• India up in arms over film

    'Padmavati,' a Bollywood film based on poem about a probably fictional Hindu queen called ani Padmini, who chose to self immolate rather than submit to a Muslim king.

    No one has seen the film yet, but there are threats and bounties for violence against the director and actors, and lawsuits to ban the film in the Supreme Court.

    Among the things they take issue on (it is the Hindu's taking offense, not Muslims, despite the Muslim king being 'portrayed as barbaric') is the romance between the Hindu queen and Muslim king.


     
  • France now has an 'office of secularism'

    #France #Prejudice #HumanRights
  • France dismissed an imam for sermon

    ... reportedly, it had something to do with something Imam Mmadi Ahamada said about the wives of Mohammad, which the French interior minister said was 'contrary to the values of the republic' ('against gender equality').

    Minister Gerald Darmanin asked the Loire governor's office to dismiss the imam and ensure his residence permit is not renewed.

    He's now had 2 imam's fired it seems.


  • China announces sanctions on seven Americans, including HRW's Sophie Richardson

    China's foreign ministry spokesperson also referred to American 'preaching' and 'arrogance.'

  • China targets education companies to reduce stress in children and cut parenting costs

    'All private tutoring firms now must register as NGOs, they're banned from raising funds from the stock markets and foreign investment ... Those who have violated the regulations shall be cleaned up and rectified,' says the document circulating on state TV.

    EdTech firms have been funded by Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Didi.

    Tutoring classes are banned on weekends, public holidays, school vacations, and after 9pm.

    Publicly traded companies were down between 25 and 60%.

    Clashing policies: China wants international champions, but also wants to crack down on those who'd like to do that. Chinese people don't know what to think about these conflicting policies and it's difficult to get them to talk about it in public or even in private, reportedly.

    The reason has something to do with China wanting more babies, and the barrier to this caused by costs to parents for educating children.

  • France lower house approved a bill to give the government more powers to combat things tied to 'religion' (Islamist separatism)

    Powers to enable the government to do things with religious organizations and places of worship, foreign funding, home schooling, wearing religious symbols and certain clothing, and 'online abuse.'
  • Merkel at last press conference says 'we' did not do enough for global warming goal (keeping it under 2 degrees)

    ... and that this is why 'we need to step up our efforts.' She was in power 16 years.

  • Tanzania government rounds up members of opposition party, talk they might charge them with terrorism

    Previous VP now president after death of previous president extending authoritarian tendencies used by previous president?

  • Floods: Germany had massive floods causing over 100 deaths, and China's Henan had 8 months worth of rain in a day

    China reported 33 deaths. Roughly $200m in damage, expected that estimate will be increased.

    Media censorship in China again highlighted. Government-controlled media, no critical media to investigate and ask critical questions. Social media accounts that ask about role of authorities get deleted and censored.

    One question is whether local authorities warned citizens soon enough. A counterargument is that they had no reason to expect that much rain (once in a lifetime situation).

    Chinese people's political double-standards in a strictly-controlled information environment also at issue: state media covered German floods, Siberian forest fires, Canada heat wave, and drew climate change conclusions. But when something similar happens in China they focus on it as being just an exceptional event.
    #Censorship
     
  • Assassinations of political leaders, or at least reports of them

    Most recent in Madagascar for a plot.

    In previous weeks Haiti's president was killed by a squad of gunmen, and Mali's interim leader said he was victim to an attempt.

     
  • Economic concerns raised by former Wells Fargo CEO

    ... Kevin Kovacevich: Inflation (2-3% increase in salary for average worker, and 4-5% inflation on just the basics like food, gas, consumer goods); trillion dollar deficits already and trillion more if Biden admin gets budget passed.

    Markets at all time high. Kovacevich's idea is that the market is priced alright based on where rates are now, but once that changes in the coming year or years the market will look differently.

     
  • Some funny or interesting headlines this month

    'Biden’s Against Hate-Crimes, Unless They Are In Israel' | By Robert Inlakesh : RT

    Blinken vows to support journalists - critics raise Assange case (regarding the Secretary of State's 'defense' of Iran-critical VOA journalist Masih Alinejad) : RT

    Haiti president assassination suspects trained by Pentagon : RT (This is completely false and not journalism - the report was just about that the assassins had some American training or something in their lives, not that the Pentagon had anything to do with the assassination.)

     
  • Harvard resignation letter by Cornell West

    ... on Twitter (photo below).

    Top criticism BY (Indy Pirates): Narcissistic academic professionalism has always existed specially from professors towards students. This resignation is only about the lack of status and money, if they paid you more and gave you tenure everything else would not matter.




  • Design trolls lose another lawsuit over their copyrights

    Design Basics is a website that uploads lots of house plans, copyrights them, then sues home builders (they've sued over 100 in recent years).

    Introduction from KANNE, SCUDDER, Circuit Judge:

    Copyright law protects individual expression while encouraging creativity and maintaining the public interest in spreading ideas. In recent years, however, a cottage industry of opportunistic copyright holders—earning the derisive moniker “intellectual property trolls”—has emerged, in which a troll enforces copyrights not to protect expression, but to extract payments through litigation. Design Basics, LLC fits that bill.

    The firm, which holds copyright in 2 Nos. 18-3202, 19-3118 & 20-1515 several thousand single-family home floor plans, has brought over 100 infringement suits against home builders in recent years. But many defendants—the targets of the settlement-extraction scheme—are starting to push back. This case is a good example.

    We have affirmed dismissal of Design Basics’s lawsuits twice in recent years. See Design Basics LLC v. Signature Con-struction, Inc., 994 F.3d 879 (7th Cir. 2021); Design Basics, LLC v.Lexington Homes, Inc.,858 F.3d 1093 (7th Cir. 2017). We do so again today. In dismissing Design Basics’s copyright in-fringement suit against the Kerstiens family’s home building business, the district court recognized that the firm has a thin copyright in its plans because they consist largely of standard features found in homes across America. We agree and affirm.

    #Copyright #Design #Trolling

    Design Basics, LLC v. Kerstiens Homes & Designs, Inc, No. 18-3202 (7th Cir. 2021)
     
  • Climate litigation on rise

    ... like the German case on human rights climate grounds.

    Norway is facing a climate suit (from Friends of the Earth) for its plans to drill in the Arctic.

     
  • Tigray war may cost $2.5b according to estimates

    TPLF has conquered most of the north and south of Tigray.

    Ethiopia is one of Africa's largest aid recipients. The US alone contributed a billion in 2020, and therefore has some leverage. Investing in Ethiopia right now comes with significant reputational risks, making companies more reluctant to submit massive investment bids.

    Ethiopia is finishing their dam and stressing tensions with Egypt and Sudan. The dam fits in with Abiy's plan to lift Ethiopians into a higher economic class. Sudan might benefit from a huge energy production facility on it's border for it's own energy needs.

    Getting ahead of things, but if Egypt was to take up a campaign against Ethiopia, due to the huge distance, it would have to use Sudan.

     
  • OPEC reached a deal to increase 400k barrels per day to production

    Oil was down about 2.5% (although the Dow was down 2% on inflation, stagflation, and Delta variant concerns) and oil company stocks more than that. Natural gas was up less than a percent.

    However, projections have it that demand will want 1m or more barrels more per day next year, assuming no more lockdowns.

    US producers could surge new production and crash the market. But no one wants to invest in new exploration. Most companies are hedged at a $50 range.

     
  • Pegasus spyware, capable of switching on cameras and mics, linked to list of 50,000 phone numbers

    ... and targeting journalists in 50 countries, targeted by 10 states.

    One Mexican journalist was on the list and 2 months later was killed, although journalists are frequently killed in Mexico.

    The spyware is reportedly from Israeli company NSO Group (although there are many other similar companies). The software is sold to governments (only those who have been 'approved by Israel') to deal with 'terrorism' and 'criminals,' but is used by governments against their own civil society (journalists, activists, dissidents, lawyers) and heads of state.

    The software is almost undetectable on your phone. It is not the kind of malware that you have to stupidly click something to have it install (spearfishing). It uses a zero-click exploit, using some app on your phone. It's not known which apps, but one is WhatsApp: it infected phones using a WhatsApp call and you don't even have to pick up the call. It has root access to the device (can do anything, including see all keystrokes, use camera, mic, contacts, archives, location). It might be stored in a temp file in RAM instead of on the hard drive.

    The only way to get rid of it currently is get a new phone and new SIM.

     
  • Cannes 2021: What a difference 2 years makes

    2019 was all American fodder and exhausted gender and race issues (plus Once Upon a Time, Atlantics by Mati Diop and Young Amed), which was the same as the year before.

    2021 had a lot of the similar pretentiousness and Americans, but not seemingly trashy or as tired. Maybe a new decade after a stupid 00s and stupid and weak 2010s.

     
  • British Muslim politician's car

    ... reportedly firebombed (she was not in the car) amid a reported 'hate campaign' calling to stop 'an enclave of a new Muslim nation within our nation.' Arooj Shah (elected to lead the Oldham Council in May of this year after service as a councillor since 2012) had previously spoken about facing hate, abuse and racism throughout her political career.

    A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection.

     
  • Cannes, 2021

  • Biggest riots in S Africa in years (since Apartheid maybe)

    High unemployment. Dissatisfaction with political leaders. But the riots erupted when former president (until 2018) Zuma started a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court after refusing to appear at a corruption inquiry. The outrage by his supporters was compounded by anger over poverty and inequality.

    Shops, malls, warehouses completely ransacked. 72 reported dead (but I didn't hear how - I mean, were some just already enemies, etc.?).

    'It's over. It's over,' said one shop owner. 'I've got overheads. I owe banks money.'

    The government sent military (2000 soldiers, considered a small number) to some areas as police struggled. Sometimes police are just standing by as the looting goes on, and analysts say this has to do with the history of the ANC government and that they don't want to be seen shooting at black S Africans. Some owners, armed, tried to quell the looting themselves. Some are criticizing the government for not acting on the riots soon enough.

    Commenters alluded to a racial element, but none seemed willing to talk about that issue.

    They may now have food shortages due to the riots.

    The ANC government is saying people working for Zuma may be stoking the rioters.

    A random commenter said this: 'Learn from the Koreans in the LA Riots, 2 guys on the roof with sub machine gun and rifle. 3 guys on ground blocking door with Shotguns and pistols. The police are not going to help when the riots get out of control. No one died and their stores and markets were all saved.'

    But some commenters from within S Africa replied that it wasn't easy to get guns in S Africa and the authorities there 'are trying to remove the clause that allows for the purchase of firearms for self defence purposes from The Firearms Control Act.'

    None of the commenters from S Africa who large news sites tried to interview could comment anything of value, just repeat a few criticisms and restate obvious social conditions, and generally had to be cut off by the interviewing journalists.

     
  • Unknown creators made a website to take photos from social media accounts of Muslim Indian women and hold 'fake auctions' over them.

    ... including vocal journalists, activists, artists and researchers.

    The website is titled after a derogatory term for Muslim Indian women.
  • Virginia still top business state

    ... according to CNBC's annual state competitiveness rankings. It's done very well in the past 15 years in this survey.

    Reasons include a strong workforce (40% have at least a bachelors, according to the US Census Bureau, although the state has a relative shortage of workers and relatively few outsiders move there for work - it also has slightly below-average unemployment) and solid education system, reportedly.

    Virginia scored high points in Cost of Doing Business, Infrastructure, Life Health and Inclusion (formerly Quality of Life), and Workforce. Although its score for Education looks low in its rankings, it represents the second highest state after Mass. and CNBC considers it key to winning the survey.

    'Education is the best tool we have to make our Commonwealth a better, more equitable place for everyone,' according to Gov. Northam.

    Virginia like other US states is currently focusing heavily on change in the form of forcing diversity, sustainability and connectivity. It also has a high cost of living and high wages.

    The other top 5 were N.C., Utah, Texas and Tennessee.

     
  • Audacity turns bad

    ... according to everyone in the privacy forums and bloggers, because it updated it's policies to tell users it would be collecting unknown data from them and using it in unknown ways.

    Audacity was bought by Muse Group (which owns Musescore and Ultimate Guitar). The new owners pledged to keep it 'free and opensource' but it seems they might have found another way to monetize their investment here).

    One of the things people were most excited to point out about the new policy for Audacity was they added a 'only use if over age 13' type line, because under GDPR 'The age threshold for obtaining parental consent is established by each EU Member State and can be between 13 and 16 years.'

    Many people just said they wouldn't use it anymore and deleted it from their machines. Other options offered by the community were to fork or use a previous version, or to limit port access.


     
  • Branson flew to the edge of space on Virgin Galactic, then Bezos

    He said it was the 'experience of a lifetime.'

    282k feet (53 miles).

    About 800k people watched the largest of the YT livestreams, it looked like.

    About a week later Bezos flew in his Blue Origin craft to 350k feet (66 miles).

    NASA's designated Earth-Space boundary is 50 miles, but the Karman line is 100km.

     
  • Maybe 1b shellfish died off Canadian shores due to June heat

    Highest recorded June temps.

     
  • UAE princess capture helped by FBI, says USA Today investigation

    Reportedly, they gave the UAE gov the geolocation of Princess Sheikha Latifa's yacht as she fled the kingdom in 2018, after getting it from a US internet provider.

    Reports have it the FBI was misled by the UAE, that they had been told she was kidnapped.

    The US org might have broken protocol to do this, not first subpoenaing the provider.

     
  • Alibaba wants to compete with Amazon in shipping

    Arguably, this is the one real strength Amazon currently has, as it's catalog seems less and less impressive.

    Alibaba already has good warehousing and distribution, as shown in how it handles China's 'Singles' Day.'

    Ali also has a payment company and other businesses that help speed up shipping.

    For delivery, Ali depends on partnerships with airlines and ground-based delivery co's (DHL).

    Ali wants to expand the products it offers to its 190 countries and charge $3 per year for fast (like 2-day) shipping. Amazon currently charges between $13 and $130 per year, depending on location (India, UK).

    Ali's product prices are comparatively cheaper than Amazon, because Ali has direct access to the Chinese producers.

    Ali sells a lot of alleged counterfeits, though, which hurts the real companies. Amazon also has faced these criticisms, but less so.

     
  • A school in Scotland stops teaching To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men

    Mockingbird is considered to be 'anti-racist,' but because it 'plays into a white savior narrative' decision-makers at the school currently consider it racist.

    Mice and Men for it's racial stereotypes and use of the 'n-word.'

  • Last US troops leave Bagram Airfield in the night

    ... without telling the new Afghan commander.

    The base, about an hour away from Kabul, has made headlines over the years for horrible accounts of the US forces there torturing Afghanis, sometimes to death.

    The Afghan soldiers now guarding the base have said they look to the government and the village to support them with resources. 'the Americans destroyed everything here.' Much of the supplies (boots, exercise machines - The Americans took their sophisticated modern military tools) left by the troops has made it's way to scrapyards and second-hand shops.

    Some have said they are glad the Americans left, that now Afghanistan can have peace, which the Americans didn't bring.

     
  • Saudi Arabia is going to have a news platform with a studio in DC.

    It will have journalists who were formerly part of AJ, Fox, NBC, and Sirius XM. It is expected before the end of the year.

    It's part of a new lobbying effort aimed at the White House and Congress.

    This is according to the DOJ: SA's foreign lobbying disclosures.

    The news org will be owned by Taqnia ETS, a SA-based subsidiary of SA's $400b PIF (Public Investment Fund). Taqnia is supervised by the Saudi Ministry of Info.

     
  • Suez Canal blocking ship released from Egypt's Canal Authority after agreeing to $1b fee.

    Six days the ship (Ever Given) blocked traffic. The traffic was valued at $10b per day. When the Suez Canal Authority dislodged the vessel, it held it until terms could be arranged, given the costs to the port itself (SCA eventually claimed it was around $550m, including costs to dislodge, various expenses, and financial damages).

    This will be billed to the ship's owners and insurers.

  • Haitian president assassinated at home

    At 1am armed men, some speaking French, some English, entered his residence and shot him and his wife (who died later). His son escaped.

    We don't know what group the assassins belong to, or how they get past security, or how they knew anything about the interior of the residence.

    President Jovenel Moise won (with 8% of the vote) in 2017. Due to violence in the country, he assumed office without continuing to Haiti's second round of the election, so many considered him illegitimate in the role. When called to step down, he didn't, and some said he was increasingly authoritarian.

    Haiti has a lot of violence. Most of the population lives on a few dollars a day, and parts of the country are not regularly accessible because they are controlled by armed groups and bandits.

    Now there's a shuffle ongoing to put in a new leader, as the VP died months ago of Covid-19.

    The PM announced that day a 'state of emergency.'

     
  • Virtual influencers

    On social media, the use of these characters is a bit of a thing. They're CG attractive women (usually) used to promote and sell products.

    Some have lots of followers. Some are modelling agencies offering a roster of character options. They've been used by some big fashion brands.

    About 40% of people reportedly follow a virtual influencer without knowing it.

  • Saiga antelopes almost wiped out 6 years ago, then there was a baby boom

    Pastruela killed 90% of the species in 2015. Scientists have 2 theories. One, the bacteria, already in the animal (it exists in healthy Saigas at least sometimes, scientists have found), is triggered to grow by something and it kills them. Two, there is an amoeba in the environment that is infected by the bacteria, and then in the wet season the bacteria becomes active, and meanwhile it is somehow consumed when the antelopes grazes.

    Saiga populations recover quickly, though. Females at age 1 have one calf. Older females have twins, and the most mature, larger females can have 3.

    The current population is estimated at 250,000, just like before the endemic on the Kazakh steppe. People in 2015 worried they might become extinct.

    They are now returning to the same grazing ground, though. Experts have little doubt the same plight will affect them again.

    They also face a possible new highway through their migration ground, which would connect the Caspian Sea (at Aktau) and the Nur-Sultan (the capital city).



     
  • African Islamist groups on rise

    ... in several countries across the Sahel and some other countries.

    Some analysts say the countries facing an IS threat are those with weak central governments.

    "Local populations are dissatisfied with how governments are delivering. Democracy has not worked for populations in that part of the country." : Bulama Bukarti, Senior Africa Analyst, Tony Blair Inst., who said that if the governments continue to not fund education and other services to create a more civil society, it will continue to be easy for extremist groups to exploit socioeconomic grievances to recruit young people into violence.

    Does it help or hurt, though, to keep calling these groups 'terrorists'? Are they not just non-government military groups?

  • Afghanistan after America

    Now it's the Afghan govt versus the Taliban, which is reported to be retaking ground, on the offensive. Since Biden announced the US's complete withdrawal a couple months ago, Taliban took about 1/4 (127, 10 of those again retaken by the Afghan military) of the districts of Afghanistan, where they are implementing Sharia and blocking media.

    Last US troops leave Sept 1 (the last 650 that remain, contra to the Doha agreement, after most of the 4000-strong force left), and then we'll really see what Taliban will do.

    "This land belongs to you and us," said an Afghan soldier, "The Russians were here and they left. Then the Americans came and now they have left. This country is ours, and we will protect it even without pay or equipment."

    Reports are that the Taliban aren't willing to go sit at the negotiating table, where Afghan govt negotiators are waiting.

    There are lineups at passport offices, people wanting to leave, remembering the 90s.
     

  • People know, or at least reveal info about, their friends and family more accurately than about themselves, researchers say.

     
  • British MPs and protesters go to Belmarsh prison demanding Assange be allowed access to them

  • Historical 'revisionism' in China, CCP anniversary

    China's Communist Party marked it's 100th anniversary, and Xi made a big speech, using quite marshal language and stating China wouldn't be pushed around by foreign powers.

    China is practicing 'historical nihilism,' according to China Centre (Oxford U) Director Rana Mitter, revisionism in which the communist political movement started with a handful of guys in the 1920's, and then some stuff happened which was necessary or inevitable, and then they are where they are now.

    The take is that before Communism, China was being buffeted by various foreign factors like Western imperialism and the 'Century of Humiliation,' Opium Wars, Japanese invasion in the 1920s; and the CCP is the final vehicle of destiny that allowed China to stand up for itself.

    He said that in China you can't mention the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s (where 10's of millions died), and that the Cultural Revolution, although more complex, can be talked about in China but you have to be careful which parts you talk about.

  • Starvation in Madagascar

    Worst drought in 40 years. Not enough rain again this year for a good harvest next season.

    People dying, skinny starving children. The lives of people based around looking for cactus leaves, to clean and eat, the only source of nutrition for many.

    Not much green land left. Dust.

    World Food Programme partnered with the Madagascar govt to do at least some aid.


     
  • New material lattice

    ... which looks similar to a 3d honeycomb, and whose cells have 14 sides each, 3d printed from flexible polymer, then heated until only pure carbon remained.

    They shot sand-like particles at the lattice (similar to what space debris does). At low speeds it bounced off. At high speeds it gouged out craters, crushing the lattice, and remained lodged in the material (didn't pierce the material).



     
  • 'Time neurons' that help brain know when something happened (episodic memory)

    "The activity of the population of hippocampal cells allowed for decoding one temporal epoch from another."


    Human hippocampal neurons track moments in a sequence of events - Leila Reddy et al. at the French national research agency CNRS in Toulouse
     
  • New way to lower blood pressure: Strength training breathing muscles

    You suck at a straw that has resistance to sucking. The current regimen being used by researchers is 30 inhalations per day at high resistance.

    "IMST can be done in five minutes in your own home while you watch TV."

    The benefits were significant. Systolic bp dropped 9 points on average (exceeding benefits of 30 minutes walking 5 days a week), and equivalent also to some bp-lowing drug regimens. 6 weeks after the 36 older adults tested quit the training, most of the health benefits remained. (They' got funding to do another test with 100 people.)

    It's not yet known how it works: How strengthening breathing muscles ends up lowering blood pressure. A guess they have is that it causes cell lining blood vessels to provide more nitric oxide, causing them to relax.

    It also strengthens diaphragm muscles.

    IMST stands for High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training.
     

  • 3d printing tiny lattices water climbs up

    The lattice cells are only 1mm wide.

    New printers are allowing for tiny cells to be printed which, similar to the way trees use capillary action and surface tension to draw water upwards from roots to leaves (which was the model copied here), overcome a problem we have when we try to use liquids (and gasses), which is that we have only been able to use a small part of their mass as their exposed surfaces (like the surface of a container of water). If we can arrange the liquid to have more surface, we can increase its ability to perform things like cooling and exchanging gasses.

    The lattices not only increase the amount of water we can have facing outward. They also bypass the downward pull of gravity (and in the future we'll be able to control the path the liquid takes along a lattice design).


     
  • Assange case witness says he lied to US officials to get immunity

    Many have commented that the mainstream media have been quiet about this revelation.

    Assange has been in a UK prison since April 2019 since Equador gave him up (removed their protection of him in their embassy in London). Extradition to the US for trial was recently denied, but not on the merits on the case, but rather on humanitarian grounds.

    The Icelander, who back in the early Wikileaks days had been a volunteer, had been convicted of forgery, fraud and some 'sex crimes,' and is, according to Assange's legal representatives, a dubious source.

     
  • NY office buildings are offering bars, exercise faciliites to keep tenants

    ... also throwing in several months of free rent on multi-year leases or reduced rent.

  • Bill Cosby released, conviction overturned (vacated) on rights issue

    ... after serving 2 years of his 5 - 10, sentenced for giving quaaludes to a woman who said he later sexually assaulted her.

    The judge said Cosby's due process rights had been seriously violated in the trial because a prosecutor had made a deal with Cosby under the table, after which Cosby in his statement included that he had given quaaludes to a woman he was pursuing years earlier.

    Some have said the judge with this move has set a precedent that, although police are notoriously allowed to lie to pursue convictions, when a prosecutor makes a deal saying he won't prosecute that's basically equivalent to an immunity deal. If later judges follow his lead. However, I don't know that DAs were ever allowed to lie to get testimony the way police currently are.

    Another option the court could have taken is to send the case down for another trial, without using the evidence the judge said he didn't like.

    From the ruling: "In accordance with the advice his attorneys, Cosby relied upon D.A. Castor’s publicannouncement that he would not be prosecuted. His reliance was reasonable, and itresulted in the deprivation of a fundamental constitutional right when he was compelledto furnished self-incriminating testimony. Cosby reasonably relied upon theCommonwealth’s decision for approximately ten years. When he announced hisdeclination decision on behalf of the Commonwealth, District Attorney Castor knew thatCosby would be forced to testify based upon the Commonwealth’s assurances. Knowingthat he induced Cosby’s reliance, and that his decision not to prosecute was designed todo just that, D.A. Castor made no attempt in 2005 or in any of the ten years that followedto remedy any misperception or to stop Cosby from openly and detrimentally relying uponthat decision. In light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successorD.A.s to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights. No other conclusioncomports with the principles of due process and fundamental fairness to which all aspectsof our criminal justice system must adhere."

    However, legal professionals have asked whether Cosby should be saved from bad legal advice to wave his fifth, which he may have done in the interest of not looking guilty in front of the jury.


     
  • Rumsfeld died, age 88

    Forum boards were a list of comments that were either negative and critical of the harms he is believed to have caused, or dismissive or joking. I read through them and didn't see any on the other side of the fence.

  • Tigray forces reportedly gaining ground, pushing out Ethiopian government forces

    They took the regional capital, Mekele.

    The conflict is now in its eighth month. Thousands have died. Hundreds of thousands have fled. Many accusations of war crimes (Western definition). Dubious role of UN. Withdrawal of Eritrean forces towards north and south.

    Tigrayans celebrated in the streets. Motor parades of tuk-tuks and toyotas with people piled to overflowing, flags.

    Amnesty warned there may be reprisals against civilians by all involved parties to the conflict.

     
  • US bombing in Iraq again

    ... without asking Congress, the Whitehouse bombed some targets (Kitab Hezbollah and Kitab Saeed Ashahada) on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.

    The act may fall under jurisdiction that requires authorization under War Powers, but the White House didn't seek that from Congress.

    The DoD said they targeted Iran-backed militias who had used UAVs against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

    Iraq's military condemned the act, saying it was a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security.

    The popular mobilization forces are part of Iraq's security structure, so the US did bomb an ally, analysts say, although the US said those groups had attacked US targets first.

    Kitab Saeed Ashahada announced an open war again US targets in Iraq as a response.

    Biden's second use of military force.

     
  • Mexico decriminalized recreational marijuana

    ... by video conference, the Supreme Court 'recognized the right to the recreational use of marijuana.'

    It's still not legal. The Supreme Court can just cross out unconstitutional laws. Legalization (rules for consuming, growing and selling) is for the Senate and Congress.

  • Americans overwhelmingly don't want to go back to their jobs this year

    A recent poll found almost 100% of people don't want to return to the office after being in their homes over the past year. They prefer the life of spending more time with friends and family. They're considering finding a new job.

    There are also more jobs available then ever. 9.3m jobs in April.

    People are asking whether the stimulus so far or the stimulus expected in the future have contributed to people not wanting to get jobs, but data doesn't seem convincing one way or another.

     
  • Turkish underworld figure, hiding out in Dubai, is blogging regularly about the dirt on Turkish politicians

    His name is Sedak Peker. Turks tune in every week for his updates, and the majority think there is at least some truth in them. Although many of the things he says are already known, that he is saying them and the evidence (although it seems there's not much in the way of evidence) makes people listen.

    His most recent video said he was now on a 'red list,' meaning there was a high chance he'd be killed, but said he would still do what he had said, which is talk about Erdogan. Erdogan has called it a 'conspiracy.'

    'People listen to him because the media here in Turkey has been silenced. They can't report many facts, so people prefer to believe what a Mafia leader says,' according to a DW Turkish Service worker.

  • Palestinian protesters want Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to resign following death of one of his critics in custody

    The man's family said the autopsy report showed he had been beaten.

    'What Nizar faced was planned and organized crime,' said a protester.

    The protesters who assembled in Ramallah had other complaints, including corruption, cronyism, disregard for legitimate process, and not protecting the rights of Palestinians. Abbas recently postponed Palestinian elections indefinitely.
  • New Suzuki Jimny sells out in seconds

    ... in Mexico. Suzuki doesn't make cars to sell in the US.

    It's also selling out in Europe and anywhere it's available.

    It's a very small, low-powered, very uncushy (over bumps) jeep-like SUV that's the 'new thing.' It costs $20k. It has nothing extra, but does have many of the things you want in a vehicle (AC, cruise control, charge port in rear interior for a tire pump). A comparable vehicle is the Jeep Wrangler which costs just under $30k.

    They made 1000 to see if people wanted them in Mexico, and they sold out in under a minute online. They offered another 1000 and same thing.


  • China sent a crew to its new space station

    China isn't a participant in the ISS, largely because of the US's objections to China's secrecy and military focus in space. They built their own space module, called Tianhe III (their first two space stations were more short term), or Heavenly Harmony, which launched last April.

    China used a Shenzhou-12 spaceship launched by a Long March-2F Y12 rocket from the Gobi Desert to transport a three-man crew of science-minded military pilots (2 vets, one new pilot) to Tianhe.

     
  • 5 years since Brexit referendum (June 23, 2016)

    A panelist back then: 'The spell of the European Union not being questioned has been broken.'

    The vote result was kind of a surprise.

    A recent poll has it that 48% of Britons think it was the wrong decision to have made, and 40% the right decision.

     
  • China industrial profits slowing, reportedly

    Their numbers are still growing, but according to analysts the growth is slowing, comparing the same month in different years. China's economy is still projected to grow 8% in 2021: strong growth.

    Also, small company profits are growing less than those of bigger companies.

    Rising commodity prices are squeezing profits for downstream companies, accounting for some of the slowdown in profits.

     
  • A fungus, Mycelium, is being talked about as an alternative to plastic to make things

    Basically, they make a mold and then fill it with hemp or woodchips (or some other agricultural waste). This is called the 'foam.' Mycelium is also placed in the molds. The molds are then placed on racks with temperature, humidity, co2 and airflow controlled.

    The Mycelium fibers grow so they fill the mold. Then the molds are heat treated to kill the Mycelium.

    Some people are also making other products such as bacon and other artificial meats, a leather alternative, insulation, and fabrics out of Mycelium.

     
  • Pink Floyd's Roger Waters denies Facebook

    ... at a recent Free Julian Assange meeting. He brought up that FB had asked for use of 'The Wall' for an Instagram ad and his response was 'Fuck you.'


     
  • Biohackers aim at producing $7 insulin, compared with $300 insulin from Big Pharma

    Reportedly, insulin costs $1.50 to $5 per vial to make, but is sold for around $300. Biohackers are working on reverse engineering insulin to produce a recipe they will make public, and say they will sell vials for $7.

    Three large companies own 90% of the insulin in the world. Novo Nordisk, Lilly, and Sanofi. Millions of people need insulin, and some can't afford what they need.

    The FDA wants to open the market for insulin, according to some, and therefore they will approve the molecules created by the 'biohackers' [Open Insulin project]. Once they complete their work, they will make the recipe public so community labs around the world can produce it locally.

    'There was a time for being angry,' said one of the Open Insulin workers, 'It's not anger anymore. It's just determination.'


  • US seized and blocked 33 Iranian media websites

    The US justice dept said the publishers, including a channel used by Yemen's Houthi rebels and 3 websites using by a Hezbollah group in Iraq, were using the sites to spread misinformation.The domains for the sites are registered in the US.

    Iran recently elected a new president who reportedly has already ruled out meeting with Biden, while negotiators from Iran, the US, Russia, China and other countries are working on revising the 2015 nuclear deal. Negotiators reportedly are close to a deal that would bring Iran again into compliance.

    Some wonder if the action has the possibility to derail the negotiations.

    Some critics point out that there is a concern in turning the domain name system (DNS) into a tool of geopolitical info warfare because that threatens the integrity of the internet and the global network.

    "What the US did to Iranian websites was a breach of all principles of freedom of speech, which the United States is proud of." - Some guy not identified by RT

    Who gets to decide what is info and what is misinformation? The censor of the internet?

     
  • Taliban taking new ground, reportedly

  • Americans trust in news down to 29%

    According to Digital News Report's study of many countries. US trusted their news the least of all countries included. Canadians trusted their news 45%. Finlanders trusted theirs the most at 65%.

    The US level has declined steadily from 40% in 2017, and it is thought to be due in part to the pandemic, the media relationship with Trump, and increasingly prioritizing their audience's preferences or reactions to presenting quality news.

    The business model of creating hate and outrage to sell news to a particular demographic is considered to probably continue to increase, according to some analysts.


     
  • Trump held his first rally since leaving office

    He left office Jan 20. He hasn't done anything really public except a few interviews since then.

    He doesn't have options for speaking to the public he used to have, since Twitter and Facebook banned him earlier this year.

     
  • John McAfee died in a Spanish Prison, June 23, 2021

    Age 75, after a life full of stories and adventure, and being very vocal about his beliefs.

    He was found hanged in a Spanish prison. He had been arrested 9 months earlier trying to board a plane from Barcelona to Istanbul on a British passport--he was arrested on a US warrant for tax evasion.

    In 2019, he said he hadn't payed taxes for 8 years for ideological reasons.

    His lawyer said McAfee had said that, given his age, if sentenced for tax evasion, he could spend the rest of his life in jail. (Up to 10 for tax evasion, up to 20 for securities fraud.)

    Some think his death was not by suicide. In 2019 he tweeted he was getting subtle messages from the government they were going to kill himself [sic] and that if he suicided himself, he didn't, and got a tattoo that says '$WHACKD.' In Oct 2020 about a month after his arrest he tweeted, 'I am content in here. I have friends. The food is good. All is well. Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine.'

    Other people have also referenced Epstein when talking about McAfee's death.

    Camera footage from inside the prison and an autopsy report have not been made available at this point.

    Some people think he might have set up a 'dead man's switch' to leak information about elites after his death, particularly considering his tech-savvyness.




    Recent tweet by his wife Janet:

     
  • West's continued use of sanctions has less effect, according to Prof at U of South-Eastern Norway Glenn Diesen

    ... as the international system becomes more multi-polar. For example, Belarus, recently sanctioned by the EU for its human rights violations (following their grounding of a plane to arrest a Belarussian blogger), has other options in Russia. The US also sanctioned Myanmar following the coup, but they also have access to China and Russia.

    The hope with sanctions is that by undermining the whole economy of a country the population made to suffer will put pressure on their government to change. It is considered by some to have worked on Iran following the first Gulf War. There are also economic consequences in other countries including the one doing the sanctioning, such as in the US where the price of gas is driven up in line with sanctions on Iran. Thereby, such sanctions can end up helping other countries that may not be allies. It can also lead to negative consequences for the sanctioning country when it imposes sanctions on other countries for things it also does but expects to not be criticized for (many have pointed out that the US and EU also grounded a plane in 2014 to try to aprehend Edward Snowden - Austria grounded the plane from its airspace).

    The use of longlasting or permanent sanctions, especially when the sanctioned country has little ability to make concessions, it just leads to the sanctioned country learning to live without the countries that imposes the sanctions, according to Diesen.

    Anti-Russian sanctions following Crimea and Ukraine in 2014 didn't lead to Russia capitulating to the West or destroying the Russian economy. Russia rewired its economy to the East, forming a strategic partnership with China, reducing its vulnerability by cutting exposure to Western industries, tech, transportation corridors, banks, payment systems. Same with Iran. And now Belarus.

    #Belarus #Russia #Sanctions 
  • Christiano Ronaldo removed some Coke bottles

    ... that were placed in front of him before a press conference, and just kept the water bottle, held it up and said, "Aqua."

    Latin American newspapers ran headlines saying the move cost Coke $4b dollars because after the move the stock moved down over a percent (which is not uncommon in a days trading).

    Ronaldo has before commented he tries to get his children to not drink soda or eat chips.

    A day later, Paul Pogba moved a (non-alcoholic but appearance-wise identical) Heiniken beer that had been placed in front of him at a press conference, but left the coke bottles and water.

     
  • Word is both sides of US Congress is taking aim at Big Tech

    Usually, they seem quite antagonistic but people say they're aligning on this issue.

    Antitrust bills.

  • DOJ used powers to legally spy on Journalists and elected members of Congress

    We don't know everything about the story, or what led to the Trump admin investigating journalists, because of the US's secrecy (even in its court trials).

    Rather than investigating the journalists, they went to the tech companies that had the emails and other information and served them not only a warrant for the information, but a gag order (non-disclosure order). Once the gag orders expired, companies were able to notify the journalists.

     
  • Tech subsidies ending, but damage might already be done

    For years, maybe since around 2012 people were not paying the 'true price' for tech commodities, but now that the tech subsidies are ending, they might have already killed all their competition, leaving consumers with higher prices and less selection.

    The most commonly cited example is Uber. Years ago, you could get an Uber for less than a yellow cab. Real businesses can't compete with artificially low prices, so many of the taxis have gone out of business, and now there's just Uber and only a few cabs in some areas, but at Uber prices double or triple what they were when Uber was 'competing' with its competitors.

     
  • Nord Stream 2 almost finished, despite US sanctions along the way

    The U.S. will have a hard time competing with Russian gas anyway, in serving Europe. Russian gas is cheaper and is said to be greener.

  • DRC using dance for sexual violence victims

    Victims of rape are being treated holistically with dance classes in the DRC. The treatment is considered to include psychological, social, and physical elements.
     
  • Israeli PM Netanyahu voted out after 10 years

     
  • Hackers don't want Bitcoin, some now like Monero

    ... which hides virtually all transaction details, and is considered a privacy token. With Monero, it's more difficult to see who the sender and recipient are, and transaction amount. 90-95% of ransoms are still paid in Bitcoin, but Monero is increasingly popular.

    Bitcoin is public ledger and stores all transaction history. It was headline news this month how the FBI recovered payments made with Bitcoin to the Colonial Pipeline hackers.

    Difficulties with using Monero include that many regulated exchanges have chosen not to list it to to regulatory concerns, meaning it's less liquid and can't be cashed out as easily as Bitcoin.

     
  • Lordstown Motors CEO and CFO have resigned

    ... amid shortselling investigation, but having more to do perhaps with the company saying they had 'substantial doubt' they could continue next year. Shares were down 10%.

     
  • Pakistani town HIV outbreak among children

    As it it a poor, rural town where the parents work every day from the early morning, it is proving difficult to administer medicine to the young children in Rato Daro (in Sindh) who may require it for life.

    The outbreak is believed to stem from one doctor who was using unclean needles a couple of years ago. Although he was punished in the legal system, many say he was scapegoated and the responsibility lies with the government for providing good medical equipment.

     
  • right to speak from his expertise and experience.  
  • Bloggers, Things to read, etc.

    YouTubers:
    Sun Knudsen, privacy and security researcher who explains how to set up secure OS.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6YmdRryKZU

     
  • Chile starts thermosolar power plant in its superhot desert

    Atacama desert is very hot due to the sunlight it gets.

    The thermosolar plant has thousands of reflectors which move with the sun, reflecting its rays toward a column in the center, in which is water and salt that when heated creates steam.

    It makes 210mW, enough to power 380k homes.

    Chile is looking to close down some of its coal plants.




     
  • Turkey has approved development of a new canal beside the Bosporus

    The Bosporus is Turkey's, but due to the 1936 Montreux Convention it can't allow non-Black Sea State navy ships to pass through, and it can't charge for the passage of civilian vessels during peacetime. The new Istanbul Canal would not have such restrictions.

    It is expected to be around 45km long, 21m deep, and 360-275m wide (top and bottom) and cost $15b. It will sit around 30km west of the Bosporus Straight, and will be spanned by 6 bridges, all high enough to clear the largest ships (which will cost another $1.4b).

    Currently, ships have to wait around 14 hours to enter the Black Sea due to congestion of the Bosporus. Estimates have it that revenue from the canal could amount to $8b per year eventually, if vessels decide to pay, which it is uncertain they will. Turkey will also be able to send dangerous cargo on a route further away from the city center.

    Istanbul citizens polled in 2020 opposed the project (80% opposed) due to environmental and other effects they will be faced with. It's also opposed by Russia which sees the potential ability of US and NATO warships to enter the Black Sea as a national security threat. 104 former Turkish naval officers also publicly opposed the project (the next day 10 were arrested).

      
  • Between 2019 and 2020, toy sales were up 16%, and figures appear to be up even more for the current year.

    Hasbro, as the biggest maker of board games, stood out because they saw a lift to their entire business, as did the makers of Lego.
  • Lots of talk about billionaires not paying taxes

    No one knows how the journalists at ProPublica got hold of tax records for several years for some of the richest Americans.

    Bezos, Musk, Soros, Buffet, etc., paid what appear to be small dollar figures in income tax for certain years (some years $0, some years around $70k were the most quoted figures, dating back to the year 2011). This is because they don't generally make income (particularly when you're talking about each year). Instead, they hold assets. Their largest asset is generally company stock, which is only taxed if it is sold (capital gains). Some years, they need to raise cash and so they take loans against their assets. This is not taxable.

     
  • Macron slapped

    ... by a man behind a regular barricade when the French pres walked up to talk to people. The man nearest him grabbed the presidents arm, yelled 'Down with Macronism,' and slapped his face.

     
  • US Republicans very much enjoying Kamala Harris' not visiting the US/Mexico border

    They're counting the days (now about 80) since she's held a news conference on the immigration issue.

    She's been down in Guatemala, tasked with addressing the root cause of the immigration crisis.

    According to Ted Cruz in a recent criticism of the Biden government, the US is seeing the highest rate of illegal immigration in 20 years.

     
  • El Salvador adopts Bitcoin

    The country doesn't have their own currency and uses USD. This means they can't print money, and that can be an issue when you're a net importer like El Salvador is (they could run out of dollars without the ability to print).

    They also have high unemployment, and 70% of the population doesn't have a bank account, and many Salvadoreans receive money from relatives working in more prosperous countries (about 25% of Salvadoreans live outside the country, and the money they send accounts for 20% of El Salvador's GDP). Money transfers are always a challenge with conventional institutions, and can involve high fees for each transfer (sometimes as high as 10%, which is of course good for banks).

    The bill passed Congress (62 out of 84 votes) to make El Salvador first country to accep