"A panicked billionaire's latest sophomoric attempt to decorate an unpalatable business model grounded in the abuse of human rights with faux moral purpose to stave off regulation."

Aral Balkan:

In his grand vision for humanity, Mark keeps returning to how Facebook fundamentally "brings us closer together" by "connecting friends and families." What Mark fails to mention is that Facebook does not connect people together; Facebook connects people to Facebook, Inc.

Facebook's business model is to be the man in the middle; to track every move you, your family, and your friends make, to store all that information indefinitely, and continuously analyse it to understand you better in order to exploit you by manipulating you for financial and political gain.

Facebook isn't a social network, it is a scanner that digitises human beings. It is, for all intents and purposes, the camera that captures your soul. Facebook's business is to simulate you and to own and control your simulation, thereby owning and controlling you.

I call the business model of Facebook, Google, and the venture-capital-funded long tail of Silicon Valley startups "people farming". Facebook is a factory farm for human beings. And Mark's manifesto is nothing more than a panicked billionaire's latest sophomoric attempt to decorate an unpalatable business model grounded in the abuse of human rights with faux moral purpose to stave off regulation and justify what is unabashedly a colonial desire: to create a global fiefdom by connecting all of us to Facebook, Inc. [...]

It is not the job of a corporation to "develop the social infrastructure for community" as Mark wants to do. Social infrastructure must belong to the commons, not to giant monopolistic corporations like Facebook. The reason we find ourselves in this mess with ubiquitous surveillance, filter bubbles, and fake news (propaganda) is precisely due to the utter and complete destruction of the public sphere by an oligopoly of private infrastructure that poses as public space.

Facebook wants us to think that it is a park when it's actually a shopping mall. The last thing we need is more privately owned centralised digital infrastructure to solve the problems created by an unprecedented concentration of power, wealth, and control in a tiny number of hands. It's way past time we started funding and building the digital equivalents of parks in the digital age instead of building ever-larger shopping malls. [...]

We are sharded beings; the sum total of our various aspects as contained within our biological beings as well as the myriad of technologies that we use to extend our biological abilities. [...] It also follows, then, that any attempt to violate the boundaries of the self must be considered an assault on the cyborg self. It is exactly this abuse that constitutes the everyday business model of Facebook, Google, and mainstream Silicon Valley-inspired technology today. In this model, which Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism, what we have lost is individual sovereignty. People have once again become property -- albeit in digital, not biological, form.

Is 'fake news' a fake problem?

Here's what we found. First, the fake news audience is tiny compared to the real news audience -- about 10 times smaller on average. [...] Online news audiences spent more time on average with real news than fake news. [...] We also found that the fake news audience does not exist in a filter bubble. Visitors to fake news sites visited real news sites just as often as visitors to real news sites visited other real news sites. [...]

Last, and perhaps least surprising to everyone but Mark Zuckerberg, we saw that audiences found their way to fake news via social media at a much higher rate than they did to real news. We already know that a majority of US adults get their news via social media platforms. Here, though, we can see that nearly 30 percent of all fake news traffic could be linked back to Facebook, while only 8 percent of real news traffic could.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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How To Run A Rogue Government Twitter Account With An Anonymous Email Address And A Burner Phone.

Hack the Planet.

But it's a lot harder to get an anonymous phone number. You need to buy a burner phone and SIM for cash, wait two weeks for the CCTV system in the store to overwrite the video of the transaction, then activate your phone far from home. Once you've used it to get a Twitter account-creation authentication SMS (again, nowhere near your home or office, and nowhere where there's a record of you having traveled to), you need to destroy both the phone and the SIM. That's just to set up the account!

Previously, previously, previously.

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Lake Berryessa Glory Hole Drone Report

It is dereliction of duty that the drone did not fly into the glory hole.

I have visited the Whiskeytown Glory Hole but I didn't realize we had one closer to home.

Which reminds me that I have yet to drop a video camera down the chute and into my building's trash compactor.

Previously, previously, previously.
Scene missing! A video that used to be embedded in this post has disappeared. If you know of a copy of this video that is still accessible, please mail me so that I can update the link.
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Simon Christoph Krenn: Cambrian Explosion

Zero gravity sex on the boneless chicken ranch.

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

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Shriekback Live Kickstarter

You should contribute to this because I very much want to be able to see Shriekback live again, thx.

Releasing Shriekback as a live animal after a quarter century of strictly studio-based captivity is no small thing. To deliver what we want to give and, more importantly, what you want and deserve to hear and see, no corners can be cut. If we say so ourselves, we have a huge amount of material that means a lot to a lot of people and, on stage, we have a lot of history and expectation to live up to. For years now we've fielded requests to play live again, but for various reasons, whether financial or related to the availability of the core members, the ducks haven't been in a row: now they are. With some help from you, of course.

Since Barry, Martyn and myself have re-established our relationship in the studio -- and found it as thrilling as ever -- it seems the right time to put that chemistry back on the road. But unlike the world of recording, where technology has made everything cheaper, smaller and faster, the stage lights are as cruel and unblinking as ever and the journey into the glare even longer and more expensive. So, without further shoe-shuffling, this is what we need.

The band will need to deliver all the force and nuance of a very diverse catalogue. We have lined up (ahem) an 8-piece unit that we know can hit every mark. Martyn, Barry and myself will be entwined with Steve Halliwell on guitar and keyboards and Mike Cozzi on guitar, with the Partridge sisters, Wendy and Sarah, on vocals. As Barry explained in the video, we can't give you Dave Allen, but we're delighted to announce that we'll be joined by Scott Firth on bass - Scott comes to us from P.i.L and has played with Martyn extensively on other projects, so we know we know The Groove will be just fine.

Eight people means a lot of equipment, rehearsal, transportation, accommodation and everything else -- but if we're doing this we're doing it right and we're doing it big. Setting this up, getting it rolling from a standing start, is by far the biggest ask of this appeal. Once the machine is built and fired up we can take it anywhere - and you will very much have a say in where that might be. Given the cost and effort of the start-up, we are committed to touring for a year from when we roll; this, we believe, will give us the opportunity to visit you all, wherever you are.

Previously, previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein hardware donations are gratefully accepted, and parklet news.

Do any of you have a Mac Mini that you don't need, vintage 2010 or newer?

You know that TV in DNA Pizza that displays flyers of our upcoming events? I tried to add a stock-ticker-like crawl to the bottom of it to give a shout-out to our (public) Patreon supporters, but it's only getting about 2 frames per second. That display is actually just a web page running Javascript that is running on a "Chrome TV" box, which is a cheap-assed computer running Android, the Google equivalent of Apple TV. We're using a Keedox Amlogic s802, 2GKz quad core, which even seems to have a reasonable GPU in it, but no web browser can keep up with this animation without stuttering.

So it's probably time to just stop wasting my time goofing around with these toy computers and just put a real computer behind it. That sounds like overkill, but I guess it's not overkill if it's the only thing that will actually work.

Also!

Now that construction of the wider sidewalk is finally done, nine months after they told us it would be, it's time to figure out how to re-install our parklet.

Because of the new constraints, instead of being L-shaped and sitting at the curb, it now needs to be a straight bar with seating on both sides going down the middle of the sidewalk. And it will be smaller by about 9'. We will have to cut off the short leg of the L, plus about 3' on one end, but it will allow seating and standing on both sides instead of just one, so something like this:

The sad news is, it's probably going to cost over $3,000 to re-install it. There's a lot of cutting and welding involved. That's a lot less than the $10k+ it took us to build it the last time, but this is not really the time to be spending a bunch of money.

Maybe we should do a second Kickstarter for it?

Please come to Turbo Drive tonight. If you enjoyed the cyberpunk dystopia we called Cyberdelia, you will probably enjoy this as well.

    Some Guy: "I was going to buy a ticket, but it's raaaaaining."

Don't be that guy.

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'Incoming missile' test message inadvertently sent out to all airmen at Spangdahlem Air Base

"The individuals involved in the error have been counseled and their leadership is using the incident as a learning opportunity."

It wasn't enough time to cause widespread panic but it was just enough time for someone to take a screen shot of the image and post it to social media, causing the wing some embarrassment as people poked fun at the error on Facebook and it was first reported by Air Force Times. [...]

"One of the command post controllers was building a template for this specific thing that was posted," McGarry told Stars and Stripes on Thursday. "And he inadvertently sent it to everybody," when it was supposed to be sent to only one person as a test message.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Paris deploys 'anti-migrant boulders' to thwart makeshift refugee camps

City Hall has rolled in large boulders to dissuade migrants from setting up camps outside an official humanitarian centre.

The boulders appeared under a flyover at Porte de La Chapelle in the 18th arrondissement, of northern Paris, where migrants often sleep rough while waiting for one of the 400 spaces in the nearby official humanitarian welcome centre. [...]

The boulders are designed to make it hard for people to take shelter under the bridge, however those waiting for spots at the centre are managing to sleep in between the huge rocks.

"It's difficult to sleep here," one migrant told Le Parisien newspaper after the boulders were brought in.

This isn't the only piece of so-called "hostile architecture" Paris authorities have installed to stop migrants from making camps in the city.

After the camps at Stalingrad Metro was cleared, metal grills were erected blocking off areas where refugees had set up camps, such as along Avenue de Flandre and the Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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CRT Shipbreaking

Over the blaring din of forklifts overturning dumpsters full of servers, circuit boards, and miscellaneous computer parts, I watched men hit antiquated, boxy televisions with hammers.

"There's still gas in a lot of these CRT tubes," Eric Mims, operations manager of the ECS Refining electronics-recycling center in a suburb of Dallas, told me, pointing at his workers, who are clad head-to-toe in blue jumpsuits, respirators, earplugs, plastic safety goggles, and thick work gloves. "If you don't hit the yoke in the right way, it can explode."

Years after most Americans switched to flat-screens, we're just now beginning to deal with the long-term ramifications of sustainably disposing of old cathode-ray televisions and computer monitors. This dangerous, labor-intensive, and costly undertaking will have to be done for each of the estimated 705 million CRT TVs sold in the United States since 1980. CRT processing, as it's called, happens at only a handful of the best e-waste recycling centers in the United States. In many cases, your old TV isn't recycled at all and is instead abandoned in a warehouse somewhere, left for society to deal with sometime in the future. [...]

The company's demise was not an anomaly. Though it is the largest CRT processor in the US to go under, the industry has been increasingly struggling with what to do about CRT glass, and so, in many cases, recyclers end up doing nothing. Creative Recycling left 15,000 tons of CRT glass in six facilities in South Carolina, and the EPA has found warehouses full of abandoned glass in Arizona, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, Utah, Massachusetts, and Kentucky in the past three years alone. [...]

That companies were still willingly paying Closed Loop to take their unwanted CRTs speaks to the desperation many recyclers have to wash their hands of the responsibility of recycling them. The situation is further complicated because many of Closed Loop's customers were companies that participated in state-run recycling programs, meaning Closed Loop took taxpayer money to not recycle your old TV.

Previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein they are taking another run at extending Last Call.

State Senator Scott Wiener is introducing legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 4AM:

Wiener's bill would give local jurisdictions control over whether their bars and restaurants can extend their last call.

"This bill is long overdue," Wiener said. "Right now in California, we have a one-size-fits-all statewide mandate, regardless if you are a small-town suburb of San Francisco or in downtown L.A." [...]

Those who support Wiener's bill say it will stimulate the state's economy and make cities like San Francisco more attractive tourist destinations. It will also help communities decide what is best for them, because what works in the Mission or Union Square -- areas with a high concentration of bars and restaurants -- may not work for more residential areas like the Sunset or Richmond districts, said Juliana Bunim, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. [...]

Jamie Zawinski, owner of DNA Lounge, a club that has experienced major financial hardship over the past few months, said being able to extend its hours would significantly help the business. [...]

Michael Scippa, director of public affairs for Alcohol Justice, a San Rafael nonprofit advocacy, research and policy organization, said it is a "foolish plan" that prioritizes alcohol revenue over public safety.

Scippa said that Alcohol Justice takes a lot of credit for killing Leno's bill in 2013 and that the organization will come out with "guns blazing" for Wiener's bill.

Wiener's 2012 economic impact study on nightlife in San Francisco showed that it is a $4.2 billion dollar industry. Anything we can do to make the nightlife industry more successful will inevitably put more tax dollars in the city's coffers.

This would be great for tourism, the convention industry, hotels, and all aspects of nightlife.

Sadly, though, I'm not hopeful that this will succeed. Extending last call has been tried before, and the prohibitionists have managed to defeat it every single time.

This prohibitionists in question tend to be The Marin Institute and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. These are extremely well-funded and well-connected organizations whose sold purpose is to criminalize use of alcohol by any means at their disposal. I wrote about them back in 2009 when they were pushing for an increased alcohol tax.

These "temperance organizations" have such enormous influence not only because they are so well funded by prohibitionists and fundamentalists, but because it's very hard for politicians to oppose them without looking like monsters who eat children. Politicians are all about saving face, and all these people have to do is trot out their propaganda photos of dead children and say, "but if we can save just one child, wouldn't it all have been worth it?"

Senator Leno introduced legislation in 2013, SB 635, attempting to allow some CA cities to have a 4AM last call. That was defeated by not getting the 6 votes it needed in the Senate.

In 2004, the SF Board of Supervisors (via Aaron Peskin) passed a resolution "urging" the CA Legislature to allow San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles (and those cities alone) to decide what their own hours of alcohol service should be, without changing the law anywhere else in the state.

Even that modest proposal was shot down by the State Assembly, who didn't even allow it to make it out of committee. At the time, John Wood of SFLNC said:

While San Francisco officials were heavily in support of the bill, statewide anti-alcohol groups lined up against AB 2433, claiming that it would lead inevitably to later last call in other parts of the State. [...]

In addition, testimony from a mother of a person killed by a drunk driver clearly made the legislators uncomfortable in voting for the legislation. [...] Many democratic legislators left the room after the Mother Against Drunk Drivers testimony and did not vote, so there were not enough votes to move the bill out of committee.

But, we keep trying!

Speaking of our fundamentalist, dystopian cyberpunk future, Cyberdelia photos are up now. HACK THE PLANET!

Some other recent photo galleries:

So Stoked: Apocalypse
Psy Bloom
Hubba Hubba: Wild West
Amelia Arsenic
Alesana
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