Charles R. Garry, left, Black Panther attorney, accused San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto of provoking incidents that led to disorders in the Black Fillmore district in San Francisco, Monday, April 29, 1969. Garry, in a wheel chair at Mt. Zion Hospital where he will undergo surgery, is shown at press conference with Black Panther Bobby Seale, minister of information, and Kathleen Cleaver. (AP Photo/Ernest Bennett)
Charles R. Garry, left, Black Panther attorney, accused San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto of provoking incidents that led to disorders in the Black Fillmore district in San Francisco, Monday, April 29, 1969. Garry, in a wheel chair at Mt. Zion Hospital where he will undergo surgery, is shown at press conference with Black Panther Bobby Seale, minister of information, and Kathleen Cleaver. (AP Photo/Ernest Bennett)

October 22 is Robert George Seale (aka Bobby Seale) birthday. He is a political activist and author famously known for co-founding the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which its main practice was monitoring police activities and challenging police brutality in Black communities, first in Oakland, California, and later in cities throughout the United States.

Seale was one of the Chicago Eight charged by the US federal government with conspiracy charges related to anti-Vietnam War protests in Chicago, Illinois, during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. In that trial, Seale was infamously ordered by the judge, Julius Hoffman, to appear in court bound and gagged.

He is a hero to all black people, dedicating his life to free black people from systemic injustice and discrimination. The Black Panther Party, which he founded with fellow Huey P. Newton, instituted the Free Breakfast for Children Programs to address food injustice, and community health clinics for education and treatment of diseases including sickle cell anemia, tuberculosis, and later HIV/AIDS. It advocated for class struggle, with the party representing the proletarian vanguard.

Scholars have characterized the Black Panther Party as the most influential black movement organization of the late 1960s, and “the strongest link between the domestic Black Liberation Struggle and global opponents of American imperialism”.

Since 2013, Seale has been seeking to produce a screenplay he wrote based on his autobiography, Seize the Time: The Eighth Defendant. Seale co-authored Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers, a 2016 book with photographer Stephen Shames.

In 2020, Seale was portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Aaron Sorkin’s film, The Trial of the Chicago 7. In 2021, Seale is mentioned in the movie Judas and the Black Messiah by a policeman commenting on a drawing of him tied up at the trial.

Happy birthday Bobby. May we reach the goals you’re fighting for.

Today is the first Global Encryption Day. On this day, we ask people to Make the Switch to encrypted services like Tor. Encryption is our most vital and important tool against surveillance and privacy/security-violating services and programs.

Our digital life is secured and private because of encryption. Encryption allows us to survive the dangerous time we’re living in. When our data is collected in every way possible, encryption makes us able to fight; to fight for our lives, fight for our privacy, fight for our security, fight for our freedoms, and fight for our rights.

When governments and organizations/corporations are trying hard to profile us in any way possible, encryption makes us able to resist. When everybody is trying to violate our privacy, or jeopardize our basic human rights, encryption makes us able to resist.

On Global Encryption Day we ask people to switch to encrypted services and programs:

  • For instant messaging, I use XMPP which is encrypted by OMEMO,
  • For voice/video calls, I use Jitsi, which has end-to-end encryption,
  • I only use web sites that encrypt my connection using TLS (HTTPS),
  • I use GNU+Linux operating system which lets me encrypt my computers’ hard drive,
  • I use LUKS/LVM to encrypt my portable hard drives,
  • I use GPG/PGP to encrypt my emails,
  • I use KeePassXC which encrypts my password vault,
  • I use Nextcloud which encrypts my files on the cloud,
  • and I use many more services and programs use encryption to make sure I’m private and secure.

In honor of this inaugural Global Encryption Day, the Tor Project, along with 148 other organizations and businesses have signed the Global Encryption Day Statement, calling on governments and businesses to reject efforts to undermine encryption and instead pursue policies that enhance, strengthen, and promote use of strong encryption to protect people everywhere.

As an individual, you can get involved with Global Encryption Day by:

Picture of two kids. The left one didn't receive the smallpox vaccine and has smallpox all over him, the right one has received the vaccine and is not infected.
The right kid received the smallpox vaccine, the left one hasn’t.

This is a genuine photograph that was taken in the early 1900s by Dr. Allan Warner of the Isolation Hospital at Leicester in the UK. Warner photographed a number of smallpox patients in order to study the disease.

The two photographed boys were the same age and both had smallpox. The only difference is that one of them was vaccinated and the other was not. The smallpox vaccine was one of the oldest man-made vaccines that many people refused to inject due to fear and superstition, and as a result the disease was not completely eradicated.

Dr. Warner believed that the best way to challenge fear and misinformation about vaccination was to show the horror of the disease and the clear evidence of vaccination in the workplace through photography. Smallpox was eradicated worldwide after widespread vaccination in the 1960s and 1970s in the early 1980s.

The Internet Archive has digitized the atlas of clinical medicine, surgery, and pathology. From page 426, you can see various pictures that anti-vaxxers probably don’t want you to see.

Vaccination has helped us to survive, and it’ll do the same in future.

Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Telegram messenger, say that they shut down three Telegram channels that incited violence against doctors and health officials.

There’s a sentence at the end of his note, he said “It’s OK to fight for your rights. It’s not OK to harm other people.”

Censorship restricts us from actually knowing what was the target, what it meant to do, and how would it impact people’s lives. Censorship restricts us from knowing what was the intention and was it good or bad. Another problem with censorship is that it doesn’t actually change the world outside.

Those who say we should harm a doctor who says we should lock up unvaccinated people, will do it eventually in a way. Censoring their belief won’t change them, it even can’t stop spreading such ideas. Nobody, absolutely nobody, will think that “maybe I’m wrong” after being censored.

None of their audience won’t think “maybe I shouldn’t listen to that person” after censoring that person. We don’t (and won’t) see such thing in real world.

Censorship is usually a form of surrender to power, which is understandable, but some people like Durov want to justify their surrender with a moral view. They want to hide behind one moral issue in order to hide another immorality. Like, if I didn’t do it, something would’ve happened to people; wrong Pavel, you just censored a channel, you didn’t change any view.

One would argue that censoring such channels would stop spreading such ideas. I would argue that one who wants to spread this kind of ideas would find its ways. They won’t be restricted or limited to one Telegram channel and Telegram is not the only place for them, it’s not even the safest.

Do you really think censoring people will stop their belief and ideas from spreading? Have you learned nothing from history?

Often when we tell someone that what one is referring to an specific ideology is not correct, they argue that whenever they criticize our ideology, we tell them the same thing: This is not real [ideology]!

That is because we can’t control people. People are free and because of that freedom, they do stuff. One is to talk freely and a consequence of that is that they ca claim they’re followers of an ideology. When the number of those people grow, people naturally see those people as a mirror of what that ideology is.

For example, many people see Stalin and some other dictators as how communism works. Or see crazy anti-men people as feminists, or see nerdy insecure people as computer programmers.

An ideology has specific set of principles and rules. Everyone can claim they’re followers of an ideology but unless you follow those specific principles, you’re not truly that ideologist.

When people tell you they’re follower of an ideology, or when you want to judge an ideology based on those who claim to be its followers, you have to first understand the principles of that ideology and judge whether those people are following those principles.

Yes. Most of the times what you see is not the real and correct implementation of that ideology, simply because the principles of that ideology are ignored. Be smart about this.

The last two years were difficult for everybody. Well not everybody, many capitalists got richer because of the situation and many lived an easy life because of their wealth. But it was pretty hard for rest of us. The crisis is still ongoing and many still are in danger or face restrictions.

Honestly, my life hasn’t been much changed much. I spend most of my time alone and I don’t have much to do with people. Socializing is not my thing and I have a very small circle of friends. I’ve traveled during this time and I have spent some time with my family, like I always did. So not much changes here.

I appreciate being alive and I appreciate every big and small thing happened in my life which formed the current me. However, I’ve been thinking about how I’m here where I am and found out that every small thing happened in my life were as effective as every major one. Every small thing changed me a little and directed me to where I’m standing.

In fact, if it wasn’t for those small things, I wouldn’t be here. I appreciate small joys of my life. I appreciate them as much as I appreciate every other small major happiness or sadness I experienced or am going to experience.

For example, since 2012 when I got familiar with free software, I admired what Richard Stallman does and now I get the chance of working with him in GNU Project, directly. Or since about a year ago, Alexandre Oliva follows me on a social network I’m in.

I love the happiness I feel when I buy new clothes. I love the happiness I feel when I but a new accessory for myself. I feel alive when I eat a new food. I feel joy when someone thanks me for what I did for them. Like, every week, I get few messages from people who are new in free software movement and they tell me they’re contributing to the movement because my work inspired them; that makes me feel I’m the coolest person alive.

I enjoy my life with these little things. Small things that may not matter for anybody else. I enjoy being alive exactly for these little stuff. I know the day I don’t get happy for these small stupid stuff, I’m not alive any more.

I’m very happy that I can write a blog. I’m very happy that I can talk to people I love. I’m very happy to have few very good friends. I’m very happy I own my own business and I work with people I like.

I’m very happy because I can go to beach. I’m very happy because I give love to people. I’m very happy because I help those in need. I’m very happy because I have no regrets, I know I did what I could, maybe I could do better, maybe not, but I have no regrets.

I’m happy, I’m hopeful, and I’m alive.

I always encourage people to use RSS or Atom feeds to subscribe to people’s blogs but many people need an introduction and explanation about RSS and Atom.

Let’s talk about RSS, as it’s not much different with Atom. RSS is basically a web feed that is readable by computers. A web feed is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content. It means that whenever the blog or news feed gets updated, the user can receive the update in user’s feed aggregator.

Writers or so-called content distributors syndicate a web feed, thereby allowing users to subscribe a channel to it by adding the feed address to a feed aggregator client (also called a feed reader or a news reader).

The information could be blog entries, news headlines, or audio or video files. RSS documents usually contain complete or summarized text, metadata, and author and publishing information.

There are some distinct advantages to using RSS. Instead of visiting the individual websites, RSS feeds can help provide users with updates and information from different sites in one convenient place. For example, instead of visiting 30 websites every day, I just open my feed aggregator and hit the update button, and I get the latest published writings or media from those blogs or news sites I’m subscribed to.

With RSS, subscribing doesn’t need email! You won’t be asked to give away your email address to any blog or site, and that site won’t be able to sell your data to anyone. RSS just simply visits or opens the blog’s RSS file and checks for new writings or media, and will show it to you in a human-readable way.

Just like how you read this blog post on your web browser, but RSS gives you ability to read everything on your own computer without being forced to open my blog.

Sample of a feed aggregator program (Liferea), featuring Chris Wiegman‘s blog post.

So what is Atom?

“The Atom Syndication Format is an XML language used for web feeds, while the Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub or APP) is a simple HTTP-based protocol for creating and updating web resources.” That was Wikipedia. In human terms, Atom is basically RSS with extra steps.

I personally prefer Atom feeds over RSS ones because Atom benefits from on-going innovation and is a standard. The Atom Syndication Format was published as an IETF proposed standard in RFC 4287 in December 2005, and the Atom Publishing Protocol was published as RFC 5023 two years later, in October 2007.

While the RSS vocabulary has a mechanism to indicate a human language for the feed, there is no way to specify a language for individual items or text elements. Atom, on the other hand, uses the standard xml:lang attribute to make it possible to specify a language context for every piece of human-readable content in the feed.

Also, the Atom working group chose to use timestamps formatted according to the rules specified by RFC 3339 (which is a subset of ISO 8601, my favorite time format).

How to use it really?

Subscribing to blog feeds may be the easiest thing you can do with your computer. First thing you need is a feed aggregator program. I use Liferea, which is a free (libre) program. There are a lot of other programs you can install. Thunderbird and Evolution email clients come with a built-in feed aggregator. If you use Nextcloud, the Nextcloud News app is super cool. Another suggestion is Akregator which is developed by KDE.

Second, you need to go to blogs or news sites you like and grab their RSS or Atom feed URLs. They usually provide their URLs somewhere in their site, possibly using the “subscribe” or similar phrases. An easy way to detect feed URLs is using web browser add-ons. I use Feed Indicator add-on on my Firefox-based browser. You can search similar terms to find more add-ons.

Third, you should copy the link of the RSS or Atom feed and paste it in your feed aggregator program new subscription form, and hit subscribe or OK or whatever it is. You’ll find out.

That’s it. You can now ask your program to update the feeds to get latest published writings or media on your favorite blogs or sites.

As you see in the picture, murder rate in U.S. has a direct relationship with use of the Internet Explorer. Judging based on the picture and stats provided in it, I can assume using Firefox decreases the murder rate in U.S. and is helpful for people’s security and health.

You could say this is bullshit, but I presented stats and you can’t prove what I’m saying is wrong. You may say it’s completely unrelated and there are many many other really influential factors about amount of murder, but I can simply deny all the facts you present and stick with my own stats and judgement.

You can’t convince me, I have the stats, I have all those articles presented with these stats, and I can see the relationship between them. The lack of proper knowledge and reasoning in me will prevent me from having a proper discussion or debate with you.

The problem with many of us who enter endless discussions is that we’re filled with wrong set of ideas about the discussion and the person we’re debating. We don’t accept any fact or idea unless it supports our mindset. We don’t accept anything that may suggest we’re wrong.

We pick sides and we get filled with ideas of people on our side, while we can’t see anything on the other side(s). I don’t know what is that, pride, false confidence, desire for power and dominance, or else, but I can see that in myself and many many other people, and it’s wrong.

Maybe one day we change this, or maybe we don’t. Whatever we do, I’m sure ones we can trust and talk to won’t relate murder rate with Internet Explorer, or maybe they will?

I’m not sure which variant of COVID I got. For past two weeks, I’ve been experiencing worst feelings I’ve ever known. I was/am constantly tired, full of pain and unable to taste or smell stuff. I’ve been hospitalized for past four days and it’s the first day I’m off of hospital.

I’m better now. I got Remdesivir as medical treatment and doctors took a good care of me. Currently, I get tired after few minutes of activity but doctors say it’s normal. They ask me to drink liquids a lot, specially juice and water, and get Vitamin C.

They also asked me to get rest a lot and eat food (even if I’m not hungry because of the virus) because it’s essential to regain my energy.

One thing that helped me a lot during this time was my health insurance. My previous insurance was expired starting this year (Persian Jalali calendar) and I was not insured. The previous one was from family company but starting this year I was not eligible for it and I forgot to get public insurance until I was about to get hospitalized.

However, lucky us, there’s a great insurance system in this country. Every person is eligible to get medically insured by government. There are different types of insurance and people can choose between them, paying different fees based on your need but the basic plan which covers all public hospitals is free.

I signed up for the basic plan the day before I went to hospital and my insurance started the day I went to the hospital. All my bills were covered by government and I paid only 20% of the costs because of the insurance. The treatment was expensive and I would’ve face some difficulties paying all the bills without insurance.

Many people are facing a lot of difficulties during these times. The economic situation in whole world is pretty messed up and many are unemployed, facing trouble to live a normal life yet to be able to pay for expensive treatments for COVID.

I always advocated for public health insurance from government. I don’t care how some rich people may oppose it or how some people throw shitty “economic” reasons in the conversation but everybody deserves health insurance and nobody should be forced to pay a lot of money to get taken care of in hospital. Nobody should be full of stress about whether one can pay for one’s health or not.

I am proud that I live in a country with public health insurance and I will encourage everyone to vote for such system if there’s none where one lives. It’s basic human right and it’s needed for all.