Oh good, RSS spam.

Either Feedly or Newsify (I don't know which) has begun inserting "sponsored posts" "ads" spam into my RSS feed.

Is there still no better iOS alternative to this bullshit?

Previously, previously.

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"They are turning OUR atmosphere into THEIR atmosphere."

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes' promised utopia -- still being eagerly awaited in the '60s -- never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn't figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we've collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment's reflection shows it can't really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the '20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers. [...]

It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the sort of very problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don't really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens. [...]

There's a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call "the market" reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever met a corporate lawyer who didn't think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting, will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely. Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one's job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It's not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish.

Previously.

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At Safe Streets Rally, SFPD Blocks Bike Lane to Make Point of Victim-Blaming

Keep it klassy, Sgt. Ernst.

San Francisco Police Sergeant Richard Ernst apparently decided that the best way to make Folsom Street safer was to purposefully park his car in the bike lane this morning and force bicycle commuters into motor traffic.

Staff from the SF Bicycle Coalition were out at Folsom and Sixth Streets, handing out flyers calling for safety improvements on SoMa's freeway-like streets in the wake of the death of Amelie Le Moullac, who was run over at the intersection last week by a truck driver who appeared to have made an illegal right-turn across the bike lane on to Sixth.

When Ernst arrived on the scene, he didn't express sympathy for Le Moullac and other victims, or show support for safety improvements. Instead, he illegally parked his cruiser in the bike lane next to an empty parking space for up to 10 minutes, stating that he wanted to send a message to people on bicycles that the onus was on them to pass to the left of right-turning cars. He reportedly made no mention of widespread violations by drivers who turn across bike lanes instead of merging fully into them.

He said it was his "right" to be there.

According to SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum, Ernst blamed all three victims who were killed by truck drivers in SoMa and the Mission this year, and refused to leave until she "understood that it was the bicyclist's fault."

"This was shocking to hear, as I was told just a day ago by [SFPD Traffic] Commander [Mikail] Ali that the case was still under investigation and no cause had yet been determined," Shahum said in a written account of the incident. While Ernst's car was in the bike lane, "a steady stream of people biking on Folsom St. were blocked and forced to make sudden and sometimes-dangerous veers into the travel lane, which was busy with fast-moving car traffic during the peak of morning rush hour." [...]

"There was literally an open, available parking spot next to the bike lane, which he could have pulled into," added Shahum. "Sgt. Ernst again said he did not need to move his car. He said it was his 'right' to be there."

You can see San Francisco's Finest hard at work at 1:04 in this video.

Previously, previously, previously.

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Folsom Street

SFBC: Open Letter to Mayor Lee: Take Action on SoMa Streets

Dear Mayor Lee:

Last week, a 24-year-old woman named Amelie Le Moullac was killed while bicycling on Folsom Street near 6th Street when she was hit by a truck driver. Amelie was the third resident to be killed on a bike in San Francisco this year, all in or near SoMa. Each victim was killed by the driver of a large truck, none of whom have been cited or charged yet.

SoMa regularly ranks as one of San Francisco's most dangerous neighborhoods for people bicycling and walking. [...]

We ask you to commit to implement the City's long-overdue, long-delayed redesign of Folsom Street. Folsom is one of the city's few designated bike routes to downtown -- yet it is still an intimidating street, with no separation between bike riders and fast-moving auto traffic. Other cities have taken action to tame their deadlier streets by adding bikeways that are physically-separated from motor vehicle traffic. In fact, separated bikeways on 9th Avenue in New York City have reduced injuries to all street users by 58% and could do the same here.

The City studied and recommended a redesign of Folsom Street, which includes separated bikeways, years ago through multiple planning processes and is now in the process of environmental analysis through the Central Corridor EIR. The City is scheduled to repave Folsom Street from the Embarcadero to 10th Street in November 2014. Please expedite approval and funding for this long-overdue Folsom St. plan so that the new, safe design, vetted through extensive community outreach, can be implemented with this scheduled repaving next year.

I spend a lot of time nearly-dying on Folsom Street. It's about time they actually implement these already-approved changes. Send an email!

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Progress on that Mouse-based Super-Soldier Formula

New drug mimics the beneficial effects of exercise

A drug known as SR9009, which is currently under development at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), increases the level of metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice. Treated mice become lean, develop larger muscles and can run much longer distances simply by taking SR9009, which mimics the effects of aerobic exercise. [...]

When Burris' group administered SR9009 to these mice to activate the Rev-Erbα protein, the results were remarkable. The metabolic rate in the skeletal muscles of the mice increased significantly. The treated mice were not allowed to exercise, but despite this they developed the ability to run about 50 percent further before being stopped by exhaustion.

"The animals actually get muscles like an athlete who has been training," said Burris. "The pattern of gene expression after treatment with SR9009 is that of an oxidative-type muscle -- again, just like an athlete."

Previously.

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Emperor Norton Bridge

Have you signed the petition yet? It's up to 1,500!

John Lumea, the fellow behind the petition, brings some interesting news:

It turns out that the resolution, within the California State Legislature, to name the Western span of the Bay Bridge for Willie Brown is in direct violation of the naming policy adopted in April by the State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee --- which has to approve the resolution in order for it to move forward.

I won't tax you with the details of that here, other than to note that two of the three violated conditions of the naming policy are that (1) "the person being honored must be deceased" (which Willie Brown decidedly is not) and that (2) "the author or co-author of the measure must represent the district in which the facility is located" (which, in this case, none does).

12-1 in favor? I am horrified.

In Sacramento on Monday, the state Assembly Committee on Transportation met to consider ACR65, a bill that would designate the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge. The vote was 12-1 with three abstentions. The "no" came from committee Chair Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach; the abstainers were Tom Ammiano, D-S.F., Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo; and Jim Frazier, D-Oakley. The bill moves to the floor of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, in a surprise move, Willie Brown does something cool!

Meanwhile, Brown himself told Lee Houskeeper that he isn't interested in the half-a-bridge honor. He's in favor, he said, of naming the whole thing after Emperor Norton, who 141 years ago had proposed such a span. (The anniversary of that proposal will be celebrated at the Gold Dust Lounge - a client of Houskeeper's, and the reason he and Brown were discussing the subject - on Sept. 17.)

Previously.

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Another day, another cipher change

Well, Youtube broke youtubedown again, and I haven't yet figured out how. Today's cipher is 'vfl-bxy_m' => 'w48 s3 w37 s2', and my Perl code seems to be doing the same thing as the Javascript code's function lj and mj, but it's not working. That algorithm is mapping to a 76 byte string with no period in the middle, which is not typically what they look like, so there must be some new kink somewhere. (Same old sample video.)

Any ideas?

How do you get Safari, Firefox or Chrome to switch to the HTML5 player instead of the Flash player, anyway? I think there used to be a link on the page for that but I don't see it now.

Previously.


Update: I figured it out. This time, they seem to have actually turned off enciphered signatures, but the "use_cipher_signature" parameter is still True. I guess they don't actually use that. So the only way to tell is to see whether the url_map is using s= instead of sig=. Fun times. I was deciphering sigs that were already deciphered. I wonder if this is going to break in a new way when they decide to turn ciphers back on...

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DNA Lounge: Wherein our parklet is funded!

Thanks to everyone who contributed, we've successfully funded our Kickstarter for our new parklet!

Construction will begin in, uh, uh, mumble handwave.

PSA for local bars and clubs: If someone contacts you about a visit from a "documentary travel show" doing "low impact filming", don't be conned. It's The Real World, and they are every bit as rude, entitled, intrusive and disruptive as you'd expect. They showed up at Bootie this Saturday and they were a pain in the ass. I really hope we don't end up on the show. That's the kind of publicity I try for us to actively avoid.

This week's Bootie -- their ten year anniversary! -- was our biggest event ever! It was kind of a crazy weekend even on top of that, since we had five events in two days: Trannyshack, two days of a scooter rally, a pop-up costume store, and the Bootie of the Century. It's always a good weekend when you have to worry about things like, "let's be careful not to book too many of the staff for 16 hour shifts."

Some recent photo galleries:

Bootie
Trannyshack
More Bootie
Death Guild
Cynical Mass
Not Daft Punk
Hubba Hubba
Even More Bootie
Also a new mixtape. Enjoy.

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jwz mixtape 131

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 131.

Dear people who make videos: you really do need to upload your stuff to Youtube even if you have a hard-on for Vimeo for some reason, because if you don't, the majority of the world can't find them, and can't include them in mixtapes like this one -- which is shorter than I intended by a couple of tracks for this reason.

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Current Music: as noted

Cthulaid

BeastWreck:

It's the Great Old Ones' favorite beverage, guaranteed to be maddeningly refreshing! Cthulhu himself enjoys kicking back after a hard day's work in R'lyeh and pouring himself a tall cold glass of Cthul-Aid, and so should you!

Frakkin' Berry is also nice.

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  • Previously