Architecture fail

Rincon Center has this central waterfall in the middle of its huge atrium. For years, there has been a sign next to it saying, and I paraphrase, "Stop whining at us about wasting water, this thing is a part of the building's HVAC system, we're so green."

But now, it's turned off, and there's a new sign that says "No waterfall for you, because drought."


Also: this fountain is one of my favorite examples of design not surviving contact with The Enemy. The water lands in this flat circular area that is level with the rest of the floor, pooling only about half an inch deep before draining off at the edges, like a small-scale "infinity pool".

But it's surrounded by sixteen absolutely hideous planters that look completely out of place, and break everything up.

I guarantee those planters weren't a part of the plan. I'm certain that they went in on day two after they realized that 50% of the people passing through the building just blindly walked underneath the waterfall and got soaked.

Which would be the best feature ever. They should have left it alone. That would have never stopped being funny!

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge update: Wherein the Second Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge is upon us.

(I'm just gonna repost this here, because I really want you to read these Important Informations.)

In just a week and a half, we're celebrating the coming war between man and the brotherhood of machines by going out for drinks! Did you get your tickets yet? Let me introduce you to our confirmed contestants so far:

Alcohol from the skies! Protective gear will be provided -- but you're gonna get wet.
N. E. BREE-8:
"A robot may not, through inaction, allow a human being to come to sobriety."
Tipsy Train:
An unstoppable LEGO juggernaut on wheels! Think Snowpiercer but with alcoholism instead of cannibalism.

"I suggest a new strategy, Sir: Let the Artoo unit win."
This rocket ship makes Cosmopolitans, Cape Cods and Kamikazes, using old-school knobs and dials for that 50s retro flavor.
The Tea Engine:
Dial in your classic tea service in style from a rotary telephone!
We have extended the registration deadline, so if you think you can pull something together in time, you still have a shot!

We also have as our special guest DJ: Robot Dance Party, San Francisco's own ambulatory sound system, recently perp-walked out of Dolores Park for being just too awesome!

Here is our panel of celebrity judges for this year:

Hosted, of course, by the inimitable MC Kingfish of Hubba Hubba Revue.

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G.I. Jane

Here's a short film about The Patriarchy, in case you didn't watch Mixtape 156:

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein no ducks are given.

XScreenSaver 5.33

XScreenSaver 5.33 out now. iOS version, too.

  • New hacks, Splitflap and Romanboy. There are some fun, physical-glitch behaviors in splitflap. Keep looking.

  • Better detection of user activity on modern (ha) GNOME systems.

  • Sonar now does asynchronous host name resolution.

  • Vastly improved Unicrud and Z̧"̘̖̫̱̖͉̬͈̥͔̳͎̝͜͡A"͍̹̮̺͓̤̺̺̖̤̥̖͍͎̙̫̫͙̜L͉̹̙͎̻̱̳̦͢͞Ǵ̶̷̛̠̠͕̯͖͈̟̝̮ͅǪ̩͔̪̲͍̹̩͕̕͠͝ͅ support.

  • Performance improvements on MacOS and iOS.

  • The Android port is coming along nicely. It's not quite to the point where it's time for me to post an .apk file yet, but it's getting there. If you have an Android development system, please give it a spin and let us know how it works for you. xscreensaver/android/README.

  • And, you know, other stuff.

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Mark your calendars

Upcoming events of note:

Fri, Jul 03:   Turbo Drive: Dance With The Dead @ DNA Lounge
Thu, Jul 09:   Doe Eye @ NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences
Fri, Jul 10:   Veruca Salt @ Slim's
Sun, Jul 12:   Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge @ DNA Lounge
Mon, Jul 13:   Shellac @ New Parish
Fri, Jul 17:   So Stoked: Time Machine @ DNA Lounge
(The candy rave is doing a steampunk night. This is the best worst idea ever.)
Fri, Jul 17:   Melissa Brooks & The Aquadolls @ DNA Lounge
Fri, Jul 17:   Little Boots @ Popscene
Sun, Jul 19:   Dead Sara @ DNA Lounge
Mon, Jul 20:   Tamaryn @ Rickshaw Stop
Thu, Jul 23:   Big Talk @ DNA Lounge
Thu, Jul 23:   Charli XCX @ Fox
Fri, Jul 24:   Shura @ Popscene
Mon, Jul 27:   Jamie XX @ Bimbo's
Wed, Jul 29:   Happy Fangs @ Rickshaw Stop
Thu, Jul 30:   Chemical Brothers @ The Armory
Fri, Aug 07:   Outside Lands
Tue, Aug 11:   Screaming Females @ Rickshaw Stop
Wed, Aug 12:   King Raam @ DNA Lounge
Tue, Aug 25:   Savages @ Great American Music Hall
Wed, Aug 26:   Mstrkrft @ Mezzanine
Thu, Sep 03:   On An On @ Popscene
Thu, Sep 17:   Thrill Kill Kult @ DNA Lounge
Fri, Sep 18:   Joywave @ Popscene
Fri, Sep 18:   Dollyrots @ Bottom of the Hill
Fri, Sep 18:   Severed Heads @ Elbo Room
Wed, Sep 23:   Say Lou Lou @ The Independent
Fri, Sep 25:   Front 242 @ Mezzanine
Fri, Oct 02:   Duran Duran @ Greek Theatre
Tue, Oct 06:   Say Hi To Your Mom @ The Independent
Wed, Oct 07:   Garbage @ Fox
Thu, Oct 15:   Wolf Alice @ The Chapel

What have you got?

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How to build your own Bene Gesserit Pain Box

Exhibit A:

And people say I'm hard to shop for.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Helper often speaks of the coming war between man and the brotherhood of machines.

Worker killed by Volkswagen robot

A 21 year old external contractor was installing the robot together with a colleague when he was struck in the chest by the robot and pressed against a metal plate. He later died of his injuries.

A Volkswagen spokesman stressed that the robot was not one of the new generation of lightweight collaborative robots that work side-by-side with workers on the production line and forgo safety cages.

VW said the robot had not suffered a technical defect.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective:

There are various objections to expanding the conventional, up-tight, as-God-intended "one man, one woman" notion of marriage but by far the least plainly bigoted ones I am aware of are the bureaucratic ones.

To be blunt, the systems aren't set up to handle it. The paper forms have a space for the husband's name and a space for the wife's name. Married people carefully enter their details in block capitals and post the forms off to depressed paper-pushers who then type that information into software front-ends whose forms are laid out and named in precisely the same fashion. And then they hit "submit" and the information is filed away electronically in databases which simply keel over or belch integrity errors when presented with something so profound as a man and another man who love each other enough to want to file joint tax returns.

[...] Believe it or not, this is actually a fractionally less stupid database schema.

  • males
    • id
    • forename
    • surname
    • birthdate
    • wife_id (unique foreign key references column, may be NULL if male is unmarried)
  • females
    • id
    • forename
    • surname
    • birthdate

This reduces the scope for ambiguity but it has suddenly become eye-poppingly sexist. Plus, what if you want to store information pertaining to the marriage itself? Like, the date it began?

Keep reading as he explains why you can't marry yourself, expands his database schema to cover polygamy, and eventually intransitive marriages:

The legal ramifications of what I'm about to describe are unguessable. I have no idea what rights a civil union like the ones which would be possible below would have, nor do I have any idea what kind of transhuman universe would require so complex a system. This is the marriage database schema to take us up to the thirty-first century, people.


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jwz mixtape 156

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 156.

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Current Music: as noted