DNA Lounge: Wherein we get another ticket for loitering on our own sidewalk.

We got another ticket this Saturday night around midnight, which was (in writing) for "Violating the Good Neighbor Policy", and was (verbally) for "blocking the sidewalk". Same as on New Year's Eve.

I guess I can assume that we're going to be getting one of these tickets every week from now on. The last time, Barry wasted at least 6 hours standing in line to find out that the ticket was "invalid". Forcing my managers to waste a day a week standing around at the Hall of Justice is going to prove to be very expensive very quickly, even if these tickets don't end up costing a fine as well.

Here's how Saturday night went:

At around 11pm, the notorious Officer Bertrand pulled up in front of DNA in an unmarked car (continuing to make good on his threat that we'd be "seeing a lot more of him"). He barked that we needed "to do something about the sidewalk", then drove his car across the street to Butter, which apparently got shut down for capacity issues. (Accomplishing this apparently took four squad cars, plus the unmarked Bertrand/Ott car. Butter is not a big place.)

At 11:30pm, Sgt. Mannix arrived and began yelling at our back-door security to "have the line cleared off the sidewalk".

At the time, we had an orderly double-file line up against the wall running down to the corner. The sidewalk was not even remotely blocked: there was five or six feet of open space between the line and the curb. Nevertheless, Mannix screamed that if the line wasn't dispersed immediately, we were getting a citation, and our customers were going to be cited for "loitering".

After rooting around in the police car trunk and pulling out what looked like riot gear, Mannix videotaped our line for a few minutes, then said, "this isn't working", and ordered another officer to write us a ticket. This order was given with obvious glee. The elapsed time between being ordered to turn away our customers and getting the ticket was thirteen minutes. During that time, we had cleared away sixty feet of the line, in a calm, safe and orderly manner, but apparently that wasn't fast enough for SF's screaming finest.

I emphasize that it was still before midnight, on a Saturday.

The officer who actually wrote the ticket made a point of saying that he was sorry that he had been ordered to write it, and that in the five years that this had been his beat, we'd always kept very good control of our events, and that our staff had been helpful to the police on many occasions.

Later, it got even crazier: at 1:55am, a number of cops on foot, plus 6 marked and at least 2 unmarked police cars converged on Mist, across the street. An unmarked vehicle closed off the northbound side of 11th Street, and the police began herding people down the block. There were no apparent arrests, just a big, unnecessary show of force. We kept our customers inside until the gang of police dispersed at 2:05am.

DNA's staff are unaware of any triggering incident. Mist had a thuggy crowd, but there didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary about them.

I guess we can expect to see these gestapo tactics every weekend as well, since SFPD seem to feel that that approach worked so great for them when they "cleaned up" North Beach.

As you may recall, their approach in North Beach was to block off the streets every night so that even the taxis couldn't reach the clubs to pick up customers. Their assumption seems to have been that if you make going to a club feel like walking through a war zone, then the customers will stop coming and the clubs will go out of business. It turns out that this is true, and Sgt. (now Commander) Dudley got a promotion out of this tactic.

Why isn't Mayor Newsom doing or saying anything about this? Now that he's no longer running for Governor, it's about time for him to stop being an absentee landlord and do something about the fact that his wildly out-of-control police department is trying to systematically destroy the city's nightlife and tourism industry. Perhaps you should write him and ask.

This is some serious bullshit, people.

I wonder how often other businesses get ticketed for their customers blocking the sidewalk. For example, Macy's, Whole Foods, Bi-Rite Creamery, the Apple Store, Caltrain, the Westfield Mall, or the Powell cable car turnaround.

In fact, would you like to help out? Send me some videos of "blocked sidewalks" around town in front of "reputable" businesses during the day.

Why don't these places get cited? I'll tell you why: because SFPD does not have an anti-groceries agenda like they have an anti-nightlife agenda, so they enforce their ridiculously-rigid (and incorrect) interpretation of the laws only against those businesses that they are trying to destroy.


Illegal Genetic Opcodes of the New Atomic Supermen.

So, there's this:

Genetic code 2.0: Life gets a new operating system

In the genetic code that life has used up to now, there are 64 possible triplet combinations of the four nucleotide letters; these genetic "words" are called codons. Each codon either codes for an amino acid or tells the cell to stop making a protein chain. Now Chin's team have created 256 blank four-letter codons that can be assigned to amino acids that don't even exist yet.

To achieve this, the team had to redesign three pieces of the cellular machinery that make proteins. But they didn't stop there. The team went on to prove their new genetic code works by assigning two "unnatural" amino acids to their quadruplet codons, and incorporated them into a protein chain.

But last month there was this: Horizontal and vertical: The evolution of evolution

The essence of the genetic code is that sequences of three consecutive bases, known as codons, correspond to specific amino acids. [...] There are 64 codons in total and 20 amino acids, which means that the code has some redundancy, with multiple codons specifying the same amino acid.

This code is universal, shared by all organisms, and biologists have long known that it has remarkable properties. In the early 1960s, for example, Woese himself pointed out that one reason for the code's deep tolerance for errors was that similar codons specify either the same amino acid or two with similar chemical properties. Hence, a mutation of a single base, while changing a codon, will tend to have little effect on the properties of the protein being produced.

In 1991, geneticists David Haig and Lawrence Hurst at the University of Oxford went further, showing that the code's level of error tolerance is truly remarkable. They studied the error tolerance of an enormous number of hypothetical genetic codes, all built from the same base pairs but with codons associated randomly with amino acids. They found that the actual code is around one in a million in terms of how good it is at error mitigation. "The actual genetic code," says Goldenfeld, "stands out like a sore thumb as being the best possible."

And all of this really reminds me of this: MOS Technology 6502, Bugs and quirks:

The original 6502 and its NMOS derivatives are noted for having a variety of undocumented instructions, which vary from one chip manufacturer to the next. The 6502's instruction decoding is implemented in a hardwired logic array (similar to a programmable logic array) which is only defined for 151 of the 256 available opcodes. The remaining 105 trigger strange and hard-to-predict actions (e.g., immediately crashing the processor, performing several valid instructions at once, or simply doing nothing at all).

Eastern House Software developed the "Trap65", a device that plugged between the processor and its socket to convert (trap) unimplemented opcodes into BRK (software interrupt) instructions. Some programmers utilized this feature to extend the 6502's instruction set by providing functionality for the unimplemented opcodes with specially written software intercepted at the BRK instruction's 0xFFFE vector.

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