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The joke that is "privately owned public space" gets even more jokey.

Little-Known Public Open Spaces Could Be Made Private

While not widely publicized, over 12,000 square feet of public open space was constructed in the form of two sunny terraces off the fourth and sixth floors of the 31-story Intercontinental Hotel at 888 Howard Street, a condition of the development's approval and the result of a 1980s-era city policy which requires new South of Market commercial buildings to provide such privately owned public open spaces.

Next month, a proposed amendment could be adopted which would allow developers to pay an in lieu fee rather than provide any on-site public open space in their buildings.

If the amendment is passed and the Intercontinental is successful, don't be surprised if a flood of similar requests to privatize other existing public spaces in San Francisco soon surface.

In other words: when required to build public parks, developers used a loophole to build terrible, inaccessible, effectively-private balconies instead. So let's close that loophole by not requiring even that much.

I can't find any details on this supposed amendment, though. This appears to be the only source.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Waiting for the worm

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Flppa Flppa flp.


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Six Weeks' Paid Leave Opposed By People With Thirty-Three Weeks' Paid Leave

The New Yorker:

WASHINGTON - President Obama's proposal to give workers six weeks of paid leave is meeting strong opposition from a group of people who annually receive thirty-three weeks of paid leave.

Members of the group heard the President's proposal on Tuesday night, one of the few nights of the year when they are required to report to their workplace.

The opponents of paid leave, who show up for work a hundred and thirty-seven days per year and receive paid leave for the other two hundred and twenty-eight, were baffled by other moments in the President's speech.

For example, they were confused by Obama's challenge to try to survive on a full-time job that pays fifteen thousand dollars, since they all currently hold a part-time job that pays a hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars.

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The Emularity

@textfiles: "Somewhere @jwz and @BrendanEich just popped their eyes open in bed, like ancient sorcerers who realize the Dark Rock of Mothrir was unsealed"
Last week, on the heels of the DOS emulation announcement, one of the JSMESS developers, James Baicoianu, got Windows 3.11 running in a window with Javascript. [...]

That's Netscape 1.0n, released in December of 1994, running inside Windows 3.11, released in August of 1993, running inside of Google Chrome 39.0.2171.99 m, released about a week ago, on a Windows 7 PC, released in 2009.

Your turtles (who, I understand, go all the way down) will be wanting my http10proxy.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we have a new fountain.

I just remembered that I hadn't posted this video.

We had been wondering where the water that was pooling under the stage was coming from. Maybe the walk-in fridge? Nope. From inside the men's room wall, every time someone flushed this urinal.

The more you know!


The extremely blurry Wombats, and what appears to be Cthulhu

Not only my first show of 2015, but my first show in six weeks, and only the second good show I've seen since the beginning of November. Why must this time of year be such a wasteland?

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Chinese BitTorrent, the gift that keeps on giving


After a bit of logging and searching I found out that some Chinese ISP (probably CERNET according to the results of whatsmydns.net) and some Turkish ISP (probably TTNET) respond to dns queries such as a.tracker.thepiratebay.org with various IPs that have nothing to do with piratebay or torrents. In other words they seem to do some kind of DNS Cache Poisoning for some bizarre reason.

So hundreds (if not thousands) of bittorrent clients on those countries make tons of 'announces' to my webservers which result pretty much in a DDoS attack filling up all Apache's connections.

So basically, entire countries' worth of porn hounds randomly start hammering on my server all at once, even though no BitTorrent traffic has ever passed to or from the network it's on, because for some unknown reason, the now-long-defunct piratebay tracker sometimes resolves to my IP address. Hooray.

This (possibly) mitigates the problem somewhat, by returning an actual BitTorrent error message to the clients so they stop retrying sooner:

<Location ~ "^/announc">
  ErrorDocument 404 "d14:failure reason13:not a tracker8:retry in5:nevere"

We had previously blackholed the entire Chinese IP space because of this, but we missed some.

Hi, how's your day going?

Update: No, I don't think that ErrorDocument helps. I see the same BitTorrent clients hitting me every couple minutes regardless. (At first I thought it might have been a problem that literal ErrorDocuments like that send as text/html, but I changed it to text/plain and that didn't change anything.) There are still more subnets to killfile, I guess...

Update 2: Some suggest that returning a 410 instead of a 404 to BitTorrent clients may be more effective. I have not verified this myself, but to do that, do this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^/announc - [G]
<Location ~ "^/announc">
  ErrorDocument 410 "d14:failure reason13:not a tracker8:retry in5:nevere"
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Possibly the last time I'll get to say "Metreon Deathwatch".

Moscone Center Losing Forever Broken Video Art Piece

Many of you may recognize the always black, powered-down, street-facing video panel on the side of Moscone Center West. But most of you probably have never seen it turned on and were not aware that this is actually a public artwork titled 'Facsimile' that cost $1.5 million and that has spent most of the last 12 years since its installation totally broken. The SF Arts Commission voted last fall to finally dismantle and remove the thing.

The 15-foot by 25-foot LED screen was intended to be mobile and dynamic, broadcasting its images while slowly gliding across the surface of the building, mounted on 100-foot-tall steel arms attached to the top and bottom of the glass facade. Unfortunately, the screen was prone to over-heating, it only functioned for about a month back in 2003, and during that time it even started to squeak as it moved.

Previously, previously, previously.

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