in post

25 December, 2020

Updating Ubuntu on our media pc

I left the Ubuntu system on our media pc too long, so now I have to replace it. I'm currently a bit stuck with the disk re-partitioning... the thing stalled on reformatting for several hours. I don't think I've had that before.


Yesterday we celebrated the holiday; I'm the excuse for marking it at all, though I lost interest many years ago. Anyway, at least we put some sort brake on the expense, by deciding that we each buy just one modest gift for a family member, determined at random with the help of an online service; one of my sons set that up for us.

The tree is always a potted pine or thujia; when it grows too big, we plant it.


In the community, the kids in the youth club decorated the olive tree at the village entrance.


Links blog

✭ Discovery of 'cryptic species' shows Earth is even more biologically diverse | Environment | The Guardian
I loved this photo of beetles:


✭ Microsoft’s iron cage: Prison surveillance and e-carceration | Prison News | Al Jazeera
For Microsoft, prisons represent a market. In recent years, the company and its business partners have started providing an array of surveillance and Big Data analytics solutions to prisons, courts and community supervision programme
Office 365 to Offender 360
#microsoft #surveillance

✭ Dangerous spices: why India's cooking powders pose a risk of lead poisoning
"Over a three-month period, Mazumdar tested some of the country’s most popular spices – chilli, cumin, curry powder, garam masala and chat masala. She tested 52 samples of turmeric, assessing branded and packaged varieties, as well as loose powders sold by street vendors in Kolkata.
She found lead in all of them. The cause, she found, was food colouring contaminated with compounds of lead. Lead chromate was added to the turmeric to brighten its golden colour and lead oxide gave the chilli powders a rich red hue. The other spices tested, including curry powders, garam and chat masalas, had small amounts of lead, but not at such high levels as the turmeric and chilli."
#india #food

✭ Indian news channel fined in UK for hate speech about Pakistan | Television industry | The Guardian
Republic TV was fined £20,000 for airing a segment on its UK service, which conveyed the view that all Pakistani people are terrorists, including “their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians […] Even their sports people”.

✭ Turkey sentences journalist Can Dündar to 27 years in jail | World news | The Guardian
“It is sad and strange that we knew what the verdict in my case would be before the case even ended. There are no means to defend yourself in Turkey anymore because the judges and judiciary cannot be trusted,”

“The message the Turkish government is sending here by punishing a journalist so harshly is that ‘If you cover sensitive issues this is what will happen to you.’ My fear is this verdict will further deter journalists still in Turkey from doing their job.”
#turkey #press-freedom

✭ Organic meat production just as bad for climate, study finds | Environment | The Guardian
Analysis also found the lowest impact meat was still far more damaging than the worst plant foods
#food #environment

✭ Nepal's Constitution Is in Danger as Oli Moves Closer to Authoritarianism
 several desperate and controversial moves, Oli’s recent decision to unilaterally dissolve the House of Representatives is a flagrant violation of the constitutional text and spirit.

✭ Pardons sink Trump further into swamp of his own shamelessness
"A few hours later the president announced a slew of 15 pardons. Strikingly they included four military contractors imprisoned for the killing of unarmed men, women and children in Iraq. In short, war criminals."
"The pardon power is something of a quirk, more redolent of a medieval monarchy than a constitutional republic. Perhaps that is why Trump finds it so attractive as he enters full King George III meltdown with America slipping from his grasp."

✭ How Amazon Wins: By Steamrolling Rivals and Partners - Slashdot
To keep customers happy, which Mr. Bezos has long said is Amazon's fixation and growth strategy, executives behind the scenes have methodically waged targeted campaigns against rivals and partners alike -- an approach that has changed little through the years, from diapers to footwear. No competitor is too small to draw Amazon's sights.

✭ Congress advances historic fund for Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding
 U.S. House of Representatives has just passed the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, historic legislation delivering unprecedented funding for Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding and Palestinian economic development. If successfully enacted, it would provide $250 million over five years in order to expand peace and reconciliation work in the region. This legislation is the result of over a decade of advocacy by the Alliance for Middle East Peace – ALLMEP."

✭ India’s governing BJP says ‘no question’ of repealing farm laws | Agriculture News | Al Jazeera
Modi’s party for the first time makes clear the government’s refusal to back down as farmers continue month-long protests.

✭ US dangles billions for Indonesia normalising ties with Israel | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera
Financial agency’s chief said the US could double its $1bn portfolio if Indonesia establishes relations with Israel.
#US #israel

✭ Boohoo selling clothes made by Pakistani workers 'who earned 29p an hour' | Business | The Guardian
In interviews in the industrial city of Faisalabad, workers at two factories claimed they were paid 10,000PKR (£47) a month, well below the legal monthly minimum wage for unskilled labour of 17,500PKR, while making clothes to be sold by Boohoo.

✭ Karima Baloch, Pakistani human rights activist, found dead in Canada | World news | The Guardian
Baloch is the second Pakistani dissident from Balochistan living in exile to be found dead this year.

✭ Revealed: how abusive texts led to discovery of hacking of Al Jazeera | Media | The Guardian
Canadian researchers on Sunday claimed the UAE and Saudi Arabia used spyware sold by an Israeli private intelligence company to access the phones of at least 36 journalists, producers and executives from Al Jazeera, as well as that of a London-based reporter with the Al Araby network.

✭ Covid cases recorded in Antarctica for first time – reports | World news | The Guardian
Antarctica, once the only continent not to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly recorded its first cases.

✭ How KK Shailaja and her ‘Covid brigade’ won a victory against the virus | Life and style | The Guardian
Fewer coronavirus patients have died in the state of Kerala than anywhere else in India. No wonder Vogue India named its health minister ‘leader of the year’
#india #COVID-19

✭ Jupiter and Saturn's great conjunction – in pictures | Science | The Guardian

✭ Navalny says Russian officer admits putting poison in underwear | Alexei Navalny | The Guardian
 leader apparently dupes spy agency worker into revealing role in novichok plot."
Amazing story, this.