Evening Edition
Friday October 30 2020

Simple swaps: how to keep your kitchen cupboard stocked with healthier choices

The Guardian - 14:51 30-01-2020

There’s nothing a tin of beans or a pasta dinner can’t fix, which is why it’s great to have the right ingredients in your cupboard for a healthier option. Healthier eating doesn’t mean spiralising every vegetable that comes into sight or overhauling your eating habits: a few small, simple swaps on your shopping list can bring about big changes.

We’re raiding your kitchen cupboards to reveal six top swaps to get you started:

No added sugar baked beans

No added sugar variations of your family favourites help reduce sugar consumption and you often can’t even taste the difference. Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz are a great midweek fix, for example; they also get extra points because they’re naturally high in protein and fibre and have 25% less salt than standard baked beans too. There are no artificial sweeteners (something to watch out for on sugar-free health claims), and they taste great on toast, baked potatoes or however you love to eat your beans.

Rapeseed oil

(read more)

Science and innovation: 11 groundbreaking places to visit in the UK

The Guardian - 16:05 25-09-2020

Iron Bridge

In a town hailed as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the Iron Bridge is a magnificent symbol of its history. The first bridge in the world constructed from iron and now a Unesco world heritage site, its impressive arch stretches over the River Severn below.

Ironbridge, Telford, Shropshire, TF8 7JP

55 Broadway

It may seem relatively dinky compared with some of today’s towers, but thanks to its construction method of stone encasing a steel frame, this grade I art deco building overlooking St James’s Park became London’s first skyscraper in 1921. Don’t miss the sculptures that adorn the exterior.

Westminster, London, SW1H 0BD


Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong’s Northumberland home – now a National Trust property – is full of gadgets that were ahead of their time, including fire alarm buttons and an early dishwasher. But it is most notable for being the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power.

Morpeth, NE65 7PX

First red phone box, Royal Academy of Arts

Perched in the entrance gates to the Royal Academy of Arts are two iconic pieces of British design. On one side sits Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s 1924 winning entry in a competition to design a new phone box. On the other side of the gate is one of the first cast-iron red phone boxes created from his wooden prototype design.

Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 0BD

The National Museum of Computing

(read more)

Police brutality in Nigeria: what is the #EndSars movement? – video explainer

The Guardian - 19:50 13-10-2020

After days of fierce protests, Nigeria's government announced the dissolution of the infamous 'Special Anti-Robbery Squad', commonly called Sars, a police unit plagued with allegations of extrajudicial killings, theft and abuse - and in its place revealed plans to set up a Special Weapons and Tactics team called Swat to 'fill the gaps'.

(read more)

Have you been asked to provide proof of identity when socialising in UK pubs?

The Guardian - 12:18 20-10-2020

We’d like to hear from people who’ve been asked whether they have been asked to share proof of where they live when socialising in UK pubs

People drink a beer outside a restaurant.

Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP

The hospitality industry has been working out how to deal with the various lockdown instructions coming from the government.

With many people now prevented from meeting in pubs, restaurants and other businesses with anyone from outside their households, we would like to hear from anyone who has been told they must provide proof where they live with the people they are socialising with.

Share your experiences

You can get in touch by filling in the form below, anonymously if you wish or via WhatsApp by clicking here or adding the contact +44(0)7867825056. Your responses are secure as the form is encrypted and only the Guardian has access to your contributions.

One of our journalists will be in contact for publication before we publish, so please do leave contact details.

(read more)

The three-tier system, rule of six, and Test and Trace: what do the latest restrictions in England mean for you?

The Guardian - 09:27 23-10-2020

New government rules have created a three-tier system consisting of medium, high and very high, depending on local alert levels. The rule of six still applies in medium-risk areas, and last month the NHS Covid-19 app was launched to alert people to changes in their area, and when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

But what does this all mean for you? Here, the government answers some frequently asked questions.

Am I safe to go on a UK holiday and stay in a house with a friend who I am not in a bubble with? We would not be sharing a bedroom

Yes, provided you both live in a medium-risk area and are travelling to a medium-risk area, you can stay overnight away from the place where you are living with people who are not from your household, as long as you are in a group of no more than six people or in a single household or bubble. This includes staying overnight in a second home, hotel, bed and breakfast or campsite. Ensure you are socially distanced from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble and avoid using shared facilities wherever possible.

You cannot stay with someone outside your household or support bubble if either you or the other person(s) live in a high-risk or very-high-risk area, or you are travelling to a high-risk or very-high-risk area.

I live in a high-risk area. Can I travel to a medium-risk area to meet friends who live there for dinner in an indoor setting?

No. You essentially take the level you live in with you, and all the rules of the level where you live apply even if you go into a lower level. So in this scenario you could only meet that group of friends and eat with them outdoors. It is only if you all live in a medium-risk area that you can eat in a group of six indoors either at a restaurant or a private home.

If you live in a very-high-risk area, then you would be advised not to travel in and out of that area, aside from work, education, caring purposes, or youth services.

I am a pensioner and feeling very lonely. A social group I was previously part of has started meeting for dinners in small groups in restaurants. Would I be allowed to join them?

If you live in a medium-risk area you are allowed to join small groups in restaurants, either indoors or outdoors, as long as the number doesn’t exceed six. If you live in a high-risk or very-high-risk area you can meet in groups of up to six people outdoors, in some settings, and only one household indoors. Single households or support bubbles of more than six are still able to meet.

Can my mum come to stay to look after my son? She lives alone, but is in a bubble with my sister

(read more)

'Like 7/7 but for a month': NHS teams during Covid – in pictures

The Guardian - 07:00 28-10-2020

Wed 28 Oct 2020 03.00 EDT

Last modified on Wed 28 Oct 2020 03.32 EDT

“I just thank God that I wasn’t totally new to the ITU. I was used to being busy but it was a controlled busy and manageable. But when Covid-19 came everything changed. None of us were prepared – how could we be, we’d never faced anything like it. The biggest shock was the full PPE and in addition for part of it I was observing Ramadan so not eating or drinking. To be honest we were all so busy that you hadn’t got time to think about stuff like food.

I found dealing with the death toll very, very hard, I think we were all quite traumatised. But we came together as a team and being able to debrief with each other was incredibly important. It was an emotional time and we cried but we also had constant support and reassurance from our matron and we felt valued and supported by the community. For me as well my family and my neighbours really lifted me up. They gave me my space but would also check I was OK.

I think we are a lot more prepared mentally and physically now but there is a weight in my heart if I close my eyes and think back.”

Photograph, l-r: Claire Nolan, senior sister, emergency department; Isabel Completo Silva, scrub nurse; Sarah Mabahena, healthcare assistant; Maria Villar-Otero, theatres healthcare assistant; Gina Chowdhury, ITU nurse

“We soon discovered we didn’t just need ventilators, but also machines to filtrate the kidneys and scanners for the brain, as every part of our patients’ bodies was being affected.

We also had to learn very quickly how to communicate better with all the families who weren’t allowed to come to our hospitals to see their loved ones. They were so anxious and we discovered that every word from us had an impact on them so it was vital to get it right.

I’m so proud of my team. I know they were stressed and scared but if people got sick or had to self-isolate, others immediately stepped forward to take their place. Rotas changed continually and we had to learn how to work in PPE which was a challenge both for us and our patients. Luckily the trust was incredibly responsive and provided us with all the resources we asked for. It feels good to know that all the protocols, plans and guidance are in place now, whatever the future holds.”

Photograph, l-r: Amna Khan, OPD; Shatha Haemeed, consultant anaesthetist and clinical director for anaesthetics, ITU, theatres and pre-operative assessment; Talat Mumtaz, anaesthetist; Jay Mukherjee, consultant anaesthetist; Jayshree Virji, emergency department nurse; Muhammad Shahid, orthopaedic consultant; Angeli Santiago, scrub nurse.

(read more)

Useful shell prompt

lobste.rs - 11:27 28-10-2020

There are only a few apps I use every day and shell — ZSH — is one of the most used. It’s been that way since the beginning of the ’00s and back then I spent a lot of time configuring my prompt to be a good balance between compact/readable and useful. I found that I dislike fancy two-line prompts, information on a right-hand side (because of its awkward behavior), and stuff like that. So the result looks like that:

where █ is a cursor. It shows username, @ to separate it from hostname - or # if this is uid 0 shell, then hostname, and a home-abbreviated path. One of the fancy things is that space before the cursor is Unicode glyph \u00A0 - non-breaking space - which is bound in ZLE to delete everything to the beginning of a line. Unfortunately, this does not work with Terminal.app, so it just sits there waiting for a better time. This setup along with colors had no changes for over a decade.

But a week ago a saw a tweet with an idea to change prompt’s prompt (the > thingie) to a red color when previous command exited with an error status. This motivated me to cleanup and update my prompt to a newer conventions. This is a result:

You can see I removed my username since it really gives me no information, no reason to spend space on that. I also really like white background, but if you don’t, changing colors is easy — I’ll explain how everything works.

Let’s break down it bit by bit. The prompt syntax is a little hard on the eyes - in case if you have ideas on how to write this so next time I won’t have to dig deep into ZSH documentation, I’ll be glad to listen.

In this case, few things are interesting:

Those are easy to understand, just refer to documentation — %m is a hostname before the first dot, %~ is a path where $HOME is abbreviated to ~.

(read more)

Deluged by floods, America’s ‘oldest city' struggles to save landmarks from climate crisis

The Guardian - 15:05 28-10-2020

T he holiday season in St Augustine, Florida, is approaching, and residents are looking ahead to the annual Nights of Lights festival – a months-long tradition that sees millions of white lights strung along every corner of the city’s historic downtown.

But an old enemy is rearing its head: the sea. Increasingly, residents have to wear rain boots just to get to their cars and plan their commutes to avoid roads that are flooded with salty sea water.

Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St Augustine on the north-east coast of Florida is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the US. Flooding has been a threat here for centuries, but conditions are worsening with rising seas. As local officials commit large portions of the city’s limited resources to fight flooding, they worry it won’t be enough if state, federal and international leaders fail to address climate change.

(read more)

on abandoning the X server

lobste.rs - 15:50 28-10-2020

There's been some recent discussion about whether the X server is abandonware. As the person arguably most responsible for its care and feeding over the last 15 years or so, I feel like I have something to say about that.

The thing about being the maintainer of a public-facing project for nearly the whole of your professional career is it's difficult to separate your own story from the project. So I'm not going to try to be dispassionate, here. I started working on X precisely because free software had given me options and capabilities that really matter, and I feel privileged to be able to give that back. I can't talk about that without caring about it.

So here's the thing: X works extremely well for what it is, but what it is is deeply flawed. There's no shame in that, it's 33 years old and still relevant, I wish more software worked so well on that kind of timeframe. But using it to drive your display hardware and multiplex your input devices is choosing to make your life worse.

It is, however, uniquely well suited to a very long life as an application compatibility layer. Though the code happens to implement an unfortunate specification, the code itself is quite well structured, easy to hack on, and not far off from being easily embeddable.

The issue, then, is how to get there. And I don't have any real desire to get there while still pretending that the xfree86 hardware-backed server code is a real thing. Sorry, I guess, but I've worked on xfree86-derived servers for very nearly as long as XFree86-the-project existed, and I am completely burnt out on that on its own merits, let alone doing that and also being release manager and reviewer of last resort. You can only apply so much thrust to the pig before you question why you're trying to make it fly at all.

(read more)

If not SPAs, What?

lobste.rs - 16:21 28-10-2020

A few months ago, I wrote an article about how the SPA pattern has failed to simplify web development. The SPA pattern (Single-Page Apps), I tried to define, was about the React model, which also covers, to a large extent, the model of Vue, Angular, and other frontend frameworks.

Like any critique, it begs for a prescription and I didn’t give one, other than gesturing toward server-side frameworks like Rails and Django. But I think there are some trends starting to form. I had queued up some time to really dive into the frameworks, but things like walking in parks have taken priority, so here’s just a grand tour.

Primarily I’m talking about Remix, RedwoodJS, and Blitz.js, though I’m sure there are similar efforts in the non-React world that are relevant. Next.js almost falls into this category, but as far as I can tell, it’s still unopinionated about the data layer and most sites that use Next.js are still going to use a separate API stack. But that’s subject to change, because all of these are moving fast.

It’s interesting to note that Remix, Redwood, and Next are all backed by companies or foundations, and that Blitz is aiming early on to be a sponsor-funded project. These projects, I think, are trying to sidestep the “tragedy of the commons” failures of earlier open source, wherein overworked and unpaid maintainers service a large userbase and eventually burn out and abandon the project.

To take Remix as an example, it re-ties data loading with routes, and then gives the pretty amazing promise of no client side data fetching by default. These frameworks are also opinionated about status codes and caching strategies. RedwoodJS automatically creates an ORM-like interface using GraphQL and Prisma.

(read more)

Sharp tools for emergencies and the --clowntown flag

lobste.rs - 21:34 28-10-2020

It's been my experience that companies tend to have bits of their own

lingo. Some of it is just the usual business stuff, like when you find

yourself in a ridesharing environment and have to learn what "bookings"

are. Other parts are more cultural and sort of evolve organically as

people work together over time.

One of them from Facebook was "clown town" or just "clowntown". While

(read more)

Marcus Rashford, free school meals and Boris Johnson's political own goal

The Guardian - 03:00 29-10-2020

Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff looks at why the government has refused to extend the free school meals scheme and how the decision has backfired while Guardian journalist Aamna Mohdin reports from a food bank in Hillingdon

How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know

The Guardian columnist strongtalks to strong about the government’s decision not to extend the free school meals programme into the half-term. There is widespread anger at the government’s decision to refuse to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15 a week in food vouchers during the holidays, despite massive public pressure led by the England footballer Marcus Rashford.

(read more)

What's in a Linux executable?

lobste.rs - 03:34 29-10-2020

Jan 12, 2020

· 40 minute read









This article is part of the

Making our own executable packer


1. What's in a Linux executable?

2. Running an executable without exec

3. Position-independent code

4. ELF relocations

5. The simplest shared library

6. Loading multiple ELF objects

7. Dynamic symbol resolution

8. Dynamic linker speed and correctness

9. GDB scripting and Indirect functions

10. Safer memory-mapped structures

11. More ELF relocations

12. A no_std Rust binary

13. Thread-local storage

Executables have been fascinating to me ever since I discovered, as a kid,

that they were just files. If you renamed a .exe to something else, you

could open it in notepad! And if you renamed something else to a .exe,

you'd get a neat error dialog.

Clearly, something was different about these files. Seen from notepad, they

were mostly gibberish, but there had to be order in that chaos. 12-year-old

me knew that, although he didn't quite know how or where to dig to make sense

of it all.

So, this series is dedicated to my past self. In it we'll attempt to

understand how Linux executables are organized, how they are executed, and

how to make a program that takes an executable fresh off the linker and

compresses it - just because we can.

Since the last big series, Making our own ping,

was all about Windows, this one will be focused on 64-bit Linux.

Throughout the course of this series, we're definitely going to want to emit

(read more)

'Try again next time': my three visa rejections

The Guardian - 06:00 29-10-2020

Thu 29 Oct 2020 02.00 EDT

Last modified on Thu 29 Oct 2020 12.01 EDT

I am a western visa rejection expert. Three times – even though I work at an airport. But I am mostly a literary reject, a reality which also, somehow, always presents itself in sets of threes. Like a trilogy.

I am at the US embassy in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital, waiting outside the gate and the high fence. I admire the white tiled buildings and poles flaunting American flags. We stand in the morning sun. A Cameroonian security guard walks towards us.

“It is not yet 8am. That is the time when you will get in, not now, so don’t stand here. Move away please,” he booms, to young people and people twice his age alike.

We grumble. He insists. The American embassy is like some serene elephant that cannot be disturbed. The Cameroonian security guard seems more protective of it than the Americans are. We move and stand near the fences of other embassies. Eight o’clock comes. Our grumbling assumes the sound of a propeller-powered aircraft. He finally tells us to move forward at 8.10.

(read more)

Brothers stopped and searched for fist bump: we'll sue Met police

The Guardian - 07:00 29-10-2020

Two innocent black brothers wrongly suspected by police of drug dealing after they bumped fists in the street say they were targeted because of their skin colour and will sue the police.

Dijon Joseph, 30, and his brother Liam, 29, say they were left humiliated and distressed when they were stopped and searched and one of them was handcuffed.

(read more)

Falsehoods programmers believe about addresses

lobste.rs - 07:42 29-10-2020

Perhaps you've read posts like

and .

Maybe you've also read .Addressing is a fertile ground for incorrect assumptions, because everyone's used to dealing with addresses and 99% of the time they seem so simple.

Below are some incorrect assumptions I've seen made, or made myself, or had reported to me.

(read more)

Harry Shearer: 'To say Trump is "beyond satire" is an admission of defeat'

The Guardian - 08:00 29-10-2020

U nlike pretty much every other person on the planet, actor, voice artist and all round comedy star Harry Shearer, 76, found lockdown a thoroughly productive experience. “The bonus time from not having to drive around Los Angeles every day really adds up. My wife and I would say to each other at the end of every day, ‘God, we accomplished a lot today!’”

(read more)

bash -funroll-loops

lobste.rs - 09:24 29-10-2020

For no reason at all, please enjoy a fun* number-guessing game written without loops or functions. There’s a simpler way to write this self-modifying loop-unrolling thing if your only goal is to execute correctly but I thought it would be cooler* if the script ended up containing a transcript of all guesses.

(read more)

Share your experiences of bladder cancer

The Guardian - 10:11 29-10-2020

Following Tracey Emin’s bladder cancer announcement, we’d like to speak to others who have been diagnosed

Tracey Emin said that she was diagnosed with bladder cancer earlier this year and is now in remission.

Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Artist Tracey Emin revealed on Wednesday that she has been treated for bladder cancer, and now has a stoma bag fitted.

(read more)

God and the GOP: will conservative evangelicals stay loyal to Trump? – video

The Guardian - 10:15 29-10-2020

In 2016, white evangelicals made up a quarter of all US voters. And 81% of them voted for Donald Trump. Oliver Laughland and Tom Silverstone head to the pivotal battleground state of North Carolina to see if Trump's religious base is showing signs of crumbling. They meet extreme evangelical pastors, travelling progressive preachers and the moral movement leader Rev William Barber

(read more)

'We have a right to be at the table': four pioneering female peacekeepers

The Guardian - 10:30 29-10-2020

I n October 2000, the UN security council adopted resolution 1325 – the first resolution that acknowledged women’s unique experience of conflict and their vital role in peace negotiations and peacebuilding. Twenty years on, we speak to four women helping keep the peace around the world.

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Philippines

(read more)

For Complex Applications, Rust is as Productive as Kotlin

lobste.rs - 11:22 29-10-2020

Aleksey |

In this article, we will compare one apple (IntelliJ Rust) to one orange (rust-analyzer) to reach general and sweeping conclusions.

Specifically, I want to present a case study supporting the following claim:

For complex applications, Rust is as productive as Kotlin.

For me, this is an unusual claim to argue: I always thought exactly the opposite, but I am not so sure now.

(read more)

Rock on, Bobby: Bobby Ball – a life in pictures

The Guardian - 11:51 29-10-2020

Entertainer Bobby Ball has died aged 76 after testing positive for Covid. One half of TV’s hugely successful comedy act Cannon and Ball, he was a mainstay on British televisions for much of the 1980s. He went on to act in comedies including Not Going Out

Comedian Bobby Ball dies aged 76 after testing positive for Covid

Main image:

Ball on Cannon and Ball in 1986.

Photograph: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

(read more)

Git shared hosting quirk

lobste.rs - 11:56 29-10-2020

Show https://github.com/torvalds/linux/blob/b4061a10fc29010a610ff2b5b20160d7335e69bf/drivers/hid/hid-samsung.c#L113-L118 to a friend.

Oops 'eh? Yep, Linux has been backdoored.

Well, or not.

Konstantin Ryabitsev explains it nicely in a cgit mailing list email:

It is common for git hosting environments to configure all forks of the

same repo to use an "object storage" repository. For example, this is

(read more)

'To me, it's voter suppression': the Republican fight to limit ballot boxes

The Guardian - 12:00 29-10-2020

On the East Side of Youngstown, Ohio, a steady stream of early voters drop off completed absentee ballots into the new drop box outside the Mahoning county board of elections.

(read more)

Default OpenBSD Web Server

lobste.rs - 12:45 29-10-2020




Default OpenBSD Web Server

server "default" {}


nice default servers for httpd(8)

The most underused feature of the httpd HTTP daemon is the default server.

The default server is automatically used by httpd(8) in the absence of a custom server configuration.

Using default servers can simplify website hosting.


reduce configuration clutter

simplify webhosting operations

(read more)

Eddie Izzard meets Noel Fielding: what I learned from the Bowie biopic Stardust trailer

The Guardian - 12:50 29-10-2020

A gorgeous, big-budget, fully authorised biopic of a music legend, packed with hit after glorious hit? Yes please – let me know if you find one

Watch the trailer for Stardust.

(read more)

White House coronavirus taskforce warns of 'unrelenting' spread

The Guardian - 13:24 29-10-2020

US is going in ‘wrong direction’ says Fauci as Covid cases rise in 47 states and patients overwhelm hospitals across the US

Dr Anthony Fauci in Washington DC on 23 September.

Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

The White House coronavirus taskforce is warning of a persistent and broad spread of Covid-19 in the western half of the United States and its members urged aggressive mitigation measures.

(read more)

Bizarre Design Choices in Zoom’s End-to-End Encryption

lobste.rs - 14:07 29-10-2020

Zoom recently announced that they were going to make end-to-end encryption available to all of their users–not just customers.

Our new end-to-end encryption (E2EE) feature is now available to users globally, free and paid. 🔒https://t.co/ssGanYn4fB

— Zoooooom 👻 (@zoom_us) October 26, 2020

(read more)

Lockdown sales boom puts model railway-maker Hornby back on track

The Guardian - 14:16 29-10-2020

Venerable firm returns to profit as shoppers buy train sets, Corgi cars and Scalextric online to indulge hobbies at home

A Virgin Pendolino scale model train at the Hornby Visitor Centre.

Photograph: Matt Lloyd/Rex

Toymaker Hornby, owner of the model railway brand, posted a 33% jump in sales in the six months to September, as coronavirus lockdowns persuaded many families to focus on their hobbies.

The firm, which also makes Scalextric car racing sets and Corgi cars, said it had benefited from consumers staying at home and shopping online. More than a third of its sales came from outside the UK.

Hornby Scalextric racing car set Photograph: TM O Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo

Online sales at the 119-year-old firm rose during lockdown, overtaking last year’s total in just six months. This helped Hornby return to profitability, as it made a profit of £200,000 in the six months to September, compared with a loss of £2.5m during the same period in 2019.

The toymaker has suffered several years of losses, slumping to a £10m annual loss in 2016-17.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Its heritage brands, which include Airfix model plane kits, have struggled to remain relevant amid online games and toys linked to blockbuster films.

(read more)

In a first, researchers extract secret key used to encrypt Intel CPU code

lobste.rs - 14:33 29-10-2020

Researchers have extracted the secret key that encrypts updates to an assortment of Intel CPUs, a feat that could have wide-ranging consequences for the way the chips are used and, possibly, the way they’re secured.

The key makes it possible to decrypt the microcode updates Intel provides to fix security vulnerabilities and other types of bugs. Having a decrypted copy of an update may allow hackers to reverse-engineer it and learn precisely how to exploit the hole it’s patching. The key may also allow parties other than Intel—say a malicious hacker or a hobbyist—to update chips with their own microcode, although that customized version wouldn’t survive a reboot.

“At the moment, it is quite difficult to assess the security impact,” independent researcher Maxim Goryachy said in a direct message. “But in any case, this is the first time in the history of Intel processors when you can execute your microcode inside and analyze the updates.” Goryachy and two other researchers—Dmitry Sklyarov and Mark Ermolov, both with security firm Positive Technologies—worked jointly on the project.

The key can be extracted for any chip—be it a Celeron, Pentium, or Atom—that’s based on Intel’s Goldmont architecture.

(read more)

Increase public spending to tackle Covid second wave, IMF tells UK

The Guardian - 14:40 29-10-2020

Britain should increase spending to tackle the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic without worrying about its growing debt levels, the International Monetary Fund has said.

In its six-monthly health check of the UK economy, the Washington-based organisation warned on Thursday that the UK faced a difficult winter that was likely to depress economic growth and increase the number of jobs lost, especially among those with few skills.

In its latest forecast for the UK economy, the IMF said it expected a decline in GDP growth of 10.4% this year, compared with an estimate a month ago of -9.8%. An expected rebound in GDP growth next year was pared back from 5.9% to 5.7%.

The IMF said the UK government had the capacity to increase spending on measures to protect jobs and boost infrastructure investment to limit the impact on the economy of the winter surge in coronavirus cases.

A spending review, which the chancellor Rishi Sunak will make to parliament on 25 November, should go ahead, the report said, but mainly to reassure businesses that government investment plans would be maintained along with increases in welfare payments.

Sunak is facing disquiet among Tory MPs at steep increases in the public spending deficit, which the IMF said would rise to 16.5% in this financial year, higher than the 10.1% level after the 2008 financial crash.

Concerns about the government’s rising debts must be considered, but only when the private sector has returned to sustained growth, the report said.

“The economy is like a ship in rough waters, and this ship has not yet come to shore,” said the IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva.

With only a few weeks left to negotiate a Brexit deal with Brussels, Georgieva said the EU and UK should agree a settlement or risk lasting damage that would make an already difficult situation worse.

(read more)

The invisible struggle of the Asian American small-business owner

Vox - 14:50 29-10-2020

Roy Kim knew back in December that something had changed. The operating manager of Dong Il Jang, the 41-year-old restaurant in Los Angeles’s Koreatown neighborhood and one of the city’s longest-running Korean restaurants, was noticing declining clientele, beginning with their Chinese regulars.

The profits he’d expected the business to make during the Christmas rush never materialized, and the loss set the tenor for what was to come. As news of the coronavirus began to radiate out from China and dominate the news cycle, fear of its spread in the US followed.

Koreatown’s small businesses, like in other Asian enclaves across the country, began to feel the economic fallout at least a month before shutdown orders began in March, as associations between Asians and contagion began to foment. Alongside media outlets singling out Asians as the “face” of the coronavirus in early coverage, the use of racist terms like “China virus” has also grown, further linking the virus to anything and anyone with Chinese identity — and, by extension, anyone who can be mistaken for Chinese.

(read more)

Nearly 1,000 instances of police brutality recorded in US anti-racism protests

The Guardian - 15:00 29-10-2020

Thu 29 Oct 2020 11.00 EDT

Last modified on Thu 29 Oct 2020 11.01 EDT

The United States is currently experiencing one of the longest continued periods of civil unrest in generations, after demonstrations sparked by George Floyd’s death expanded to protests against black Americans killed by police and systemic racism in the country.

Retaliation by police against civilians and the press was widely documented in the first wave of protests, but as the protests have continued, so too has the violence. There has not been a single week without an incidence of police brutality against a civilian or a journalist at a protest in the US since the end of May.

At least 950 instances of police brutality against civilians and journalists during anti-racism protests have occurred in the past five months, according to data collected by Bellingcat and Forensic Architecture and analysed by the Guardian.

The database shows more than 1,000 violations, including:

more than 500 of instances of police using less-lethal rounds, pepper spray and teargas;

60 incidents of officers using unlawful assembly to arrest protesters;

19 incidents of police being permissive to the far right and showing double standards when confronted with white supremacists;

and 11 instances of kettling.

Originally the data focused on attacks on the media and almost 150 incidents were identified by 2 June, but the collection was expanded to include incidents involving civilians during the protests too. The data is probably an undercount as it only contains documented and verified incidents.

More than 200 incidents took place in Portland, where police spent more than $117,500 on teargas and less-lethal munitions in a six-week period from late May, according to Oregon Live.

(read more)

Is this the end of American optimism?

Vox - 15:20 29-10-2020

It’s hard to remember now, but 2020 — a year, a meme, an interminable parade of grief — opened with a sense of cautious optimism. US unemployment was at a record low and consumer confidence was high. Hollywood had just invested almost $2 billion in a “revolutionary” new streaming platform called Quibi; Future and Drake’s new single “Life is Good” was charting; and Tokyo was ready to host the summer Olympics. Even for those still feeling wary of the future, an impending US presidential election presented an opportunity for political change.

But the coronavirus pandemic has quickly turned the world inside out, intersecting with a laundry list of other anxiety-inducing developments, including accelerating climate change and a record-scorching California wildfire season; police brutality exemplified by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others; and growing fears of voter suppression or intimidation in the run-up to an election that, many argue, will shape American democracy itself.

This spring, unemployment reached a record high, and for many, government relief quickly ran out. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in September concluded “an era of faith in the courts,” according to the Atlantic. To top it all off, we still don’t have any clue when — or if — the pandemic will end. Even if there is a vaccine, a growing number of Americans, wary of the rapid pace of development, say they will refuse to be innoculated.

As people try to endure their unwilling ride on this grim existential rollercoaster, optimism — the belief that somehow, everything will turn out okay — is on the wane.

(read more)

Rockin’ Out in LTSpice: Simulating Classic Guitar Pedals

Hackaday - 15:00 29-10-2020

Musicians have a fantastic language to describe signals. A sound can be fat, dark, crunchy, punchy — the list goes on. These aren’t very technical terms, but they get the job done. After all, it’s much easier to ask to guitarist for a crisper sound than to ask them to sharpen the edges of the waveform, while amplifying the high-frequency

(read more)

UK police used more force in lockdown despite lower crime rates

The Guardian - 15:29 29-10-2020

Instances of police officers deploying force on members of the public were higher at the peak of lockdown than in the previous three months despite crime rates falling significantly, it can be revealed.

Analysis by Liberty Investigates and the Guardian of figures obtained through Freedom of Information laws from 32 police forces in England and Wales shows there were almost 20,000 more recorded cases of uses of force by officers, an increase of 12.5%. From April to June there were 163,749 instances, compared with 145,543 from January to March.

Significant increases in the use of force were recorded by 21 constabularies, with the largest percentage rise in West Yorkshire, where use of force – which can include handcuffing, restraint, baton and Taser – rose by 48.9%. The largest absolute rise in incidents, 59,692, was registered by the Metropolitan police, an increase in the use of force of 19% on the previous three months.

(read more)

Susan Wokoma: 'I thought that TV belonged to size zero models'

The Guardian - 15:41 29-10-2020

Following a string of strong roles on stage and TV, the actor now stars in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s latest comedy. But, not so long ago, being on television hadn’t even crossed her mind

‘I’m not Jim Carrey!’ ... Susan Wokoma.

Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian

Susan Wokoma arrives at Regent’s Park in central London in a nostalgic mood. “I was here last summer,” she says, “and it was the best summer of my life”. Wokoma, who describes herself as having been “terrified of Shakespeare” faced her fears as Bottom in Dominic Hill’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Open Air Theatre in this park, warming up on the grass each day. She was unsure about playing the comic foil, until Hill told her what he had heard about her. “He said, I know somebody who was in your year at Rada [Royal Academy of Dramatic Art] and they said your Ophelia was the best they have ever seen. It was a show to our year and teachers, so for this secret thing to be brought out as evidence … I was like, shit, I’ve got to do it now!”

(read more)

Compiling a Lisp to x86-64: Labelled procedure calls

lobste.rs - 15:32 29-10-2020

first – previous

Welcome back to the Compiling a Lisp series. Last time, we learned about Intel

instruction encoding. This time, we’re going to use that knowledge to compile

procedure calls.

The usual function expression in Lisp is a lambda — an anonymous function

that can take arguments and close over variables. Procedure calls are not

this. They are simpler constructs that just take arguments and return values.

We’re adding procedure calls first as a stepping stone to full closure support.

This will help us get some kind of internal calling convention established and

stack manipulation figured out before things get too complicated.

After this post, we will be able to support programs like the following:

( labels (( add ( code ( x y ) ( + x y )))

( sub ( code ( x y ) ( - x y ))))

( labelcall sub 4 ( labelcall add 1 2 )))

; => 1

and even this snazzy factorial function:

( labels (( factorial ( code ( x )

( if ( < x 2 ) 1 ( * x ( labelcall factorial ( - x 1 )))))))

( labelcall factorial 5 ))

; => 120

These are fairly pedestrian snippets of code but they demonstrate some new

features we are adding, like:

Ghuloum does not explain why he does this, but I imagine that the labels form

was chosen over allowing multiple separate top-level bindings because it is

easier to parse and traverse.

(read more)

Rising Covid infections in England: how worried should we be?

The Guardian - 15:41 29-10-2020

While there are signs that tier-3 restrictions are helping, cases are still rising in most regions

Coronavirus – latest updates

See all our coronavirus coverage

A member of staff collects a completed test kit at a Covid-19 testing centre in Southwark, south London.

Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

This week there has been a dramatic change in the number of deaths caused by coronavirus in England – with dire predictions for the winter ahead.

So what’s going on?

Last week, a report from Public Health England suggested new cases might be flattening off, but they now seem to be soaring: Why?

The latest figures from PHE showed that in week 42, ending 18 October, there were 101,887 cases, compared with 91,501 cases reported the week before. This amounts to an 11% increase, compared to a 30% increase in the previous week, and a 76% increase in the week before that.

These figures have been revised upwards since last week due to delays in turnaround time, but they appear to show the rise in new Covid-19 cases is slowing.

But there are important factors to consider: while national capacity for testing has increased over time, local capacity varies, which could influence the trend in some results.

In addition, the PHE data largely reflects people who have been tested for Covid because they had symptoms: surveys from the Office for National Statistics and the React-1 study by researchers at Imperial College London involve taking samples from randomly selected members of the public, meaning they are not affected by fluctuations in testing capacity, and pick up asymptomatic cases.

Both of these studies focus on cases in the community – so do not include hospital data – but vary in participant numbers and timing of data collection.

Models by the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge, meanwhile, use a number of existing datasets to model infections including those in hospitals and care homes.

All of these studies contain levels of uncertainty, but they suggest new cases are rising in most, if not all, parts of the country.

That message is backed up by data on Covid hospital admissions and deaths, which follow a similar, albeit delayed, trajectory compared with infections.

Is there any evidence that the tiered system has slowed the rate of infections?

According to Prof Steven Riley, a co-author of the React-1 study, there is evidence of a slowing in the uptick in new infections in the north-west while the epidemic may no longer be growing in the north-east – although prevalence remains high.

That may suggest tier 3 restrictions are having some impact – but infections are rising in most parts of the country.

Some reports have suggested the death rate will flatten out and not reach the peaks of the first wave , although more may die overall. What is the science behind that?

Experts say it is perfectly possible that this may happen, with the second wave more prolonged than the first.

(read more)

France will not give in to terror after Nice attack, Macron says

The Guardian - 16:13 29-10-2020

France will not give in to terror, Emmanuel Macron has said, in a call for firmness and unity after the country’s latest terrorist attack left three people dead.

The president issued a sombre but defiant message after a man armed with a knife killed two women and a man in the Notre-Dame basilica in central Nice, the second such attack in France in less than a fortnight.

The man entered the church carrying a knife with a 17cm blade around 8.30am; within 30 minutes he had killed two people and fatally injured a third.

One of the victims was a 60-year-old woman who had been in the basilica praying since shortly after it opened at about 8.30am.

France’s anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said she had her throat cut “to the point of being almost decapitated”.

A man, believed to be the church sexton, was the second victim. He was named as Vincent Loqués, 55, and a father of two children. He also reportedly had his throat cut.

A woman, aged 44, was stabbed several times and critically injured but managed to escape from the church to a nearby bar, where she died of her injuries. Police described the scene as a “vision of horror”.

City police who were first at the scene shot the killer several times after he reportedly refused to drop the knife, injuring him in the shoulder. By 9.10am the attacker had been “neutralised”. French officials praised the prompt police action in preventing further bloodshed.

The national anti-terrorist prosecutor has opened an investigation into “killings linked to a terrorist organisation”.

At a press conference on Thursday evening, Ricard said the attacker was carrying three knives – two of which were not used in the attack – and a Qur’an.

He was named by French media as Brahim Aouissaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian national who reportedly entered France illegally via Lampedusa, Italy, at the beginning of October. Aouissaoui was not carrying any identity papers apart from a document from the Italian Red Cross.

Ricard said the man was picked up by CCTV cameras at Nice station at 6.47am. “He changed his jacket and his shoes. He then walked 400m to Notre-Dame basilica. He entered at 8.29am,” the prosecutor announced.

“At 8.57am, the municipal police intervened and entered the church. The man, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, was shot.”

Ricard said investigators had established that Aouissaoui was registered at Lampedusa in Italy on 20 September and had been at the Italian Adriatic port of Bari on 9 October.

Thursday’s attack came 13 days after an 18-year-old man beheaded Samuel Paty, 47, a history teacher, outside his high school north-east of Paris. The professor had shown pupils caricatures, including one of the prophet Muhammad published in the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, during a discussion on freedom of speech.

(read more)