How presidents should speak about racist violence: Lessons from history

How presidents should speak about racist violence: Lessons from historyCritics are rightly castigating President Trump for issuing a series of vague, opaque statements in the wake of white supremacist-fueled violence that rocked Charlottesville, Va., this weekend. As a candidate and now as president, Trump has established a pattern of refusing to repudiate in clear moral terms the white supremacists who backed his White House run, and their hate-fueled ideology.



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Trump suggests Republicans should ‘protect their president’

Trump suggests Republicans should ‘protect their president’The president tweeted on Sunday that it is “very sad” Republicans are doing "very little to protect" him — and admitted that the ongoing Russia probe, while “phony,” may be “taking hold.”



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Why You Should Care About the Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges

rmdingler quotes a report from Consumerist: A corporate squabble over printer toner cartridges doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, and the phrase “patent exhaustion” is probably already causing your eyes to glaze over. However, these otherwise boring topics are the crux of a Supreme Court case that will answer a question with far-reaching impact for all consumers: Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it? The case in question is Impression Products, Inc v Lexmark International, Inc, came before the nation’s highest court on Tuesday. Here’s the background: Lexmark makes printers. Printers need toner in order to print, and Lexmark also happens to sell toner. Then there’s Impression Products, a third-party company makes and refills toner cartridges for use in printers, including Lexmark’s. Lexmark, however, doesn’t want that; if you use third-party toner cartridges, that’s money that Lexmark doesn’t make. So it sued, which brings us to the legal chain that ended up at the Supreme Court. In an effort to keep others from getting a piece of that sweet toner revenue, Lexmark turned to its patents: The company began selling printer cartridges with a notice on the package forbidding reuse or transfer to third parties. Then, when a third-party — like Impression — came around reselling or recycling the cartridges, Lexmark could accuse them of patent infringement. So far the courts have sided with Lexmark, ruling that Impression was using Lexmark’s patented technology in an unauthorized way. The Supreme Court is Impression’s last avenue of appeal. The question before the Supreme Court isn’t one of “can Lexmark patent this?” Because Lexmark can, and has. The question is, rather: Can patent exhaustion still be a thing, or does the original manufacturer get to keep having the final say in what you and others can do with the product? Kate Cox notes via Consumerist that the Supreme Court ruling is still likely months away. However, she has provided a link to the transcript of this week’s oral arguments (PDF) in her report and has dissected it to see which way the justices are leaning on the issue.

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Richard Stallman: Online Publishers Should Let Readers Pay Anonymously

Long-time Slashdot reader mspohr writes:
The Guardian has an opinion piece by Richard Stallman which argues that we should be able to pay for news anonymously. From the article: “Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust… What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay.”

He also (probably not coincidentally) has developed a method to do just that. “For the GNU operating system, which was created by the free software movement and is typically used with the kernel Linux, we are developing a suitable payment system called GNU Taler that will allow publishers to accept anonymous payments from readers for individual articles.”

Publishers “can profit from defending privacy rather than from exposing their readers,” argues Stallman, ending his article with a simple plea. “Publishers, please let me pay you — anonymously!”

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What Obama should do on torture

What Obama should do on tortureLike a lot of two-term presidents nearing the last bend in the road, Barack Obama seems guided by equal parts conviction and whimsy these days, without much regard for political consequence. The president has expounded publicly on race and political civility, shaken hands with a Cuban Castro, commuted a slew of sentences for drug offenders, plunged the federal government into the debate over transgender Americans in restrooms. Obama clearly isn’t going to declassify the full text of the Senate’s mammoth, landmark report on torture, and maybe that’s the right call — I don’t know.



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What Is Open Source Pharma (and Why Should You Care)?

Andy Updegrove writes: Humanity today is almost completely dependent on huge pharmaceutical companies to create the drugs we need. But these companies focus exclusively on drugs that can be sold at high prices to large populations — in other words, to patients in developed nations. This means that those who live in the emerging world that suffer from the remaining ‘neglected diseases,’ like Malaria and drug resistant TB, have no one to depend on for relief except huge charities, like the Gates Foundation. They also have no way to afford many of the patented drugs that do exist. But there is another way, modeled on open source software development, which relies on crowd sourced knowledge, highly distributed, volunteer efforts, and advanced open source tools. That methodology is called Open Source Pharma, and it has the potential to dramatically drive down drug development while saving millions of lives every year.

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When Should Cops Be Allowed To Take Control of Self-Driving Cars?

HughPickens.com writes: A police officer is directing traffic in the intersection when he sees a self-driving car barreling toward him and the occupant looking down at his smartphone. The officer gestures for the car to stop, and the self-driving vehicle rolls to a halt behind the crosswalk. This seems like a pretty plausible interaction. Human drivers are required to pull over when a police officer gestures for them to do so. It’s reasonable to expect that self-driving cars would do the same. But Will Oremus writes that while it’s clear that police officers should have some power over the movements of self-driving cars, what’s less clear is where to draw the line. Should an officer be able to do the same if he suspects the passenger of a crime? And what if the passenger doesn’t want the car to stop—can she override the command, or does the police officer have ultimate control?

According to a RAND Corp. report on the future of technology and law enforcement “the dark side to all of the emerging access and interconnectivity (PDF) is the risk to the public’s civil rights, privacy rights, and security.” It added, “One can readily imagine abuses that might occur if, for example, capabilities to control automated vehicles and the disclosure of detailed personal information about their occupants were not tightly controlled and secured.”

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Who Makes the Decision To Go Cloud and Who Should?

Esther Schindler writes: It’s a predictable argument in any IT shop: Should the techies — with their hands on their keyboards — be the people who decide which technology or deployment is right for the company? Or should CIOs and senior management — with their strategic perspective — be the ones to make the call? Ellis Luk got input from plenty of people about management vs. techies making cloud/on-premise decisions… with, of course, a lot of varying in opinion.

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