Let's get this part out of the way first. These are the facts:
- Being vaccinated dramatically reduces your chance of being hospitalized, and reduces the chance that you will die from COVID-19 to nearly zero.
- Being vaccinated does not prevent you from contracting the disease. It just means that you probably won't die.
- It is possible to be infectious and have no symptoms.
- The long-term consequences of this disease, even for asymptomatic infections, are still poorly understood, and scary.
- Wearing a mask is not about protecting you, it's about protecting others from you. If that doesn't matter to you, you are a sociopath.
In my humble but correct opinion, proof of vaccination before entering any business should by now be required by law nationally, but our city, state and federal governments apparently do not have the political spine to make it happen. So as usual, it's left to those of us on the front line to take care of ourselves.
We started requiring proof of vaccination this weekend. Several other bars have already been requiring that, and from what I've heard from other bar and club owners, it's going to be pretty much universal in San Francisco by next week or the week after. It sounds like just about every venue is hopping on this train, and good for them. So get used to it.
Our first two nights of requiring proof of vaccination went better than I expected. Obviously there were some unhappy people, and it slowed down entry a lot. But we had to turn away fewer than 10%, I think, and most of them didn't get belligerent about it. Our current rules are:
- Two weeks after final shot.
- Original CDC vaccination card (not a copy or photo), or:
- CA DPH vaccination QR code from
myvaccinerecord. cdph.. ca.gov
Some venues have been allowing people to enter if they show a negative COVID test within the last three days. We are not accepting negative COVID tests at all. With the short incubation period of the Delta variant, accepting negative tests makes no sense to me. People can be asymptomatic but infectious for several days before a test will return positive.
And yes, there are some people with legitimate medical conditions that mean that they cannot be vaccinated. Those people have my sympathies. But all of us had to go fifteen months without being able to party at crowded dance clubs. If you can't get the vaccine, maybe that's going to be eighteen months for you. Or longer, depending on how long the antivaxxers drag this nightmare out for all of us.
We also do not accept a photo or photocopy of your vax card. It has to be the original card. If you think that people wouldn't bother to photoshop the card, let me assure you, they will. I assume that there are already dozens of meme-generator-style sites out there that will do that for you. Faking the physical card is obviously still possible, and there are some people out there who definitely will go to all that trouble, but that requires more crafting skill. And we are a bar: spotting forged IDs is one of our core competencies.
The CA DPH QR codes are cryptographically signed, and cannot be forged. We are scanning those with the Smart Health Card Verifier app by The Commons Project. It works great.
So if someone who is vaccinated shows up without their physical card, we just have them scan that QR code on the poster where they can enter their info and get the confirmation QR code back. This worked well and was pretty quick for the vast majority of people!
Where we saw it fall down most often was for people from out of state who did not bring their physical CDC card with them. Those people aren't in the California database, so the CA DPH site won't issue them a confirmation code, and we don't let those people in, because they can't prove to us that they are actually vaccinated. That's a bummer, but we have to err on the side of caution.
Sadly, the Card Verifier app that we are using does not appear to work on QR codes issued by states other than California. One hopes that this will change eventually. I don't know the details.
The next set of angry people are those unvaccinated who say, "But I didn't know! You only told me last week that I needed to be vaccinated and that's so unfair!"
To those people, let me say: "My friend, after a full year of lockdown, you then spent all of March, April, May, June and July deciding not to get vaccinated. You are part of the reason that we are in this mess in the first place, so you can fuck right off with that 'I didn't know' crap."
And Now A Word On Masks.
CDC recommends that even the vaccinated wear masks indoors. If you are the kind of person who complains about that, it's like you're saying "My car has airbags, so why do I need to wear a seatbelt? I guess airbags don't work!"
But again, for the vaccinated, masks are less about protecting yourself and more about stopping the spread of the virus and protecting everybody else.
So for the last few weeks we have been "strongly encouraging" people to wear masks indoors. We haven't yet stepped up to actually enforcing that because, given what we have observed of the behavior of our customers, to enforce it would require us to double our security staff and we'd end up throwing out more than half of our customers when they repeatedly refused. And if we throw out half of our customers, we can't afford to be open: it would be like being back in lockdown.
This Saturday, we told every person to put their mask on before entering the club, and to please keep it on. We handed out around 200 free masks to those who claimed not to have one, before we ran out. I think about four of those masks got worn. We might as well have just set them on fire.
Persistent rumor has it that San Francisco will begin mandating masks again next week. I hope this mandate is a requirement, not a cowardly suggestion, because hopefully that will give us the legal backup we need to actually enforce it.
We still have some DNA Lounge and Dazzle masks for sale! They are lovely.
And now a few relevant zingers from elsewhere:
Despite the anti-vax crowd being immeasurably and painfully stupid, in a way I find the pouty anti-mask contingent even dumber because there's not even a needle involved.
It's just you, a tiny piece of fabric, and the requirement you have the tiniest shred of empathy.
Imagine this was an epidemic of people sticking their dicks in light sockets. Electrical grids are fried. Dick-born electrical fires kill thousands. Hospitals at capacity from penis burns. Businesses shut down. And everyone's like "Please, don't talk down to the socket-fuckers."
Music videos from this era are mostly unobtainium, at any reasonable level of quality. If you're lucky, a handful of them showed up on a long-out-of-print SD DVD compilation release in the early 90s, but generally all that is available are Nth generation VHS rips. If any of you have access to cardboard boxes of the original U-matic tapes of the MTV vault, let me know. I'll launder that shit for you.
Also, I would be remiss in not pointing out that, all dunking on MTV's decades-long irrelevance aside, we are living through the Golden Age of Music Video right now. Three years ago, on the occasion of my 200th mixtape, I did a mixtape of The Greatest Music Videos Of All Time, and in that post I said:
My first draft of this mixtape was seven hours long, and it still felt woefully incomplete.
Though I will eagerly argue that Russell Mulcahy both invented the music video and closed the book on the genre, if you were to make that claim, I'd be quick to tell you how wrong you were and point out that we are absolutely living in the golden age of the music video right now. The accessibility of the tools of production and distribution was supposed to transform the music industry into this cornucopia of new voices, and it so, so did not -- the corporations locked that shit down tight. But for music videos... it kinda did... These days a band with $10k can put together a video that is every bit as high quality and insane as something that in the 80s or 90s would have taken $10M and a crew of 80, and that's not just some tech-cheerleader cliché, small bands are actually doing that and it's amazing.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. Rock and roll."
Here's how you fight the "Mark All Read" boss in the world's worst video game, "Facebook Inbox".
The interns are running the asylum.
The unique thing about this is that it uses HD video, and not one, but two monitors, plus a sheet of beam splitter glass to create a reflection that gets folded back in to the image.
It's a delicate art to operate the device, an interplay between the camera and monitors, the position of the monitors, and the monitor control dials (hue, saturation, brightness and contrast). Doing controlled feedback like this requires these control dials, but most HD TVs and monitors don't have analog knobs like old CRT TVs did, making it difficult to create controlled feedback in HD. [...]
All the images in this video are created by video feedback only - no computers are involved. The upper and lower monitors both display the same thing - the image from the camera, which is looking at the upper monitor. This creates a video feedback loop (much like a microphone next to a speaker creates an audio feedback loop).
"Beyond their effect on local weather, wildfires are becoming large enough, and intense enough, to have a material effect on climate," said John Fasullo, the lead author of the study. "In this work, we demonstrate their potential to influence climate variability. We are still in the process of understanding other aspects."
Fasullo and his colleagues concluded that the 2019-2020 Australian wildfire season resulted in 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit of cooling by mid-2020. The cooling, however, was tacked atop a continued net warming of the climate and had a negligible effect on slowing the pace of human-induced climate change from fossil fuel burning. [...]
The most intense wildfires produced pyrocumulonimbus clouds, or enormous plumes of smoke, ash and other aerosols, like sulfur dioxide, that towered to heights of up to 19 miles. Those fire-induced mushroom clouds ejected aerosols into the stratosphere, which surfed the jet stream eastward and gradually dispersed. The result was a volcano-like cooling of the global climate.
Smoke from wildfires has a range of effects on the Earth's climate. Black carbon actually absorbs solar radiation and heats the atmosphere, while other organic materials reflect or scatter light, yielding cooling. Smoke occasionally helps seed cloud development, blocking incoming sunlight but also retains outgoing heat. Sulphur dioxide aerosols can be converted into sulfuric acid, blocking incoming sunlight and also contributing to the destruction of ozone. Researchers noticed a "localized stratospheric ozone-hole."
Water thieves -- likely working for illicit marijuana operations -- had pulled water from remote filling stations and tapped into fire hydrants, improperly shutting off valves and triggering a chain reaction that threatened the water supply of nearly 300 homes.
Bandits in water trucks are backing up to rivers and lakes and pumping free water they sell on a burgeoning black market. Others, under cover of darkness, plug into city hydrants and top up. Thieves also steal water from homes, farms and private wells, and some even created an elaborate system of dams, reservoirs and pipelines during the last drought. Others are MacGyvering break-ins directly into pressurized water mains, a dangerous and destructive approach known as hot-tapping. [...]
But, again, the thieves are a step ahead. When it became clear that law enforcement was on the lookout for suspicious water tankers, thieves shifted to putting 275-gallon water cubes in the back of their pickups or on trailers. More recently, they have taken to renting U-Haul vans to hide their cargo. Any conveyance with space to carry is put to work: Bostwick said someone in the area is driving around an old fire truck, and another guy is using what appears to be a converted airline fuel tanker.
Oregon's largest wildfire so far this season, the Bootleg Fire, has burned nearly 400,000 acres spreading approximately four square miles a day across the southern parts of the state. At the time of this report, the flames spread through one fifth of forests set aside for carbon offsets in the immediate area. [...]< P>Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.
A carbon offset can take many forms, but the large majority in the United States are created under the designation: Improved Forest Management. To be considered as this type of offset, the landowner must show that their forest performs above average as a carbon reducer when compared with other forests. Once approved, they earn a credit for every ton of CO2 their forests absorb. Those credits can be sold to a company looking to compensate for their own emissions, allowing them to claim carbon neutrality. The company can then hold or trade the credits until they are submitted to the government for compliance purposes. Credits aren't like traditional currency; once it's submitted, it is considered "retired" and cannot be used again. [...]
When wildfires burn up carbon offsets, it's not the responsibility of the landowner, the buyer of the credit, or the seller of the credit to evaluate whether that carbon credit still represents a metric ton of CO2 absorbed by trees. In reality, those trees represented by the credit may have burned up in the Bootleg Fire or the Chuweah Creek and Summit Trail fires burning on the Eastern Washington offset.
And if in only one or two seasons of wildfires, these wildfires strip away at the offset buffer pool, climate change will likely collect more of these carbon credits than CARB is prepared for.
Before the weekend the White House took a stand against Facebook's role in creating, maintaining, and protecting America's deadly anti-vax cultures and their spread of misinformation in a strongly worded press conference. This was followed by President Biden stating to press that Facebook is "killing people" (true); Biden walked back and softened that sentiment the next day. It's beyond disappointing.
Facebook countered with a brag about a tiny percentage of Americans having seen pro-vaccine material on the site, and a post by the founder of Facebook's VPN app that was later revealed to be spyware that paid kids for their data: former Israeli cyberspy Guy Rosen's post chided the Biden admin and basically said everyone should thank Facebook for what little it has done.
NYT dutifully reported Facebook PR's whitewash, saying that the company has a "blind spot" and doesn't know the data, which is, of course, literally impossible. Fire those reporters. Former Facebook VP Brian Boland went on CNN to say yeah, Facebook totally has the data and knows everything about how many people they're killing.
juliacarriew: "One thing to try to resist w/ the Biden v Facebook anti-vaxx debate is Facebook's concerted efforts to keep everyone's memory incredibly short. Facebook was actively promoting anti-vaxxer groups to people searching for vaccine information in 2019"
Guardian: "How Facebook groups bring people closer together – neo-Nazis included!"
Former Israeli spy Guy Rosen is quite a piece of work:
Facebook's "VP of Integrity" is the co-founder of the company that built the spyware for teenagers (remember when Facebook lost access to all their iOS apps because they broke their contract so they could steal data from users?).
Israeli Cyber Unit Veterans Help Facebook Destroy Competition: "Onavo was founded in 2011 by Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger, both veterans of the Israel Defense Forces secret cyber intel Unit 8200."
Unit 8200, you say? Yousef Munayyer:
The focus of the story around NSO now raises questions about this corporation, its surveillance technology being solid to abusive regimes and the fact that the Israeli government licenses these sales. But the involvement in the Israeli state in these practices and outcomes is not limited to licensing of a private corporation's sales. Rather, it plays a central role in the development, testing, and perfecting of this technology.
NSO was founded and is likely largely staffed by individuals who came through the Israeli Military's Unit 8200 which is responsible for intelligence collection and surveillance through signals intel, i.e. cyber espionage. Who do you think they are using these methods on?
Israel's surveillance of Palestinians is extensive and it treats Palestinians as a laboratory where its technology can be tested and perfected. What makes the Palestinian population unique is that as a non-citizen population ruled by the state, there are far fewer (almost none) limitations on violating their privacy.