4 June 2021

Facebook

I have to use Facebook for our organization, but it's always a nightmare trying to do things that ought to be fairly simple. The day before yesterday, attempting to open the organization's Page, produced a blank whiteness, in two out of the three browsers I tried. Today, a linked story showed a featured image (or whatever FB calls that) in the preview, but not in the published version. And then I was unable to edit or delete the post in order to replace it. It's so much easier to use anything other than Facebook. I have no idea why they remain popular.

Google Drive

We have the Education Fundamentals version of Google Workplace, which is quite a generous package in terms of storage caps. I still dread that they will suddenly change something, break everything, or make it inadvisable to use their free version in some other way. But till now, I have no complaints. In a recent staff meeting, I was explaining some things about Google Drive and the file hierarchy, and decided to implement Shared Folders for the first time - it's a feature they have improved on in recent months. Today I spent a long time moving files around. I also decided to use shortcuts more extensively, in order to resolve the dilemmas about whether certain kinds of documents deserve to live in one place or another. That part actually went fairly quickly. I admire the unique methods that they came up with for operations like moving files around. Just as Facebook seems to be doing everything to make simple operations difficult, Google seems to look at making complicated functions easier. The decisions to occasionally scrap great services, like Google Reader, Google Plus, two or three other social networks, Picasa... are probably taken at a different corporate level, but at the level of software development, they have great people who are doing exactly what they are paid to do.

Of course, there's still no Linux version of Google Drive, despite years of promises, but I eventually found ways of using it that work for me. I use Insync, but very lightly, synchronizing only active projects, then scooting them back into the cloud, when they are done with. I have learned not to trust Insync for anything heavier. It once messed up our filing system completely, injecting personal files into staff folders, and all kinds of mischief.

Negative thinking

My link choices seem to follow a pattern of negativity. Maybe I should brighten up a little. But I haven't even bothered including pessimistic studies of climate change, for example, lately. Their conclusions seem so obvious that it's hardly worth mentioning them. They speak more and more of "tipping points" being reached and past, and an article yesterday said that that "tipping points" were likely to cascade, and reinforce one-another in unpredictable ways.

Links

Ai Weiwei accuses curators of rejecting artwork over Julian Assange content - The Guardian

Ai Weiwei has accused the organisers of a large UK art exhibition of rejecting his artwork for the show because the piece addressed the imprisonment of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


PayPal Shuts Down Long-Time Tor Supporter With No Recourse - Slashdot

Larry Brandt, a long-time supporter of internet freedom, used his nearly 20-year-old PayPal account to put his money where his mouth is. His primary use of the payment system was to fund servers to run Tor nodes, routing internet traffic in order to safeguard privacy and avoid country-level censorship. Now Brandt's PayPal account has been shut down, leaving many questions unanswered and showing how financial censorship can hurt the cause of internet freedom around the world.

Paypal is a shoddy, opaque company and often isn't the best option. We recently worked out that on a donation that was less than €4,000 they would be taking about €130 in commission and currency conversion levies.


Alibaba's Huge Browser Business Is Harvesting The 'Private' Web Activity Of Millions Of Android And iPhone Users - Forbes


Microsoft Irish subsidiary paid zero corporate tax on £220bn profit last year - The Guardian

An Irish subsidiary of Microsoft made a profit of $315bn (£222bn) last year but paid no corporation tax, as it is “resident” for tax purposes in Bermuda.


Why Israeli progressives have started to talk about ‘apartheid’ - The Guardian

When I first heard this argument from Palestinians 20 years ago, I rejected it. But the evidence is mounting before our eyes

He takes a leap and lost me in the last paragraph; I don't see how the analysis leads to any such optimistic conclusion. But the main purport of the article has been obvious to those who do not have a positive take on the reality.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/81e12d22-6100-45d3-9073-e07ecfbf84a6

2 June 2021

I once had my name down on a website for Israelis who support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS). It wasn't entirely appropriate because I don't self-identify as Israeli, am not a citizen, and am only a resident here. But I thought, at the time, that this seemed to be the most promising nonviolent action that could bring pressure on Israel. I'm not really aware today whether the BDS campaign is on the upsurge or the way down, though obviously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian feeling is running quite strong now in the wake of the recent violence. But that doesn't matter. Pressure should be brought against Israel all the time because, left by itself, Israel continues to colonize and uproot Palestinians. That isn't going to change. It can only be slowed, but that's worthwhile too.

In the choice between violent and nonviolent action, I am always in favor of nonviolence, because both violence and nonviolence are self-perpetuating. Violence itself is a difficult concept. What Israel is doing, by expropriating land and uprooting Palestinians, is no less violent, in its own way, than throwing bombs. Oppression gives an oppressed people the right to defend itself by whatever means it sees fit. It's just that violence by Palestinians against Israelis hasn't shown itself to be very useful. You take a people traumatized by centuries of antisemitism, pogroms and holocausts, and in physically attacking them, you only awaken in-built fear, survival instincts and adamant determination to overcome you as the latest incarnation of their archetypal enemy. I'm not sure what can work, but that one doesn't, or hasn't so far. It's succeeded only in perpetuating a cycle of violence. Sumud, perseverance, insisting on one's humanity, appealing to conscience, demanding equality, might work better, if the world stays interested. The one-state solution, transforming the conflict into a civil-rights struggle, may eventually be on the cards; but getting there will be mighty hard; maybe impossible.

Nations

It's perfectly legitimate to boycott Israel. You choose your issues, can't fight on all fronts. The Palestinian issue is a worthy one. This is not to say that there are not other equally worthy causes in the universe. Sometimes I imagine going to live in another, better place. But actually, it's rather hard to find a nation that does not commit horrible crimes, is not guilty of racism, isn't trying to keep immigrants out, doesn't experience mayhem in the streets, isn't surveilling its citizens or brainwashing them, doesn't have huge and growing socio-economic disparities, isn't relying for its wealth on exploitation of poorer countries, isn't laundering money for criminals, doesn't have a problem with corrupt politicians, isn't selling weapons to support internecine warfare, isn't aiding and abetting corrupt regimes, isn't contributing to the destruction of the biosphere. All nations are pretty terrible, as far as I have seen. They all have issues, present and historical. Sometimes I imagine living in Europe. A split second ago, historically, Europe was the worst place to live on the planet. Engulfed in never-ending wars, committing genocides, colonizing and oppressing the rest of humanity. And, in our post-colonial world, it isn't like all that suddenly went away. I feel a strong cultural and spiritual affinity for India, but that is kind of an "in spite of itself" love, rather than seeing the country with rose-tinted glasses. I'm held in sway by its social critics and brave dissidents.

When there's a cancer somewhere in the organism, it affects the whole organism.

Despite my embarrassment at living in Israel, looking for a nation that is somehow better is a foolish quest. In every nation there are injustices crying out for redress, and, if one wants to be active, there is much work to do. It's more convenient to do that work in one's home environment. On the other hand, if one wants to find a comfortable niche to settle down in, almost any place will suit - far away or close. Sometimes it's easier to live in a country where one identifies less with the social justice issues. That's why people love to vacation or even settle in questionable locations like Thailand or Sri Lanka. I'm almost at that stage now, but for the world I feel a bitter taste born of the bile that rises from my stomach whenever I remember what's happening out there.

Links

Microwave weapons that could cause Havana Syndrome exist, experts say | Weapons technology | The Guardian

Russia and possibly China have developed technology capable of injuring brain and a US company made a prototype in 2004

‘Worse day by day’: journalists speak out after Pakistani vlogger tortured The Guardian

Shahzada Zulfiqar, president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, describes the new regulation as “media martial law. We are entering into the worst and darkest era of media freedom. In this era there is a lack of safety for journalists both in their career and in their life. “It is getting worse day by day. Journalists don’t feel safe here.”

Belarus Bans Most Citizens from Going Abroad - Slashdot

Belarus has temporarily banned most of its citizens from leaving, including many foreign residency permit holders."

Arizona wants to use Zyklon B to execute inmates on death row - The Jerusalem Post

"Hydrogen cyanide gas, named by the Third Reich as Zyklon B, was used by the Nazis to kill over a million people in the Holocaust. The state of Arizona now wants to use it in executions."

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/3cbdc2a7-14c5-4630-ae74-03e2a3a99b96

1 June 2021

I spent a while reading Gemlogs yesterday in Lagrange, which offers a good reader experience, and makes it easy to find content. I still didn't figure out how to do a couple of essential things, like make bookmarks. Gemini seems a little too niche, for my liking. Rather than adopt a solution like abandoning the WWW entirely, I think we should be playing our part in making it a more pleasing environment, by reducing all of the accretions that make it intolerable, like trackers, excessive java-script, pop-up windows and the rest. And the best designs always tend to be the simplest, or at least attempt to mimic simplicity.

As a blog, Dave Winer's simple-looking interface in Scripting News is one of my favorites. The width and line height of the text, the color for links, the unobtrusive illustrations, are all easy on the eye. And there is no distracting metadata. The outline and bookmark features are just additional niceties. On the other hand, I checked the site at tools.pingdom.com and Scripting News gets a score of 70, for a size of 5.6 MB and 86 requests. By comparison, my WP site currently gets a score of 82, with 1.2 MB and 28 requests. I will look into reducing that when I get around to changing the theme. I may eventually decide to use something other than WordPress, but so far I haven't found a system of conversion that works for me, and I may even decide one day that I want to place it all back on a free blog on WordPress.com, if for some reason I find I'm no longer able to self-host, but wish to preserve it over the long-term.

Nah, couldn't be. Don't be silly.

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Links

Pacific Plunder: this is who profits from the mass extraction of the region’s natural resources the Guardian

The extraction of valuable resources from across the Pacific has made companies billions but comes at a sometimes catastrophic cost

Facebook battles reputation crisis in the Middle East nbcnews
Facebook is grappling with a reputation crisis in the Middle East, with plummeting approval rates and advertising sales in Arab countries, according to leaked documents obtained by NBC News.
“Users are feeling that they are being censored, getting limited distribution, and ultimately silenced,” one Facebook senior software engineer said.

‘A kind of rat with thorns’: the comic book busting myths about the Madras hedgehog | Wildlife | The Guardian
Nice story about someone who is passionate about hedgehogs in southern #India.

Why Arabs are so powerless in front of Israel Scroll

Israelis have long known that the brain will rule over brawn, a fact that some Arab rulers are only just discovering.

Well... Israel has a mediocre school system and teachers' salaries are notoriously low. Palestinians are just as smart as Israelis, but if everyone is so smart, why do we even have an intractable conflict? Wrong notions, scars from the past, distrust, fears, zealotry, ethnocentrism, group allegiances, politics.

Pleading for Stallman Scripting News

I got an email from Richard Stallman thanking me for standing up for him. In turn, I thanked him for his many contributions, and for politely telling the people who wanted to destroy him to fuck off. We need more people to refuse to go away just because an internet mob demands it of them.

Poacher suspected of killing 70 Bengal tigers captured after 20-year pursuit the Guardian

India mosque demolition: report filed on Muslim leaders false, court finds
The Guardian

Barabanki district authorities had accused them of forging documents leading to illegal construction

Senior figures attack ‘obstruction’ of ICC’s Palestine investigation The Guardian

Exclusive: Open letter signed by dozens of European ex-officials calls for end to ‘unwarranted public criticism’ of inquiry into alleged war crimes

Israel rolls back army chief comments on AP’s ‘coffee with Hamas’ Al Jazeera

In an article published on the website of Israel’s Channel 12 news over the weekend, the military chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi, was quoted as saying “the building was destroyed justly” and he did not have a “gram of regret”.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/37fa2193-7278-42ba-8a9c-2856422c03b2

31 May 2021

Hackathon

Well, that's interesting. I don't officially know about it because I'm not on the village WhatsApp (or any WhatsApp, but my wife sent it to me. I've written to them regarding that, and suggested they start by using free and open channels of communication.

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Music

I saw somewhere an article about Spotify and its failure to compensate musicians adequately. I'm guilty of that too, as nowadays I mostly freeload it down from YouTube and then listen to it offline. My wife subscribes to Spotify, though she doesn't use it much. Lately I listen mainly to that category of music that is known as house, down-tempo, chill-out : stuff that plays indefinitely in the background and often while I sleep; a kind of drug. Yesterday I saw that some of this originates in an establishment called Buddha Bar - a cafe in Paris and other places, that I'd never heard about. No opinion about that, but I see that many of the musicians I had already been listening to, like Nusrat Fatih Ali Khan, Midival Pundits, Niyaz, and others appear in their albums. I think I was listening to off-beat stuff before it became trendy. When I was a teen, one of my favourite labels was Nonesuch records. They had wonderful stuff like sounds from Tibetan monasteries, gamelan gongs and the Hanuman monkey chant from Bali, and Gregorian chants. I see the label still exists.

Links

Instagram making changes to its algorithm after it was accused of censoring pro-Palestinian content - The Verge
https://www.theverge.com/2021/5/30/22460946/instagram-making-changes-algorithm-censoring-pro-palestinian-content

Facebook-owned Instagram has made changes to its algorithm after a group of its employees reportedly complained that pro-Palestinian content was not viewable for users during the conflict in Gaza. Instagram typically surfaces original content in its stories before reposted content, but will now begin to give equal weighting to both, the company confirmed to The Verge on Sunday.

As reported by BuzzFeed News and the Financial Times, the Instagram employee group had made numerous appeals about content that had been censored by Instagram’s automated moderation, such as posts about the al-Asqa mosque being mistakenly removed. The employees didn’t believe the censorship was deliberate, according to FT, but one said that “moderating at scale is biased against any marginalized groups.”

The change is not only in response to concerns over pro-Palestinian content, a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to The Verge, but the company realized the way the app functioned— bubbling up posts that it believes its users care about most— led people to believe it was suppressing certain points of view or topics. “We want to be really clear— this isn’t the case,” the spokesperson said. “This applied to any post that’s re-shared in stories, no matter what it’s about.”

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been criticized over the past several weeks about how they have surfaced — or not surfaced—content around the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Earlier this month Twitter restricted the account of a Palestinian writer, which it later said was done “in error.” And Instagram ended up apologizing after many accounts were unable to post Palestine-related content for several hours on May 6th, a move that head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeted was due to a “technical bug.”

Iran Bans Crypto Mining After Months of Blackouts
https://gizmodo.com/iran-bans-crypto-mining-after-months-of-blackouts-1846991039

Iran banned bitcoin mining this week, after four months of continuous blackouts partially due to what officials say is a huge energy suck from illegal mining.Iran banned bitcoin mining this week, after four months of continuous blackouts partially due to what officials say is a huge energy suck from illegal mining.

Free Software Foundation's Executive Director Resigns - Slashdot
https://news.slashdot.org/story/21/05/29/0144223/free-software-foundations-executive-director-resigns

John Sullivan became the Free Software Foundation's Executive Director back in 2003 (at the age of 26). But now after 18 years, "I've decided to resign my position..." he tweeted Friday, "effective at the end of a transition period."

Coalition Including Microsoft, Linux Foundation, GitHub Urge Green Software Development - Slashdot
https://news.slashdot.org/story/21/05/29/1857226/coalition-including-microsoft-linux-foundation-github-urge-green-software-development

To help realize the possibility of carbon-free applications, Microsoft, the consultancies Accenture and ThoughtWorks, the Linux Foundation, and Microsoft-owned code-sharing site, GitHub, have launched The Green Software Foundation

A New Worker-Owned Cooperative Starts Competing With Uber and Lyft - Slashdot
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/21/05/29/0450200/a-new-worker-owned-cooperative-starts-competing-with-uber-and-lyft

The New York Times reports that for years, Uber and other ride-hailing companies "offered the promise of entrepreneurship to drivers" to drivers eager to set their own schedules. "But some drivers never received the control and independence they had expected."
They struggled with the costs of vehicle maintenance, loans and insurance, and they questioned whether Uber and Lyft paid a fair wage. Legislative efforts to grant them employment benefits were thwarted.

Now, dissatisfied drivers and labor advocates are forming worker-owned cooperatives in an attempt to take back some of the money — and power — in the gig economy.

With 'Massive' Cybersecurity Labor Shortage, Will Corporations Compete with Local Governments? - Slashdot
https://yro.slashdot.org/story/21/05/29/0312227/with-massive-cybersecurity-labor-shortage-will-corporations-compete-with-local-governments

In the United States, there are around 879,000 cybersecurity professionals in the workforce and an unfilled need for another 359,000 workers, according to a 2020 survey by (ISC)2, an international nonprofit that offers cybersecurity training and certification programs. Globally, the gap is even larger at nearly 3.12 million unfilled positions, the group says.

Freenode Apologizes as Prominent Open Source Projects Switch to Libera Chat - Slashdot
https://developers.slashdot.org/story/21/05/29/0224246/freenode-apologizes-as-prominent-open-source-projects-switch-to-libera-chat

Ubuntu has announced that, with immediate effect Ubuntu's IRC channels are moving to libera.chat. The move follows a "hostile takeover" of Ubuntu's namespace by Freenode's new management that appears to be happening to many other distributions including Gentoo as well as other projects that have used Freenode (including channels associated with the programming languages Raku, Elixir, and Haskell).

Colum McCann, author of ‘Apeirogon’, on the Israel-Palestine conflict - The Hindu
https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/the-occupation-is-fundamentally-and-undeniably-unjust-colum-mccann/article34664100.ece?homepage=true

The Irish author, whose last novel, ‘Apeirogon’, has an Israeli and a Palestinian at its centre, talks of using “radical empathy” in conflict areas

I'd be happy for any kind of empathy.

Jerusalem Post: Israel's Gaza Strip Bombing Was 'World's First AI War' - Slashdot
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/21/05/30/0045212/jerusalem-post-israels-gaza-strip-bombing-was-worlds-first-ai-war

For the first time, artificial intelligence was a key component and power multiplier in fighting the enemy," says a senior officer in the intelligence corps of the Israeli military, describing the technology's use in 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Pardon my while I puke.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/15c7b2ca-699f-4aa0-abdb-ebcb60e4544d

29 May 2021

Hubzilla & Mastodon

I follow my Hubzilla posts on Fosstodon and some of them seem to come through. Now I notice the latest update of &Status, does not work with Hubzilla summaries, and shows the whole post. That's not true of Fosstodon's web instance, where Hubzilla posts still get the "read more" button, when there's a Hubzilla summary. Posts in Fosstodon that are native Mastodon or from Epicyon (and maybe other Fediverse instances) still work with summaries. I haven't check whether the "spoiler" tag still works.

Thunderbird and Firefox themes

I spent awhile playing with Firefox themes to match my dark Monterail Thunderbird theme and for now have ended up with the dark Monterail theme for Firefox, though some might find the orange background in the address bar is a little garish, and I prefer a dark background on the start page. But it isn't bad, and the contrasts are good.

Worklog

I need to keep track of the number of hours that I work each day for the office, and have tried various methods for that, none of which work very well, because I keep forgetting to use them. Osmo has a neat day tab, but you have to check each day at the end of the month. My latest solution is to use Google's calendar, with a link to a Google sheet. The calendar sends me a reminder at the end of each work day to update the Google sheet. I can make a comment or a note in the hours cell to remind me what I did that day. (It would no doubt be possible to use other cloud solutions like Cryptpad.)

During the process, I checked the usability of Thunderbird, Fastmail and Google calendars. For the reminders, I need to set repeating events for my workdays, which do not correspond to standard week days. Google and Fastmail can do that, but Thunderbird can't. It can set reminders for "week days" but "week days" correspond to the western calendar. There are so many other examples of western and/or North American biases in popular software. In Israel, Sunday - Fridays (nowadays usually Sunday - Thursday) are "week days"; and other countries follow different conventions. Wikipedia shows the following map:

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Links

Israel’s Gaza strikes may constitute ‘war crimes’: UN’s Bachelet | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/27/israel-attacks-on-gaza-may-constitute-war-crimes-un-rights-chief
"Riyad al-Maliki, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister, said the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its crimes has only served to encourage it to continue committing them."

Israël-Gaza. «Les Israéliens mentent à propos de Gaza» – A l'encontre
https://alencontre.org/moyenorient/palestine/israel-gaza-les-israeliens-mentent-a-propos-de-gaza.html
“Les déclarations et les briefings sont clairs: Israël a décidé, une fois de plus, d’appliquer une punition collective à Gaza.”

EU tourists complain of fingerprinting at UK border | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/27/eu-tourists-condemn-uk-border-officials-humiliating-treatment
“A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We expect Border Force to treat all arrivals with respect and consider each passenger’s situation on an individual basis. The British public expect us to check that everyone entering the UK has the right to do so, and passengers may be asked questions to establish the basis on which they are seeking to enter the UK.”

Switzerland walks out of seven-year treaty talks with EU | Switzerland | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/27/switzerland-walks-out-of-seven-year-treaty-talks-with-eu
“The consequences of their denunciation will now be felt rather immediately. Bit by bit, the economies will decouple at a cost to Switzerland estimated at up to €1.2bn per year.”

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/7d6b4491-c022-488c-a743-cc94f94bbce7

27 May, 2021

Android music players

I already have accumulated four of five FOSS apps on my phone, and today I added the Vanilla music player, which seems to be the most polished. It has tag editor and meta-data plugins; though I can't get these to work properly on my phone, so far.

Links blog

My subscription to The Hindu has already yielded a couple of nice articles, which I have liberated from the paywall.

One-state solution, the way forward in Palestine - The Hindu | Non-paywall version (text)
One-state solution, the way forward in Palestine] by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe

"The whole premise of the two-state solution is wrong, providing Israel the immunity to continue its ethnic cleansing"


Indian English is a Prakrit, not a Creole, by linguist Peggy Mohan
. (non-paywall text version) |
Source.

(Interesting reflections on many other features of modern Indian languages.)

WhatsApp moves Delhi High Court against India’s new IT Rules
https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/whatsapp-sues-govt-says-new-media-rules-mean-end-to-privacy/article34646518.ece

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/b596bd94-1887-4f25-80b8-97010b7c8761

25 May 2021

Microsoft seems worse than ever

My workplace got a new desktop computer, and I had a hellish time trying to figure out Microsoft's numerous licensing plans for Office, then installing something, which turned out to be the wrong one as I hadn't read the fine print. The installation process itself was confusing and awful. A week or so ago, I wrote to Microsoft asking them to review our application for a non-profit license, but till now I've heard nothing back from them. The FLOSS eco-system is so much easier in comparison to this capitalist shit. I'm sorry I haven't been able to persuade my colleagues there. I myself haven't used anything except free software for years and years. Each time I check back, Microsoft seems to have added new layers of complexity and made the use of their products less convenient.

Are We Ready for a Looming Decline in World Population? - Slashdot

"According to projections by an international team of scientists published last year in The Lancet, 183 countries and territories — out of 195 — will have fertility rates below replacement level by 2100..."

We keep being reminded, as with the COVID-19 thing, that the future is completely unpredictable. When we feel pessimistic about the future, that's a good thing to remember.

India Covid-19: Local media have gone easy on Modi. That's changing because of the pandemic - CNN

I signed up for a subscription to The Hindu, which isn't a bad newspaper, and costs only $25 per year. That adds to my The Guardian contribution and my wife's subscription to Haaretz. I think I actually paid for more subscriptions pre-internet.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/4b48127d-3bb9-4f5c-9771-bb96d7c59dc3

May 22, 2021

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The capers are now in bloom.

WordPress and Hubzilla

I've been slowly working through my re-wordpressification of the blog, and experimenting with writing content in one so it gets into the other. According to my research, it works better to do the writing and editing in Hubzilla, and let Hubzilla propagate to WordPress, rather than the opposite. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- WordPress interprets the formatting made in Hubzilla better than the other way round.
- Hubzilla posts automatically to WordPress, whereas in the other direction, it's a choice.
- Hubzilla's editor is easier than the choices offered by WordPress.

That WordPress does not automatically post to Hubzilla has the advantage that I can easily copy over old Hubzilla posts into WordPress, without them getting duplicated in Hubzilla. Also, in WordPress I can backdate them. My WordPress blog goes back to 2003. I have now copied over most of my Hubzilla posts back into WordPress. There are still a couple of months work of posts to move over. The only disadvantage with this method seems to be that tags are not carried over into WordPress (though they can be added later.

#wordpress

Ashtavakra Gita

Wikipedia is oftentimes the best source of information on a given subject. With regard to this classic, it has a compilation of various web editions in Sanskrit, romanized Sanskrit and English. Conversely, it doesn't list the version by Bart, which is the one I like. But it does have an excellent PDF of a version put out by the Ramakrishna Mission and prepared by Swami Nityaswarupananda. This one adopts the convention that is most useful for serious students, of presenting first the devanagari sloka, then a word by word translation, then the translation, then commentary. I may try to find a hard copy of this.

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#books

Links

War in Gaza - Do We Really “Have No Choice”? | Al Bawaba

In actual fact cases of genuine self-defence are extremely rare, and in virtually all cases of conflict there are wise and heartful solutions that are not seen and not taken. “We have no choice” generally means “We don’t have the wisdom to act differently

My wife sent me that article by Steven, which is great and true, except for the argument that at bottom, both sides want peace. As he says, little has changed since 2006, when he wrote it, and the tragedy continues. But I think I understood way earlier than 2006 that it's mainly the Israeli side that talks about "peace". If you are an oppressed person living under occupation, you don't talk about peace.


What Have The Romans... - Monty Python's Life of Brian
by Monty Python on YouTube

You talk about freedom, about justice, but peace? Not so much.
#gaza #palestine

India orders removal of content referring to ‘Indian variant’ | Coronavirus | The Guardian
"The government order, sent on Friday by the electronics and information technology ministry, highlighted government sensitivity to accusations that it has mishandled the latest outbreak."
Own it, India

#india

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/75a2b215-e994-485e-9296-8dbfa820cb7f

Ceasefire

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That’s good news. The same evening, on Israeli TV they interviewed many from southern Israeli towns who were all in favor of continuing the campaign, because otherwise, they said, there will only be a renewal of hostilities within a short time. The same lack of imagination is shared by most of the personalities on Israeli news programs. They rarely speak about bringing real change, ending the Occupation, stopping the blockade on Gaza, creating conditions in which peace based on equality and justice will be more attractive than the perpetual conflict.

As the situation is now, in Palestinian perception, the only way to get their issue back on the agenda, is to begin lobbing missiles at Israel. When nothing is happening, Israel does not use the period of quiet in order to bring about change, but continues with its colonization practices and curbs on Palestinian freedom. The periodical flare-ups only feed into increasingly right wing Israeli governments and enhances the popularity of Hamas on the Palestinian side.

The world community, meanwhile, who do not really want to spend time on the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, and would rather forget about Palestinians in general, falls asleep. It only wakes up when something happens that is impossible to ignore. Then we see see social media posts and news stories in left-wing publications shouting about genocide and war crimes, for a while. But the truth is, for the most part, Israel looks more attractive and easier to deal with, for the majority of Europeans and North Americans, than do Palestinians. The country is a success story; modern, smart, upbeat, and, except for the one thing that won’t go away, likable. Even with its lousy rightwing leadership, the country is effective – such as now when it beat every other country in getting its citizens vaccinated. There too, it missed an opportunity. It could have put vaccines into the hands also of Palestinians under Occupation. This was arguably its responsibility, under international conventions regarding the responsibility of the occupying power.

No one really expects anything to change. And that, itself, is a problem.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/ac7a3a13-098a-4be5-9a6c-e6196a05bfd1

Links – 2021-05-21

Palestine

A Jewish case for Palestinian refugee return | Palestinian territories | The Guardian

geographic-demographic-imperatives

Arab states split for first time on refusal to condemn Israel over Gaza | Gaza | The Guardian
"Long-time observers of Israel and Palestine say the divergent reactions to this round of fighting have put some regional powers in a difficult position with their own populations."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/20/peaceful-coexistence-jaffa-falling-apart-israeli-police
"This ancient city has been turned into a battleground, and the Israeli police are doing nothing to ease tensions"

India

Indian mosque bulldozed in defiance of high court order | India | The Guardian

A local administration in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has defied a state high court order and bulldozed a mosque, in one of the most inflammatory actions taken against a Muslim place of worship since the demolition of the Babri Mosque by a mob of Hindu nationalist rioters in 1992.

[Stench of death pervades rural India as Ganges swells with Covid victims] (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/20/stench-death-pervades-rural-india-ganges-swells-covid-victims)

Brexit

Brexit: UK travellers to France and Spain may need proof of accommodation

British visitors to France and Spain may be asked to show proof of their accommodation - potentially including an official certificate, obtained in advance, if they are staying with friends or family - once Covid travel restrictions are lifted.

The world is growing pettier and nastier, bit by bit.

Tech

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin donated $1 billion worth of Shiba Inu coin to India - Vox
"The saga highlights just how uncharted the territory is in the world of crypto philanthropy."

Bill Gates will never be the same after scandal and his divorce from Melinda French Gates - Vox
"Bill Gates is mired in deep scandal, after decades of bolstering his philanthropic image."

Inside Apple’s Compromises in China: A Times Investigation - The New York Times
Durov (Telegram man):

The New York Times uncovered (#^https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/17/technology/apple-china-censorship-data.html) that Apple is involved in large-scale surveillance and censorship at the behest of China. It is sad, but not surprising: big tech companies often choose profits over freedoms.
Apple is very efficient at pursuing their business model, which is based on selling overpriced, obsolete hardware to customers locked in their ecosystem.
Every time I have to use an iPhone to test our iOS app I feel like I’m thrown back into the Middle Ages. The iPhone’s 60Hz displays can’t compete with the 120Hz displays of modern Android phones that support much smoother animations.
The worst part of Apple’s tech though is not clunkier devices (#^https://t.me/durov/140) or outdated hardware. Owning an iPhone makes you a digital slave (#^https://t.me/durov/122)of Apple – you are only allowed to use apps that Apple lets you install via their App Store, and you can only use Apple’s iCloud to natively back up your data.
It’s no wonder that Apple’s totalitarian approach is so appreciated by the Communist Party of China, which – thanks to Apple – now has complete control over the apps and data of all its citizens who rely on iPhones.

Twitter: Our AI image-cropping algorithm is biased toward White people, women • The Register
Twitter said its AI-powered image-cropping algorithm is slightly biased in favor of White people and women after all, and has taken steps to ditch its reliance on the machine-learning code.

Google Rekindles Interest in RSS - Slashdot

Amazon

Amazon hit by 5 more lawsuits from employees who allege race and gender discrimination - Vox

Amazon warehouse workers say they’re risking coronavirus exposure to fulfill your Amazon Prime orders - Vox
“If the public really knew what was going on in the facilities, they might think twice about shopping on Amazon,”

When we talk about Amazon, we’re really talking about the future of work,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which represents workers at major retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and H&M, told Recode. “Other employers feel that if they want to survive, they have to find a way to change their working conditions to replicate Amazon. And that’s exactly what we don’t want — we don’t want Amazon to be the model for what working is going to be like, of what the future of work is going to look like.

Amazon’s Black employees report years of racism at the company  - Vox

Bias, disrespect, and demotions: Black employees say Amazon has a race problem
Interviews with diversity managers and internal data obtained by Recode indicate that Black Amazon employees are promoted less frequently and are rated more harshly than non-Black peers.

Source: https://hubzilla.vikshepa.com/item/72109822-e7d2-4684-b33d-79a07bedcb6f