatility and sharp drops in US stock markets underscore the instability of capitalism yet again. As many commentators now note, another economic downturn looms. We know that all the reforms and regulations imposed in the wake of the Great Depression of the 1930s failed to prevent both smaller downturns between 1941 and 2008 and then another big crash in 2008. Capitalism’s instability has, for centuries, resisted all efforts to overcome it with or without government interventions. Yet mainstream economics mostly evades an honest confrontation with the social costs of such economic instability. Worse, it evades a direct debate with the Marxian critique that links those costs to an argument that system change would be the best and most “efficient” solution.

    • In Iowa, Pioneering Undergrad Workers Union Keeps Growing

      At a small liberal arts college in rural Iowa, students who work in the libraries, mailroom, and other campus workplaces have undertaken an ambitious organizing drive.

      Two years ago, 350 dining-hall workers at Grinnell College made history when they formed the first union of undergraduate workers at a private college. Now hundreds of other student workers on campus are campaigning to join then.

      Without lawyers or an international union behind them, these young workers represented themselves at the National Labor Relations Board, up against high-powered “union avoidance” lawyers and university administrators—and won. They’re set for a November 27 election.

      Grinnell, founded by abolitionists and once a stop on the underground railroad, has a reputation for its commitment to social justice. Yet this October, Grinnell’s lawyers outrageously claimed that a union would “erode the egalitarian nature” of the college, creating a “caste system” and turning student workers into “an underclass of serfs.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Electoral College Dilemma

      Calling the Electoral College one of the “least understood disasters at the core of our Constitution,” Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig (above) launched a Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy discussion convened to explore the pros and cons of the body that gets the last word on presidential elections.

    • [Old] The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire

      Sinclair is the largest owner of television stations in the United States, with a hundred and ninety-two stations in eighty-nine markets. It reaches thirty-nine per cent of American viewers. The company’s executive chairman, David D. Smith, is a conservative whose views combine a suspicion of government, an aversion to political correctness, and strong libertarian leanings. Smith, who is sixty-eight, has a thick neck, deep under-eye bags, and a head of silvery hair. He is an enthusiast of fine food and has owned farm-to-table restaurants in Harbor East, an upscale neighborhood in Baltimore. An ardent supporter of Donald Trump, he has not been shy about using his stations to advance his political ideology. Sinclair employees say that the company orders them to air biased political segments produced by the corporate news division, including editorials by the conservative commentator Mark Hyman, and that it feeds interviewers questions intended to favor Republicans.

      In some cases, anchors have been compelled to read from scripts prepared by Sinclair. [...]

    • Democrats had a great week. Here’s what we do now.

      Meanwhile, emerging threats to election security remain largely unaddressed under the Trump administration, leaving the integrity of our democracy in question.

      That’s why we need to look ahead now. There are no permanent victories — or losses — in politics. If we want to turn our midterm victories into long-term results, we need to address the problems that got us here in the first place.

    • Facebook’s Secret Weapon for Fighting Election Interference: The Government

      Now, communication lines have started to open between Facebook and federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the company. Facebook also established relationships with state election boards, so it could be alerted to problems as they occurred. Those connections are likely to strengthen ahead of the 2020 presidential election, when foreign interest in election manipulation may be higher. Twitter Inc., too, has strengthened its relationship with federal law enforcement agencies, seeking to protect against foreign influence.

    • Social media companies grapple with new forms of political misinformation

      Jonathan Albright, a researcher at the Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, said that false and misleading information is still running rampant on platforms like Facebook.

      “Many of the dangers that were pointed out years ago have seemed to grow exponentially on Facebook, not unlike the other large social media ‘platforms,’ ” he wrote earlier this month.

      Albright analyzed 250,000 Facebook posts, 5,000 political ads and historic engagement metrics for hundreds of pages and groups on the social media platform.

      [...]

      “People who don’t have the access or ability to verify information, it just gets spread too fast for it to be contained,” Rosenblatt said. “I think it often spreads so fast that by the time fact-checking gets underway, people have already settled into their conclusions.”

    • Burned to death because of a rumour on WhatsApp

      Rumours of child abductors spread through WhatsApp in a small town in Mexico. The rumours were fake, but a mob burned two men to death before anyone checked.

    • Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections

      Since Donald Trump’s selection as president two years ago, a growing movement of citizens has been fighting back at what it sees as a dangerous march toward fascism US style. And, despite the election of some progressive candidates in the midterm elections, it would be a mistake to count on them alone to interrupt the erosion of an already tattered democracy in a largely corporate controlled society.

      Still, the diverse community of activists, old and young—a veritable rainbow coalition—is already a force, both as potential allies to the newly elected progressives and as a check on them to follow through on their campaign promises.

      Like many born after World War II and before the moon landing in 1969, my activism began in the 1960s, volunteering for Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign and as an anti-Vietnam war protestor. Ever since, I have been a part of a range of campaigns and causes, in recent years focusing on challenging men’s violence against women and working to transform masculinity. Today’s activists, from Black Lives Matter to 350.org, for example, count at their core women—many active well before the Women’s March—who have long been leading the way in a feminist wave revitalizing activism today.

      In campaigning in the midterms, activists saw a simultaneous truth: in addition to the energy and enthusiasm many felt in working to help the Democrats take back the House of Representatives, they also recognized that electoral politics alone cannot fix a broken system. Those outraged by the white supremacist misogynist temporarily residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue felt that working to flip the house was a struggle worth engaging in.

    • Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take

      President Donald J. Trump has a special, strained take on the world. Defeat is simply victory viewed in slanted terms. Victory for the other side is defeat elaborately clothed.

    • Why Jeff Sessions’ Final Act Could Have More Impact Than Expected

      Jeff Sessions hides emotion poorly — his face is reflexively expressive — and last Wednesday night, it betrayed a mixed set of sentiments as he stepped out of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in downtown Washington. He had the stunned appearance of a hostage emerging out of an underground prison for the first time in months. But for a moment, in the news-camera glare, another look flashed across his face: the impish grin of a man who knows he’d managed to leave a little surprise behind.

      Earlier that day, Sessions had resigned as the head of the Justice Department at the request of President Donald Trump. But before he left the job, the soon-to-be former attorney general had some last-minute business to attend to. With a black-ink pen, he initialed, in an illegible scrawl, a document formalizing the terms of what will be one of his abiding legacies: a Justice Department disengaged from its role in investigating and reforming police departments that repeatedly violate the civil rights of the people they’re sworn to protect. Police reform had been a DOJ priority during the Obama administration, and that work played a significant role in the federal response to the deaths of black men at the hands of police in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri.

    • “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis,” Coming Soon From ProPublica and Frontline

      In the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, ProPublica and Frontline present a new investigation into white supremacist groups in America — in particular, a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, that has actively recruited inside the U.S. military.

    • Germany on a Political Seesaw

      Two weeks later came the next blow. The wealthy state of Hesse, with its center in Frankfurt/Main, was a stronghold of the Social Democrats (SPD) for decades. Then they were pushed out by the Christian Democrats, often using racist stereotyping propaganda. The state elections on October 28th shocked them both. The SPD was reduced to a pitiful relic, under 20 %, while the CDU got its worst result in 50 years.

      These state-level shocks were no less staggering at the federal level. Merkel, seeing her personal aura dwindle like a fading rainbow, took a step fully unthinkable just a few years ago. She has always been both chancellor and head of the CDU, an indispensable tie she always claimed. But at its congress next month she will step down as party leader. She can remain “queen mother” of the national government until 2021, if it stays in power, but the odds against it and her are grating downward. With its current rating of 27 % the CDU-CSU is still the strongest but not by much.

      Three main rivals are pushing to succeed her as party leader – and maybe even more? Jens Spahn, 38, currently Minister of Health, has always been a major right-wing opponent of Merkel. Never popular despite all his efforts, the public has spurned him in the polls.

    • Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time

      The Republicans, worried that the party may lose two Senate seats, a Governor’s mansion, and probably a bunch more close races for the House over the counting of disputed mail-in ballots and provisional ballots, are drumming up conspiracy theories now. I just drove through Trump Country last night and listened to Fox Radio as the host (I think it was Laura Ingraham) and her call-ins denounced the recount battles as Democratic corruption.

      The biggest laugh was when Ingraham noted that Floridians had passed a law that will (finally!) permit non-violent felons who have served their time to vote. She snarkily said, “We’ll see how that works out!” This, of course, after Republican voters in Southern California elected to the House two convicted felons.

      At any rate, it needs to be pointed out to these people, who are either simply incapable of logic or just grabbing at straws to attack a legitimate need for a careful count of all ballots, that there are good reasons why signatures when a person votes, and when they originally registered to vote, can be different looking. My father-in-law is 91, and has palsied hands. When we tried to get him a mail ballot so he could vote at the nursing home he lives in, he enthusiastically signed the ballot application as best as he could. It was rejected by New Jersey authorities (NJ is a heavily Democratic state by the way and he happens to be a Democrat) because they said his signature didn’t match the one he signed five years ago when he and my mother-in-law moved to New Jersey from Florida and registered to vote when they got their state ID cards at the state Motor Vehicle Dept.

    • Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power

      Soft power was always a term best suited for eunuchs. It relies on persuasion, counsel and an air of seduction. It does not imply actual force as such (often, that side of the bargain is hidden). At its core are the presumed virtues of the product being sold, the society being advertised to others who are supposedly in the business of being convinced. Joseph Nye came up with it in the groves of academe as the Cold War was coming to an end, and every policy maker supposedly worth his or her brief insists upon it. (Since 1990, Nye has done another shuffle, attempting to market another variant of power: from soft, power has become erroneously sentient – or “smart”.)

      Nye himself already leaves room for the critics to point out how the concept is, essentially, part of an advertising executive’s armoury, the sort an Edward Bernays of foreign affairs might embrace. It co-opts; it suggests indirectness; it is “getting others to want what you want” by shaping “the preferences of others”; it employs popular culture and concepts of political stability. In a vulgar sense, it inspires envy and the need to emulate, stressing desire over substance.

      [...]

      Most recently, Australia’s tetchy Prime Minister Scott Morrison (daggy cap and all), has been busy pushing Australian credentials in the immediate region, throwing $2 billion at a new Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. Another billion is also sought for Australia’s export financing agency.

      What is striking in this endeavour is the language of ownership, part proprietary and part imperial. “This is our patch,” Morrison explained to those at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville on Thursday. “This is where we have special responsibilities. We always have, we always will. We have their back, and they have ours.” These are the vagaries of power. “Australia has an abiding interest in a Southwest Pacific that is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically.” Diplomatic posts will be established in Palau, the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, Niue and the Cook Islands, all newly modelled sets of eyes.

    • Donald Trump Is Attacking the Florida Recounts Because He Hates Democracy

      The president is lying about “election theft” in Florida as part of a calculated strategy to shut down an essential part of the election process.

    • Dems to probe whether Trump retaliated against CNN, Washington Post

      Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, told Axios that Democrats would try to find out whether Trump used “the instruments of state power to punish the press.”

    • Scoop: Democrats to probe Trump for targeting CNN, Washington Post

      Why it matters: Until now, all Trump critics could do is complain about his escalating attacks on the media. With subpoena power and public hearings, the incoming House Democratic majority can demand emails and testimony to see if Trump used “the instruments of state power to punish the press,” Schiff said.

    • Henry Giroux Discusses His Latest Book — American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism

      We spoke with Henry Giroux about his capstone work American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism, what the increase in dehumanization and militarization in our society means for democracy, and the importance of historical consciousness under the Trump administration.

    • This 2019 Peace Calendar Reminds Us That We Are Not Alone

      When finding peace seems fruitless, or it seems that power will never bend its ear to listen to our voices, we must remember that we are not alone. Collectively, our voices are heard and amplified by one another. We need only to look at a calendar and remind ourselves, with each passing day, that we are in this struggle together.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • French investigators to work directly with Facebook to monitor hate speech

      In a French-language speech before the Internet Governance Forum held in Paris on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the two sides would work together for six months starting in early 2019 to come up with “joint, precise, and concrete” proposals that both Menlo Park and Paris could agree with.

    • Censors angry about erotic literature in China’s favorite news app

      Outside of China, things are good for ByteDance. Its viral short video app Tik Tok landed 30 million new users in three months, thanks to a merger with Musical.ly. But in China, the giant startup is once again running into trouble with its news aggregator, Toutiao.

      This time, the target is Toutiao’s story section. That’s where users — whether professional organizations or individual people — publish works of fiction. But now regulators have ordered a one-month suspension of the section, accusing it of publishing pornographic content, Beijing Daily reports.

      The offending articles are said to contain titles like, “After a night of debauchery, the man turned out to be her new boss” and “To make money to treat my ailing mother, I started working at a club. To my surprise, my first customer was my teacher.”

    • The campus-censorship hypocrites

      Campus censorship, a certain type of radical academic rushes to tell us, simply does not happen. Apparently, free speech is alive and well at a university near you and to suggest otherwise is ‘hysteria’ that fuels a moral panic ‘whipped up’ by a politically motivated minority intent on besmirching students and sullying hallowed institutions. Except, of course, when it’s not.

      It emerged this week that a book listed as ‘essential’ for third-year politics students at the University of Reading came with a warning telling them ‘to take care’. Norman Geras’s ‘Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution’ was flagged up as potentially falling foul of the government’s Prevent Duty. Students were told not to access it on personal devices, to read it only in a secure setting, and not to leave it lying around where it might be spotted ‘inadvertently or otherwise, by those who are not prepared to view it’. Rarely has an examination of the ethics of socialist revolution sounded more exciting!

      Geras argues that violence can be justified in cases of grave social injustice. This was more than enough for one member of staff to tip off university officials, who in turn agreed it was ‘sensitive’ and issued the stark warning. This lot could clearly have taught the Stasi a thing or two about surveillance and reporting.

    • The censorship of Norman Geras

      To anyone who knew the late and much-missed Norman Geras, the idea that the state could consider his work an incitement to terrorism would have been incomprehensible. Geras was an inspirational politics professor at Manchester University, and a polemicist and moral philosopher of exceptional insight. He devoted much of his energy to opposing the murder of civilians, and lost many friends on the left in the process.

      You could level all kinds of charges against him, we would have conceded. But incitement to terrorism? The charge would be insane.

      We should have known better. We should have realised that academic bureaucrats could find reasons to label any and every work ‘threatening’ or ‘triggering’ if the mood so took them. All they would require is the necessary levels of ignorance, condescension and paranoia censors have displayed throughout the ages.

      As my colleague Eleni Courea reports in the Observer, Reading University has found one such buffoon. He – or maybe it is a she, for priggishness and anti-intellectualism are by no means exclusively male preserves – has warned students to handle Geras’s Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution as if it were an unexploded bomb.

    • UN Guterres Paris Internet Speech Mentions Censorship and DESA Even As He Bans Press and Ignores Cameroon Corruption

      Before UN Secretary Guterres took off for Paris (coverage by Inner City Press here), his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on November 9 declined to provide information about who Guterres would meet with but said “one of our colleagues, Vannina [Maestracci] will be travelling with the Secretary-General and we’ll try to provide details once we have the schedule firmed up.” Well, two days later, absolutely nothing from the UN, even as Turkish state media reports Guterres met for 45 minutes with Erdogan. What did they talk about, how to ban journalists? Later, still with no Erdogan or any other read out, Guterres pedantic Paris Internet Governance Speech said, among other things, “We see the Internet being used as a platform for hate speech, for repression, censorship” – this from a man who has banned and censored Inner City Press for 131 days and counting, and whose spokesman Stephane Dujarric blocks Inner City Press on Twitter. Guterres intoned, “Non-traditional, multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation will be crucial, including governments, private sector, research centres and civil society” – while Guterres maintains a non-public “banned from the UN” list which according to his own guards includes political activists he doesn’t like. Guterres said, “You have support from UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)” – a department taking payments from UN bribery imprisonee Patrick Ho. This is Guterres and his UN. The day before in his ParisPeace Forum speech Guterres said, among other things, “We must never accept the plight of the victims of violence and terrorist acts in Syria, Yemen, Mali or Myanmar” – but covering up the slaugher of Anglophones by Cameroon’s Paul Biya is fine with him, either for a golden statue or bureaucratic favors from Biya’s Ambassador as chair of the UN Budget Committee. Guterres said, “Alongside Jürgen Habermas, we must recognize that the oxygen of a modern democracy is a continuous flow of communication between civil society and the political authorities” – this as Guterres has Inner City Press banned for the 130th day after having it roughed up on June 22 and July 3; his spokesman Stephane Dujarric blocks Inner City Press on Twitter. Some continuous flow of information. Guterres said, “horror must never prevail over hope. The hope with which I receive my guests in the meeting room on the 38th floor of the Secretariat Building at United Nations Headquarters, adorned by the Matisse tapestry Polynésie, le Ciel, with its deep, peaceful shades of blue.” It was from even photo ops on the UN’s 38th floor that Dujarric unilaterally banned Inner City Press, just before having it assaulted by UN Security Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins on June 22 and July 3 and now contacting and dissembling to those who question that online, at least if they are from Europe. As Inner City Press moved forward with its inquiry into UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ personal use of public funds, silence on slaughter in Cameroon and elsewhere and failure to disclose family members’ financial interests in Angola and elsewhere, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric on 20 June 2018 said that “things will soon be getting worse” for Inner City Press’ reporter. Inner City Press has now been banned from the UN for 127 days and Dujarric is providing his and his boss’ pretext, as purported background, to some of those asking questions, at least if they come from Europe, see below. The pretexts are lies – now that they are becoming public, the ban is more disgusting and should be UNtenable.

    • IGF Needs Bold Reform, Internet Needs More Regulation, Says President Macron

      French President Emmanuel Macron today opened the 13th Internet Governance Forum (November 12-14) in Paris with a firework of requests to the IGF community and some bold ideas. The IGF after a decade should take on much more responsibility in the development of internet regulation, Macron demanded, and said he together with last year’s and next year’s hosts of the UN forum is collaborating on pushing for more formal results, The IGF according to Macron should become a part of the UN Secretary General‘s Office, Macron proposed, to illustrate the importance. His call for regulation was echoed at the event by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

    • Film Censorship Board can come under Communications Ministry, says Gobind

      The Communications and Multimedia Ministry has no qualms about having the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) come under its jurisdiction.

      Its minister Gobind Singh Deo said he is prepared to speak to Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin about it.

      “I have been asked this question before (and) I have no problems with it as it is relevant to my Ministry because we deal with the National Film Development of Malaysia (Finas),” he said at a press conference after officiating at the Digital Transformation Forum here on Tuesday (Nov 13).

      He said he knew of reasons why LPF would be parked under the Home Ministry but did not want to elaborate.

    • It’s nonsense to suggest that Gab has been unfairly targeted for hate speech

      Immediately after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October, all eyes were on Gab, the Twitter-esque platform celebrated by self-proclaimed alt-right celebrities such as Richard Spencer and Alex Jones for its permissive attitude toward all speech, including speech considered hateful in civil society. In the weeks leading up to the attack, the alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, had reportedly used the platform to espouse anti-Semitic views and conspiracies from what is believed to be his verified account on the site, which bore a bio that plainly stated “jews are the children of Satan.”

      From the start, Gab has positioned itself as an echo chamber that would allow people to find a community of like-minded bigots. Even if they weren’t actively engaging in hate speech at any given time, they were offered, by Gab, a platform on which hate was normalized — possibly was even the norm. While more-familiar social media sites may also feature their share of repugnant content, Gab’s free-speech absolutism provides those who engage in such discourse with the tacit, and often explicit, endorsement of their fellow users.

      [...]

      The central premise of Torba’s disingenuous defense seems to be that although social media — and the Internet as a whole — begets toxicity, his platform is being unfairly singled out. He cited the case of Cesar Sayoc, who had used both Twitter and Facebook to reportedly spout conspiracies before being caught for allegedly mailing pipe bombs to Democratic-aligned pundits and Democratic politicians. (Twitter, for its part, has acknowledged its shortcomings and is taking steps to squash hateful content as it emerges.)

      Why should these sites have the privilege of retaining their spot on the Internet, argued Torba, when they also struggle with hate?

      It’s a question that blatantly ignores the gaps in the way that we classify hate speech. According to the “massive academic study” that Torba cited, the estimated 6 percent of the site dedicated to hate speech is possibly a gross underestimate. Looking at the research more closely, that was merely the percentage of posts that contained overt slurs — a narrow slice of what hate speech encompasses.

      [...]

      When Torba founded Gab in August of 2016, “it was in response to these accounts getting banned from Twitter and Facebook during the 2016 election,” said Michael Edison Hayden, an open-source intelligence analyst at Storyful who has monitored the online behavior of extremists at length.

      The accounts that ended up being the bedrock of Gab’s user base turned out to be created by people who were banned from the more popular platforms, either for violating the rules surrounding hate speech, being involved in targeted harassment or sending violent threats. Some members, such as early Gab user Milo Yiannopoulos, were guilty of all three.

      “When the impetus for your company is to find a place for these people who have already demonstrated themselves to be bad actors on other platforms,” Hayden said, referring to Gab’s initial user base, “it’s almost as if you decided to start a village entirely with people that had been convicted of crimes.”

    • Gab to Rein In Calls for Violence While Allowing Hate Speech

      The social-media site where the alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter broadcast his intentions is pledging to curb threats of violence, while it said it plans to remain a platform where hate speech and other forms of extreme content are permitted.

      Gab.com, which resumed service this week after a stretch in digital exile, will proactively police the site rather than wait for users to report troubling posts, founder Andrew Torba said in an interview, vowing to bolster efforts to expunge threats of physical harm.

    • Pennsylvania Attorney General subpoenas Epik over Gab.com domain name

      Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has asked domain name registrar Epik to send it information about its interactions with Gab, the social network that came under fire after one of its users shot people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

      Gab.com was registered at GoDaddy before moving to Uniregistry, and then to Epik. Epik founder Rob Monster got in touch and invited Gab to move the domain to its service, but he said he didn’t take the decision lightly.

    • Gab Server Subpoenaed By Pennsylvania Attorney General
    • Bohemian Rhapsody faces censorship in Malaysia due to anti-homosexuality laws
    • Censorship Board Cuts Homosexual Scenes From Bohemian Rhapsody
    • Malaysia’s Leading Cinema Exhibitor Denies Major Cuts To QUEEN Biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
    • ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ can’t break free from Malaysian censors
    • Top Philippines news site and company chief face tax evasion charges

      A move by the Philippines Justice Department to charge investigative news site Rappler with tax evasion is being seen as a thinly disguised attempt to stifle press freedom in the Southeast Asian country.

      On Friday, the Justice Department said it had “found probable cause” to indict Rappler and its CEO and executive editor, former CNN bureau chief Maria Ressa, on charges of tax evasion.
      “We are not at all surprised by the decision, considering how the Duterte administration has been treating Rappler for its independent and fearless reporting,” Rappler said in statement.

    • Philippines Continues To Spit On Free Speech; Plans To Charge Key Media Critic With Bogus Claims Of Tax Evasion

      At the beginning of this year, we had a fairly long post about a dangerous situation brewing in the Philippines, where President Duterte was clearly trying to retaliate against one of his chief media critics, The Rappler, run by Maria Ressa. As I mentioned, I got to see Ressa speak at a conference last year, and the former CNN bureau chief is a force of nature who seems completely devoted to accurately reporting on President Duterte, no matter how much he dislikes it.

      When we wrote about Ressa and Rappler in January, it was over some trumped up charges concerning claims of “foreign ownership.” That story is a bit complex, but in order to get a grant from the philanthropic Omidyar Network, Rappler sold what are known as Philippine Depository Receipts (or PDRs). PDRs do have value, which are tied to the value of shares in the company, but which don’t grant any of the related ownership rights. And yet, Duterte and the Filipino SEC have been arguing that Rappler committed tax evasion by somehow “not reporting” the PDR’s.

      [...]

      Here is a case where it seems quite clear that the charges are being trumped up based on Rappler’s reporting, rather than based on anything even remotely legitimate. And whether or not Ressa and Rappler continue is beyond the point. The message to anyone else who wants to follow in their shoes is “don’t bother, we’ll make your life a living hell.” Obviously that won’t (and shouldn’t) stop many reporters, but it can have an enormous chilling effect on many, many people.

    • EFF, Human Rights Watch, and Over 70 Civil Society Groups Ask Mark Zuckerberg to Provide All Users with Mechanism to Appeal Content Censorship on Facebook

      San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and more than 70 human and digital rights groups called on Mark Zuckerberg today to add real transparency and accountability to Facebook’s content removal process. Specifically, the groups demand that Facebook clearly explain how much content it removes, both rightly and wrongly, and provide all users with a fair and timely method to appeal removals and get their content back up.

      While Facebook is under enormous—and still mounting—pressure to remove material that is truly threatening, without transparency, fairness, and processes to identify and correct mistakes, Facebook’s content takedown policies too often backfire and silence the very people that should have their voices heard on the platform.

      Politicians, museums, celebrities, and other high profile groups and individuals whose improperly removed content can garner media attention seem to have little trouble reaching Facebook to have content restored—they sometimes even receive an apology. But the average user? Not so much. Facebook only allows people to appeal content decisions in a limited set of circumstances, and in many cases, users have absolutely no option to appeal. Onlinecensorship.org, an EFF project for users to report takedown notices, has collected reports of hundreds of unjustified takedown incidents where appeals were unavailable. For most users, content Facebook removes is rarely restored, and some are banned from the platform for no good reason.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Federal Researchers Complete Second Round of Problematic Tattoo Recognition Experiments

      Despite igniting controversy over ethical lapses and the threat to civil liberties posed by its tattoo recognition experiments the first time around, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently completed its second major project evaluating software designed to reveal who we are and potentially what we believe based on our body art.

      Unsurprisingly, these experiments continue to be problematic.

      The latest experiment was called Tatt-E, which is short for “Tattoo Recognition Technology Evaluation.” Using tattoo images collected by state and local law enforcement from incarcerated people, NIST tested algorithms created by state-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences and MorphoTrak, a subsidiary of the French corporation Idemia.

      According to the Tatt-E results, which were published in October, the best-performing tattoo recognition algorithm by MorphoTrak had 67.9% accuracy in matching separate images of tattoo to each other on the first try.

    • Shady Data Brokers Are Selling Online Dating Profiles by the Millions

      If I’m signing up for a dating website, I usually just smash the “I agree” button on the site’s terms of service and jump right into uploading some of the most sensitive, private information about myself to the company’s servers: my location, appearance, occupation, hobbies, interests, sexual preferences, and photos. Tons more data is collected when I start filling out quizzes and surveys intended to find my match.

      Because I agreed to the legal jargon that gets me into the website, all of that data is up for sale—potentially through a sort of gray market for dating profiles.

      These sales aren’t happening on the deep web, but right out in the open. Anyone can purchase a batch of profiles from a data broker and immediately have access to the names, contact information, identifying traits, and photos of millions of real individuals.

      Berlin-based NGO Tactical Tech collaborated with artist and researcher Joana Moll to uncover these practices in the online dating world. In a recent project titled “The Dating Brokers: An autopsy of online love,” the team set up an online “auction” to visualize how our lives are auctioned away by shady brokers.

    • User Profiles On Dating Apps Like Tinder Are Being Auctioned For Millions

      Creating a dating profile is pretty easy. You head over to the profile section of an app and start filling every single detail about yourself. That includes usernames, e-mail addresses, sexual orientation, interests, professions, thorough physical characteristics, personality traits and much more. For the sake of looking genuine, you even post up some of your “good” pictures.

      While you blindly fill in all the gaps, one thing you fail to notice is the “Terms and Conditions,” which often include companies’ “escape routes” to misuse the information uploaded to their servers.

      Shockingly, the personal information that you once entrusted to a certain dating app is already being withheld by data brokers. As it turns out, data profiles get sold to data brokers for millions of dollars, through online auctions.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Refuses To Appear Before ‘International Grand Committee’

      Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declined to appear before the International Grand Committee which comprises at least five governments including the UK, Argentina, Australia, Ireland, and Canada.

      The investigation by the committee, which is scheduled for November 27 in London, will take place in regards to the data privacy issues.

      Facebook’s head of UK public policy- Rebecca Stimson and head of Canada Public Policy- Kevin Chan responded to the invite by Damian Collins, a member of the British Parliament, and Bob Zimmer, a Canadian lawmaker via a letter.

    • EFF to U.S. Department of Commerce: Protect Consumer Data Privacy

      But, to be clear, any new federal data privacy regulation or statute must not preempt stronger state data privacy rules. For example, on June 28, California enacted the Consumer Privacy Act (S.B. 375) (“CCPA”). Though there are other examples, the CCPA is the most comprehensive state-based data privacy law, and while it could be improved, its swift passage highlights how state legislators are often in the best position to respond to the needs of their constituents. While baseline federal privacy legislation would benefit consumers across the country, any federal privacy regulation or legislation that preempts and supplants state action would actually hurt consumers and prevent states from protecting the needs of their constituents.

      It is also important that any new regulations must be judicious and narrowly tailored, avoiding tech mandates and expensive burdens that would undermine competition—already a problem in some tech spaces–or infringe on First Amendment rights. To accomplish that, policymakers must start by consulting with technologists as well as lawyers. Also, one size does not fit all: smaller entities should be exempted from some data privacy rules.

    • How The Justice Department Uses ‘Law Enforcement Tools’ Against Journalists

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions authorized the Justice Department’s attorneys to apply for a warrant in 2017 to search freelance journalist Aaron Cantú’s phone.

      Investigators at the Justice Department believed Cantú “incited” violence and acted in “concert” with protesters accused of “destroying property and menacing bystanders” in Washington, D.C., on January 20, when President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

      “Law enforcement authorities intervened and arrested the freelance journalist, among others, and seized his smartphone, which investigators believed contained evidence of the freelance journalist’s coordination with other protesters,” a 2017 annual report from the Justice Department briefly describes. Investigators decided he likely committed crimes while engaged in newsgathering.

      Charges against Cantú and others were dismissed, as the #J20 cases collapsed and it became clear that prosecutors withheld evidence.

      This is one of several examples of the Trump administration questioning, arresting, or charging journalists in its first year in office. It also is one example of the administration seizing the records of members of the news media.

    • Facebook Is the Least Trusted Major Tech Company When it Comes to Safeguarding Personal Data
    • Facebook Is The Least Trusted Major Tech Company, Poll Suggests

      It seems like Facebook has a long way to go when it comes to gaining back the trust of its users. The social networking site is voted the least trustworthy tech company, according to a recent poll conducted by Fortune.

      The poll, in collaboration with Harris Poll organization, was conducted in October on behalf of around 2,000 US adults.

    • Alarm over talks to implant UK employees with microchips

      Britain’s biggest employer organisation and main trade union body have sounded the alarm over the prospect of British companies implanting staff with microchips to improve security.

    • Britons! Tell the UK government that the compulsory porn-viewing logs need compulsory privacy standards

      While this logging is compulsory, compliance with privacy protections is optional.

    • Your Private Data Is Quietly Leaking Online, Thanks to a Basic Web Security Error

      The personal information of American charity donors, political party supporters, and online shoppers, has continued to quietly leak onto the [I]nternet as a result of poor website security practices, new research shows. As many as one in five e-commerce sites in the U.S. are still leaving their customers exposed, Philadelphia-based search marketing company Seer Interactive said Monday.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • I’m a Saudi activist. Twitter put my life in danger.

      In May 2011, the secret police took me from my home in Saudi Arabia in the middle of the night, while my 5-year-old son was sleeping. I might have disappeared without a trace — if it wasn’t for one brave witness, Omar Aljohani, who took the risk of live-tweeting the details of the incident.

      Twitter, the platform that once saved my life, is now putting it in danger. The events in the weeks following Jamal Khashoggi’s murder inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul showed that the lives of other journalists and activists are also at risk. Seven years after Twitter saved me, I recently made the choice to delete my Twitter account live on stage in front of an audience of 1,000 people. I had more than 295,000 followers, and I am disconnecting from them for good.

    • The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways

      In 1898 the state of Louisiana held a constitutional convention with the declared aim of disenfranchising black people and perpetuating white rule. “Our mission was, in the first place, to establish the supremacy of the white race in this state to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done,” reads the official journal of the convention. Legal means were found to scrub 130,000 registered black voters from the rolls and allow juries to come to non-unanimous verdicts in felony trials, including those involving the death penalty.

      This measure might sound technical, or even be presented as a bid to make the court system more efficient, but its real purpose was thoroughly racist. It effectively side-stepped the constitutional requirement that black people should serve on juries, which gave them some leverage in resisting legal discrimination against the black population.

      Since there were usually only one or two black jurors on a jury, they only had influence so long as verdicts were unanimous. Once a split verdict was allowed, then all-white juries could effectively decide the fate of defendants by a 10 to 2 verdict. This entrenched the legal bias against black people for over a century.

      It was only last Tuesday that voters in Louisiana approved an amendment that abolished this toxic Jim Crow law that had survived the civil rights movement because it was not demonstrably racist written down, despite its obvious racist intent. Oregon is now the only state that does not require juries to reach unanimous verdicts.

    • Should Your Birthday Determine Whether You Are Sentenced to Die in Prison?

      Tuesday, October 23, might have been a routine day in prison for Avis Lee. “I got up at 5 am, took a shower, drank decaf coffee, prayed, ate breakfast and went to work at 8 am,” she recalled. Lee, who has been incarcerated for over 30 years, works as a peer assistant at the inpatient drug and alcohol therapeutic community at SCI Cambridge Springs, the Pennsylvania women’s prison. The routine was normal, but the day was not. In Philadelphia, nearly 350 miles away, the state’s superior court was hearing oral arguments about her prison sentence. “This hearing may very well determine what’s going to happen to me for the rest of my life,” Lee recalled thinking.

      In 1979, Lee’s older brother and his friend committed a robbery. Lee, then age 18, was the lookout. During the robbery, her brother fatally shot the man they were robbing. The two men fled; Lee flagged down a bus driver and attempted to get help. All three were later arrested; lacking an attorney, Lee and her brother were convicted of murder, which in Pennsylvania mandates a sentence of life without parole (or LWOP). Lee, now age 57, is among over 2,700 people sentenced to life for crimes committed between the ages of 18 and 25.

      In 2012, in Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life without parole for juveniles constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Four years later, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, the Court ruled that its earlier decision was retroactive, giving the nation’s 2,300 juvenile lifers a chance at resentencing.

      [...]

      Neuroscience backs her claim — studies have shown that brain areas involved in reasoning and impulse control are not fully developed until the mid-twenties. That Tuesday in October, a nine–judge panel heard oral arguments. If the majority agree with Lee’s argument, they can remand the case for an evidentiary hearing as to whether her life without parole sentence is unconstitutional. Lee’s attorney, Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center, explained Lee and her legal team would use that hearing to present testimony not only from Lee and those who know her, but also expert testimony about adolescent development to show that, at 18, Lee had the same developmental elements of youth that the Supreme Court noted in Miller v. Alabama.

    • The War Inside 7-Eleven

      All’s fair in the bitter, protracted war between 7-Eleven and its franchisees. The tensions have built steadily in the years since DePinto, a West Point-educated veteran, took charge and began demanding more of franchisees—more inventory, more money, more adherence in matters large and small. Some franchisees have responded by organizing and complaining and sometimes suing.

      As detailed in a series of lawsuits and court cases, the company has plotted for much of DePinto’s tenure to purge certain underperformers and troublemakers. It’s targeted store owners and spent millions on an investigative force to go after them. The corporate investigators have used tactics including tailing franchisees in unmarked vehicles, planting hidden cameras and listening devices, and deploying a surveillance van disguised as a plumber’s truck. The company has also given the names of franchisees to the government, which in some cases has led immigration authorities to inspect their stores, according to three officials with Homeland Security Investigations, which like ICE is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security.

    • 7-Eleven accused of weaponizing ICE raids to shed troublesome franchisees

      The current CEO of 7-Eleven is Joe DePinto, a West Point grad who got the job in 2005 and has spent his tenure slowly tightening the screw on franchisees, demanding business practices that return more profit to corporate HQ at the expense of the independent operators. As the franchisees have felt the sting, they’ve fought back, suing the company over DePinto’s policies.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Google goes down after major BGP mishap routes traffic through China

      Google lost control of several million of its IP addresses for more than an hour on Monday in an event that intermittently made its search and other services unavailable to many users and also caused problems for Spotify and other Google cloud customers. While Google said it had no reason to believe the mishap was a malicious hijacking attempt, the leak appeared suspicious to many, in part because it misdirected traffic to China Telecom, the Chinese government-owned provider that was recently caught improperly routing traffic belonging to a raft of Western carriers though mainland China.

    • Next Version Of HTTP Will Replace TCP With Google’s QUIC

      Officials at Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have said that the HTTP-over QUIC protocol will be renamed to HTTP version 3 and will serve as the official version of the HTTP protocol. QUIC stands for Quick UDP Internet Connections, and the experimental protocol uses UDP (User Datagram Protocol) instead of TCP.

    • The next version of HTTP won’t be using TCP
    • NextDC, Superloop say cable to offer ‘fastest route’ between Australia, Singapore

      Data centre operator NextDC has sealed a deal for APAC network provider Superloop to connect the new Indigo subsea cable system to its data centres in Perth and Sydney.

    • Rural Kids Face an Internet ‘Homework Gap.’ The FCC Could Help

      Like much of rural America, Garfield County is on the wrong side of the “homework gap”—a stubborn disparity in at-home broadband that hinders millions of students’ access to the array of online learning, collaboration, and research tools enjoyed by their better-connected peers. Many of Garfield’s students trek to [I]nternet oases such as Caine’s classroom or one of the local businesses willing to host a district Wi-Fi router. Going without isn’t an option. “All their work is on that computer,” Caine says, “and they need that access.”

    • Oh Look, Wireless Sector Investment Is Declining Despite Tax Cuts, Repeal Of Net Neutrality

      You’ll recall that one of the top reasons for killing popular net neutrality rules was that it had somehow killed broadband industry investment. Of course, a wide array of publicly-available data easily disproves this claim, but that didn’t stop FCC boss Ajit Pai and ISPs from repeating it (and in some cases lying before Congress about it) anyway. We were told, more times that we could count, that with net neutrality dead, sector investment would spike.

      You’ll be shocked to learn this purported boon in investment isn’t happening.

      A few weeks ago, Verizon made it clear its CAPEX would be declining, and the company’s deployment would see no impact despite billions in tax cuts and regulatory favors by the Trump FCC. Trump’s “tax reform” alone netted Verizon an estimated $3.5 billion to $4 billion. A recent FCC policy order, purporting to speed up 5G wireless deployment (in part by eliminating local authority over negotiations with carriers), netted Verizon another estimated $2 billion. And that’s before you even get to the potential revenue boost thanks to the repeal of net neutrality and elimination of broadband privacy rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Court of Appeal of Barcelona revisits to what extent validity may be analysed in preliminary injunction proceedings

      Over the last decade, one of the topics typically discussed in patent proceedings in Spain has been to what extent the validity of the patent may be analysed in preliminary injunction proceedings. In the mid-2000s, the Judges in charge of the Commercial Courts at the time, with jurisdiction to deal with patent cases in Barcelona, used to take the view that in preliminary injunctions life is too short to examine validity in depth. Therefore, they considered that only indicia should be examined. They added that in the case of examined patents, validity should be presumed unless the party alleging the nullity of the patent should file very robust indicia supporting the invalidity grounds. The Court of Appeal of Barcelona confirmed this line of analysis in a saga of decisions handed down from 4 January 2006 onwards.

      More recently, some first instance Commercial Courts had become increasingly open to holding profound validity discussions in the context of preliminary injunction proceedings. Experts were examined and cross-examined and, as a result, not much was left for the hearing of the main proceedings, which was basically a reiteration in the form of a déjà vu of the hearing of the preliminary injunction proceedings. However, a recent judgment from the Court of Appeal of Barcelona dated 16 October 2018, which confirmed a preliminary injunction ordered by Commercial Court number 1 of Barcelona on 28 July 2017, has established that the depth of the analysis carried out by the Court of First Instance went beyond what the Court of Appeal considers reasonable.

    • Germany: Kundendatenbank, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 41/16, 19 June 2018

      This decision by the FCJ confirms that when both parties declare the lawsuit resolved, only the allocation of costs has to be decided upon by the court. This must be done according to the court’s equitable discretion, giving consideration to the parties’ previous arguments.

    • USPTO Establishes Interim Procedure for Reconsideration of PTA Determinations Based on Submission of IDS Safe Harbor Statements

      In a Notification published in the Federal Register earlier this month (83 Fed. Reg. 55102), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced the implementation of an interim procedure for patentees to request recalculation of Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) determinations for alleged errors due to the Office’s failure to recognize that an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) was accompanied by a safe harbor statement. The Office also announced the provision of a new form for applicants to use when making a safe harbor statement.

      The interim procedure and new form address an issue with the computer program that the Office uses to make initial PTA determinations, which currently does not recognize when an applicant has filed an IDS concurrently with a safe harbor statement. According to the Notification, the interim procedure will remain in effect until the Office can update the PTA computer program and provide notice to the public that the computer program has been updated.

      Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 1.704(d), an IDS that is not accompanied by a safe harbor statement will result in a reduction of PTA if the IDS is filed after a Notice of Allowance or after an initial reply by the applicant, is filed as a preliminary paper or paper after a decision by the Board or Federal court that requires the USPTO to issue a supplemental Office action, or constitutes the sole submission for a Request for Continued Examination after a Notice of Allowance has been mailed.

    • Copyrights
      • RIAA Court Filing In Stairway To Heaven Case Warns Against *OVERPROTECTION* By Copyright

        Here’s one you don’t see everyday. The RIAA is telling a court that it needs to be careful about too much copyright protection. Really. This is in the lawsuit over “Stairway to Heaven” that we’ve been covering for a while now. As we noted, the 9th Circuit brought the case back to life after what had appeared to be a good result, saying that Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway” did not infringe on the copyright in the Spirit song “Taurus.” While we were a bit nervous about the case being reopened after a good result, as copyright lawyer Rick Sanders explained in a pair of excellent guest posts, there were good reasons to revisit the case — in part to fix the 9th Circuit’s weird framework for determining if a song has infringed, and in part to fix some bad jury instructions.

        As with the Blurred Lines case, I’ve been curious how the RIAA and various musicians would come down on these cases. After all, I can imagine how they could easily end up on either side of such a case. Lots of musicians take inspiration from other musicians (it’s actually kind of an important way for most musicians to develop), and if that’s seen as infringing, that seems like it should be a huge problem. But, of course, to make that argument would require the RIAA to actually admit that copyright can go too far.

        And… that’s actually what it’s done. The RIAA and the NMPA (National Music Publisher’s Association, which historically is just as bad as the RIAA on many of these issues) actually had famed law professor Eugene Volokh write an interesting amicus curiae brief in support of the 9th Circuit rehearing the case en banc (with a full panel of 11 judges, rather than just the usual 3). Hat tip to Law360′s Bill Donahue, who first spotted this.

      • The Levola Hengelo CJEU decision: ambiguities, uncertainties … and more questions

        As announced earlier today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has finally issued its (short) judgment in Levola Hengelo, C-310/17, holding that copyright cannot vest in the taste of a food product (a spreadable cheese in the background Dutch proceedings).

        The case is important for a number of reasons, and especially because it is probably the first time that the CJEU has been given directly the chance to tackle the notion of ‘work’ under the InfoSoc Directive (but, I would say, the overall EU copyright acquis).

      • CJEU: Taste of food cannot have copyright protection

        The EU’s highest court ruled today that the taste of a Dutch cheese called Heks’nkaas cannot be considered a copyrightable ‘work’ because it is subjective

        The taste of a food product is not eligible for copyright protection, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled today.

      • BREAKING: CJEU says NO to copyright in the taste of a cheese

        As readers know, this was a referral for a preliminary ruling from The Netherlands, asking whether copyright could vest in the taste of a spreadable cheese.

        In an authoritative poll conducted on Twitter, 81% voted against sensory copyright (226 votes in total).

      • Pro-Copyright Bias is Alive, Well, and Still Hiding the Full Story

        In 2007 and as recently as January 2018, the director of the movie The Man From Earth was championing the promotional effects of piracy. Last week, out of nowhere, he appeared to do a complete turnaround, branding the phenomenon as a threat to all creators. Something didn’t feel right about this apparent change of heart. Diving into the details, a bigger picture begins to emerge.

      • MPAA: Switzerland Remains “Extremely Attractive” For Pirate Sites

        In a recent submission to the US Trade Representative, the MPAA again states that Switzerland’s copyright law is wholly inadequate, making it extremely attractive to host illegal sites there. The European country has plans to update its laws, but the proposed changes are no significant improvement, Hollywood’s trade group notes.

      • Corel Wrongly Accuses Licensed User of Piracy, Disables Software Remotely

        Earlier this year, Corel obtained a patent which enables the company to offer software pirates an amnesty deal via a messaging system. While this can be a smart approach, it is not without its flaws. This week, the company remotely disabled the software of a fully-licensed user of Paintshop Pro and left his medical-related business unable to meet customer needs.

      • Youtube CEO: it will be impossible to comply with the EU’s new Copyright Directive (adios, Despacito!)

        In a new blog post, Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki continues her series of posts about the impossibility of complying with this rule.

      • “EU Copyright Regulation Will Impact Livelihoods Of Hundreds Of Thousands” — YouTube CEO

        Following GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the European Union is not going soft with the big tech companies. After Facebook, Google, and Twitter, now EU is looking forward to shackling YouTube. However, its CEO Susan Wojcicki seems to be strictly against it.

        In a second blog post voicing against Article 13, Susan said that it is simply impossible for YouTube to comply with the law. The massive financial loss will not be limited to YouTube, but to the creators too.

      • The Potential Unintended Consequences of Article 13

        Creativity has long been a guiding force in my life, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be YouTube’s chief executive nearly five years ago.

        Creators have used YouTube to share their voices, inspire their fans, and build their livelihoods. Kurzgesagt — In a Nutshell recently became the number one channel in Germany by creating videos that help others fall in love with science. Artists like Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran reached fans on YouTube long before they were discovered by a label. And acclaimed musicians like Elton John have used our site to breathe new life into iconic songs.

        [...]

        We have already taken steps to address copyright infringement by developing technology, like our Content ID programme, to help rights holders manage their copyrights and earn money automatically. More than 98 per cent of copyright management on YouTube takes place through Content ID. To date, we have used the system to pay rights holders more than €2.5bn for third party use of their content. We believe Content ID provides the best solution for managing rights on a global scale.
        The consequences of article 13 go beyond financial losses. EU residents are at risk of being cut off from videos that, in just the last month, they viewed more than 90bn times. Those videos come from around the world, including more than 35m EU channels, and they include language classes and science tutorials as well as music videos.

The USPTO and EPO Pretend to Care About Patent Quality by Mingling With the Terms “Patent” and “Quality”

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 02:29:54 PM

A working coup: The EPO’s Working Party on Quality is Battistelli’s Own Ministry of Truth

Short: EPO’s “Working Party for Quality” is to Quality What the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” is to Democracy


Reference: Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Summary: The whole “patent quality” propaganda from EPO and USPTO management continues unabated; they strive to maintain the fiction that quality rather than money is their prime motivator

AS we noted in our previous post, the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps promoting software patents in Europe (even in those words, not “CII”); the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is meanwhile moving in the exact opposite direction (in practice at least). It has gotten a lot harder to receive US software patents and then successfully enforce these.

“It has gotten a lot harder to receive US software patents and then successfully enforce these.”Janal Kalis wrote: “The USPTO Reported 28 New PTAB Decisions Regarding 101 Eligibility. All of the Decisions Affirmed the Examiners’ Rejections.”

Kalis alludes to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and to 35 U.S.C. § 101, which helps eliminate most if not all software patents in the US. Programmers in the US are happy and programmers in Europe should be paying closer attention to what the EPO is up to; “Ideas are cheap,” as one European opponent of software patents put it yesterday, “execution difficult” (patents don’t cover execution/implementation but mere concepts, unlike copyrights).

“Kalis alludes to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and to 35 U.S.C. § 101, which helps eliminate most if not all software patents in the US.”Kevin Noonan (Patent Docs) has just taken note of the Arista Networks, Inc. v Cisco Systems, Inc. inter partes review (IPR), which was escalated upon appeal to the Federal Circuit while the ITC totally ignored — quite infamously in fact — PTAB’s ruling. The case has since then been settled at huge expense to Arista Networks and here’s what the highest court bar SCOTUS (this might reach SCOTUS next) had to say last week:

On Friday, the Federal Circuit handed down its decision in Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., deciding that the Board had erred in certain of its determinations regarding Arista’s inter partes review challenge to certain claims of Cisco’s U.S. Patent No. 7,340,597 (for reasons discussed briefly below). More importantly, the Court affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision that the doctrine of assignor estoppel does not preclude institution of any of the various post-grant challenges to granted patents contained in the patent law revisions enacted under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (35 U.S.C. §§ 311-319, §§ 321-329, and 125 Stat. 329-31 (2011)).

[...]

While this interpretation of the statute is consistent with (and supported by ample citation to) Supreme Court precedent and proclivities, the Court’s penchant for weighing in on statutory interpretation questions involving the AIA make it certainly possible that this decision might also come under Supreme Court review. It is less likely that the Court would disagree with the Federal Circuit’s decision here but may be tempted to put its imprimatur on this aspect of the proper statutory interpretation of the AIA.

This isn’t quite over yet; what’s at stake here are IPRs. Some time tomorrow, according to Patent Docs, there will be a so-called AIA Trials Seminar (stacked by the patent maximalists, as usual). To quote: “The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) AIA Trials Committee and John Marshall Law School will be offering an “AIA Trials Seminar” on November 14, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (CT) at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL.”

Another event for lawyers, by lawyers?

Patent Docs keeps advertising all these conferences/webinars/seminars of the patent microcosm, including this one which takes place later today. To quote: “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be offering the next webinar in its Patent Quality Chat webinar series from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) on November 13, 2018″ (that’s a few hours from now).

“Thankfully, EPO insiders openly talk about the quality issues, which António Campinos persistently denies along with his ‘boss’ (Ernst) who will soon become his ‘assistant’.”They call it “USPTO Patent Quality Chat Webinar Series” because the USPTO — like the corrupt EPO — only needs to pretend to care about patent quality by spamming/googlebombing these words (“Patent Quality”). It’s not difficult to see that all they really care about is money, i.e. patent maximalism. Quality is an obstacle to them.

Thankfully, EPO insiders openly talk about the quality issues, which António Campinos persistently denies along with his ‘boss’ (Ernst) who will soon become his 'assistant'. If Campinos so stubbornly denies that there’s no issue, then why does he, according to this morning’s article, meet those who express such concerns? It’s an anonymous article, whose latter part (towards the end of the article) deals with attacks on judges and staff representatives, i.e. those who are concerned (internally) about patent quality among other things. Sooner or later, perhaps inevitably, both insiders and outsiders, or workers and stakeholders, will learn that Campinos is just a pretender, a banker. He promises the moon, but he gives Hell. He sends misleading messages to staff whom he gags (as usual) and here’s the latest ‘smooth’ move from Campinos the pretender:

The European Patent Office and representatives of 14 German law firms who had expressed concerns about EPO patent quality earlier this year in a letter, have started a “constructive dialogue”.

The representatives had a meeting with the new President of the European Patent Office, António Campinos, and other EPO officials, on 16 October 2018 in Munich. According to a press release issued last week by the law firms, “the officials of the European Patent Office listened to the experiences, opinions and fears of patent attorneys and lawyers and expressed their willingness to talk. There is agreement that the EPO has delivered very high quality internationally in the past and that it is up to all stakeholders to preserve it. At the end of the meeting, the European Patent Office promised to continue the constructive dialogue that has now begun. It will be about the definition of quality criteria, as well as the possibilities to investigate criticism and to remove causes of criticism.”

[...]

I [sic] an email last month to EPO staff, Campions wrote he told the ILO that the EPO’s internal procedures for conflict resolution have since been improved: “I have recently signed and implemented a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chair of the Appeals Committee. That is partly a result of your direct input in recent one-to-one meetings with staff. Many of you spoke positively in our meetings about the increased independence and impartiality of the Appeals Committee, and, as a result, greater faith in the system. This MoU has therefore now formally safeguarded that independence and impartiality. Importantly, it also recognises the need to allocate adequate resources to ensure proper functioning of the Appeals Committee and its Secretariat. The second point that I discussed with ILO leaders is the recent increased effort in social dialogue and I hope many of you will agree this is developing positively (…).” In his mail, Campinos encourages EPO staff members with pending cases before the ILOAT “to consider reaching an amicable settlement with the Office”.

In the meantime, there has been some action in the case of Patrick Corcoran, according to various sources. The Irish judge was thrown out of the EPO building in Munich late 2014 on suspicion of having distributed defamatory material about the EPO upper management. After various illegal and fruitless attempts of former president Battistelli to have him fired, he was acquitted last year by the ILOAT and the Landgericht München, but was subsequently told that his future at the EPO would no longer be in Munich as an appeal board member, but in The Hague as an examiner (see also this blogpost). Apparently, the prospect of a forced transfer was the last straw after years of hardship: Corcoran fell gravely ill. The sources told Kluwer IP Law that his transfer has now been reversed or put on hold.

It remains to be seen if an “amicable settlement” is possible for some former SUEPO leaders. The case of Laurent Prunier, for instance, has been brought to Campinos’ attention several times, but is still pending before the ILOAT. Another former SUEPO leader, Elizabeth Hardon, has been waiting for months now for an EPO reaction in her unfinished ILOAT case.

The above speaks of “quality criteria” for patents; it does not, however, specify what will be done about many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of low-quality patents that should never have become European Patents.

“Now that the EPO is run by a former banker, don’t expect anything to change.”The above also notes a “constructive dialogue” as if dialogue is what’s needed to solve a long-term problem. In the meantime staff continues to grant low-quality patents just to survive at this employer.

Neither office (neither US nor Europe) cares about quality; as a year-old paper explains, it's all about money. Now that the EPO is run by a former banker, don’t expect anything to change. He is just trying to maintain the illusion/impression that he cares about quality, just as he met staff representatives merely to spread lies about truce and reconciliation.

Yannis Skulikaris Promotes Software Patents at EPOPIC, Defending the Questionable Practice Under António Campinos

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 01:14:40 PM

Summary: The reckless advocacy for abstract patents on mere algorithms from a new and less familiar face; the EPO is definitely eager to grant software patents and it explains to stakeholders how to do it

THERE’s no excuse for what António Campinos does at the European Patent Office (EPO). It’s not good at all, but media turns a blind eye to it, as we shall explain in our next post. Nothing has changed for the better and quite a few things actually got worse.

“Nothing has changed for the better and quite a few things actually got worse.”EPOPIC started yesterday. It was opened/commenced by Campinos. He did not say anything important, at least based on the corresponding EPO tweets (e.g. [1, 2, 3]). He’s the quiet president, an EPO President who tries not to rattle any golden cages. So we shall focus on more vocal people — those who shamelessly promote software patents in Europe.

Corrupt EPO officials have long been promoting software patents like never before; it’s not entirely new a thing, but before Battistelli it was somewhat contained. Under Battistelli it became very much evident and under Campinos this promotion of software patents is done about three times a day; they’ve become a rogue institution begging to be reprimanded. But who can ever reprimand them? They’re positioned above the law, unlike the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which habitually gets sued.

“Corrupt EPO officials have long been promoting software patents like never before; it’s not entirely new a thing, but before Battistelli it was somewhat contained.”“WTF,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, quoting the EPO: “2018 may well be the turning point for the EPO and patent information, with the disruptive emergence of AI, Blockchain, machine learning, IoT, IoS, IoE and I4.0″ (this abstract can be found in https://www.epo.org/learning-events/events/conferences/pi-conference/programme/Abstracts.html#clarke)

Henrion continued: “The EPO technical bullshit excuse to grant software patents once again, time for a new directive, now field again extended to “IOT”, “Cloud”, “AI”: hhttp://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/AEED0CD590113AB3C12583390053E87B/$File/MON_1211_slot0900-1030_Yannis_Skulikaris_en.pdf …” [PDF]

Buzzwords for software patents at the EPO aren’t a new thing; back in the old days they said “CII” and “ICT”; Battistelli added a few more like “4IR” and patents on algorithms can nowadays be easily granted if one says “AI”, “blockchain” or something "on a car". There are several more examples we wrote about.

The above presentation comes from Mr. Yannis Skulikaris. IP World Summit describes him as “Director Operations | Sector Information & Communications Technology EPO.”

“Buzzwords for software patents at the EPO aren’t a new thing; back in the old days they said “CII” and “ICT”; Battistelli added a few more like “4IR” and patents on algorithms can nowadays be easily granted if one says “AI”, “blockchain” or something “on a car”.”Well, oddly enough he’s listed as a speaker in a page called “Mr Francesco Zacca” (did he quit? Did he cancel his talk? The bottom of the page still says “Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining Francesco.”)

Francesco Zaccà was mentioned in our leaked publications and was the subject of past articles of ours.

Let’s just assume that Zaccà was either replaced by Skulikaris or Skulikaris simply decided to speak instead of Zaccà. If EPO insiders could share with us the employment status of Zaccà, that would be awesome. Given all the awful things he has done, it would not surprise us if he recently got promoted (aggressive and dishonest behaviour is what EPO management rewards nowadays, based on the past few years’ pattern).

Zaccà’s talk (delivered by Skulikaris instead) seems similar to what he presented at EPOPIC yesterday; there too he had promoted software patents about a month ago.

“Let’s just assume that Zaccà was either replaced by Skulikaris or Skulikaris simply decided to speak instead of Zaccà.”Watch the slides. “Software-related patents” is what he calls software patents because the EPO no longer pretends to obey the EPC and terms like “CII” aren’t seen as necessary. What we deal with here is a rogue institution that laughs at the law and spits in judges’ faces.

As per the EPO’s own words: “Yannis Skulikaris, EPO expert, will explain the problem-solution approach to be applied in mixed-type claims that contain both technical & non-technical features. #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/vDpL54Mfd7″ (the picture shows slides).

As Henrion explains, “that’s EPO fraudulent interpretation of the EPC. French courts have been rejecting their interpretation, but the EPO keeps going.”

“What we deal with here is a rogue institution that laughs at the law and spits in judges’ faces.”See “The Paris High Court Reaffirms the Ban on Software Patents” (2015).

The EPO has operated outside the rule of law for years,” I responded to Henrion. “In many ways.”

Going back to the EPO’s own words: “Yannis Skulikaris talks about the examiner practice when it comes to mixed-type claims. The approach includes two stages: (1) does the claim contain non-patentable subject-matter acc. to Art 52 EPC? (2) Is the subject-matter inventive? #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/uVYrGxmAin [] Yannis Skulikaris reveals some essential aspects that will support you in the interaction with the Office. #EPOPIC These are crucial questions that an examiner will ask you:pic.twitter.com/ctm3DgSapo [] Yannis Skulikaris shares some guidelines on how to approach the biggest challenges for applications to the EPO: the inventive step & the technical character. #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/BKQzBREjki”

“So the EPO is advising to people (even in this event) to pursue software patents in the ‘right’ ways…”There are some photos there too. So the EPO is advising to people (even in this event) to pursue software patents in the ‘right’ ways…

The EPO has totally quit pretending on software patents. “It’s operating outside the law,” I said in response Catarina Maia, who describes herself as “European IPR Helpdesk Ambassador”. We spotted Catarina Maia on Twitter after she was retweeted by the EPO as saying: “Software can be protected by patents in Europe, as long as it solves a technical problem. Technical problem: recognizing handwritten text. Non-technical: software for learning a foreign language. #softwarepatents https://twitter.com/epoorg/status/1061895682464890880 …”

I debated this with her and then she just suddenly blocked me. She blocked right after losing an argument (she was unable to answer a very simply and polite question). “European IPR Helpdesk Ambassador” must mean not Ambassador because Ambassadors don’t just stonewall constituents. If they do, they must be exceptionally incompetent.

“The EPO has totally quit pretending on software patents.”What Maia cannot recognise is the simple fact that all software is algorithms and algorithms are software. She promotes the concept of “algorithm per se” (whatever that even means).

Software that’s not “algorithm per se” is like a meal that’s not “food per se”; it’s just an old lawyers’ trick. People who never coded anything and don’t understand how computers work…

These software patents boosters can’t win debates; they just block people; how very typical of them. Some block me without ever speaking to me (ever!), revealing the fact that they’re just afraid is being talked to, mentioned etc. Very thin-skinned people, incapable of coping with opposing views. They surround themselves with people who make them intolerant of other perspectives, scientists’ for instance.

“These software patents boosters can’t win debates; they just block people; how very typical of them.”Not good. These are decision-making personalities!

“I guess you saw the EPO software patents slides of today,” one reader told us. People are certainly noticing. We sure noticed and waited until we could gather enough information for a response/rebuttal.

Managing IP was there as well. All it could say was: “Lots of exhibitors and participants @EPOorg #EPOPIC in Brussels. Insightful table discussion sessions!”

The EPO retweeted this.

Readers can imagine who was (and wasn’t) at these table discussions.

“Readers can imagine who was (and wasn’t) at these table discussions.”“EPO expert Yannis Skulikaris,” according to the EPO, said: “In both columns, software plays the decisive role. In one case it contributes to solving a technical problem, in the other one it doesn’t.“ #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/tOj6vXWmMd

That’s just meaningless mumbo-jumbo. Ask programmers what that actually means. We don’t suppose Skulikaris is a programmer.

Henrion quoted from the slides and added: “EPO: Software patents are everywhere, especially at the EPO http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/AEED0CD590113AB3C12583390053E87B/$File/MON_1211_slot0900-1030_Yannis_Skulikaris_en.pdf …” [PDF]

“As of years ago,” I told him, “the EPO quit pretending that it is even TRYING to obey the law. They are the shame of Europe now [and] even the staff hates the management…”

“It wasn’t so long ago (earlier this month) that Team UPC cited a stacked parliamentary session about the UPC.”Henrion noted that “EPO swpat [software patents] conference running at the moment in Brussels, as usual they forgot to invite “critics”. Next EUPACO conference, we won’t invite the “proponents” of the UPC https://www.epo.org/learning-events/events/conferences/pi-conference.html … #upc #epomustgo #epo software patents”

“Vendor capture where the ‘vendor’ is the litigation ‘industry’ that makes nothing (except lawsuits, damage)” was my response to him.

“Team UPC hopes that the UPC (a ‘unified’ court) will replace all these ‘naughty’ national courts that keep rejecting software patents.”It wasn’t so long ago (earlier this month) that Team UPC cited a stacked parliamentary session about the UPC. We already wrote about it thrice this month. Team UPC hopes that the UPC (a ‘unified’ court) will replace all these ‘naughty’ national courts that keep rejecting software patents.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Working for Patent Trolls and Patent Maximalists

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 11:58:59 AM

Summary: The patent trolls’ propagandists are joining forces and pushing for a patent system that is hostile to science, technology, and innovation in general (so as to enable a bunch of aggressive law firms to tax everybody)

TECHRIGHTS has habitually noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce meddles in the affairs of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as well as other patent offices’ affairs. It is an international harasser like USTR. Among the recent articles we wrote on the subject (in no particular order):

Thanks to Patent Docs, we now see that the villainous Chamber of Commerce (CoC) is working closely with the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM. IAM staff has long cited CoC’s propaganda and and here they are together at last: (maybe in the past too)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), together with IAM….

This is scheduled for later today. CoC typically resorted to scare-mongering over China earlier this year. CoC was rather xenophobic and this racist kind of rhetoric could be seen spreading online, often citing CoC. The US patent office has some China expansion ambitions, as this new ad from Patent Docs (“Webinar on Navigating the Chinese Patent System”) affirms. There’s also a whole long session about it (promoted in length by the EPO yesterday) at EPOPIC, which takes place this week. We’ll write about EPOPIC shortly (the event is still ongoing). It’s all connected.

“IAM itself is funded by a lot of patent trolls.”Very late yesterday (around midnight) we noted that Team UPC had been lobbying for patent trolls from the US. We took note of two new articles from Bird & Bird, part of Team UPC. Both mentioned the UPC, as does this new piece from Bird & Bird’s David Gent. It’s no coincidence that a lot of UPC propaganda came from IAM, which is closely connected to Battistelli and actually set up pro-UPC events in the US (on the EPO’s payroll and with the EPO’s explicit support). Notice how many of these things are connected and it’s easy to see whose interests are served. IAM itself is funded by a lot of patent trolls.

Team UPC, Fronting for Patent Trolls From the US, is Calling Facts “Resistance”

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 12:30:16 AM


Image source

Summary: The tactics of Team UPC have gotten so tastelessly bad and its motivation so shallow (extortion in Europe) that one begins to wonder why these people are willing to tarnish everything that’s left of their reputation

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is granting patents of laughable quality; in order for these patents to be worth a euro (or a cent) it will need equally laughable courts, headed by someone corrupt like Battistelli. Will that ever materialise? No. It’s unlikely. But Team UPC never gives up.

Team UPC/Bird & Bird’s Sally Shorthose has just published two articles [1, 2] about Brexit. Both mention the UPC, as one might expect (the usual spiel). Honest? No. Polite? Yes.

More radical or outspoken elements of Team UPC have been smearing people who speak for Europe’s interests rather than the lawyers’ interests. Team UPC nowadays attacks the Max Planck Institute anonymously and also attacks the complainant anonymously. Team UPC then wonders why the complaint was filed anonymously? The study from the Max Planck Institute did not resort to name-calling, but Team UPC’s language upsets even a pro-UPC person, who wrote: “Prof. Tilmann has published a rebuttal to Lamping/Ullrich (“The Impact of Brexit on Unitary Patent Protection and its Court”), see GRUR Int. 2018, 1094. Irrespective of merits, not sure whether labelling their criticism as “resistance” (p. 1094) is helping the discourse. (/2) [] Prof. Tilmann mentions in Fn. 6a he was not aware of anonymous comment by one Atticus Finch on same subject on @KluwerBlogger, which I understand to saythat the authors do not happen to be identical. (/3) [] In spite of difference in opinion, Prof. Tilmann acknowledges that academic studies “have their own right” (IV. Final remark). Having said that, he claims that Lamping/Ulrich “enter the battlefileld of political discussion” & ends his appraisal with some humor of his own: (/3) [] Namely, that Lamping/Ullrich were “risking, after this publication, to be called, by some humorous persons, German UPC-Brexiteers”. (END)”

Well, the mask falls off and Tilmann is again ridiculing people. Will he compare Lamping/Ulrich to AfD?

Tilmann works for Microsoft’s patent troll (and the world’s biggest and most notorious troll) Intellectual Ventures. To put it in simple terms, he’s aiding patent blackmail in Europe and wants the UPC to amplify the reach and magnitude of this blackmail. JUVE then rewards these people.

The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) Will Spread the Berkheimer Lie While Legal Certainty Associated With Patents Remains Low and Few Lawsuits Filed

Monday 12th of November 2018 11:47:38 PM

Recent: Number of US Patent Lawsuits Was More Than 50% Higher Half a Decade Ago

Summary: New figures regarding patent litigation in the United States (number of lawsuits) show a decrease by about a tenth in just one year; there’s still no sign of software patents making any kind of return/rebound in the United States, contrary to lies told by the litigation ‘industry’ (those who profit from frivolous lawsuits/threats)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can grant all the patents it wants; that still does not mean that such patents are necessarily enforceable.

Meanwhile, the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps promoting software patents in Europe — a matter that escalated under António Campinos and a subject we shall cover tomorrow.

“Things will only exacerbate if Iancu (of the litigation ‘industry’) further reduces the standards of examination and squashes Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) little by little.”The more these patent offices diverge/deviate from courts, the worse the presumption of validity will get. They voluntarily reduce the legal certainty associated with their patents (US patents and European Patents).

Earlier today Patent Docs published this ad for FCBA (intentionally misleading name), which is pushing the Berkheimer lie. This was then boosted by Janal Kalis and said:

The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) Patent Litigation Committee will be offering a webcast entitled “Litigating § 101 Issues After Berkheimer” on November 14, 2018 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm (EST). Irene Yang of Sidley Austin LLP will moderate a panel consisting of Peter Menell, Koret Professor of Law, The University of California, Berkeley School of Law; and Jared Bobrow of Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. The panel will discuss the legal underpinnings of Berkheimer, the implications of Berkheimer for resolving § 101 issues before trial, and practices for litigating and trying § 101 issues in district court.

So a panel moderated by the litigation ‘industry’ will consist of a law professor and the litigation ‘industry’. Where are the people who actually deal with technology? Conveniently omitted/excluded as usual? Of course.

In talking about “§ 101 issues in district court[s]” they will just prop up the lie that Berkheimer was something revolutionary — a claim that we’ve debunked about half a dozen times before, citing relevant data.

Regardless of what they say about district courts or even the Federal Circuit (which they are not associated with, regardless of their dishonest name), the numbers continue to speak for themselves.

Sanjana Kapila, a Managing IP writer from London, is citing Docket Navigator (whose docket reports suddenly stopped at the end of summer). According to this, patent litigation data/figures in the US show a “8% decrease from the third quarter of 2017,” continuing a trend that has lasted about half a decade, not only because of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Alice/SCOTUS (2014). To quote Kapila:

Data: US patent case filing in the third quarter continued the 2018 trend of lower levels of litigation. Managing IP reveals the rankings for the first nine months of 2018

Data pulled from Docket Navigator on November 7 shows that 1,035 district court patent litigation cases were filed in the third quarter of the year. This is an 8% decrease from the third quarter of 2017 when 1,123 cases were filed.

The certainty associated with bogus software patents is so low that few even bother filing lawsuits. Things will only exacerbate if Iancu (of the litigation ‘industry’) further reduces the standards of examination and squashes Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) little by little.

Links 12/11/2018: Linux 4.20 RC2, Denuvo DRM Defeated Again

Monday 12th of November 2018 11:00:50 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Behind the scenes with Linux containers

    Can you have Linux containers without Docker? Without OpenShift? Without Kubernetes?

    Yes, you can. Years before Docker made containers a household term (if you live in a data center, that is), the LXC project developed the concept of running a kind of virtual operating system, sharing the same kernel, but contained within defined groups of processes.

    Docker built on LXC, and today there are plenty of platforms that leverage the work of LXC both directly and indirectly. Most of these platforms make creating and maintaining containers sublimely simple, and for large deployments, it makes sense to use such specialized services. However, not everyone’s managing a large deployment or has access to big services to learn about containerization. The good news is that you can create, use, and learn containers with nothing more than a PC running Linux and this article. This article will help you understand containers by looking at LXC, how it works, why it works, and how to troubleshoot when something goes wrong.

  • Desktop
    • Samsung’s Linux on DeX app enters private beta

      In context: Almost exactly one year ago, Samsung announced it was working on an app called Linux on DeX (DeX is that gimmicky app/dock combo that got mediocre reviews). This was supposed to allow users to run Linux distros on their phone, which would seem to create a more PC-like experience — at least in theory.

      It looks as if Linux on DeX is almost ready. On Friday Samsung launched the private beta for the app. If you signed up for alerts when it was announced last year, you should have already received an email to allow you to register for the beta.

  • Server
    • How Will the $34B IBM Acquisition Affect Red Hat Users?

      Red Hat users looking to maintain hybrid cloud or multi-cloud deployments because they can’t go “all in” on the cloud will benefit from IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of the enterprise open source solutions provider, Nintex chief evangelist Ryan Duguid told CMSWire.

      Duguid and others offer more thoughts how the largest software acquisition to date will have on Red Hat users.

  • Kernel Space
    • EXT4 Getting Many Fixes In Linux 4.20, Including For Some Really Old Leaks

      Last month I reported on a number of fixes for really old bugs in the EXT4 code with some of the issues dating back to the Linux 2.6 days in the EXT3 file-system code that was carried over to the EXT4 driver. Those fixes are now working their way into the Linux 4.20 stable kernel.

      Ted Ts’o sent out a fixes pull request today containing 18 patches. Sixteen of those patches are from Vasily Averin who was nailing these really old bugs/leaks. Of them, Ted noted, “A large number of ext4 bug fixes, mostly buffer and memory leaks on error return cleanup paths.”

    • Apple’s new bootloader won’t let you install GNU/Linux

      Locking bootloaders with trusted computing is an important step towards protecting users from some of the most devastating malware attacks: by allowing the user to verify their computing environment, trusted computing can prevent compromises to operating systems and other low-level parts of their computer’s operating environment.

      But as with every security measure, there’s a difference between “secure for the user” and “secure against the user.” Bootloader protection that doesn’t allow an owner to decide which signatures they trust is security against the user: security that prevents the user from overriding the manufacturer, and so allows the manufacturer to lock the user in.

      Apple’s latest bootloader protection, the controversial T2 chip, is a good example of this. The chip comes with a user-inaccessible root of trust that allows for the installation of Apple and Microsoft operating systems, but not GNU/Linux and other open and free alternatives.

    • Linux 4.20-rc2

      Fairly normal week, aside from me traveling.

      Shortlog appended, but it all looks fine: about half drivers, wih the
      rest being the usual architecture updates, tooling, networking, and
      some filesystem updates.

    • Linux 4.20-rc2 Released With EXT4 Bug Fixes, New NVIDIA Turing USB-C Driver
    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 122 – What will Apple’s T2 chip mean for the rest of us?

      Josh and Kurt talk about Apple’s new T2 security chip. It’s not open source but we expect it to change the security landscape in the coming years.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMDGPU DRM-Next Driver Picks Up Support For Vega 20 “A1″ Stepping

        Among the work queuing in the AMDGPU DRM-Next branch for what will in turn appear with the next kernel cycle (Linux 4.21) is support for Vega 20 A1 ASICs.

        The current Linux 4.20 cycle appears to have good support for Vega 20 GPUs at least from our tracking without having any access to the GPUs for now, but it looks like the production graphics cards will be on a new “A1″ stepping rather than A0 that was used for the bring-up of this first 7nm Vega GPU.

      • Gallium D3D9 “Nine” Support Gets New Patches To Help Fight Lag Without Tearing

        While most Linux gamers these days are mesmerized by DXVK for mapping Direct3D 10/11 to Vulkan for better handling Windows games on Linux, for those with older Direct3D 9 era games there is still the Gallium Nine initiative for D3D9 implemented as a Mesa Gallium state tracker. A new patch series posted this weekend will make that Gallium Nine experience even better.

        Axel Davy who has been the lead developer on the Gallium D3D9 state tracker posted a set of two patches that allow the thread_submit=true option to be used with tearfree_discard=true option.

      • SteamOS/Linux Requirements For Valve’s Artifact Is Just A Vulkan Intel/AMD/NVIDIA GPU

        With just two weeks to go until Valve unleashes their latest original game, Artifact, it’s now up for pre-order and there are also the system requirements published.

        This cross-platform online trading card game is available to pre-order for $19.99 USD. As known for a while, there is day-one Linux support alongside Windows and macOS.

      • Intel “Iris” Gallium3D Continues Advancing As The Next-Gen Intel Linux OpenGL Driver

        While we haven’t had much to talk about the Intel “Iris” Gallium3D driver in development as the future Mesa OpenGL driver for the company’s graphics hardware, it has continued progressing nicely since its formal unveiling back in September.

        Iris Gallium3D driver is the new Intel Open-Source Technology Center project we discovered back in the summer as an effort to overhaul their open-source OpenGL driver support and one day will likely replace their mature “i965″ classic Mesa driver.

    • POWER9
      • The Performance Impact Of Spectre Mitigation On POWER9

        Over the past year we have looked extensively at the performance impact of Spectre mitigations on x86_64 CPUs but now with having the Raptor Talos II in our labs, here are some benchmarks to see the performance impact of IBM’s varying levels of Spectre mitigation for POWER9.

        By default, Raptor Computing Systems ships their system in the safest mode of providing full kernel and user-space protection against Spectre Variant Two. But by editing a file from the OpenBMC environment it’s possible to control the Spectre protections on their libre hardware. Besides the full/user protection against Spectre there is also kernel-only protection that is more akin to the protection found on x86_64 CPUs. Additionally, there is the ability to completely disable the protection for yielding the greatest performance (or what would be considered standard pre-2018) but leaving your hardware vulnerable to Spectre. More details on controlling the Spectre protections on Talos II hardware can be found via the RaptorCS.com Wiki.

      • ICYMI: what’s new on Talospace

        In the shameless plug category, in case you missed them, two original articles on Talospace, our sister blog: making your Talos II into an IBM pSeries (yes, you can run AIX on a Talos II with Linux KVM), and roadgeeking with the Talos II (because the haters gotta hate and say POWER9 isn’t desktop ready, which is just FUD FUD FUD).

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 44

        Week 44 in Usability & Productivity is coming right up! This week was a bit lighter in terms of the number of bullet points, but we got some really great new features, and there’s a lot of cool stuff in progress that I hope to be able to blog about next week!

      • KDE Plasma Now Supports WireGuard, Alt-Tab Switching Improvements

        The WireGuard secure VPN tunnel is not in the mainline kernel yet but the KDE Plasma desktop is the latest project already adding support for it, which can be useful today if making use of WireGuard’s DKMS kernel modules.

        KDE Plasma now supports WireGuard VPN tunnels if enabling the NetworkManager WireGuard plug-in. Previously KDE Plasma didn’t play well with this plug-in but now it’s all been fixed up to deliver a first-rate experience for this open-source VPN tech.

        This week KDE also received some alt+tab switching improvements for screen readers and supporting the use of the keyboard to switch between items. These alt+tab window switching and WireGuard VPN support will be part of the KDE Plasma 5.15 release.

      • Akademy 2018 Vienna

        You have probably read a lot about Akademy 2018 recently, and how great it was.

        For me it was a great experience too and this year I met a lot of KDE people, both old and new. This is always nice.
        I arrived on Thursday so I had one day to set everything up and had a little bit of time to get to know the city.

        On Friday evening I enjoyed the “Welcoming evening”, but I was very surprised when Volker told me that I would be on stage the next day, talking about privacy.

        He told me that someone should have informed me several days before. The scheduled speaker, Sebastian, couldn’t make it to Akademy.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • The GNOME (and WebKitGTK+) Networking Stack

        One guess which of those we’re going to be talking about in this post. Yeah, of course, libsoup! If you’re not familiar with libsoup, it’s the GNOME HTTP library. Why is it called libsoup? Because before it was an HTTP library, it was a SOAP library. And apparently somebody thought that when Mexican people say “soap,” it often sounds like “soup,” and also thought that this was somehow both funny and a good basis for naming a software library. You can’t make this stuff up.

        [...]

        Haha no, it uses a dynamically-loadable extension point system to allow you to pick your choice of OpenSSL or GnuTLS! (Support for NSS was started but never finished.) This is OK because embedded systems vendors don’t use GPL applications and have no problems with OpenSSL, while desktop Linux users don’t produce tivoized embedded systems and have no problems with LGPLv3. So if you’re using desktop Linux and point WebKitGTK+ at an HTTPS address, then GLib is going to load a GIO extension point called glib-networking, which implements all of GIO’s TLS APIs — notably GTlsConnection and GTlsCertificate — using GnuTLS. But if you’re building an embedded system, you simply don’t build or install glib-networking, and instead build a different GIO extension point called glib-openssl, and libsoup will create GTlsConnection and GTlsCertificate objects based on OpenSSL instead. Nice! And if you’re Centricular and you’re building GStreamer for Windows, you can use yet another GIO extension point, glib-schannel, for your native Windows TLS goodness, all hidden behind GTlsConnection so that GStreamer (or whatever application you’re writing) doesn’t have to know about SChannel or OpenSSL or GnuTLS or any of that sad complexity.

  • Distributions
    • Fedora
      • Review: Fedora 29 Workstation

        Fedora 29 is a good release, but there are some issues with it. Users who are interested in trying out new things and are okay with the the occasional bug should feel comfortable trying out Fedora 29 Workstation. However, users wanting a polished experience might want to hold off until a few more bugs are fixed.

        I would be okay with a few rough edges if they were just limited to the new features, but the two show-stopper bugs I had were playing full-screen video with GNOME Videos and being able to install texlive-scheme-full. Only the latter has been fixed, while video playback remains an issue. Playing full-screen videos in GNOME Videos on Wayland has worked perfectly on my hardware for the last several Fedora releases, but in Fedora 29 it is unusable. The video playback bug has already been reported in Red Hat’s Bugzilla, but the bug is still classified as new.

        Overall, Fedora 29 Workstation is worth checking out, but I have to say “buyer beware” and encourage people to check to make sure all of the things they need are in a functional state before making the switch or upgrade. Things should be fixed in a few weeks, but I have honestly run beta releases of previous Fedora versions that had fewer issues than the final release of Fedora 29.

    • Debian Family
      • Debian Linux 9.6 released and here is how to upgrade it

        he Debian GNU/Linux project has released an updated version of its stable Linux distribution Debian 9 (“stretch”). You must upgrade to get corrections for security problem as this version made a few adjustments for the severe issue found in Debian version 9.5. Debian is a Unix-like (Linux distro) operating system and a distribution of Free Software. It is mainly maintained and updated through the work of many users who volunteer their time and effort. The Debian Project was first announced in 1993 by Ian Murdock.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 19.04 Daily Builds Available to Download

            Prep a partition because Ubuntu 19.04 daily builds are now available to download.

            A new “Disco Dingo” daily build will be produced each and every day from now until the Ubuntu 19.04 release date in April 2019.

            For dedicated Ubuntu developers, testers, and community enthusiasts the arrival of daily builds is the horn blare that declares the development cycle well and truly open.

            Furthermore, these images are the only way to sample the upcoming release before a solitary beta release pops out sometime in late March.

            Do remember that Ubuntu daily build ISOs are intended for testing and development purposes only. Don’t run these images as the primary OS on mission critical machines — and yes, that includes your brother’s laptop — unless you really know what you’re doing and (more importantly) how you can undo it.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Events
    • TeXConf 2018 – the meeting of the Japanese TeX Users

      Having attended several international TeX conferences, I am always surprised how many Japanese TeX users find their way to this yearly meeting. This year we were about 80 participants (wild guess). We had five full talks and two lightning talks, followed by a very enjoyable dinner and after-party.

  • Databases
    • Why We Paired Open Source and Managed Services to Optimize Our Database

      Launching Peloton has certainly been a tremendous ride – one that’s included an exhilarating acceleration resulting in two-fold year-over-year growth and a tripled subscriber base in under a year. Among the steepest hills climbed along this journey, though, has been keeping up with our database requirements and pushing through the pains experienced throughout intensely-paced user growth.

      Our challenge managing an exponentially growing user base has been kicked into a higher gear by the fact that our consumer product utilizes so much user data. The idea for Peloton was born out of the founders’ desire to bring studio-style, group fitness classes home that still included the feeling – and benefits – of actual in-person classes. In practice, this has resulted in storing vast volumes of personal fitness data. As customers exercise on their home bikes and experience live or on-demand cycling classes, we need to continuously collect and retain a swath of telemetric data that includes pedaling speed, heart rate, the selected resistance setting, and many other metrics germane to the experience. This data is important to both our product and our customers, providing feedback that helps us shape the user experience and enabling us to deliver performance information to each customer via statistics, graphs, achievements, lists of top rides and routines, etc.

      [...]

      The managed provider route helped us diagnose and fix our production issues on day one; the overly dense production nodes and environment were adjusted for better (and noticeable) optimization. With our database back to running smoothly, we faced a choice as to how we’d acquire the Cassandra expertise we clearly needed in the long term: either investing to build that expertise in-house or relying on managed services going forward. Given the higher expenditures in both time and money, and the focus building an in-house team would take away from our product, it was an easy decision to stick with the managed provider route for our Cassandra production environment.

  • CMS
    • Migrating my website from Drupal 7 to Hugo

      My first interaction with Drupal was with its WSOD. That was it until I revisited it when evaluating different FOSS web tools to build a community site for one of my previous employer.

      Back then, we tried multiple tools: Jive, Joomla, WordPress and many more. But finally, resorted to Drupal. What the requirement was was to have something which would filter content under nested categories. Then, of the many things tried, the only one which seemed to be able to do it was Drupal with its Taxonomy feature, along with a couple of community driven add-on modules.

      We built it but there were other challenges. It was hard to find people who were good with Drupal. I remember to have interviewed around 10-15 people, who could take over the web portal and maintain it, and still not able to fill the position. Eventually, I ended up maintaining the portal by myself.

  • BSD
    • Showing a Gigabit OpenBSD Firewall Some Monitoring Love

      Now that the machine was up and running (and fast!), I wanted to know what it was doing. Over the years, I’ve always relied on the venerable pfstat software to give me an overview of my traffic, blocked packets, etc. It looks like this: [...]

  • Programming/Development
    • Sourcegraph: An Open-Source Source Code Search Engine

      In a recent announcement, a Code Search and Navigation tool named Sourcegraph was declared Open Source. As it makes navigating through Source Code much more convenient, the tool itself going Open Source is definitely a big plus for developers!

    • Compile any C++ program 10× faster with this one weird trick!

      The main reason that C++ compiles slowly has to do with headers. Merely including a few headers in the standard library brings in tens or hundreds of thousands of lines of code that must be parsed, verified, converted to an AST and codegenerated in every translation unit. This is extremely wasteful especially given that most of that work is not used but is instead thrown away.

      With an Unity build every #include is processed only once regardless of how many times it is used in the component source files.

      Basically this amounts to a caching problem, which is one of the two really hard problems in computer science in addition to naming things and off by one errors.

    • Future Developments in clang-query

      I am not aware of any similar series existing which covers creation of clang-tidy checks, and use of clang-query to inspect the Clang AST and assist in the construction of AST Matcher expressions. I hope the series is useful to anyone attempting to write clang-tidy checks. Several people have reported to me that they have previously tried and failed to create clang-tidy extensions, due to various issues, including lack of information tying it all together.

      Other issues with clang-tidy include the fact that it relies on the “mental model” a compiler has of C++ source code, which might differ from the “mental model” of regular C++ developers. The compiler needs to have a very exact representation of the code, and needs to have a consistent design for the class hierarchy representing each standard-required feature. This leads to many classes and class hierarchies, and a difficulty in discovering what is relevant to a particular problem to be solved.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • A trip through the peer-review sausage grinder

      It is often said that peer review is one of the pillars of scientific research. It is also well known that peer review doesn’t actually do its job very well, and, every few years, people like me start writing articles about alternatives to peer review. This isn’t one of those rants. Instead, I’m going to focus on something that is probably less well known: peer review actually has two jobs. It’s used to provide minimal scrutiny for new scientific results, and to act as a gatekeeper for funding agencies.

      What I would like to do here is outline some of the differences between peer review in these two jobs and the strengths and weaknesses of peer review in each case. This is not a rant against peer review, nor should it be—I have been pretty successful in both publications and grant applications over the last couple of years. But I think it’s worth exploring the idea that peer review functions much better in the case of deciding the value of scientific research than it does when acting as a gatekeeper for scientific funding.

    • How bicycles have changed in the last 25 years
  • Health/Nutrition
    • The Rules of the Economy Are Taking a Tragic Toll on Women and Their Pregnancies

      Recently, The New York Times published a report about women who, while working in physically demanding jobs, lost their pregnancies after requests for less-strenuous assignments were denied. The profile is a tragic example of the steep toll levied on women, and particularly women of color, who face economic and social rules that are rigged against them—rules that ultimately prioritize profit over life.

      The Times investigated the stories of workers at XPO Logistics, a Verizon-contracted warehouse near Tennessee’s border with Mississippi, piecing together the picture of a cruel and punishing work environment. In one case, a 23-year-old woman, whose proactive requests for a lighter workload upon learning that she was pregnant were denied, miscarried after eight hours of heavy lifting. She was in the second trimester of her first pregnancy.

      For many American workers and families, the experiences of the women in this story are not uncommon. In fact, the Times investigation is a stark demonstration of the collision of three dangerous trends in our economy that threaten women.

      First, we’ve seen a decades-long decline in workers’ voice and agency resulting from the rapid erosion of unionization and labor rights. The workers at the Tennessee XPO warehouse are—despite efforts to unionize—part of the growing majority of employees in the United States who lack union representation. Over the past 40 years, union membership has plummeted from 20.1 percent of workers in 1983 to just 10.7 percent in 2017. This decline wasn’t inevitable. It was driven by a broken labor law system that ignores entire sectors of the economy and by harmful corporate ideology, behavior, and practices that put the interests of shareholders above all others.

    • Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools

      This is a fact that would have been worth mentioning in a NYT piece on how health care may be affected by last Tuesday’s elections. Near the end, the article referred to the Trump administration’s promotion of short-term insurance policies but only said that they, “do not have to cover pre-existing conditions or provide all the benefits required by the health law.”

      The important feature of these short-term plans from the standpoint of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that they are designed to be appealing to relatively healthy people. By excluding people who are likely to suffer from costly health conditions, they can offer insurance at a lower price. This has the effect of pulling healthier people out of the ACA insurance pools.

    • Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank

      The year was 2011. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg proposed loosening conflict of interest rules for doctors sitting on advisory committees because non-compromised doctors were disappearing. The FDA could not find “knowledgeable experts who are free of financial conflicts of interest,” said news reports.

      How bad is Pharma’s brazen financial infiltration into US medicine? The New York Times and ProPublica recently reported that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s own CEO, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, its chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, and one of its immunotherapy specialists, Dr. Jedd Wolchok, were swimming in Pharma money.

      Thomas sat on the boards of Merck and Charles River Laboratories and actually founded a cancer start-up. Wolchok, says the Times and ProPublica, has links to 31 Pharma companies. Baselga, who has since resigned, received undisclosed millions from Pharma.

      I have personally attended medical conferences where doctors unflinchingly show slide after slide of Pharma companies who pay them as if the payments did not affect their presentations to follow.

      The responses of doctors exposed for the payola/bribes are downright embarrassing. Lee Cohen, lead author of a 2006 JAMA article promoting antidepressants during pregnancy listed 76 financial relationships with Pharma that he and the other authors had not mentioned explaining that, “We did not view those associations as relevant to this study.”

    • Measure To Cap Dialysis Profits Pummeled After Record Spending By Industry

      Record-breaking spending by the dialysis industry helped doom a controversial California ballot measure to cap its profits.

      The industry, led by DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care, spent nearly $111 million to defeat Proposition 8, which voters trounced, 62 to 38 percent, and appeared to approve in just two of 58 counties. The measure also faced strong opposition from medical organizations, including doctor and hospital associations, which argued it would limit access to dialysis treatment and thus endanger patients.

      The opposition presented a powerful message that “if you can’t get dialysis, you will die,” said Gerald Kominski, a senior fellow at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “If you didn’t know that, the commercials made it clear.”

      Despite arguments about the outsize profits of dialysis companies, Kominski said the “Yes on 8” case wasn’t as clear. The measure, sponsored by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, sought to cap dialysis clinic profits at 115 percent of the costs of patient care. Revenues above that amount would have been rebated primarily to insurance companies. Medicare and other government programs, which pay significantly lower prices for dialysis, wouldn’t have received rebates.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Britain funds research into drones that decide who they kill, says report

      Technologies that could unleash a generation of lethal weapons systems requiring little or no human interaction are being funded by the Ministry of Defence, according to a new report.

      The development of autonomous military systems – dubbed “killer robots” by campaigners opposed to them – is deeply contentious. Earlier this year, Google withdrew from the Pentagon’s Project Maven, which uses machine learning to analyse video feeds from drones, after ethical objections from the tech giant’s staff.

      The government insists it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”. But, since 2015, the UK has declined to support proposals put forward at the UN to ban them. Now, using government data, Freedom of Information requests and open-source information, a year-long investigation reveals that the MoD and defence contractors are funding dozens of artificial intelligence programmes for use in conflict.

    • Intelligence: Spy For The CIA And Die

      Once more the American CIA proved itself spectacularly inept at managing spies in foreign countries. This example was recent revelations about how between 2009 and 2013 the CIA used a vulnerable (to enemy access) Internet based communications system to supervise local agents in China and Iran. During that time a growing number of CIA tech staff and even field agents warned that the system was vulnerable and should be changed. That was done when it was obvious that the Internet based messaging system was the reason who over 50 local agents in China (mostly) and Iran were rounded up. Most of these agents were executed after being interrogated (often with considerable violence, that being the custom in those nations). This incidence of fatally incompetent management was not unique for the CIA. Such fatal incompetence handling foreign spies is a bad habit going back decades and seemingly immune to change. It basically comes down to senior management becoming too complacent or unwilling to act lest it cause problems with elected superiors. Key allies like Britain, Israel, France and others, with much smaller, but less lethal (to their own agents) espionage agencies have learned not to share data on their field agents with the Americans. Meanwhile it is incredibly difficult for CIA field agents to recruit useful spies in foreign nations. The reason for this, those who spy for the CIA tend to die.

    • The Fate of Yemen’s Baha’is

      It is common these days to read headlines such as “At least 19 killed, 10 injured in Saudi-led coalition air raid in Yemen” (Sputnik, October 24, 2018). We are reminded often how many Yemenis have died and are starving. But it is not common to learn that the Houthis, the Islamic extremist group who are fighting the Saudis, are persecuting the minority of Baha’is currently living and working in Yemen. In fact, the Left seldom turns its eyes to the on-going persecution of Baha’is in Iran and other places in the Islamic world. How often do you hear, for instance, that Baha’is are not even permitted to attend post-secondary institutions in Iran?

      The Houthi regime believes that Baha’is are fighting a “Satanic war” against Muslim Yemenis. In the last five years, in particular, spiteful rhetoric has intensified. This enflamed language has reminded Baha’is of the horrible fate many faced in the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian theocratic revolution. Since December 3, 2013 Hamed bin Haydara, a Baha’i leader, has been imprisoned, indicted for apostasy and accused of “being a destroyer of Islam.”

      The National Security Office raided his home and seized laptops and documents. Reports indicate that he has been tortured (beaten and electrocuted). The history of the torture of Baha’is since the mid-19thcentury is like visiting a haunted house of horrors. He has also been denied legal and medical assistance.

      In October 2014, Hamed was transferred to the Central Prison under the jurisdiction of the Prosecution Service. But the process of prosecution has been delayed. He was accused of being a spy for Israel; medical requests were repeatedly blocked; his prosecutor was extremely prejudiced against Hamed; he had been forced to sign several documents while blindfolded and repeated torture. On April 3, 2016, his sixth visit of the year, 100 supporters gathered peacefully outside the court. By mid-September of 2016, it was plainly evident that a faction within the Houthi political movement was under the influence of Iran. Hatred of Baha’is runs deep in Iran, and they pushed the Houthi faction to persecute the Yemeni Baha’is.

    • These pilots fly 100-year-old airplanes

      As historians mark exactly a century since the end of World War I, a group of pilots take to the air in a museum’s vintage airplanes, bringing a bygone era back to life.

      Located just two hours north of New York City, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York’s Hudson Valley boasts around 60 vintage biplanes — including reproductions of the famed SPAD VII and the classic Sopwith Camel.

      Take a turn off picturesque Stone Church Road, cross a foot bridge and you’re jumping back 100 years to a time when airplanes were made of wood and fabric held together by a bit of wire — and not much more.

    • US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre

      The UK appears now to be gearing up towards authoring a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Yemen, following years of blocking any resolutions on the issue. The UK has been the official ‘penholder’ on Yemen, meaning that it has been up to the UK to table resolutions, which it has steadfastly refused to do, whilst simultaneously blocking anyone else’s attempts to do so. The apparent about-turn is a response to last week’s statements from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis calling for a ceasefire in Yemen within 30 days, to be followed up with UN-facilitated peace talks. The UK dutifully followed suit shortly afterwards, expressing their support for the initiative. This was somewhat ironic given that minister Alistair Burt, obviously not privy to the seeming about-turn, had just spent the day providing MPs with excruciatingly contorted explanations of why calling for a ceasefire was not a good idea in the circumstances. “Passing a ceasefire resolution risks undercutting the UN envoy’s efforts to reach a political deal and undermining the credibility of the Council” he told the House of Commons at midday; yet within 36 hours, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was telling Newsnight that the US call for a ceasefire was “an extremely welcome announcement because we have been working towards a cessation of hostilities in Yemen for a long time.” In the parallel universe of British double-speak, it is of course natural that unrelenting support for what is fast turning into a war of national annihilation gets recast as “working towards a cessation of hostilities”.

      Yet this latest call does appear to be at odds with the hitherto existing strategy; it was only in June, after all, when the US and UK torpedoed a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the face of impending famine. Many commentaries (such as this one in the Telegraph, for example), have suggested that the US is now taking advantage of pressure on Saudi Arabia following the murder of Saudi insider-turned-dissident Khashoggi to push the kingdom towards a less belligerent position in the disastrous Yemen war. The ever-more desperate humanitarian situation is giving the war a bad name and – so the story goes – the US are now keen to end it. David Miliband, former UK foreign secretary and now president of the International Rescue Committee, even called the US announcement “the most significant breakthrough in the war in Yemen for four years”.

    • Applauding Plan to Stop Refueling Saudi Planes, Progressives Call for Further Action to End Yemen’s “Humanitarian Nightmare”

      Anti-war groups and progressive lawmakers expressed cautious optimism this weekend after the Trump administration announced it would end its policy of refueling Saudi planes that are engaged in Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen—but called for bolder and broader policy changes to ensure an end to the attacks that have killed more than 15,000 civilians.

      On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the refueling practice would end, with Saudi Arabia claiming in a statement that it now has the ability to refuel its own planes—a claim that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis bolstered in his own comments on the policy changem but that drew skepticism from critics. The change came amid heightened calls from across the political spectrum to end the U.S. military’s cooperation with the Saudis, following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    • Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon

      The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF) appears to be part of a broader strategy aimed at unwinding over 50 years of agreements to control and limit nuclear weapons, returning to an era characterized by the unbridled development weapons of mass destruction.

      Terminating the INF treaty—which bans land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of between 300 and 3400 miles— is not, in and of itself, a fatal blow to the network of treaties and agreements dating back to the 1963 treaty that ended atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. But coupled with other actions—George W. Bush’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 and the Obama administration’s program to upgrade the nuclear weapons infrastructure— the tapestry of agreements that has, at least in part, limited these terrifying creations, is looking increasingly frayed.

      “Leaving the INF,” says Sergey Rogov of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, “could bring the whole structure of arms control crashing down.”

      Lynn Rusten, the former senior director for arms control in the National Security Agency Council warns, “This is opening the door to an all-out arms race.”

      Washington’s rationale for exiting the INF Treaty is that the Russians deployed the 9M729 cruise missile that the US claims violates the agreement, although Moscow denies it and the evidence has not been made public. Russia countercharges that the US ABM system—Aegis Ashore—deployed in Romania and planned for Poland could be used to launch similar medium range missiles.

    • The terror wreaked by the ‘war on terror’

      In a distressing reminder of the death and destruction caused by America’s so-called war on terror following the 9/11 attacks, a study report released by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs puts the death toll at between 480,000 and 507,000, recognizing though that the actual number is likely higher, and that the ‘war on terror’ remains intense. Indeed, the number is much, much higher than that and continues to increase. Giving a country-wise casualty count, the report says between 182,272 and 204,575 people have been killed in Iraq, 38,480 in Afghanistan and 23,372 in Pakistan. Predictably, there is no mention of the US and its allies’ meddling in Syria, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and driven millions out of their homes forcing them to seek shelter in neighbouring countries or to knock at the EU countries’ doors.

    • Permanent war

      The 9/11 attacks, in which nearly 3000 people were killed, was universally condemned as one of the greatest atrocities of our time. What followed has been less remarked on but may be the bigger crime against humanity. A report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs estimates that at least half a million people have been killed in the wars unleashed by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Of that number, only about 7000 are American troops that have been fighting these wars. The overwhelming majority of the killings have been of those unlucky to find themselves in the path of the rampaging Americans.

    • Was President Kennedy Going To Destroy the CIA?

      Many people on the internet and in articles have said that President JFK was going to smash the Central Intelligence Agency into the wind. But was he? In this video I explain what really happened. JFK made a move to eliminate the name CIA from everything and even split it apart in 1961 – but did not do it. Here are the details and the real reasons why. JFK did make changes though. I touch on some of them and in the next video will go into more detail.

    • Poppy Fascism and the English Education System

      What Jon Snow, the Channel 4 broadcaster (on English television), wisely discerned as ‘poppy fascism’ several years ago, reached its crescendo this weekend – as it does every year now it seems, with more vitality. However, this year, 2018, being the centenary of the Armistice of World War I, the crescendo’s pitch felt louder than usual.

      As, mid-week, I watched Sky News Live on YouTube from my Philadelphia apartment, a seemingly unwitting child appeared on my screen and announced the importance of passing down the ‘knowledge’ of the First World War from those who had gone before him. This segment was aired alongside report on an ‘artist’ [read, ‘lunatic’] named Rob Heard who had carved thousands of wooden figurines, over a period of five years, of British soldiers killed in the conflict and laid them out on the ground somewhere in England to commemorate this centenary of futile slaughter. No context, ever.

      Lest we get ahead of ourselves and assume that the fanaticism cease there, we’re reminded intermittently throughout the week from various English news sources that 10,000 torches (remember those torches carried by Trumpite fascists in Charlottesville last year?) are lit each night at the Tower of London to remember the ‘fallen’.

    • Physicians Work to Bring Back the Anti-Nuclear Movement

      It is a move that many, including former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, believe has ignited a new nuclear arms race. This is because the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed by Gorbachev and former US President Ronald Reagan, banned all short and mid-range nuclear and non-nuclear missiles, and helped eliminate thousands of land-based missiles.

      The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Trump has already promised to build new nuclear weapons, in addition to having withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, heightening tensions further after having previously threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea. Trump has also promised to build new nuclear weapons.

      While these deeply concerning issues, which are clear existential threats to the entire planet, often fly under the radar, a large and diverse coalition of groups across Washington State has formed with the aim of reviving the anti-nuclear movement.

      “Kitsap Bangor Naval Base is the single largest collection of nuclear weapons in the US, and each of those warheads is many times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Estela Ortega, the executive director of El Centro de la Raza, told Truthout. El Centro de la Raza is a Seattle-based civil rights, human services, educational, cultural and economic development organization.

      Ortega explained that the mission of her organization is “to struggle for a clean, safe, and nuclear waste-free environment for our people and future generations. To work for a rational use of natural resources in the interests of the preservation of Mother Earth and the peaceful development of humankind.”

    • A Note on the Paris Peace Forum

      France is the the world’s third arms suppliers and its exports increased by 27% compared to 2008-2012, according to SIPRI Arms Tranfers Database.

    • Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class

      One cannot serve both the one percent and the 99 percent as their interests are at odds with each other. Although many join for righteous reasons, actions speak louder than intentions. Actions of the U.S. military has always been death, destruction, anguish of the working class, and entitlements for the elites. When the ruling class benefits it’s always at the expense of the poor.

      I’m a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Not only that, I’m a veteran of both surges. Eight years after separating from the military I see that I did not provide a service for my country. Clearly the wars have sucked our hard-working dollars and placed them on a silver platter for the economic ruling class–war contractors (oops I mean ‘defense’ contractors), politicians, and corporations that literally profit from the death of innocent people, including little children.

      Although I served in the U.S. Army as a Paratrooper working as a mechanic, the world sees me as nothing but an imperialist watchdog. The people impacted by the wars in which I participated don’t care about the difference between an infantry soldier and an administrative paper-pusher. It’s all the same to them: soldiers occupying their homelands and pointing weapons at innocent people, like women, children, and the elderly.

    • Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans

      In the United States, however, we take particular pride in recognizing as heroes those who have served in the military.

      Yet while we honor our veterans with holidays, parades, discounts at retail stores and restaurants, and endless political rhetoric about their sacrifice and bravery, we do a pitiful job of respecting their freedoms and caring for their needs once out of uniform.

      Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 20 million veterans who have served in World War II through the present day, the plight of veterans today is America’s badge of shame, with large numbers of veterans impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, suicide, and marital stress, homeless, subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration offices.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia

      When it comes to planetary carnage, Trump (Amerika’s president) is facing strong competition. Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro aka “Tropical Trump” will likely outdo Amerika’s destroy the EPA Trump. Bolsonaro declared war on the Amazon rainforest. Thus, he’ll likely outpace Trump’s arbitrary efforts at eco annihilation because he has a much bigger target!

      The Amazon Rainforest, affectionately known as “the planet’s lungs,” inhales CO2 and exhales precious oxygen (“O”), which serves as a life force for every living being on the planet. As a result, everybody from New Zealand to Finland is impacted by what happens to the global rainforests, as unlike Las Vegas, what happens in the tropical rainforest does not stay in the tropical rainforest.

      Significantly, a University of Leeds study found forests absorb 35% of human-made fossil fuel emissions (CO2) every year. Dr. Simon Lewis, a tropical ecologist from the University of Leeds and co-author of the study, said trees are much more important to tackling climate change than previously thought. (Source: Forests Absorb One-Third of Global Fossil Fuel Emissions, University of Leeds, Environment News, July 15, 2011)

      “The large uptake of CO2 by forests implies that the world’s agricultural lands, grasslands, desert and tundra each play a more limited role as globally significant carbon dioxide sources or sinks at present. This new information can help pinpoint where actions to conserve carbon sinks are likely to have most impact,” Ibid.

    • Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range

      The Buffalohorn and Porcupine drainages (BHP) that drain into the Gallatin River near Big Sky, Montana are a miniature ecological equivalent of the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone.

      [...]

      Until conservationists advocate for wilderness designation for the entire Gallatin Range, one cannot know what may be politically possible.

      There are other issues with the GFP that needs remedy including greater wilderness advocacy for areas in the Hyalite Canyon region such as South Cottonwood Canyon and Chestnut Mountain, but suffice to say that it is my hope that wilderness advocates including organizations like the Montana Wilderness Association, The Wilderness Society and Greater Yellowstone Coalition reassess their promotion for the halfway measures of the GFP and instead seek full wilderness protection for all roadless lands in the range, especially for the Buffalohorn Porcupine drainages or what could be called the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range.

      If you are a member of any of these organizations, I urge you to contact them and compliment them for making protection of the Gallatin Range a priority but ask them to advocate for wilderness designation for all of the roadless lands in the Gallatin Range.

      Keep in mind these are lands owned by all Americans, as well as internationally significant. The Buffalohorn and Porcupine drainages lie just north of Yellowstone National Park which was designated International Biosphere Reserve in 1976, and a World Heritage Site in 1978.

      Therefore, the Gallatin wildlands deserve the best protection possible and wilderness is the Gold Bar for conservation status. Conservationists should be advocating nothing less.

    • Drone actions in ‘inspirational’ bear video ‘could have killed the cub’

      Millions of people have watched and shared “inspirational” video of a bear cub struggling to climb a steep, snow-covered slope after its mum as “proof of why you should never give up”.

      In the video, captured by a drone in eastern Russia and first uploaded to YouTube in June, the cub repeatedly tries to scramble up the ridge, only to fall back down. The mother swipes at her cub at one point, knocking it back down the slope – a “lesson in child-rearing”, wrote one Twitter user.

      But grizzly bear researcher Clayton Lamb, of the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, is among the scientists who say the drone was to blame for the bears’ behaviour.

      [...]

      Dmitry Kedrov, who filmed the bears off the coast of Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk, told the Russian website Lenta.ru he and his colleagues had seen the bears slip down the ridge several times before filming them. He insisted he they didn’t get too close to the animals and they added a zoom effect in post-production.

      However, Lamb said while he wasn’t a videographer, he was a drone operator as well as a scientist, and the effect looked exactly like when he flew his drone closer to something, rather than a zoom.

  • Finance
    • Winners Take All: Modern philanthropy means that giving some away is more important than how you got it

      Giridharadas’s point was that the business elites who were gathered to “give back” and “solve the big problems” were some of the most egregious contributors to those problems. They had looted the world’s treasuries, shut down businesses and shipped jobs to low-wage, low-regulation free trade zones, gutted public services and replaced them with low-bidder private sector contractors, and had done so while formulating and promulgating the philosophy that business leaders’ individual judgment about the provision of public services were always to be preferred to those policies set by democratically elected politicians.

    • An Honest Look at Poverty in the Heartland

      A few weeks before the election, a roomful of Wisconsinites gathered to share some of the stories that are often left out of political campaigns. At a Racine gathering of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, visitors shared real-life stories about poverty in the state.

      Solo Little John of Kenosha, Wisconsin was one of those who testified. He’s a fast food worker at Wendy’s and a leader of the Fight for $15 living wage campaign. “My voice represents the voices of the voiceless,” he said, “those who live in poverty and are directly impacted by low wages because we can’t form unions.”

      “I only make $8.75 an hour,” he added. “You can probably imagine that day in day out, this is very hard for me, that it makes it a very difficult time for me to pay my bills, my light bills, my gas, the necessities.”

      Some 1.2 million Wisconsin workers make under $15 an hour — that’s 44 percent of Wisconsin’s workforce.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • If Trump and Whitaker Undermine the Mueller Investigation, That’s an Impeachable Offense

      Do not mourn the end of Jeff Sessions. But recognize that the motivation for Trump’s removal of Sessions points to a constitutional crisis.

    • A World Off Balance

      It is a moral duty to restore the balance we have lost. Moral because our effort to restore a healthy equilibrium must include what we call Nature for it is the only thing which sustains us and we are now at the point where it is threatened irreparable damage. We may imagine that our vast technological triumphs and the plastic, steel, aluminum, iron and cement cages (cities) we inhabit provide us enough to survive but the very the air we breathe is being threatened worldwide led, in part, by the newly elected supporter of fascism Juan Bolsonaro.

      Seriously. An admirer of fascism has been elected President in Brazil and he is advocating even more “development” of the rainforests which give us more than 20% of the oxygen we need to live. This is beyond crazy. Where are the cries for UN intervention to stop this rapacious insanity and instead restore the planet so that we all have enough oxygen to survive? I know, this sounds outmoded (“UN intervention”?) and crazy, but how did we get so far that our planetary life-giving essentials are treated as commodities to be traded in for the short-term profits of a few? Many will answer that that’s been capitalism all along (and agreeing I’ll happily support its overthrow) but still, we no longer wince at the extremities advocated by and spoken of by “world leaders”, chalking it up to yet another piece in the gradualist onslaught of vertigo we are all suffering. There’s no prednisone for this illness. There are no tests needed to confirm that something is terribly wrong in our sense of balance and that this is dangerous not only for us, but for the whole teetering planet.

    • Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock

      The 2018 election looks at first glance like a wash: Republicans gained seats in the Senate and Democrats regained control of the House with enough of a margin to ensure that they can put some limits on presidential power.

      But longer term impacts of 2018 are, I believe, more significant. In this election, with President Trump as party leader pushing a rabidly racist claim that immigrants fleeing from the largely US-caused poverty, chaos and violence in Honduras hoping for a better life for their kids in the US were actually an “invasion” of the US that would bring across the border everything from disease to Arab terrorists, gangs and dark-skinned rapists, and with his claiming that Democrats were behind what he labeled a “caravan” of tens of thousands (it is really just several thousand mostly young people and parents with children and babies), Republicans have hit bottom.

    • Harold Pinter’s America: a Giant Criminal Conspiracy…

      If you’ve never read or seen Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, it’s amazing—a 46-minute piece of thunderous power—but I’m not sure I’d recommend it. Pinter’s plays, when well-acted, braid together moments of existential terror and electric comedy, but his Nobel speech is not a bundle of laughs. It begins with an intriguing but much too long rumination on his creative process, but just when you think he’s going to call it a wrap, he suddenly pivots from the inward to the outward and begins a furious condemnation of the United States government that kicks so hard and hurts so deeply that it makes you ashamed not to be an outright leftist revolutionary. He forces us to look at what the great William Burroughs called the “naked lunch”—calmly but viciously indicting us for our crimes in South America and all around the world. And though he delivered the speech in 2005, it could run as an op-ed piece today, with only a few minor details changed.

      Watching the speech is exponentially scarier than reading it. Pinter couldn’t travel to Stockholm to accept the prize in person because he was hospitalized with some God-awful kind of cancer, so he sent a video which shows him sitting in a chair with a blanket on his knees, obviously ill, but methodically building his indictment as he stares at the camera, as if daring you to look away. And you want to look away. You don’t want to be a silent partner in all the murders we commit, all the rapes we encourage, all the torture we teach and practice, all the money we steal, all the air and water and creatures we poison, all the stupidity manufactured by our media, all the—well, you get the picture. To wit: “the United States has supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths,” Pinter asks: “Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy?” Then he answers his own question: “The answer is yes, they did take place, and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.”

    • #MeToo could become a national reckoning – if the new House treats it like a financial crisis

      More than 500 women ran in primaries for federal office, a pipeline that ultimately led to a record number of women set to take office.

      Even so, it also reveals how far women are from achieving parity in politics – they are projected to hold barely more than a fifth of seats in the House and Senate. For comparison, that’s less than in Iraq, where the post-Saddam Hussein Constitution sets a 25 percent minimum for female representation in the national assembly.

      In a way, it reflects the ways in which the #MeToo movement, for its many achievements, has thus far stalled at the federal level. After a year of headlines involving sexual misconduct in a variety of industries, Congress has not passed a single piece of legislation on harassment.

    • Is Yugoslavia an “alien” or are we alien to Yugoslavia?

      There is obviously a long-lasting fascination with the character of Josip Broz Tito. To this day, Yugoslav partisan movies are still broadcast on Chinese TV channels; children and streets in China are named after the characters from the film “Walter defends Sarajevo” (1972), and there is even a beer brand “Walter”. The recent docu-fiction Houston: We Have a Problem! (Žiga Virc, 2016), about Yugoslavia’s clandestine space program, and Cinema Komunisto (Mila Turajlić, 2012), about the rise and fall of Yugoslavia’s cinematography and Tito’s personal love of the cinema, add to the growing current interest in Tito. At the same time, a recurring sentiment ever since the collapse of Yugoslavia alongside the nationalism, in Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, is a sort of nostalgia toward “ the good old Yugoslav times” that prompted the Slovenian sociologist Mitja Velikonja – in his book Titostalgia – A Study of Nostalgia for Josip Broz published in 2008 – to coin a neologism “Titostalgia”. It describes a specific sort of nostalgia, which is part of the more general “Yugonostalgia”, but more concrete and directly connected to the Yugoslav leader Tito.[3]

    • “Words Can’t Articulate the Joy”: Wisconsin Workers Celebrate Scott Walker’s Defeat

      Joy is the order of the day as 100 people or so congregate at the rotunda of the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison just hours after incumbent Republican Scott Walker conceded the gubernatorial election to Democratic challenger Tony Evers, a former teacher who heads the state’s education department.

      It’s an emotional celebration. Old friends and allies greet one another with warm hugs, happy tears, cheers of delight and sighs of relief. They form a circle for, literally, the 1,999th gathering of the “Solidarity Sing Along,” an hour-long, informal event held every Monday through Friday at noon.

    • The Issues That Won’t Go AwayThe Issues That Won’t Go Away

      How much closer did we move to becoming a nation able and willing to focus on the real issues that threaten the planet?

      [..]

      F. The prison-industrial complex. The United States has the largest prison system in the world (and it’s becoming increasingly privatized), with 2.3 million people — mostly impoverished people of color — behind bars. Our prison system is a regrouping of Jim Crow America, which can’t stand having a country without second-class and tenth-class citizens. But here’s some good news from this year’s midterms: “Florida restored voting rights to more than 1 million people with felony records, which amounts to the biggest enfranchisement since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the women’s suffrage movement,” Vox reports.

      G. Immigrant scapegoating, hatred and fear. Because our unwinnable, endless wars can no longer serve the function of unifying the country, Trump has turned to immigrants — in particular, that “invading caravan” of desperate, shoeless Central Americans — as the Other he needs to rev his base and get the vote out. However, the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants, including the cruel separation of parents and children, has shocked and enraged much of the country, putting the country’s long-standing policy of cruel indifference to global suffering (and of course one of its leading creators as well) into the national spotlight like never before.

      H. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, hacking. Ah, democracy, a nuisance to the powerful, a system to be gamed! If the voting can’t be controlled, my God, Republicans could lose. Witness Georgia and North Dakota, where bureaucratic twists deprived African-American and Native American citizens of their right to vote in large enough numbers to skewer election results. Stacey Abrams may yet prevail in her quest for the governorship of Georgia over Secretary of State and Purger in Chief Brian Kemp. But American democracy is not safe from itself, no matter how much the media insists on blaming all its flaws on the Russians.

    • Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán

      The Paris Review recently called Gabriela Alemán “a literary citizen of the Andes.” One might also call her a “citizen of the Americas,” and of the world as well. After all, her work has appeared in Chinese, Hebrew, French and Croatian; her fictional characters belong to the U.S., Germany, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Argentina.

      Moreover, Alemán isn’t just a “literary citizen,” though that’s a fine thing to be, but also an overtly political citizen as so many writers from South America are today and have been, from Pablo Neruda and Carlos Fuentes to Gabriel García Márquez.

      A journalist and a reporter as well as a novelist and a playwright, she was born in 1969 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the granddaughter of Ecuadorian poet, Hugo Alemán, and the daughter of the Ecuadorian diplomat Mario Alemán.

      Her novel, Poso Wells, which was published by City Lights of San Francisco in English in 2018, originally appeared in Spanish in 2007. Novelist Dick Cluster did the translation.

      A reviewer on Amazon wrote, “Poso Wells is a perfect compliment for the current political state of the United States and the hopelessness caused by constant access to terrible news via social media.” Indeed, it’s a freewheeling work of fiction that defies genres and mixes satire and surrealism, the literary and the political.

    • Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’

      Indeed, Trump and his administration have focused on immigrants as a major threat to the security of nation. Such hyped-up racist rhetoric is completely false.

      This vitriol against the caravan of Central Americans and Mexicans on their way to the US border was cruel electioneering, no more. These people are poor and are fleeing horrific violence in their home countries. Some of this violence has been caused by US policies in the region.

      Nonetheless, Trump has staged the national guard at the border for photo opportunities of soldiers building coil wire fencing. Trump’s words of racist hatred have also inspired and summoned numerous paramilitary posses of armed militias to the US/Mexican borderlands.

      Fear-mongering and racism against immigrants is nothing new in the history of the United States.

      Toward the end of the 19th-century and at the turn of the 20th-century, many in the US promoted “Nativism”—an all-white America where good jobs belonged to Whites, not foreigners. This was the historical period known as the “Second-Industrial Revolution,” the “Gilded Age,” and the “Progressive Era”—a time of enormous economic transformation for the country through industrialization and urbanization.

    • The Real Lessons From the Debate Between David Frum and Steve Bannon

      Last November 2 the Toronto-based group Munk Debates organized a well-publicized debate between David Frum and Steve Bannon titled “Be it resolved, the future of western politics is populist not liberal…” [2] Frankly, I didn’t care about the debate so I will not refer to its content because both debaters at this point in time don’t have anything new to contribute in my view. Also, the Munk Debates are just an elitist show of intellectual entertainment for a select privileged group of people, or in Frum’s exclusivist words, for “the learned, the preeminent, and the notorious.”

      However, I read very carefully the article by David Frum in The Atlantic, “The Real Lesson of My Debate With Steve Bannon.” [1] Not having attended the debate I was curious about what he had to say about it.

      I found out that apparently he “lost” the debate, or, as he put it, “bungled it” to Bannon by some questionable voting system that the organizers had set up. That outcome must have been quite a surprise to usually self-confident Frum who saw it necessary to write about what he had learned; and he did write about …sour grapes in both a self-effacing and unrepentant way.

      My reading about the debate did teach me some lessons, and they come from two specific issues that I question in Frum’s article.

      First, he dismisses the relevance of the protests about validating someone with the reputation of Trump strategist Steve Bannon by bringing him to the debate. I was one that signed a petition against his coming to Toronto, and I would have been protesting if I were there.

    • Getting Past Gingrich

      Journalist McKay Coppins traces the toxic politics of today back to Newt Gingrich in the 1990s. Gingrich, he said, pioneered “strategic obstructionism.”

    • Donald Trump and the politics of emotion

      In 2017 Donald Trump posted a clip of himself on Twitter wrestling an avatar of CNN to the ground. In the thirty-second vignette he seizes an individual with CNN’s logo where the head should be and pummels them. The point was to position himself as a defender of truth, flattening media enemies who spread disinformation about his reign.

      It was a predictable move: Trump is a recurring character on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), body slamming its CEO Vince McMahon, “buying” its ‘Monday Night Raw’ program and remaining unperturbed by an egregiously racialised boogeyman who regularly appears in the ring. He is the only US President to be inducted as a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

      His immersion in this world might appear to be just another instance of the absurdly comic combining with the brutally terrifying in his presidency, but it is much more than that: the collision between Trump and wrestling provides an insight into his tactics and the broader contemporary transformation of electoral politics. The WWE taught Trump how to fuse the interests of big business with a mass of people coagulated around shared rage.

      Nationalist populism is an odd phenomenon in the ways in which it creates alliances between voters who occupy structurally opposed positions. Trump has managed to combine support from the corporate world, evangelical Christians, rural southerners and ex-union Democrats in a way that confounds existing psephological models. Transcending, at least to some extent, distinctions between left and right, this alliance melds together the ultra-rich with the people they have actively disempowered.

      There’s an obvious inconsistency here: big capital fattens itself on the democratic choices of its victims. But this also suggests that ideology and demography no longer provide a satisfactory explanation for the results of elections. Something else brings this bloc together – mass emotion which has taken the place of ideological identification. What unites the electoral victories of nationalist populists is their ability to manipulate affect, to induct their voters into a shared mood that usually resonates in the key of anger and hate. So could ‘emotional politics’ of this kind also be used to anchor a progressive revival?

      The shift from ideology to emotion that has taken place in politics over the past 30 years passed through a phase of centrism in the 1990s when liberal democracy was seen as the ‘end of history.’ Dominated by a managerial technocracy, the role of politicians was to oversee public affairs in a rational, detached manner in an affectless world. Neither the governments they ran nor the people they governed were expected to behave emotionally. Politics was stripped of any sense of mob mentality in order to save the populace from their supposedly self-destructive urges.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Following Outcry, Washington Arts Council Reverses Course on Amendment

      A Washington arts council reversed a decision on Thursday to make all of its grantees sign new contracts that several arts groups said would leave recipients open to censorship.

      The arts groups who were greenlighted for grants from the council, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which is partially backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, received a letter on Monday. There was an amendment to the original grant contracts that they were instructed to sign to receive the money, for which they had already signed paperwork for.

      It stipulated that the work of recipients was susceptible to losing funding if it was “lewd, lascivious, vulgar, overtly political, excessively violent, constitutes sexual harassment, or is, in any other way, illegal.” It did not specify how “overtly political” would be defined, or who would be making those judgments. The decision also came as a surprise to commissioners of the council, volunteers throughout Washington who are supposed to represent the public.

    • After outcry, DC commission backs down on censoring art
    • Mayor Bowser To Withdraw Censorship Amendment from DC Arts Grants
    • After Outcry, DC’s Mayor Overrules Grant-Giving Organization’s Attempt to Restrict ‘Lewd or Political’ Work
    • DC Commission Reverses Course After Attempt to Censor Artists

      Just days after the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) issued an eleventh-hour amendment on its already-signed contracts with grantees that prohibited “lewd, lascivious, vulgar, overtly political, and/or excessively violent” projects from being funded, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office rescinded the controversial guidelines.

      On Thursday evening, DCCAH sent a letter to all its grantees explaining that the amendment was an “over-correction” and has been officially rescinded.

      Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evan initially confirmed the news to the Washington City Paper. “It should never have been sent out in the first place,” he said. “We should not be censoring artwork or anything of that nature. It was not well thought out.”

    • ‘I don’t pay attention to censorship’
    • Govinda alleges Bollywood conspiracy to curb release of his films
    • Second C in CBFC stands for certification, not censorship
    • Censorship, strong-arm tactics of AIADMK draw flak

      It has happened again. Actor Vijay’s Sarkar, which was certified by the Central Board of Film Certification, has been forced to undergo fresh cuts by ministers and ruling AIADMK cadre, alleging “insult” to their late leader Jayalalithaa and the government.

      Though it is not uncommon for movies to be “ambushed” by fringe groups, what has taken certain political leaders and the film industry by surprise is the response of the ruling party whose cadre took the law into their hands, forcing some theatres to suspend shows of Sarkar for two days.

    • Aussie Amarok ad mocks censorship, gets banned

      Sydney – Authorities in certain countries can get quite grumpy, to say the least, about adverts that show cars unleashing their performance potential.

      Anything that even remotely encourages spirited driving of any kind must be silenced at all cost, before every member of the public is suddenly and subliminally brainwashed into becoming a reckless driver, ultimately resulting in mayhem on the roads of an apocalyptic scale.

    • Vietnam’s Lady Gaga is pressuring Facebook to stop complying with censorship laws

      Mai Khoi never intended on becoming an activist.

      “I had a lot of fans, songs, and money,” said the Vietnamese pop star who’s been likened to Lady Gaga and Pussy Riot (paywall). “Life was easy and comfortable, but it wasn’t enough for me.”

      At the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taipei, Khoi opened her talk with a performance of her song “Vietnam,” which urged her fellow citizens to “step out from the fear” and “raise our voice, speak, sing, scream.”

    • Hypocrisy and censorship: China’s human rights model

      In early September, a seemingly ordinary incident involving Chinese tourists being ejected from a hotel in Stockholm made international headlines when it erupted into a minor diplomatic quarrel between China and Sweden. Almost a month later, an altercation between a reporter from China’s state-run CCTV network and a speaker at a London forum addressing the erosion of rule of law and autonomy in Hong Kong similarly escalated tensions between China and the UK. In both instances, Beijing accused the European governments of violating basic human rights and flouting international norms and diplomatic protocol.

      While this is not the first time either country has been the target of China’s sharp diplomatic rhetoric, the approach implies a new trend in employing this particular tactic on European nations — one not lost on Western media outlets. Drawing links between the two events, the tactic has been identified as a new strategy of applying diplomatic pressure by stirring national outrage. However, for countries more exposed to China’s reach, there is nothing new about it.

    • How censorship became deadly during the First World War

      The Boer War wasn’t just a disaster for the British army in terms of geopolitics and the perception of its power on the world stage. It was also a disaster in terms of public relations.

      Much of the European and American press had supported the Boers, casting these Dutch settlers as victims of brutal British colonialism (though very little ink was devoted to the dispossessed indigenous Africans who were colonized by the Boers and the British). Meanwhile, foreign press printed stories about the new British invention, the “concentration camp” where Boer civilians were herded, and of the boldness of the guerrilla campaigns waged by these farmers against the professional army of one of the world’s greatest powers.

      So the British learned their lesson for their next war—the First World War, almost 12 years later—investing significant money and effort into developing a scientific censorship and propaganda system to manipulate world public opinion. The best minds in the British press and universities were co-opted to develop censorship and propaganda systems, and they learned that it only worked if the marketplace of ideas was cleansed of competing narratives.

    • Hollywood Movie ‘Hunter Killer’ in Russian Limbo – ‘Veiled Censorship‘?

      “Hunter Killer,” the new American action thriller film starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman, was scheduled to premiere in Russia on November 1. However, it was not released due to what officials say was a bureaucratic issue, not censorship. Critics disagree.

      The Russian Ministry of Culture, which gives permits to all art productions before they can be shown to the public, said the problem was with the Russian distributor, which did not provide a proper copy of the film to be preserved in the state film archive (Gosfilmfond).

    • Former Post-Gazette cartoonist discusses censorship

      Though politics are growing more polarized, former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers said artists need not shy away from them in their work. While they shouldn’t feel pressured to take a side, he said, entertainers should also recognize that it’s okay to use their platforms as a means of making political statements.

      “When you see government cutting arts programs in schools and trying to demonize Hollywood,” Rogers said, “I think it’s really important for artists to stand up.”

      Rogers, who was fired from the Post-Gazette in June for works critical of President Trump, spoke Nov. 1 at a panel on free speech and censorship held at the Carnegie Stage. He was joined by attorney John Gisleson of the Pittsburgh law firm Morgan and Lewis, and by the American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Pittsburgh Vice President Brenda Lee Green.

    • Censorship And The Future Of Media!

      In modern times, Mass Media play vital role by providing information and entertainment to people across the border. Media’s different forms have influenced our lives. It was time, when print media ruled over the world, but now it faces competition from electronic media. And electronic media is now facing the same condition from social media. But these mediums still play their role by adopting changes of the time. Radio has been remained the main factor of providing entertainment apart from news and views.

      As we are living in the digital world, media has also reshaped itself and emerged as new media. With the internet new mediums of disseminating the information and views across the globe have revolutionized the media.

      Media with responsibility defended its freedom and played vital role, but the authoritarian governments and dictatorship narrowed its scope. We take an example of Pakistan; we see the dismal picture of media. Couple of the media institutions tend to maintain and protect its freedom, but the sense of social responsibility is not showed that is linked with the freedom of expression. Here we see media divided into anti-government, pro-government and righteous groups’ blocks. Meantime, it propagates the campaign against the rivals and trying to represent the skewed views on national issues. As a result, the truth and responsibility are vanished in vain.

    • Bending Over Backward: A Biased Look at Left-wing Censorship

      To provide “balance” and indicate similar incivility on the right the authors cite “off-campus” groups, regularly described as “alt-right’ and “white supremacist,” that send online threats to political opponents, one to a professor who called for “white genocide.” This subtle academic term, the authors explain, was taken literally by the ill-informed online bigots. Another professor’s commencement address, they note, sparked a flurry of fifty hate-filled internet responses, as if that number of electronic threats were extraordinary given the speaker’s use of the celebratory occasion to call President Trump “a racist and sexist megalomaniac.” Contrast those cyber-insults with the vile face-to-face confrontations and threats that were endured by an instructor at Yale’s Child Study Center who offered the modest email opinion that the school shouldn’t be so paternalistic as to prescribe Halloween costumes for adult students. Both she and her husband were harassed and insulted by an on-campus mob. To make matters worse, the couple received no backing from colleagues or administrators and eventually resigned over this picayune questioning of PC orthodoxy,

    • ‘Political censorship’: United Nations removes submissions from int’l civil groups at China’s human rights review

      nternational civil groups have expressed concern after the United Nations removed their submissions from papers relating to China’s human rights review. In response, the UN said that it must respect the “sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity” of China.

      The United Nations Human Rights Council conducted its Universal Periodic Review on China on Tuesday. It welcomed constructive contributions from civil society on human rights issues to be submitted by March.

      However, international civil groups, including Hong Kong’s Demosisto, have said that they were dismayed after at least seven submissions were completely removed from the final document. The document is presented to UN member states so they may draft recommendations as part of China’s review.

    • Not Safe for Facebook: Censorship and the Modern Public Square

      Semi-nude paintings by Austrian artist Egon Schiele surprised recent riders of the New York subway, London Tube, and Cologne bus. The works were part of an ad campaign launched by the Vienna Tourism Board. Originally, they were supposed to stand on their own as advertisements for the Leopold Museum. City regulators protested this request to depict nudity in their public spaces, which prompted a change from the Board: the addition of a strategic banner reading, “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today.” Facebook also refused to run the original images. Justice Anthony Kennedy dubbed Facebook the modern public square, an arena where citizens around the world can share and access information, buy and sell goods, and gather to discuss current events. Unlike the physical town square, Facebook does not have roots in civic organization. A private corporation, Facebook has no obligations or accountability to the public, only to business imperatives and shareholders. And yet, it has many of the powers typically ascribed to a government, due to its prominence in everyday life and ability to decide who sees what and when. Returning to a time before Facebook and a handful of other tech companies have quasi-governmental authority is impossible. The only alternative is to challenge censorship of free expression on the platform itself by pointing out omissions and opening up a dialogue.

    • Facebook and Twitter intensify censorship in 2018 elections

      Stepping up its online censorship less than a day before polls opened for the 2018 mid-term elections, Facebook announced on Monday the shutdown of 115 social media accounts on its Facebook and Instagram platforms. Nathanial Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook wrote in a newsroom blog post that US law enforcement had “contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities.”

      The 30 Facebook and 85 Instagram accounts were blocked, according to Gleicher, because they “may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior” and some of the accounts “appear to be in the French or Russian languages.” Acknowledging the threadbare character of the assertions, Gleicher also wrote that Facebook had not even completed an investigation before shutting down the accounts. He added, “Once we know more—including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities—we will update this post.”
      Meanwhile, Reuters reported on November 2 that Twitter had deleted 10,000 “automated accounts” in September and October that “wrongly appeared to be from Democrats” and “discouraged people from voting” on election day. Admitting the political motivation behind the censorship, the report said that Twitter took that action “after the party flagged the misleading tweets to the social media company.”

    • Russian Trolls Were at It Again Before Midterms, Facebook Says
    • Facebook Says Russia’s Internet Research Agency Likely Behind Online Election Meddling, Removes Additional Accounts
    • A Russian troll farm set an elaborate social media trap for the midterms — and no one bit
    • Facebook takes down fake accounts over Russian troll farm concerns

      Facebook says it removed more than 100 accounts this week from the main service as well as its subsidiary Instagram over concerns they may be connected to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) — the same troll operation targeted by special counsel Robert Mueller in his sprawling Russia investigation.

    • Internet Freedom and China’s censorship influence
    • Report Warns of “China Model” of Net Control
    • Rainbow Six Siege gets review bombed after Chinese censorship announcement
    • Rainbow Six Siege review bombed amid China censorship backlash
    • ‘Rainbow Six Siege’ In Censorship Row As “Aesthetic Changes” Are Made To Fit Asian Regulations
    • Ubisoft Will Censor Rainbow Six Siege’s References To Sex And Gambling Prior To Chinese Release
    • Pahlaj Nihalani Moves Bombay HC Against Censor Board Cuts to ‘Rangeela Raja’
    • If censorship is wrong, isn’t Pahlaj Nihalani and Rangeela Raja wronged too?
    • Elastos back on track after the “unlocking funds” drama – 220k ELA carriers distributed in October. Censorship-free Internet is making a comeback
    • Ex-CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani, Known For His Love Of Censorship, Has Moved Bombay HC Over Cuts To His Film
    • SENSATIONAL: ‘Prasoon Joshi Doesn’t Do Any Work’, Blasts Predecessor Pahlaj Nihalani Going To Court Over CBFC’s 20 Cuts In His Film

      Pahlaj Nihalani has filed a plea at the Bombay High Court against the censor board for demanding 20 cuts in his upcoming film ‘Rangeela Raja’.

    • Once scissor-happy, Nihalani now has second thoughts on censorship
    • Rangeela Raja Vulgarity Controversy: Ex-Censor Chief Pahlaj Nihalani Declares War On His Successor Prasoon Joshi
    • Govinda on 20 cuts given to Rangeela Raja: My films being targetted for last nine years
    • New Zealand slaps warning on A Star is Born over two teens getting ‘severely triggered’
    • A Star Is Born: Hollywood blockbuster sparks NZ censorship concerns

      he Office of Film and Literature Classification added a suicide warning to the recently released film A Star Is Born, just days after its release, following reports of young viewers being deeply affected by the content.

      The film, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, is a remake of a Hollywood classic and has received positive reviews on the global stage.

      It was rated M in Australia making it automatically an M in New Zealand.

      However, Chief Censor David Shanks said it did bring into question whether cross rating regulations with Australia were fit for purpose.

      “There is definitely additional attention that needs to be paid in New Zealand with the vulnerable population we have, that could be affected by this content,” he said.

    • ‘A Star is Born’ Rating Changed in New Zealand After Claims That Teens Were ‘Triggered’ By Pivotal Scene

      According to a series of tweets from the country’s Office of Film & Lit Classification, “Thanks to public feedback we’ve updated the descriptive note for #AStarIsBorn to include a warning for suicide. The depiction is subtle but emotionally arresting.”

      The film is now classified as “M” for “sex scenes, offensive language, drug use & suicide.”

    • FCC warns of fears and self-censorship

      The Foreign Correspondents’ Club warned today that journalists working in Hong Kong face fear and self-censorship if the government fails to explains its decision to deny entry to the Asia editor of the Financial Times newspaper, RTHK reports.

      Victor Mallet was denied entry into Hong Kong yesterday when he arrived as a visitor. British citizens are usually given a visa-free stay of up to six months.

      The FCC said it’s “shocked and baffled” over the entry denial and it is demanding an immediate explanation for this “aggravated and disproportionate sanction that seems completely unfounded.”

      A statement from the FCC said the action by the Immigration Department has placed journalists working in the SAR in an opaque environment in which fear and self-censorship may replace the freedom and confidence essential to a free society, and guaranteed by the Basic Law.

    • Fake court papers trick Google into censorship

      Forged court orders have been used in an attempt to deceive Google into removing hundreds of links.

      A British businessman’s name appears to be among dozens of instances where the documents have been served on the search engine to try to force it to remove damaging information from search results.

      Last week two fake documents were sent to Google in an attempt to censor a Times article revealing concerns about an online pharmacy run by an alleged internet spammer. The documents, including an order which purported to be from the UK Supreme Court, were sent to the tech giant in an attempt to get the article removed from its search result.

      The “de-indexing” request was submitted in the name of Mason Soiza, 24, the owner…

    • National Coalition Against Censorship Celebrates Free Expression on Stage

      On November 5th, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) hosted its annual Free Speech Defender Awards at a benefit celebration in New York City, honoring Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theatre, and featuring a highly-anticipated performance from musical theater icons Joe Iconis and George Salazar of Be More Chill. The event was hosted by comedian Michael Ian Black.

      [...]

      In the summer of 2017, The Public’s production of Julius Caesar, featuring a Trump-like Caesar, drew ire from right-wing media, resulting in the withdrawal of two of the play’s largest corporate sponsors. NCAC honors Eustis for his dedication to artistic freedom, his fierce defense of the value of provocative art to democracy and his unwavering commitment to the free expression of his directors, playwrights, actors and entire the entire theatrical community.

    • Freedom’s just another word for everything left to lose

      In this age when information flows internationally, it’s not enough for your country’s press to be free; it has to be free around the world.

      Two stats for you, one to make you happy, one to make you scared. Of the 180 countries ranked by the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, South Africa is number 28. Yay for us. Despite the gross attempts at Media Capture™ by the Guptas and their 24-hour Comedy News Channel, and by Mandela’s Dr Survè and his laughingly named Independent Media (at least the guy has a sense of humour), and despite our government’s corrupt channelling of millions in state advertising away from legitimate newspapers and into the Zuptas’ bank accounts, we still have a press that’s ranked as more free than countries like the US (45), the UK (40), and Uganda (117).

    • Twitter Censorship Strikes Again

      It is known that Twitter likes to censorship content. They have the power to ban and shut down the accounts of regular people, and even the ability to ban world leaders and their posts. It looks like Silicon Valley can decide what we are permitted to see on the modern web. Recently they shut down the account of a vocal Trump supporter who happens to be a black woman.

      [...]

      Obviously, this young black conservative Trump supporter doesn’t fit into the far-left vision that Twitter has. It looks like Twitter and its fellow Silicon Valley cronies are using their powerful platform to silence the voice from the right.

      President Trump is figuring out how to avoid social media platforms and this kind of liberal manipulations, and reach his supporters directly.

    • Activists Use Crypto to Protect ‘Rap Against Dictatorship’ from Government Censorship

      Anti-government activists in Thailand are using crypto tech to help prevent authorities from censoring “Rap Against Dictatorship,” a controversial music video that has gone viral in the country. The video, which excoriates Thai government and military authorities on a number of social issues, has achieved runaway success in Thailand, amassing more than 28 million views on YouTube since it was released on October 22.

    • Second EN Thompson lecture discusses free speech over censorship
    • Tajikistan: Internet censorship surges amid unrest and tax break report

      Security-related incidents and reporting on alleged tax breaks for businesspeople within Tajikistan’s ruling family appear to have triggered a fresh wave of internet censorship.

      Some websites, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, have been only sporadically inaccessible for months, even years. Total blocks on other websites, such independent newspaper Asia-Plus, are more recent.

      The worst situation of all is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, or GBAO, which was cut off from the internet altogether as of November 9. The Pamiri region is currently the focus of an intense security sweep and has seen at least one show of mass discontent by local residents.

    • Thai Rappers Adds Song on Zcoin’s Blockchain to Fight Censorship

      A rap song titled Prathet Ku Mee (Which is My Country), centered on government oppression in Thailand has garnered over 25 million views on YouTube. The viral song, which is topping Thailand’s iTunes download list as at October 27, 2018, was released by Thai rappers who dropped fiery rhymes about government corruptions, censorships, military dictatorship and much more.

      Thailand has been under the rule of a military government since 2014. The generals who toppled the elected government have kept a tight lid on dissent, going as far as telling the Thai population that the song violates the law, warning citizens not to watch or share it.

      Filmed in an old-fashioned black and white, the lyrics of the video seems to target junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

    • White Rabbit Red Rabbit denounces censorship

      “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” — an experimental play without a set, director or any rehearsals — will open to the public this weekend at Wild Goose Creative.
      Each night, the play will be performed by a different actor — Adam Humphrey, Acacia Duncan and Brian Evans— from the Columbus-based theater company Available Light. Written in 2010, the play has been performed in more than 20 languages by several famous actors and celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Short during its premiere in New York City.
      Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, having refused mandatory military service, was not permitted to leave his country. In response, he wrote “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” as a means to express himself through borders.
      “This is a play about censorship, about one’s voice and about whose voice you obey,” said Eleni Papaleonardos, artistic director at Available Light Theatre and visiting assistant professor of Theatre at Denison University.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The DEA and ICE are hiding surveillance cameras in streetlights

      The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights around the country, federal contracting documents reveal.

      According to government procurement data, the DEA has paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC roughly $22,000 since June 2018 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments over the same period of time.

    • ICE and the DEA have secretly hidden cameras in some streetlights

      Government procurement data reveals that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency have each spent tens of thousands of dollars on products from Houston’s Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC, which specializes in fake streetlight housings designed to conceal surveillance cameras.

      Since June, the DEA has spent $22,000 with Cowboy; ICE’s total is about $28K. Neither the government agencies nor Cowboy Streetlight Concealments will reveal where or how the hidden camera housings were used.

    • Researchers claim to have permanently neutralized ad-blocking’s most promising weapons

      Last year, Princeton researchers revealed a powerful new ad-blocking technique: perceptual ad-blocking uses a machine-learning model trained on images of pages with the ads identified to make predictions about which page elements are ads to block and which parts are not.

      However, a new paper from a group of Stanford and CISPA Helmholtz Center researchers reveals a powerful machine learning countermeasure that, they say, will permanently tilt the advantage toward advertisers and away from ad-blockers.

    • Amazon must give up Echo recordings in double murder case, judge rules

      According to local media accounts, Strafford County Superior Court Presiding Justice Steven M. Houran compelled Amazon to disclose not only the audio files but any associated data—such as what phones were paired to the smart speaker—that may be connected to the January 2017 murder of Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Police ‘hamstrung’ over facial recognition tech, says Met chief

      She was reported as saying she was keen to press ahead with greater use of facial recognition. “I am very keen that the law keeps up with the technology and I don’t feel that we are working in a tremendously enabling environment at the moment,” Dick said.

    • Experts oppose gov’t proposal to restrict right to assembly

      “Even that would obviously restrict the right to assembly. And saying that police are too busy to respond in six hours is not a justification for this bill proposal,” Lavapuro said.

    • Reflections on the role of philanthropy in the world of work

      The fifth strategy listed by the Ford Foundation – amplifying the voice and influence of young and old workers, migrant workers, and returnee migrants – is vital. Conventionally this was done by promoting freedom of association and collective bargaining, and trusting that trade unions would transmit the workers’ voices. However, experience has shown that this is not enough: many workers go unrepresented and the trade union structures at the international level are sometimes part of the top-down problem.

    • As California Burns, Undocumented People Face Gap in Recovery Aid

      California is on fire.

      As this piece is being written, the Camp Fire is racing across northern California at a rate of about eighty football fields per minute. To the south in Ventura County, the Hill Fire has already scorched 30,000 acres in a single day. Although I am sitting safely in my home hundreds of miles away from either blaze, I can actually smell the smoke. The air is hazy and the sun has taken on an eerie reddish hue. It’s November. It hasn’t rained in months. And it’s not forecasted to anytime soon.

      Earlier this summer, the largest wildfire in the state’s history — the Mendocino Complex Fire — burned so intensely that it generated its own weather patterns, creating ‘fire whirls’ that uprooted trees and ripped roofs off of homes. Stretching out over almost 500 square miles, the Mendocino Complex fire burned through an area roughly the size of the city of Los Angeles, and it was just one of more than a dozen infernos active in the state at the time.

      Wildfire has always been a normal feature of California’s ecosystems. Periodic blazes serve to clean up dead litter on the forest floor and play an important role in the reproduction of certain plants. What is not normal are the climate change-fueled extreme weather conditions that have led to larger and more frequent fires. The period between fall of 2011 and fall of 2015 was the driest in California’s history, with 62 million trees dying in 2016 alone, largely due to drought. According to science writer Gary Ferguson, these prolonged droughts, coupled with broken heat records, have led to forests filled with trees as flammable as the kiln-dried timber found in lumber yards.

    • Insult to Injury: US Citizen Children of Migrants Already Suffer Under Immigration Law, Even Without an Executive Birthright Order

      One of President Trump’s stated reasons for the proposed elimination of birthright citizenship is: “a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits.” Among the many problems with this statement is its disregard for the difficulties that current immigration law imposes on the US citizen children of migrants. One of the most wrenching examples plays itself out when migrants seek permanent resident status through applications for “cancellation of removal” under section 240(A)(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

      This provision established a type of relief sought by certain migrants who are in removal proceedings before an immigration court.o

    • In remembrance of Kristallnacht

      Eighty years ago, on 9 November 1938, an order was given by Nazi German authorities to terrorize and arrest German Jewish citizens, resulting in tens of thousands of people being sent to concentration camps. Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, marked a violent escalation against Jewish people. This escalation of violence was a continuation of antisemitic policies instituted in 1933, but was also part of a long history of discrimination against Jewish people.

      In the October issue of The American Historical Review, the most prominent professional history journal in the United States, historians have taken on the task of understanding “the vexed history of anti-Semitism.”[1] In a “roundtable discussion”, historians debate the origins of the term itself, which only appeared in the late nineteenth century. They discuss alternative terminologies, such as Judeophobia, which Jewish historian Jonathan Judaken “defends as an overarching category for the field’”[2] In his writing, Judaken pushes us to understand and differentiate ancient Judeophobia and medieval anti-Judaism, Nazi anti-Semitism and contemporary anti-Zionism. Judaken prompts us to understand both continuities and changes. Searching to understand the origin of the word “anti-Semitism”, historian David Feldman locates its usage in the 1870s – after political and civil equality for Jews is achieved in Germany in 1871.[3]

      As Feldman points out, the prominent British-Jewish journalist, editor and activist Lucien Wolf wrote of antisemitism in an entry commissioned for the Encyclopedia Britannica’s eleventh edition, which came out in 1910. In that entry, Wolf writes, “In the political struggles of the concluding quarter of the nineteenth century an important part was played by a religious, political and social agitation against the Jews, known as ‘Anti-Semitism’. The origins of the remarkable movement already threaten to become obscured by legend. The Jews contend that anti-Semitism is a mere atavistic revival of the Jew-hatred of the middle ages”.[4] In this way, Wolf describes antisemitism as being felt as part of a continual form of oppression by Jews.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • HTTP/3

      The protocol that’s been called HTTP-over-QUIC for quite some time has now changed name and will officially become HTTP/3. This was triggered by this original suggestion by Mark Nottingham.

      The QUIC Working Group in the IETF works on creating the QUIC transport protocol. QUIC is a TCP replacement done over UDP. Originally, QUIC was started as an effort by Google and then more of a “HTTP/2-encrypted-over-UDP” protocol.

      When the work took off in the IETF to standardize the protocol, it was split up in two layers: the transport and the HTTP parts. The idea being that this transport protocol can be used to transfer other data too and its not just done explicitly for HTTP or HTTP-like protocols. But the name was still QUIC.

      People in the community has referred to these different versions of the protocol using informal names such as iQUIC and gQUIC to separate the QUIC protocols from IETF and Google (since they differed quite a lot in the details). The protocol that sends HTTP over “iQUIC” was called “hq” (HTTP-over-QUIC) for a long time.

  • DRM
    • Bad News For Denuvo, Hitman 2 Gets Cracked Before Official Release

      DRM companies have been in constant battle with scene groups for quite some time. We have seen multitudes of DRM software over the years with varying degrees of success. There hasn’t been any software that has stopped scene groups from cracking a game.

      Yet Denuvo has been the most successful DRM software till date. The software doesn’t protect a game indefinitely, but it does manage to delay the cracks and protect the initial launch window. This approach has been highly successful and Denuvo has seen its popularity soar, being present in most AAA titles now.

      [...]

      A lot of games using Denuvo’s new 5.2 version were also cracked recently. Just Cause 4 will also be protected by Denuvo, so there’s some possibility scene groups bring out cracks in a few days of release.

      This isn’t really bad news for Game Developers, but it might be for Denuvo. If cracks start appearing within a few days after launch, companies might start looking for other providers, or use their in-house protection software.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • More than a dozen public interest statements filed in investigation of Qualcomm’s first ITC complaint against Apple

      In late September, the ITC’s meanwhile-retired Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Thomas B. Pender recommended that the U.S. trade agency refrain from banning Intel-powered iPhones he deemed to infringe a Qualcomm patent, given Qualcomm’s overtly anticompetitive litigation tactics of targeting only Intel-powered iPhones. In late October, a heavily-redacted version of his findings became available. On Halloween, the parties filed their public interest statements.

      The parties, government agencies, and the general public have multiple opportunities to submit public interest statements to the ITC. I’ve created a three-page diagram that shows at which procedural milestones the ITC requests and/or invites such statements.

      On Thursday (November 8), the latest round of statements by the general public was due. A total of thirteen statements were filed that day. Here are some observations:

      Intel’s statement is particularly relevant. Its testimony on what would happen if Qualcomm could successfully exclude Intel-powered iPhones from the U.S. market is at the heart of ALJ Pender’s factual findings relating ot the public interest.

    • Recent Critiques of Post-Sale Confusion: Is Materiality the Answer?

      Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman are well known as the authors of the book, The Knock-Off Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation (2012). In their new article, Rethinking Post-Sale Confusion, Raustiala and Sprigman level a critique at “post-sale confusion” theory that supports many of their book’s conclusions about the virtues of so-called knock-offs. In post-sale confusion cases, courts find infringement even when it is abundantly clear that consumers of obvious knock-offs are not confused at the time of purchase.

      Raustiala and Sprigman’s critique of post-sale confusion theory adds to similarly critical scholarship by others such as Jeremy Sheff and Mark McKenna, whose articles Veblen Brands and A Consumer Decision-Making Theory of Trademark Law, respectively, provide the backbone for much of the discussion in this post. Professor Sheff also has a forthcoming book chapter in the Cambridge Handbook on Comparative and International Trademark Law, where he places American post-sale confusion doctrine in perspective by comparing it to the European approach.

      This post attempts to synthesize this scholarship, though cannot hope to serve as a replacement for the much more comprehensive and eloquent original work by these experts. The post also draws attention to a growing refrain by trademark scholars such as Rebecca Tushnet, Mark McKenna, and Mark Lemley: that a possible response to trademark courts’ embrace of alternative theories of confusion is to institute a materiality requirement, like courts use for false advertising claims.

    • Copyrights
      • Researchers Report Elsevier to EU Anti-Competition Authority

        Academic publisher Elsevier has repeatedly made the news for its battle with Sci-Hub, the “Pirate Bay” of science. However, while Elsevier is using copyrights to protect its business, academic-insiders accuse the publisher of “anti-competitive” actions.

      • MPAA Considers a ‘Makeover’ As It Faces Shrinking Budget

        Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox has been one of the major entertainment industry stories this year. Indirectly, it also impacts Hollywood’s industry group the MPAA, which loses one of its six members. This prompted insiders to rethink the organization’s future and reportedly, streaming giants such as Netflix are being considered as future members.

      • Spotify to Musicians: Let Us Be Your Label

        Of course, the direct upload plan isn’t altruistic. Spotify, which is on track to lose more than $170 million this year, pays out more than 70 percent of its monthly sales to rights holders. The direct upload system ups Spotify’s take even as it delivers 50 percent to the artists, who’d typically get more like 15 percent to 20 percent under the old system.

Automation of Searches Will Not Solve the Legitimacy Problem Caused by Patents Lust

Sunday 11th of November 2018 11:11:53 PM

Related: Michael Frakes and Melissa Wasserman Complain About Low Patent Quality While Watchtroll Lobbies to Lower It Further

Summary: The false belief that better searches and so-called ‘AI’ can miraculously assess patents will simply drive/motivate bad decisions and already steers bad management towards patent maximalism (presumption of examination/validation where none actually exists)

THE emergence of SCOTUS‘s decision on Alice and today’s 35 U.S.C. § 101 was quite revolutionary. We have no issue with USPTO-granted patents on physical things (an example from several hours ago can be seen here) but on algorithms — something which the European Patent Office (EPO) too has been guilty of lately.

“Examiners need to better understand and respect patent scope, irrespective of what was done in the past (prior art).”Recently there were those who framed prior art [1, 2] — not patent scope — as a core issue. Not even Watchtroll was happy about it (labeling it “An Overstated Solution to Patent Examination”). Examiners need to better understand and respect patent scope, irrespective of what was done in the past (prior art). Compare this to prior Watchtroll rants/coverage about prior art (like this from 2 days earlier).

We don’t mean to say that prior art never matters; alluding to this failing company (GoPro), for instance, Patently-O recently highlighted this case where prior art eliminated wrongly- and already-granted US patents, thanks to PTAB’s availability/existence. To quote:

On appeal, the Federal Circuit disagreed with the PTAB’s conclusions — holding that the Board too narrowly “focused on only one of several factors that are relevant to determining public accessibility in the context of materials distributed at conferences or meetings. . . . [O]ur case law directs us to also consider the nature of the conference or meeting; whether there are restrictions on public disclosure of the information; expectations of confidentiality; and expectations of sharing the information.”

After reviewing the matter Federal Circuit rejected the PTAB analysis and found that the catalog’s use at the show counted as prior art.

“My win in the GoPro v. Contour IP case is the subject of Dennis Crouch’s Patently-O post,” Professor Lemley wrote in Twitter (about the above). It is worth noting that Watchtroll is proudly promoting Iancu’s war on PTAB. Like Battistelli, Iancu hopes that the patent legitimacy problem will go away by marginalising the auditor.

“Search has always involved a degree of so-called ‘AI’ without it being exploited as a buzzword; this is becoming ridiculous.”Speaking of prior art, there’s no way to automate search for it as well as assessment. Domain experts are needed, hence the role of examiners. Days ago we saw the report “North Side company secures $250K to help develop AI-powered patent search tool”; They said “AI”, so someone gave them money for something that would work poorly (if at all). IPPro Patents coverage of Dennemeyer buying Octimine also used the term “AI” in the headline. Search has always involved a degree of so-called ‘AI’ without it being exploited as a buzzword; this is becoming ridiculous. To quote:

The Dennemeyer Group has acquired patent search service provider Octimine Technologies, a start-up based in Munich, Germany.

Octimine, which was founded in 2015 founded by former LMU Munich and Max Planck Institute scientists Michael Natterer, Matthias Pötzl and Dietmar Harhoff, provides patent-searching and analysis tools utilising artificial intelligence (AI).

Judging by the everyday nonsense we see as early as this morning, there’s “AI” nonsense everywhere. The latest fashion/trend? Marketing? António Campinos uses it all the time to promote software patents in Europe.

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