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03.31.14

Health and Environment News: Nature Still Not a Priority

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Health and Nutrition

  • Dutch surgeons have successfully placed an entire 3D-printed skull dome over the brain of a 22-year-old woman suffering from a rare bone disorder. Doctors say this surgery is unprecedented.

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled 全民彩票官网下载opathic remedies made by a company called Terra-Medica because they may contain actual medicine — possibly penicillin or derivatives of the antibiotic.

  • In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

  • A barge moving through Galveston Bay collided with another ship Saturday afternoon, spilling over 168,000 gallons of marine fuel oil. The spill is particularly devastating, even though it isn’t the largest in recent memory, because Galveston Bay is a migratory bird habitat and shorebird season is fast approaching. On top of that, the type of fuel that spilled is particularly difficult to clean up. The ship was being towed when it collided with the other vessel, though there are no details at this point on how the collision occurred.

  • Seafood is an integral part of American cuisine. However, the ocean pays a steep price for every plate of tuna sashimi and every serving of grilled salmon that Americans consume.

  • Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millennium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons who refuse to vaccinate their children.

  • It isn’t an epidemic and it won’t shut down corn production anytime soon. However, researchers have confirmed that western corn rootworms have developed resistance to Bt corn hybrids that express the Cry3Bba trait in some areas of Nebraska.

  • Open-source software is now everywhere. For example, Android, Google’s open-source operating system, now accounts for 80% of the smartphone and tablet market. Our next guest dreams of the same kind of explosive success by applying the open-source model to one of humanity’s oldest technological achievements: agriculture. Jack Kloppenburg, a professor of community and environmental sociology at the University of Wisconsin, co-founded the Open Source Seed Initiative to help protect the public domain of seeds. He joined the Buzz on Monday, March 30th to tell us more about the project.

  • He is group director at the Sainsbury Laboratory, and is also the founder of and adviser to biotech company Mendel Biotechnology, which counts Monsanto – a GM giant – as a major client. Mendel has been granted more than 20 biotechnology and GM patents.

  • CropLife America (CLA) and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) called for a more harmonized risk assessment framework for pesticide regulations during the fourth round of negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The comments follow the submission of a joint proposal on U.S. – EU regulatory cooperation that CLA and ECPA sent to Assistant United States Trade Representative Daniel Mullaney and Director of DG Trade for the European Commission Ignacio Garcia Bercero on March 7, 2014.

  • A U.S. politician’s I-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-facts approach to health policy ran smack into some of those troublesome facts Tuesday at a Senate hearing on single-payer healthcare, as it’s practiced in Canada and several other countries.

  • The European Commission’s proposal for plant reproductive material law, also known as the “seed regulation”, was voted down by Parliament on Tuesday, amid concerns that it would give the Commission too much power and leave EU countries without any leeway to tailor the new rules to their needs. Following the Commission’s refusal to withdraw its draft text and table an improved one, Parliament closed the first reading.

  • European regulations restricting the growth of genetically modified (GM) foods in the UK and across the continent are to be scrutinised in a new cross-party parliamentary inquiry launched today by MPs on the Science and Technology Committee.

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) believes that GM is one of several technologies necessary to foster a “vibrant sector” in UK agriculture. But the European Union’s application of the ‘precautionary principle’ has been criticized for holding back development of the technology, despite European Commission reports finding no scientific evidence associating GM organisms with higher risks for the environment or food and feed safety.

  • Volunteers who handled receipts containing the hormone-altering compound bisphenol A for two hours showed elevated BPA levels in their urine. Dina Fine Maron reports

  • The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

    Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with “hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.

  • Sweden’s government is considering suing the European Commission for stalling on criteria which are required to stop hormone-affecting substances, says the minister for the environment, Lena Ek.

    In December, the Commission was supposed to publish the necessary criteria for banning different endocrine-disrupting substances found in anti-bacterial agents for shoes and clothes.

    However, Commissioner for the Environment Janez Poto?nik has delayed the clearance. According to Ek, Poto?nik has told the Swedish government that the Commission wants to make an impact analysis first.

  • Chinese scientists have warned that the country全民彩票网址’s toxic air pollution is now so bad that it resembles a nuclear winter, slowing photosynthesis in plants – and potentially wreaking havoc on the country全民彩票网址’s food supply.

    Beijing and broad swaths of six northern provinces have spent the past week blanketed in a dense pea-soup smog that is not expected to abate until Thursday. Beijing’s concentration of PM 2.5 particles – those small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – hit 505 micrograms per cubic metre on Tuesday night. The World Health Organisation recommends a safe level of 25.

  • UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

  • Right now an important case is being heard halfway around the world in Western Australia about organic farmer Steve Marsh, whose organic field was contaminated by his neighbor’s genetically engineered canola. As a result, Steve lost his organic certification and as much as 70% of his Steve’s farm has been contaminated with Monsanto’s patented genes.

Warming

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. “As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” it said as it began one of those sentences that you know will build to a “but”. “But human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes.”

    In other words, the most distinguished scientists from the country全民彩票网址 with the world’s pre-eminent educational institutions were trying to shake humanity out of its complacency. Why weren’t their warnings leading the news?

    In one sense, the association’s appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march. A survey of 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in the last 20 years found that 97% said that humans were causing it.

  • Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is involved in a legal battle over fracking. The weird part is, he’s on the side that’s against it.

  • Singapore suffers its longest dry spell on record, while Malaysian cabinet mulls whether to declare a national emergency

  • The Koch brothers and their wealthy allies pledged to spend $400 million on the 2012 elections — and it looks like they did it.

  • It’s a method of argument perfected by disgruntled men in the corner of pubs

Nuclear Energy

  • When most of us think of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster we think about leaks of contaminated water, criminal gangs hiring ill-trained workers to work on cleaning up radioactive materials on the site, ice-dams to stop water flowing, or government announcements that never improve anything.
    What we often don’t think about are the victims. More than 150,000 people were made victims by this disaster, most are still victims. But these days there is little coverage of their daily lives and the problems they continue to face.

  • The bottom line here is that TEPCO has just acknowledged that at least 50-tons of rubble has fallen on top of and into the spent fuel pool in Unit 3. What does this 50-ton pile of debris mean to the Unit 3 spent fuel pool and its cleanup?

  • Introduction: “In response to growing concern around cancer risk to children, in particular young girls, in and around the Fukushima Prefecture, we’re reissuing a film we made last year. [...] 1 in every 100 young girls will devlop cancer for every year they are exposed to Fukushima’s radiation”

  • Tens of thousands have marched in anti-nuclear protests across Taiwan, calling on the government to phase out nuclear energy. The protest comes ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukishima disaster.

  • A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago.

Pollution

  • It is a sobering fact that the chip fabrication industry which is so vital to our modern society is also the cause of a lot of pollution. This unglamorous topic doesn’t get much media attention. No one wants to be reminded that the hi-tech world of computers isn’t possible without the use of a lot of caustic chemicals.

  • The dredging and dumping of 3m tonnes of spoil in Great Barrier Reef marine park waters posed an “unacceptable social and environmental risk”, the authority in charge of the world heritage area wrote in draft assessments just months before it approved the permit to carry out the disposal.

  • Across America, the impacts of climate change are already being felt as temperatures rise, droughts are prolonged, and weather becomes increasingly severe and unpredictable. But solutions seem few and far between — and solutions that both sides can agree on even fewer. Outraged Republicans and recalcitrant conservative Democrats cut down the cap-and-trade bill in 2009; and President Obama’s promised regulations are probably destined for years of give-and-take between the Environmental Protection Agency, the courts, and the power industry. The result: America remains one of the few advanced nations with no national policy of any sort to curb its carbon dioxide emissions.

  • The negotiations were long and painful, but in the end a deal was done. EU member states finally agreed to back reforms that will mean large listed companies are required to report on their environmental and social impacts.

  • America has grown a vast and complex regulatory and financial support system for cheap, dirty energy. This isn’t over

Misc.

  • David Cameron is peddling bullshit of the premium Aberdeen Angus kind today. At today’s oil prices, recoverable North Sea oil is worth a minimum of 1.2 trillion and a maximum of 2.4 trillion dollars. Cameron is claiming that potential will not be released without government subsidy of 24 billion dollars, and that only the UK government’s “broad shoulders” can raise this.

  • It was 2am when a fireball pierced the inky night sky above a small community in the Niger delta. The explosion near Port Harcourt last June killed several people and released 6,000 barrels of crude oil. The cause: contractors hired by Royal Dutch Shell to stop pirates siphoning oil from a huge pipeline were themselves stealing fuel, and something went terribly wrong. The blast led to the shutdown… Shell, the largest foreign operator in the country全民彩票网址, was responsible for more than 20,00 barrels of last year’s spills.

Financial News: Bitcoin and Financial Issues Around the World

Posted in News Roundup at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bitcoin

UK

  • Most of its workers cannot afford to live with dignity; they earn no more than £5 a day in an industry worth more than £28bn across Europe, the report points out.

Ukraine

  • “The IMF realises that these reforms may cause considerable hardship for millions of Ukrainians, in a country全民彩票网址 where the average GDP per capita is $3,867.”

EU

  • Three quarters of Europeans think corruption is a “major or widespread” problem in their political institutions, according to research published Tuesday (25 March).

North America

  • By the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had become a has-been power whose glory days as the world’s superpower were well behind them.

    They had been supplanted the French, the British, and the Russian empires in all matters of economic, military, and diplomatic strength. Much of this was due to the Ottoman Empire’s massive debt burden.

    In 1868, the Ottoman government spent 17% of its entire tax revenue just to pay interest on the debt.

  • The Rwandan/Ugandan invasion has opened up the DRC’s wealth to unlimited plunder by Western mining companies…

  • Earlier this month, a bank teller accidentally deposited $31,000 into a teenager’s bank account. The teen did the sensible thing and immediately started buying shit, spending more than $25,000 in just ten days.

Censorship News: Russia Mocks 全民彩票官网下载-driven Blocking, China全民彩票网址 Can’t Block Like Google and Microsoft Block

Posted in News Roundup at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • It was supposed to be the world’s toughest anti-piracy regime but Russia’s site blocking legislation just isn’t working. That’s not just the opinion of irate movie and music companies either, but comments from Vladimir Putin himself.

  • The new laws will finally give us the right to parody and legalise personal copying of our digital media. We’re also seeing important changes allowing non-commercial research to carry out text and data mining.

  • The UK’s out-of-date copyright law came closer to being fit for purpose yesterday, when the Government published regulations for copyright exceptions. They include exceptions for parody, personal copying, text mining, research and education. If the Regulations are approved by the House of Commons and House of Lords, they will become law on June 1, 2014.

  • A US court dismissed a lawsuit against a Chinese internet giant Baidu, which the plaintiff argued blocks material critical of China全民彩票网址’s democratic credentials, a decision that could have far-reaching impact on how US search engines sift information.

    The lawsuit was brought forward by a group of New York content editors who alleged that Baidu’s search engine was programmed to filter out material in the United States that touches upon the Chinese government’s harsh censorship laws, calling this a violation of the US Constitution.

  • If your answer is no, you’re not alone. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, 60% of Americans have little to no trust of the mass media in terms of accuracy and fairness in reporting. The U.K. also has a similar problem when it comes to trust of the media. When looking at the world, a great number of countries are dissatisfied with their local media or media in some way.

全民彩票官网下载 and Monopoly News

Posted in News Roundup at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

全民彩票官网下载s

  • The practice of issuing copyright infringement notices for the purpose of obtaining cash settlements is now commonly referred to as “copyright trolling.” It’s a practice that started in Germany, before moving to the UK and US, and now it’s facing a resurgence in Europe, this time in Finland.

  • A form of poetry in India called Vachana sahitya is part of the popular Indian language, Kannada. It evolved in the 11th century and flourished in the 12th as part of the religious Lingayatha movement. Since that time, more than 259 Vachana writers, called Vachanakaru, have compiled over 11,000 Vachanas (verses).

    [...]

    At present, our repository, Vachana Sanchaya, has around 200,000 unique words that were derived from these poems. The public has been using our repository and accessing Vahanas (poems) from our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles. There are thousands of people now who read a Vahana as part of their daily routine. Vachana Sanchaya is not just meant for reading the poems, it is also meant for research. So, we have added a way for researchers to help us review the content and will be adding references from various research papers.

  • Draft regulations have been published in Britain that will finally end the anomaly where quotation, parody, caricature and pastiche are considered breaches of copyright. If approved by Parliament, they will come into force on June 1st, finally closing the loophole in copyright law that allowed copyright owners to chill criticism and stifle research in cases that are otherwise reasonable.

  • The UK Government has published a guide informing consumers about an upcoming revision of copyright law which will legalize CD and DVD copying for personal use. The changes go into effect in June, and will also broaden other forms of fair use, including parody and quotation rights.

  • Michael Robertson, an entrepreneur who has been waging legal feuds against the music industry for more than a decade now, has been ordered to pay $41 million to a record label that sued him.

  • The second oldest Pirate Bay torrent that’s still actively seeded is an “Italian Teens 全民彩票官网下载 Video.” This file was uploaded on March 30, 2004 and currently has three seeders. The third place goes to a pirated copy of “Revolution OS”, a documentary covering the history of Linux, GNU and the free software movement.

  • Creative Commons licenses have been hugely successful in allowing people to share their creations in ways otherwise impossible using traditional copyright monopolies. But one problem remains unresolved: what exactly does the “non-commercial” license allow you to do? This lack of clarity has led various people to advocate avoiding the use of CC-NC. Back in 2012, Techdirt reported on a call to drop completely both the non-commercial and the no-derivatives licenses. In the same year, a group of German copyright experts released in collaboration with Wikimedia a document entitled “Consequences, Risks, and side-effects of the license module Non-Commercial — NC”, which was made available in an English translation the following year (PDF).

Trademarks

‘Trade’

  • Recent developments by the Obama administration seem bent on making it more difficult to purchase top rated drugs in developing countries. The move follows patent rulings around the globe that may place U.S. drug companies at a disadvantage in the industry; a matter which is not taken lightly by the U.S. of course. India has made the news for ordering drug companies to give up their patent rights, all in an effort to help lower the spiraling costs of drugs. Canada, likewise, became something of a villain when several court rulings dismantled the patents of popular drug companies in favor of the country全民彩票网址’s generic industry. The threat has been detected, and there is an urge to act, but it’s not that simple.

  • The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has drawn heavy criticism. Over 500 labor, environmental and farm groups oppose granting the White House “fast track” authority to speed the pact through Congress. The deal, still being negotiated in secret, has spawned protests around the world. Even some Democrats are pushing back against the White House.

  • In 2009, four years before the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a widely-debated trade deal, few would have noticed a new issue popping up in a handful of lobbying reports. That year, 28 organizations filed 59 lobbying reports mentioning the then far-off trade agreement. Almost half of those organizations were pharmaceutical companies or associations.

Free Software/Open Source Software News

Posted in News Roundup at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nuxeo

Xen

Army

  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has initiated a program to develop approaches for fixing software flaws by using big data analytics principles, GCN reported Monday.

    DARPA intends for the Mining and Understanding Software Enclaves program to boost the reliability of building, verifying and maintaining software systems, according to the report.

Security

  • GlobalSign has offered to give a free wildcard SSL certificate for qualified open source projects, as a way of supporting open source and as a way to encourage adoption of industry best practices.

    The project must have an OSI-approved license, be actively maintained, be non-commercial, and pass some simple requirements, all of which are desirable conditions.

Tor

  • Almost three months after being alerted to its presence, Apple has taken down from the App Store an allegedly fake Tor Browser containing adware and spyware.

  • It’s notable that according to recent statistics available through Tor Metrics Portal there has been a large 1increase in the number of Tor clients used and more than a million users are now connecting to the network. Tor, from the Tor Project, is one of the most powerful and flexible open source solutions for online anonymity, and it’s clearly gaining popularity.

Blender

  • Blender is perhaps open source’s biggest poster child for years now. And in every year or two, Blender foundation showcases the product’s 3D graphics capabilities by releasing animated movies created exclusively using Blender software. They are called “open movies” and you’re free to download and reuse the movies the way you want, standing true to its open source credentials. We have featured each and every Blender “open” movie ever released here and here. Now its time for the fifth one codenamed “Gooseberry”, and unlike its predecessors, the project’s goal would be to produce a feature length animated film.

  • Out today is another big update to the open-source Blender 3D animation software.

  • New features include initial support for volumetrics in Cycles, and faster rendering of hair and textures. The motion tracker now supports weighted tracks and has improved planar tracking. For mesh modeling there are new Laplacian deform and wireframe modifiers, along with more control in the bevel tool. The game engine now supports object levels of detail.

Sony

  • Sony is making it Authoring Tools Framework product available to programmers for free under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

    The Authoring Tools Framework (ATF) will be free to download and use.

    Industry commentators have suggested that this may now create an incentive for independent third-party developers to start developing games (or indeed porting existing games) to the PlayStation.

Misc.

  • The main question behind open source software is: Why would developers want to create software or contribute to another piece of software for free? For a lot of developers the answer is easy. They rely on some piece of open source software for their business so they have an active interest in supporting the community around that software.

  • If you enjoy making music you might be interested in a new open source midi keyboard kit called the Kyub which offers users a feather touch three-dimensional midi keyboard which is supplied as a kit.

  • Jacie Buckner and Alexis Wills are teenagers. Both grew up in the same Appalachian region of North Carolina. Jacie describes herself as quiet. Alexis says she is a rebel. They met in middle 全民彩票官网登录, when they ran into each other in the lunchroom. ” I looked at Jacie and thought ‘oh my goodness, she’s going to hate me!’”Alexis says.

  • Tajo, a big data open source project predominantly developed by domestic developers, has gotten recognition from developers around the world.

    The open source project Tajo, an on-going project led by domestic big data company Gruter, was chosen as a “top level” project on March 23 by the Apache Foundation, the world’s biggest open source organization. Tajo made its introduction in the Apache Foundation in March, last year.

  • The announcement at the turn of the year that a bunch of seventies and early eighties videogames were being released to play for free in a web browser was met with something of a sneer in some quarters. If you missed it, this is the latest work from the Internet Archive, which kicked off its latest project, The Console Living Room, with games for five different 全民彩票网址. Two of them were Ataris, while titles from the ColecoVision, the Magnavox Odyssey and The Astrocade were also featured. All you now have to do if you want to play one of the available games is to head to Console Living Room, click on your machine of choice, and pick a game – but don’t blame me if you overrun your lunch hour.

  • Irish 21-year-old who founded CoderDojos after-全民彩票官网登录 clubs tells of huge impact on young worldwide

  • There’s an ongoing conversation about the shifting role of developers and what that means for IT departments. They’re now shaping product and user experience with such great influence that businesses must understand their importance in order to be as successful as possible.

  • Which open source software should you consider for your business? Here, Steve Nice from Reconnix reviews three of the leading providers.

IRC Proceedings: February 9th, 2014 – March 29th, 2014

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: February 9th – February 15th, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 16th – February 22nd, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 23th – March 1st, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 2nd – March 8th, 2014

GNOME Gedit

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 9th – March 15th, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 16th – March 22nd, 2014

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#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

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IRC Proceedings: March 23rd – March 29th

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Enter the IRC channels now

03.30.14

Links: Civil Rights Abuses, Secrecy, Surveillance and Assassination Without Oversight

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Civil Rights

  • New rules that stop UK prisoners receiving parcels have led to a political row over prisoners’ access to books being restricted. Justice secretary Chris Grayling sees books as a privilege that must be earned through prisoner cooperation rather than as a basic right for everyone. While prisoners will still have access to prison libraries, the new rule clearly greatly reduces prisoners’ access to the wide range of reading opportunities that they might like. Whether prisoners are reading for pleasure or education (or both), easy access to a wide range of books should be non-negotiable in a decent society, even for the most notorious or uncooperative prisoners. People are more than just flesh and blood; we need to feed our minds as well as our bodies.

  • The state continues to deny people of color the ability to self-govern.

  • A hearing in federal court Tuesday has apparently marked the conclusion of a drawn-out, costly, and, to use the judge’s own term, “Kafkaesque” legal battle over the government no-fly list. Malaysian college professor Rahinah Ibrahim sued the government back in 2006, after Dr. Ibrahim’s name mistakenly ended up on a federal government no-fly list.

  • Selecting the year’s single most brazen example of political self-delusion is never easy, but if forced to choose for 2013, I’d pick British Prime Minister David Cameron’s public condemnation of George Galloway. The Scottish MP had stood to question Cameron about the UK’s military support for Syrian rebels. As is typical for Western discourse, criticizing western government militarism was immediately equated with support for whatever tyrants those governments happened to be opposing at the time: “Some things come and go,” proclaimed the Prime Minister, “but there is one thing that is certain: wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world, he will have the support of [Galloway].”

    What made Cameron’s statement so notable wasn’t the trite tactic of depicting opposition to western intervention as tantamount to support for dictators. That’s far too common to be noteworthy (if you oppose the war in Iraq, you are pro-Saddam; if you oppose intervention in Libya, you love Ghaddafi, if you oppose US involvement in Ukraine, you’re a shill for Putin, etc. etc.). What was so remarkable is that David Cameron – the person accusing Galloway of supporting every “brutal Arab dictator” he can find – is easily one of the world’s most loyal, constant, and generous supporters of the most brutal Arab despots. He has continuously lavished money, diplomatic support, arms and all sorts of obsequious praise on intensely repressive regimes in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Egypt. That this steadfast supporter of the worst Arab dictators could parade around accusing others of supporting bad Arab regimes was about as stunning a display of western self-delusion as I could have imagined . . .

Secrecy

  • A Malaysian team have told relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 that there was sealed evidence that cannot be made public, as they came under fire from the angry relatives at a briefing on Wednesday.

    The sealed evidence included air traffic control radio transcript, radar data and airport security recordings.

Privacy

  • It’s taken as a truism that “no one understands the privacy policy.” Lookout, a startup that focuses on mobile privacy and security, wants to change that with its new open source privacy policy toolkit. The project seeks to improve the current poor state of mobile app transparency. It grew out of the Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent multistakeholder process, which CDT participated in, aimed at creating a set of best practices to promote mobile app transparency.

  • First off I would like to argue that I don’t consider these private monitoring practices to be in any way morally hazardous, and thus I would not put them in the same category as government surveillance or “privacy violations” The simple fact is that if a company employs a person to work on building company value, especially when this is clear from the contract, then the company has a right to hold the employee accountable to this, and monitoring their activities then is one way of doing this.

  • The Pentagon plans to triple its cybersecurity personal over the next several years to bolster US national security, said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

  • There has never been effective oversight of the NSA’s bulk collections programs, or indeed, intelligence agencies in general. There’s been a lot of noise made about this vaunted oversight in defense of programs revealed by leaked documents, but this is nothing more than a talking point.

    The NSA (along with the CIA) has no interest in real oversight or accountability, not even to the final arbiter of its domestic surveillance, the FISA court. Judge Walton threatened to end the Section 215 collection back in 2008 after uncovering widespread abuse of the collections and the NSA’s constant misrepresentation of how it was handling the data it collected.

  • According to Nacchio, his troubles can be traced back to a meeting at the NSA’s Fort Meade…

  • The industry regulator gathers vast amounts of data about brokerage accounts and charges. But some observers say it’s overdone.

  • This is a page from the National Security Agency’s press kit mailed earlier this month to news organizations.

‘Reform’

  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is criticizing President Obama for trying to “unilaterally disarm” the government’s intelligence capabilities.

  • Here’s what the privacy geeks are worried about after a whirlwind week – that the spies might get more out of these bills than Snowden or the people he tried to protect

  • Muslim Americans likely make up the bulk of US domestic spy targets. This is what it’s like for innocent citizens to live in fear

  • An end to the ‘bulk collection’ of phone records won’t stop the NSA from snooping on us online

  • I disagree that Obama’s surveillance reforms are a great victory for privacy. But they should vindicate Snowden

Exodus

  • With minimal reference to Edward Snowden, the former contractor who ushered in a new and unwelcome era for the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander ended his NSA directorship and his 39-year army career on Friday.

  • The National Security Agency’s most stalwart congressional ally is abruptly retiring, part of an almost complete turnover in surveillance leadership less than a year after Edward Snowden’s revelations ushered the spy agency into a new and uncertain era.

NSA’s Lust for Back Doors

  • An unfamiliar name to American consumers, Huawei produces products that are swiftly being installed in the internet backbone in many regions of the world, displacing some of the western-built equipment that the NSA knows — and presumably knows how to exploit — so well.

  • Internally Huawei routed all of its emails through one server in Shenzhen where the NSA managed to siphon off the data and gain access to a large portion of the internal communications including messages from company CEO Ren Zhengfei and Chairwoman Sun Yafang. Since the company employs some 150,000 people, the amount of data coming out of Huawei was more than the NSA could handle. According to Der Spiegel an internal NSA document stated that, “we currently have good access and so much data that we don’t know what to do with it.”

  • Chinese tech company still trying to track down NSA infiltration.

Espionage

  • Documents show that Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service infiltrated German Internet firms and America’s NSA obtained a court order to spy on Germany and collected information about the chancellor in a special database. Is it time for the country全民彩票网址 to open a formal espionage investigation?

  • Secret documents newly disclosed by the German newspaper Der Spiegel on Saturday shed more light on how aggressively the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have targeted Germany for surveillance.

  • In 2004, a US report named Abdullah for being involved in an Iraq oil-for-food programme scandal, but he denied the allegation, saying he had merely endorsed a valid legitimate business organised by the United Nations in collaboration with the Iraqi government.

  • The National Security Agency and British government spied on private German telecommunications companies, one of which was contracted by the country全民彩票网址’s military, according to German magazine Der Spiegel

  • The National Security Agency appears to have included Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on a list of world leaders subject to surveillance.

  • We’ve known for a while that the NSA has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other international leaders, but it now looks like that surveillance was just the tip of the iceberg. Der Spiegel and The Intercept have published an Edward Snowden leak revealing that the NSA snooped on as many as 122 foreign heads of state in 2009, ranging from Merkel to Ukranian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. A custom search system, Nymrod, helped the US agency both locate transcripts of those leaders’ communications as well as secret reports. The National Security Council tells The Intercept that President Obama’s administration hasn’t tracked Merkel and doesn’t plan to start, but it also didn’t deny that the German leader had once been under close watch.

Federal Government’s Lust for Back Doors

People

  • Last month I was on a panel dis-cus-sion at the Ber-lin Trans-me-diale con-fer-ence with NSA whis-tleblower Bill Bin-ney, Chelsea Man-ning rap-por-teur Alexa O’Brian, and act-iv-ist Diani Bar-reto.

  • The cham-ber was full and I am happy to report that we won the debate by 212 votes to 171, and that Oxford stu-dents do indeed see Edward Snowden as a hero.

IOT

  • Beware the ‘Internet of Everything’ in the Era of Big Data

  • AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Intel have launched the Industrial Internet Consortium, which aims to define interfaces between IoT devices and cloud services.

    The five founding members of the Industrial Internet Consortium announced plans for an Internet of Things (IoT) industry group back in August, and have now followed through with a name and a mission.

FBI

  • The FBI is intercepting the prison correspondence of infamous Internet troll Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, including letters from his defense team, according to his attorney.

    “He’s sent me between 10 and 20 letters in the last month or two. I’ve received one,” Tor Ekeland, who had just returned from visiting Auernheimer at the federal corrections institute in Allenwood, Pa., told the Daily Dot in a video interview.

PRISM Etc.

  • The Android version of Angry Birds available on Google Play, last updated March 4, shares personal information such as age, gender and address along with device information with multiple parties, according to a blog post by FireEye researchers Jimmy Su, Jinjian Zhai, and Tao Wei. Users who play the game without a Rovio account are also sharing information about their devices without realizing it, the post said.

  • Meanwhile, both Chrome and Chrome OS are getting voice search features. To use the feature, you open a new tab or visit Google.com in Chrome, say “Ok Google,” and then start speaking your search. This is being rolled out progressively to users on Windows, Mac and Linux.

  • Facebook has announced an ambitious plan to use drone, satellite and laser technology “to deliver the internet to everyone” via the preeminent social media site’s Connectivity Lab project.

Drones

  • Three years ago last week, a U.S. drone strike hit the small town of Datta Khel in Pakistan. Local business owners and leaders were in the midst of a two-day tribal council meeting, called to address a dispute regarding a chromite mine in the area. Local authorities had been notified about the meeting, which is a traditional forum employed to resolve community conflicts.

  • On a warm October night in 2011, an American teenager was sitting outdoors with several friends and cousins, about to begin his dinner. The boy was mourning the loss of his father, who had been killed just two weeks earlier. His family had been encouraging him to get out of the house, spend time with friends and enjoy the fresh air to begin the healing process. But there was to be no healing for Abdulrahman Awlaki. A missile fired from a U.S. drone ended his life and those of several of his companions that night. They were buried in a common grave, because the missile tore them into unrecognizable fragments — except for the back of Abdulrahman’s head, which was still covered by his long, curly hair.

  • Trade and the crisis in Ukraine are likely to dominate the agenda during US President Barack Obama’s first official visit to Brussels on March 26.

  • Lord Livingston, ex CEO of famous BT telecoms company, is in the epicenter of a row over the company’s involvement in America’s horrendous military drone war, which has killed hundreds of civilians in Yemen.

  • The United Nations called on all states on Friday to ensure that the use of armed drones complies with international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, backing a proposal from Pakistan.

  • The resolution was adopted by a vote of 27 states in favour to six against, with 14 abstentions at the 47-member Geneva forum. The United States, Britain and France voted against

  • Three Buddhist monks, having walked from Massachusetts, covered their saffron robes with rain parkas, wrapped their drums in plastic bags and joined peace groups on Saturday to trek another 2? miles to the Horsham Air Guard base to protest the planned ground-control command center for drone operations.

  • Failure to account and justify lethal drone activity by the United States represents a major violation of international law and international human rights law, a former U.N. rapporteur said Wednesday.

    Since the beginning of drone attacks in 2001, the U.S. has conducted around 450 lethal drone strikes that have raised humanitarian and international legal issues.

  • Although President Obama promised to make drone programme more transparent in May 2013, the follow up has rather been negligible as no new statement on drone policy or its legal framework has come out as yet. There is a need to ensure transparency of drone programme.

  • In a ritual they have followed for nearly four years, they crisscrossed the four-way intersection near the gate, laying out the tools of their trade: anti-war banners, an American flag with a peace symbol instead of 50 white stars, a series of cardboard squares adorned with bright purple, battery-powered LED lights that spelled out the message “No Drones.”

    [...]

    They have been demonstrating since 2010 against unarmed surveillance drones based and operated at Beale that are used to pinpoint targets for armed killer drones in war zones and elsewhere overseas.

CIA

  • Congress recognizes no CIA claims of “privilege.” Congress has complete legal rights to review documents of any government agency. Any claim of “privilege” by any governmental branch is a bold announcement that they will not obey our laws: U.S. Constitution, Speech and Debate clause, and Fourth Amendment, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Executive Order 12333.

  • As the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence feuds with the CIA over the declassification of its 6,000-page report on the agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs, we host a debate between former CIA acting general counsel John Rizzo and human rights attorney Scott Horton. This comes as the United Nations Human Rights Committee has criticized the Obama administration for closing its investigations into the CIA’s actions after Sept. 11. A U.N. report issued Thursday stated, “The Committee notes with concern that all reported investigations into enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that had been committed in the context of the CIA secret rendition, interrogation and detention programmes were closed in 2012 leading only to a meager number of criminal charges brought against low-level operatives.” Rizzo served as acting general counsel during much of the George W. Bush administration and was a key legal architect of the U.S. interrogation and detention program after the Sept. 11 attacks. He recently published a book titled “全民彩票官网登录 Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.” Attorney Scott Horton is contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and author of the forthcoming book, “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.”

  • Recent controversies involving the NSA surveillance program and alleged CIA eavesdropping on Congress have dominated the news. This has led to healthy and heated discussions about clandestine activities of intelligence agencies to include the amount of classified information collected and how long it is maintained.

  • The Obama administration, stung by reversals in Ukraine and Syria, appears to have decided to expand its covert program of training and assistance for the Syrian opposition, deepening U.S. involvement in that brutal and stalemated civil war.

    The White House announced that President Obama discussed “the crisis in Syria” along with other subjects when he met Friday in Riyadh with Saudi King Abdullah, but the statement didn’t mention any details of the stepped-up Syria assistance program.

Android News: Wearables, Tegra, Obama Switch, New Devices, Desktops…

Posted in News Roundup at 3:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wearables

  • Every mobile company is desperate to bring a ‘usable’ smartwatch to the market. While companies like Samsung did bring their smartwatches to the market, these devices are still half-baked products which ‘try’ to do a few things. These are no where close to the way smartphones have become a viable alternatives of PCs. These watches are nothing more than a side-kick or assistant to your smartphones. Then came Google, doing what it did with Honeycomb to address the immediate need of a tablet OS. Google announced Android Wear, an OS optimized for smart watches. One would expect that entire industry will embrace it, but that’s not what seem to be happening.

  • Google is able to offer something with Android Wear that no other player, big like Apple or small like Pebble, can offer. And that’s why it’ll win…

  • Motorola Mobility announced a round-faced Moto 360 smartwatch, based on Google’s new Android Wear platform and due this summer.

  • Googled unveiled Android Wear this week and encouraged developers to build apps purpose-built for the wrist. Pocket is among the first companies to rise to the challenge, showing off a prototype version of a software development kit for Android Wear today that will let you save links directly from your watch. The prototype allows developers to integrate Pocket into their own apps so that users can save items with a couple of taps. “Up until now, smartwatches have focused solely on delivering short notifications,” Pocket says. “What’s been missing is the ability to quickly act on that information by saving or sharing it.”

  • Android Wear is a version of Android which is optimized for wearable devices such as smartwatches. One of the core components of Android Wear will be Google Now. Just like Google Glass, users will be able to say “Ok Google” to activate the ‘HAL’ and ask questions. Since it will work with Google Now, it will have access to your travel and Amazon orders so you can check status of your flight or package. You will also be able to get generic answers like scores from ongoing machine. Anything that you use Google Now for will be able to use with Android Wearable.

  • There is a lot going on on the wearable computing front, and Google is already a player in the race with its Google Glass efforts, but the company has also shared much news this week about Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables.

  • Google debuted a Google Now-infused Android Wear platform for wearables based on a lightweight version of Android, which will first appear in an LG G Watch.

  • One of the key strengths of the Linux kernel is that it is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), an open source license which gives everyone the right to use and even modify the Linux kernel, with the condition that the source code is made available for any publicly released versions.

SHIELD/Tegra

  • Mad Catz is teaming up with Ouya to bring it to their micro gaming console M.O.J.O. The Android powered game console that is powered by Tegra from Mad Catz will be available for $199 come this spring.

Obama

  • US Presidents are not allowed to carry cellphones like Blackberry due to security issues. Obama somehow succeeded in keeping his beloved Blackberry. His Blackberry was heavily encrypted, with enhanced security and its usage was limited.

New Devices

  • It was long back when reports surfaced about Motorola working on a 6.3 inches phablet. So if we have forgotten about the device, we cannot be blamed, since not much was known about the device that time. Only thing known was that a 6.3 inches device, dubbed Motorola XPlay will be rolled out by 2014. However, it seems that the device is being prepped up for release this year.

  • The Soap project has already surpassed its $80,000 funding goals, and there are still some packages left at discounted prices until the campaign closes Mar. 23 at 10:34 AM EDT. The touchscreen-enabled Soap Touch costs $150, and will retail at $200 when it ships in November. There’s also a non-touchscreen Soap Essentials version, which will go for $80 when it ships in August, but no more discounted versions are available at the $60 funding price. The Soap Essentials is otherwise similar except that it offers less onboard storage.

Developing World

  • In 2013, however, the 全民彩票官网登录 took the bold step of going digital-only. All pupils — most of who are from the nearby townships — are now required to buy an Android tablet in order to study at Sunward.

  • Better known for producing third-world poverty and political mayhem – as well as a world-class rum – the Western Hemisphere’s least developed country全民彩票网址 has made a surprising entry into the high-tech world with its own Android tablet.

Android-x86

  • Android seems to be everywhere these days and that includes the desktop. Yes, a version of Android is being developed as a desktop replacement for Windows. LinuxInsider examines Android-x86 RC 1 and finds that it’s coming along nicely. But can it really replace Windows? The skeptics will say no, but I think it can…eventually.

Huawei

  • The backtracking contradicts statements from Huawei’s chief marketing officer, Shao Yang, last week. Yang claimed the firm was following a “dual OS” strategy with Android and Windows 全民彩票网址Phone on a single handset. It’s not clear if such a handset was ever in development, or whether Yang simply misspoke. Huawei’s change of heart follows reports that Microsoft and Google have both scuppered Intel’s plan for dual-OS tablets and laptops running both Android and Windows 全民彩票网址Phone.

  • In a statement to FierceWireless, a Huawei spokesperson said that “Huawei Consumer Business Group adopts an open approach towards mobile operating systems to provide a range of choices for consumers. However, most of our products are based on Android OS, [and] at this stage there are no plans to launch a dual-OS smartphone in the near future.”

Games/Sport

  • One of the most venerable achievements of smartphones is making more than 75% smartphone users into gamers. Perhaps keeping this stat in mind, Google has decided to focus on Google Play in their announcements this year. First and foremost is their announcement of the cross platform support for Google Play games, followed by the introduction of tools that will allow users to gift in game items to friends. Rounding up is the integration of the Google Analytics available directly to the Ad Mob interface.

Ballnux (Microsoft Patent Deals)

  • The new HTC One which was announced yesterday is now available with stock Android from Google Play Store. These devices running stock Android are called Google Play Edition devices and they don’t come with the usual bloat-ware or custom UI pushed by the hardware companies.

  • The official unveiling of HTC’s “primary flagship for 2014” is still a few days away, but there is no dearth of leaked images about the all new HTC One (M8). After AT&T, Qualcomm is now promoting the HTC M8 smartphone via its official Twitter account as it will feature one of the company’s Snapdragon SoCs.

  • Google shook the world today by announcing Android Wear, a version of Android to power wearable computers such as smartwatches. Google has showed that it has mastered the art of partnership; it has not only engaged developers but also made available hardware powered by Android Wear.

  • The Russian government has moved from using iPads to Samsung tablets. However, this move is not linked to any sanctions against US-based Apple Inc., the Minister of Communications Nikolai Nikiforov stated on Wednesday.

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