1% of Farms Operate 70% of World's Farmland Slashdotby BeauHD on earth at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 4:17 am)

One percent of the world's farms operate 70% of crop fields, ranches and orchards, according to a report that highlights the impact of land inequality on the climate and nature crises. The Guardian reports: Since the 1980s, researchers found control over the land has become far more concentrated both directly through ownership and indirectly through contract farming, which results in more destructive monocultures and fewer carefully tended smallholdings. Taking the rising value of property and the growth of landless populations into account for the first time, the report calculates land inequality is 41% higher than previously believed. The authors said the trend was driven by short-term financial instruments, which increasingly shape the global environment and human health. Landlessness was lowest in China and Vietnam, and highest in Latin America, where the poorest 50% of people owned just 1% of the land. Asia and Africa have the highest levels of smallholdings, where human input tends to be higher than chemical and mechanical factors, and where time frames are more likely to be for generations rather than 10-year investment cycles. Worldwide, between 80% and 90% of farms are family or smallholder-owned. But they cover only a small and shrinking part of the land and commercial production. Over the past four decades, the biggest shift from small to big was in the United States and Europe, where ownership is in fewer hands and even individual farmers work under strict contracts for retailers, trading conglomerates and investment funds. [Ward Anseeuw, senior technical specialist at the International Land Coalition, which led the research along with a group of partners including Oxfam and the World Inequality Lab] said these financial arrangements are now spreading to the developing world, which is accelerating the decline of soil quality, the overuse of water resources, and the pace of deforestation. This is also connected to social problems, including poverty, migration, conflict and the spread of zoonotic diseases like Covid-19. To address this, the report recommends greater regulation and oversight of opaque land ownership systems, a shift in tax regimes to support smallholders and better environmental management, and great support for the land-rights of communities.

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[no title] Scripting News(cached at November 26, 2020, 3:44 am)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Everyone be careful out there.
Struggling Electric Jet Startup Zunum Sues Boeing For Fraud and Misuse of Trade Secr Slashdotby BeauHD on business at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 3:33 am)

Kirkland, Washington-based aviation startup Zunum Aero filed a lawsuit this week accusing Boeing of fraud, technology theft, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets. The company, which had received millions of dollars from the venture arms of Boeing and JetBlue, said it would be ready to fly its 12-seat hybrid electric jets by 2022. Instead, it ran out of cash in 2018, forcing it to lay off nearly all of its employees and vacate its headquarters. The Verge reports: Zunum said that Boeing "colluded with other key aerospace manufacturers and funders" to sabotage its efforts to raise additional cash and tried to poach Zunum's engineers during the process. The startup claims that Boeing saw its superior technology and potential to disrupt air travel as a threat to its own dominance in the aviation world and sought to undermine it. Using its due diligence as an investor as subtext, Zunum said Boeing gained access to its business plan and proprietary technology, and "exploited" Zunum for its own benefit. "Boeing saw an innovative venture, with a dramatically improved path to the future, and presented itself as interested in investing and partnering with Zunum," the company claims in court filings. "But instead, Boeing stole Zunum's technology and intentionally hobbled the upstart entrant in order to maintain its dominant position in commercial aviation by stifling competition." It's rare that a startup would sue one of its investors after failing to deliver on its promises. But Zunum said its setbacks weren't because of bad technology or a faulty business plan. Rather, the company claims it was sabotaged by Boeing, which misused its position as an investor to pillage its talent and patents before eventually scuttling the company's ability to continue to raise money. Zunum also names HorizonX, Boeing's venture capital arm, and French engine supplier Safran as co-defendants. The company is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. A spokesperson for Boeing said the lawsuit was without merit and that the company would "vigorously" contest it in court.

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[no title] Scripting News(cached at November 26, 2020, 3:28 am)

Obviously Stacey Abrams should be the next chair of the Democratic Party. Just look at the electoral map. There's the great state of Georgia, a solid blue in a sea of red. Someone figured it out. Someone was determined it would work. Someone made it work. Another good candidate would be Pete Buttigieg. Because the Dems need to talk to white people. It may not be popular, but if they could steal ten percent of the Trump base from the Repubs, things would go a lot smoother.
[no title] Scripting News(cached at November 26, 2020, 3:15 am)

Political parties must become social nets. We're going through yet another Democratic transition where the voters are being forgotten as the insiders turn to governance. Our job is simply to give them money and vote. That's why it's working so poorly, why polling isn't able to read the electorate. Why as soon as 2022, the Dems could lose the House and then Biden will surely be impeached. We need to organize, so we can help -- using the best networking tools available.
[no title] Scripting News(cached at November 26, 2020, 3:12 am)

Where did people get the idea that this holiday season could be like last year's holiday season? Andrew Cuomo says it's commercials, and I think he's right. Check out this Etsy commercial. A feel-good holiday dinner. No masks. People of all generations together, indoors, no social distancing. Where they get the idea that this kind of ad was appropriate in 2020? I'm sure the question came up.
[no title] Scripting News(cached at November 26, 2020, 2:57 am)

Want to fuck up the Repubs? Move to a red state.
[no title] Scripting News(cached at November 26, 2020, 2:53 am)

[%Occam‘s News%] reports the only reasons Trump pardons: 1. He’s being paid $ to do it. 2. He’s being blackmailed.
GM To Leverage Customer Data In New Insurance Business Slashdotby BeauHD on transportation at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 2:49 am)

General Motors has launched a new insurance service that will leverage the data captured through its OnStar connected car service, ultimately helping drivers cash in on lower insurance rates based on safe driving habits. From a report: OnStar Insurance Services has been created to achieve a better understanding of the vehicles GM produces, in order to offer a personalized digital insurance experience for drivers. The service is currently working with its insurance carrier partners to remove biased insurance plans by focusing on factors within the customer's control, which includes individual vehicle usage and rewarding smart driving habits that benefit road safety. OnStar Insurance Services plans to provide customers with personalized vehicle care and promote safer driving habits, along with a data-backed analysis of driving behavior. The service plans to build on the learnings of the OnStar Smart Driver feature to provide each policyholder with recommendations for smarter driving habits so customers can drive more safely and potentially earn discounts. The service will start in Arizona and initially offer OnStar Insurance to GM employees in Q4 2020, slowly expanding to additional customers, including the general public, in early 2021.

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IRS Could Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times Slashdotby BeauHD on privacy at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 2:16 am)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The IRS was able to query a database of location data quietly harvested from ordinary smartphone apps over 10,000 times, according to a copy of the contract between IRS and the data provider obtained by Motherboard. The document provides more insight into what exactly the IRS wanted to do with a tool purchased from Venntel, a government contractor that sells clients access to a database of smartphone movements. The Inspector General is currently investigating the IRS for using the data without a warrant to try to track the location of Americans. "This contract makes clear that the IRS intended to use Venntel's spying tool to identify specific smartphone users using data collected by apps and sold onwards to shady data brokers. The IRS would have needed a warrant to obtain this kind of sensitive information from AT&T or Google," Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard in a statement after reviewing the contract. [...] One of the new documents says Venntel sources the location information from its "advertising analytics network and other sources." Venntel is a subsidiary of advertising firm Gravy Analytics. The data is "global," according to a document obtained from CBP. Venntel then packages that data into a user interface and sells access to government agencies. A former Venntel worker previously told Motherboard that customers can use the product to search a specific area to see which devices were there, or follow a particular device across time. Venntel provides its own pseudonymous ID to each device, but the former worker said users could try to identify specific people. The new documents say that the IRS' purchase of an annual Venntel subscription granted the agency 12,000 queries of the dataset per year. "In support of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation's (CI) law enforcement investigative mission, the Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) requires one (1) Venntel Mobile Intelligence web-based subscription," one of the documents reads. "This allows tracing and pattern-of-life analysis on locations of interesting criminal investigations, allowing investigators to trace locations of mobile devices even if a target is using anonymizing technologies like a proxy server, which is common in cyber investigations," it adds.

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European Parliament Votes For Right To Repair Slashdotby BeauHD on eu at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 1:47 am)

In a landmark move, the European Parliament voted today to support consumers' Right to Repair. The resolution was adopted with 395 in favor and just 94 against, with 207 abstentions. iFixit reports: "By adopting this report, the European Parliament sent a clear message: harmonized mandatory labelling indicating durability and tackling premature obsolescence at EU level are the way forward," said Rapporteur David Cormand, MEP from France. The vote calls for the EU Commission to "develop and introduce mandatory labelling, to provide clear, immediately visible and easy-to-understand information to consumers on the estimated lifetime and reparability of a product at the time of purchase." The EU motion calls for a repair score, similar to the scores that iFixit has been assigning to gadgets for the past fifteen years. According to a recent EU survey, 77% of EU citizens would rather repair their devices than replace them; 79% think that manufacturers should be legally obliged to facilitate the repair of digital devices or the replacement of their individual parts. Matthias Huisken, Director of Advocacy for iFixit Europe, said "This is a huge win for consumers across Europe. This vote will set in motion a wave of new repair-friendly policies, from repair scores at retail to product longevity disclosures."

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European Regulators Prepare For MAX To Return To Service In 2021 Slashdotby BeauHD on eu at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 1:15 am)

thegreatbob writes: Looks like the main additions over the FAA's requirements are some additional pilot training requirements. The actual EASA statement can be found here. Confirms what the available information had been pointing to: the plane flies tolerably without its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), but does not meet certification criteria. [The MCAS was a software system installed on the Max by Boeing to compensate for the Max having larger engines than its predecessors in the 737 family of airliners. Those larger engines changed the way the aeroplane responded to its controls, requiring a software system to keep it within certifiable limits.] The EU Aviation Safety Agency made the announcement after confirming the airliner will return to European skies in January 2021. Patrick Ky, chief of EASA, said in a statement: "EASA's review of the 737 MAX began with the MCAS but went far beyond. We took a decision early on to review the entire flight control system and gradually broadened our assessment to include all aspects of design which could influence how the flight controls operated. This led, for example, to a deeper study of the wiring installation, which resulted in a change that is now also mandated in the Proposed Airworthiness Directive." Ky added: "We also pushed the aircraft to its limits during flight tests, assessed the behavior of the aircraft in failure scenarios, and could confirm that the aircraft is stable and has no tendency to pitch-up even without the MCAS." A spokesperson for EASA clarified that the Max's MCAS "is necessary to meet the safety regulation and obtain the necessary safety margins. However, when it is lost (failed and inoperative), an averagely skilled and trained crew is still able to safely fly and land the airplane."

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2FA Bypass Discovered In Web Hosting Software cPanel Slashdotby BeauHD on security at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at November 26, 2020, 12:23 am)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Security researchers have discovered a major security flaw in cPanel, a popular software suite used by web hosting companies to manage websites for their customers. The bug, discovered by security researchers from Digital Defense, allows attackers to bypass two-factor authentication (2FA) for cPanel accounts. These accounts are used by website owners to access and manage their websites and underlying server settings. Access to these accounts is critical, as once compromised, they grant threat actors full control over a victim's site. On its website, cPanel boasts that its software is currently used by hundreds of web hosting companies to manage more than 70 million domains across the world. But in a press release today, Digital Defense says that the 2FA implementation on older cPanel & WebHost Manager (WHM) software was vulnerable to brute-force attacks that allowed threat actors to guess URL parameters and bypass 2FA -- if 2FA was enabled for an account. While brute-forcing attacks, in general, usually take hours or days to execute, in this particular case, the attack required only a few minutes, Digital Defense said today. Exploiting this bug also requires that attackers have valid credentials for a targeted account, but these can be obtained from phishing the website owner. The good news is that Digital Defense has privately reported the bug, tracked as SEC-575, to the cPanel team, which has already released patches last week.

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