Amal Fathy posted that she would leave Egypt because of sexual harassment. She was arrested for it.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Extreme bullying in the US has not discouraged asylum seekers from coming from Latin America.

That's because they are fleeing from threats of murder.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Plastic foam is made in China using a chlorofluorocarbon that was banned in order to protect the ozone hole.

Will China take firm steps to put an end to the use of that chemical?

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

All the countries in the World Health Organization supported the resolution to encourage breastfeeding except the US. The US delegation threatened to retaliate against WHO and individual countries, and forced them to weaken the resolution.

More information.

The bully's motive for this was corrupt: to protect the companies that sell milk substitutes in poor countries.

In the 1980s, Nestle was condemned for offering gratis milk substitute to new mothers. Those who accepted it and used it found that their milk dried up; then they had to pay for substitute for a couple of years.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

The proposed EU copyright directive would impose several specific new injustices.

That is on top of the basic injustice of perpetuating a system that already restricts people far too much.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Burma has charged journalists that were investigating the murder of Rohingyas with spying. Thugs handed them some papers, then other thugs arrested them for having the papers, which turned out to be "state secrets".

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

The Next Supreme Court Justice Could Gut Medicaid And Planned Parenthood.

How Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Could Lead to an Increase in Housing Discrimination.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

The US used to suffer from contradictions in its policies on human rights, working to promote them in some areas of policy while supporting dictatorships. The bully has resolved some of the contradictions by taking the side of dictatorship.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Italians, phone your legislators to insist on killing CETA.

Italy's government says it will kill CETA, but it will come under pressure to change its stance. We must not take victory for granted.

The reasons the government cites are superficial economic ones. The crucial reason to kill CETA is that it contains an ISDS (I Sue Democratic States) clause that would give foreign companies power over each country involved.

A similar business-supremacy treaty between Canada and China reportedly would impose terrible penalties if Canada does not build the Unkinder Morgan oil pipeline to Vancouver. A treaty that can do such harm must be blocked, or else it will have to be cancelled.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Everyone: support creating a large Antarctic ocean wildlife sanctuary.

Posted Sun Jul 15 00:00:00 2018 Tags:
iOS bug reveals how Apple censors the Taiwanese flag on Chinese iPhones:

The bug came to light when security researcher Patrick Wardle received a message from a Taiwanese friend, reporting that iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all crashed when she typed the word 'Taiwan' or received a message containing the emoji for the Taiwanese flag.

On an iOS device with CN (China) set as the language/locale, iOS is looking for the Taiwanese flag emoji and then removing it. That code was buggy, which was what caused the crash. [...]

The company has been accused of putting sales ahead of human rights, agreeing to a long-running series of compromises to satisfy the Chinese government. The most controversial of these was moving the iCloud data of Chinese customers to a server run by a state-owned company, reportedly also handing over the encryption keys. Apple has also removed or restricted apps in the country -- including more than 400 VPN apps.

Technical analysis.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Jul 14 22:44:26 2018 Tags:
Elon Musk revealed as one of the largest donors for a House Republican PAC:

Filings show that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO donated $38,900 to the PAC, which is dedicated to keeping Republicans in control of Congress. The PAC raised over $8 million in quarter two, according to filings compiled by ProPublica.

The top donors of the PAC include Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate, and Robert McNair, the owner of the NFL's Houston Texans. Although Adelson and McNair's contributions far outweighed Musk's -- Adelson and McNair each gave $371,500 respectively, while Musk gave $33,900 -- Musk was one of the top 50 donors of the PAC. [...]

"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said on Twitter at the time.

One year later, the tech entrepreneur has taken active measures to help the Republican Party maintain Congress. The reports on Musk's political contributions is just another data point marking Musk's nonsense.

The other latest example was Musk's voluntary involvement in the Thailand cave rescue. [...] One of the rescue leaders, Vern Unsworth, ridiculed Musk in a video interview released on Friday.

"It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like... It wouldn't have made it the first fifty meters in the cave. It was just a PR stunt," the rescuer said. "He can stick his submarine where it hurts." [...]

Musk's feud with the cave rescuers resembles the Twitter debate he engaged in after proclaiming he was a socialist. Musk trolled some socialists by explaining his view of socialism, which remarkably sounded a lot like capitalism. [...] for him to refer to himself as a socialist appears to be another troll attempt from one of Twitter's most persistent trolls. (Musk just last week tried to say that "billionaire" has become a derogatory term.)

Musk's donations to the GOP may have catapulted him to all-world troll status.

I know a lot of you temporarily-embarrassed millionaires think he's super cool because, like, wow, rockets, but seriously, fuck this guy.

More trolling, or just cluelessness? He stirs up the fanboys by naming his products after ships from Iain M. Banks, but it's too bad that he fundamentally misunderstood those books:

JR: Many critics and reviewers have claimed that the Culture represents the American Libertarian ideal. Given that this is clearly not the case, how do you characterise the politics of the Culture?

IB: Really? I had no idea. Obviously I haven't read the output of the relevant critics and reviewers. Let's be clear: unless I have profoundly misunderstood its position, I pretty much despise American Libertarianism. Have these people seriously looked at the problems of the world and thought, 'Hmm, what we need here is a bit more selfishness'?... I beg to differ. This is not say that Libertarianism can't represent a progressive force, in the right circumstances, and I don't doubt there will be significant areas where I would agree with Libertarianism. But, really; which bit of not having private property, and the absence of money in the Culture novels, have these people missed? The Culture is hippy commies with hyper-weapons and a deep distrust of both Marketolatry and Greedism. One rests one's case.

It could be that Musk does believe that a post-scarcity society would be awesome -- but there's a really good reason for that. As a billionaire, he already lives in a post-scarcity society. It's just one that admits vanishingly few people as its citizens.

@cstross: Attn @elonmusk -- I knew Iain and I'm pretty sure he'd have trenchant and unkind things to say about your stance on unions, workplace sexual/racial harassment, and socialism in general.

@Richard_Kadrey: Any gazillionaire who calls himself a Banks-inspired utopian anarchist is just a Libertarian who jerks off to Wired.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Jul 14 19:57:44 2018 Tags:

And people say the Blue Angels are a waste of $37 million of taxpayer money every year! Pernicious nonsense! It's a valuable Social Assistance Program for highly skilled Targeting Marketing Associates!

Posted Sat Jul 14 09:34:08 2018 Tags:
This manifesto is deep, deep, deep into "Old Man Yells At Cloud" territory, but I do like this sentence:

Brutalist Web Design:

By default, a website that uses HTML as intended and has no custom styling will be readable on all screens and devices. Only the act of design can make the content less readable.

Does this mean that eventually people will start calling my web sites "brutalist" instead of "dated"?

Maybe there will be a specific sub-category for green on black. "Your search - Cyber-Brutalist - has about 6 results".

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Jul 14 00:43:54 2018 Tags:
DNA Lounge update, wherein the Fifth Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge is upon us.
Posted Fri Jul 13 06:52:29 2018 Tags:
Geoff Boeing:

Each of the cities is represented by a polar histogram (aka rose diagram) depicting how its streets orient. Each bar's direction represents the compass bearings of the streets (in that histogram bin) and its length represents the relative frequency of streets with those bearings. [...]

Most cities' polar histograms similarly tend to cluster in at least a rough, approximate way. But then there are Boston and Charlotte.

Posted Fri Jul 13 00:47:51 2018 Tags:
If you work for Facebook, quit.

After a short presentation showcasing Facebook's efforts to fight misinformation, John Hegeman, the head of Facebook's News Feed, and Sara Su, a Facebook product specialist for News Feed, took questions from reporters.

When asked by this reporter how the company could claim it was serious about tackling the problem of misinformation online while simultaneously allowing InfoWars to maintain a page with nearly one million followers on its website, Hegeman said that the company does not "take down false news."

"I guess just for being false that doesn't violate the community standards," Hegeman said, explaining that InfoWars has "not violated something that would result in them being taken down."

Hegeman added, "I think part of the fundamental thing here is that we created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice. And different publishers have very different points of view."

While publishers may certainly have a different point of view, InfoWars is no ordinary publisher, and the content it produces does not just offer "different points of view." The media organization is notorious for spreading demonstrably false information and conspiracy theories on a host of issues, including suggesting that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax staged by child actors. Earlier this year, the outlet smeared student survivors of the Parkland shooting with baseless attacks, portraying them in one video as actors.

Even on Wednesday, before and after Facebook defended its decision to allow InfoWars to operate on its website, InfoWars used the social media platform to spread baseless conspiracy theories. In one video posted to Facebook, InfoWars claimed billionaire George Soros wanted to "seize US voting machines." In another post, InfoWars, which has suggested that the September 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job, asked, "Will Trump expose the truth behind 9/11?"

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Jul 12 20:14:06 2018 Tags:

If you're one of the people in the software freedom community who is attending O'Reilly's Open Source Software Convention (OSCON) next week here in Portland, you may have seen debate about O'Reilly and Associates (ORA)'s surreptitious Code of Conduct change (and quick revocation thereof) to name “political affiliation” as a protected class. If you're going to OSCON or plan to go to an OSCON or ORA event in the future, I suggest that you familiarize yourself with this issue and the political historical context in which these events of the last few days take place.

First, OSCON has always been political: software freedom is inherently a political struggle for the rights of computer users, so any conference including that topic is necessarily political. Additionally, O'Reilly himself had stated his political positions many times at OSCON, so it's strange that, in his response this morning, O'Reilly admits that he and his staff tried to require via agreements that speakers … refrain from all political speech. OSCON can't possibly be a software freedom community event if ORA's intent … [is] to make sure that conferences put on for the exchange of technical information aren't politicized (as O'Reilly stated today). OTOH, I'm not surprised by this tack, because O'Reilly, in large part via OSCON, often pushes forward political views that O'Reilly likes, and marginalizes those he doesn't.

Second, I must strongly disagree with ORA's new (as of this morning) position that Codes of Conduct should only include “protected classes” that the laws of a particular country currently recognize. Codes of Conduct exist in our community not only as mechanism to assure the rights of protected classes, but also to assure that everyone feels safe and free of harassment and hate speech. In fact, most Codes of Conduct in our community have “including but not limited to” language alongside any list of protected classes, and IMO all of them should.

More than that, ORA has missed a key opportunity to delineate hate speech and political speech in a manner that is sorely needed here in the USA and in the software freedom community. We live in a political climate where our Politician-in-Chief governs via Twitter and smoothly co-mingles political positioning with statements that would violate the Code of Conduct at most conferences. In other words, in a political climate where the party-ticket-headline candidate is exposed for celebrating his own sexual harassing behavior and gets elected anyway, we are culturally going to have trouble nationwide distinguishing between political speech and hate speech. Furthermore, political manipulators now use that confusion to their own ends, and we must be ever-vigilant in efforts to assure that political speech is free, but that it is delineated from hate speech, and, most importantly, that our policy on the latter is zero-tolerance.

In this climate, I'm disturbed to see that O'Reilly, who is certainly politically savvy enough to fully understand these delineations, is ignoring them completely. The rancor in our current politics — which is not just at the national level but has also trickled down into the software freedom community — is fueled by bad actors who will gladly conflate their own hate speech and political speech, and (in the irony that only post-fact politics can bring), those same people will also accuse the other side of hate speech, primarily by accusing intolerance of the original “political speech” (which is of course was, from the start, a mix of hate speech and political speech). (Examples of this abound, but one example that comes to mind is Donald Trump's public back-and-forth with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.) None of ORA's policy proposals, nor O'Reilly's public response, address this nuance. ORA's detractors are legitimately concerned, because blanketly adding “political affiliation” to a protected class, married with a outright ban on political speech, creates an environment where selective enforcement favors the powerful, and furthermore allows the Code of Conduct to more easily become a political weapon by those who engage in the conflation practice I described.

However, it's no surprise that O'Reilly is taking this tack, either. OSCON (in particular) has a long history — on political issues of software freedom — of promoting (and even facilitating) certain political speech, even while squelching other political speech. Given that history (examples of which I include below), O'Reilly shouldn't be surprised that many in our community are legitimately skeptical about why ORA made these two changes without community discussion, only to quickly backpedal when exposed. I too am left wondering what political game O'Reilly is up to, since I recall well that Morozov documented O'Reilly's track record of political manipulation in his article, The Meme Hustler. I thus encourage everyone who attends ORA events to follow this political game with a careful eye and a good sense of OSCON history to figure out what's really going on. I've been watching for years, and OSCON is often a master class in achieving what Chomsky critically called “manufacturing consent” in politics.

For example, back in 2001, when OSCON was already in its third year, Microsoft executives went on the political attack against copyleft (calling it unAmerican and a “cancer”). O'Reilly, long unfriendly to copyleft himself, personally invited Craig Mundie of Microsoft to have a “Great Debate” keynote at the next OSCON — where Mundie would “debate” with “Open Source leaders” about the value of Open Source. In reality, O'Reilly put on stage lots of Open Source people with Mundie, but among them was no one who supported the strategy of copyleft, the primary component of Microsoft's political attacks. The “debate” was artfully framed to have only one “logical” conclusion: “we all love Open Source — even Microsoft (!) — it's just copyleft that can be problematic and which we should avoid”. It was no debate at all; only carefully crafted messaging that left out much of the picture.

That wasn't an isolated incident; both subtle and overt examples of crafted political messaging at OSCON became annual events after that. As another example, ten years later, O'Reilly did almost the same playbook again: he invited the GitHub CEO to give a very political and completely anti-copyleft keynote. After years of watching how O'Reilly carefully framed the political issue of copyleft at OSCON, I am definitely concerned about how other political issues might be framed.

And, not all political issues are equal. I follow copyleft politics because it's my been my day job for two decades. But, I admit there are stakes even higher with other political topics, and having watched how ORA has handled the politics of copyleft for decades, I'm fearful that ORA is (at best) ill-equipped to handle political issues that can cause real harm — such as the current political climate that permits hate speech, and even racist speech (think of Trump calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”), as standard political fare. The stakes of contemporary politics now leave people feeling unsafe. Since OSCON is a political event, ORA should face this directly rather than pretending OSCON is merely a series of technical lectures.

The most insidious part of ORA's response to this issue is that, until the issue was called out, it seems that all political speech (particularly that in opposition to the status quo) violated OSCON's policies by default. We've successfully gotten ORA to back down from that position, but not without a fight. My biggest concern is that ORA nearly ran OSCON this year with the problematic combination of banning political speech in the speaker agreement, while treating “political affiliation” as a protected class in the Code of Conduct. Regardless of intent, confusing and unclear rules like that are gamed primarily by bad actors, and O'Reilly knows that. Indeed, just days later, O'Reilly admits that both items were serious errors, yet still asks for voluntary compliance with the “spirit” of those confusing rules.

How could it be that an organization that's been running the same event for two decades only just began to realize that these are complex issues? Paradoxically, I'm both baffled and not surprised that ORA has handled this issue so poorly. They still have no improved solution for the original problem that O'Reilly states they wanted to address (i.e., preventing hate speech). Meanwhile, they've cycled through a series of failed (and alarming) solutions without community input. Would it have really been that hard for them to publicly ask first: “We want to welcome all political views at OSCON, but we also detest hate speech that is sometimes joined with political speech. Does anyone want to join a committee to work on improvements to our policies to address this issue?” I think if they'd handled this issue in that (Open Source) way, the outcome would have not be the fiasco it's become.

Posted Thu Jul 12 09:40:00 2018 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.