Glitch Tarot

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The Walled Off Hotel

The Walled Off Hotel

The hotel boasts floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. And for the exhibitionists amongst you - many are within range of the army watchtower.

The Piano Bar

Britain got its hands on Palestine in 1917 and the piano bar is themed as a colonial outpost from those heady days. It is equipped with languid ceiling fans, leather bound couches and an air of undeserved authority. Guests can peruse a collection of Banksy artworks that include vandalised oil paintings and statues choking on tear gas fumes. Warm scones and freshly brewed tea are served daily on fine bone china.

Presidential Room 1

This palatial suite is equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need - a plunge bath able to accommodate up to four revellers, original artwork, library, home cinema, roof garden, tiki bar and a water feature made from a bullet riddled water tank. Comes with a complete set of Dead Sea bath minerals and an in-room dining service available upon request. Sleeps up to six.

Is there a swimming pool on the roof?

No. Our proximity to the wall means nobody is permitted to go on the roof without prior permission from the Israeli military. You should exercise common sense when staying with us. Aggressive drunkenness or loud public nudity is not encouraged. Under no circumstances should you shine laser pens at the army watchtowers.

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jwz mixtape 179

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 179.

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Current Music: as noted

Primordial computer voices sought

Lazyweb, I need text-to-speech into the voices used to announce BART trains, which are Lucent / Bell Labs "John" and "Grace", from the mid 1990s. They sound like this. This is for purposes of Important Comedy.

If you can't find either of those precise voices, can you find something pretty close?

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Digital clock in Conway's Life

11,520 generations per clock count / 10,016 x 6,796 box / 244,596 pop count

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The USG is a firewall for your USB ports.

Your computer automatically trusts every device you plug into it. But every USB device is actually a small embedded computer that runs software you cannot control.

USB driver exploits work by sending malformed or unexpected input to your computer's USB drivers. Your computer likely has hundreds of USB device drivers installed, and a programming error in any one of them leaves you exposed.

The USG blocks these attacks by passing data through an internal serial link with a very simple protocol. Only a limited number of safe commands are accepted by the receiving microprocessor, so no malformed or unexpected data is transmitted to your computer. This effectively blocks USB driver exploits.

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Double-Parking Uber And Lyft Drivers Scramble To Beat Bus Cameras

"Driver uses extremely sophisticated masking technology to avoid Muni traffic enforcement cameras:"
By employing a clever trick called "covering your license plate."

Stanley notes that "officials say commercial parking tickets are on the decline," which Muni spokesman Paul Rose interprets to the Chron as meaning that "the cameras have led to fewer cars double-parking in front of buses and fewer commercial vehicles stopping in bus paths to unload." But according to Roberts' sources inside parking enforcement circles, numerous professional drivers have taken to removing their plates and obscuring their VIN numbers to avoid tickets that range from $110 (parking in a crosswalk or a transit-only lane) to $288 (parking in a bus stop).

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Falling coloring book sales hurting bookstores

This article is too long, can I have an infographic instead?

Beginning in late 2015, sales of gimmicky books full of complicated illustrations skyrocketed. Publishers talked about the appeal of the "therapeutic value of coloring," and worked up ways to sell packaged bundles of products, such as CDs and colored pencils. The result was good for bookstores and the publishing industry as a whole, which saw sales of nonfiction books rise 12 percent during the first half of 2016 compared to 2015. As publishers and brick-and-mortar bookstores face increasing competition from online retailers such as Amazon, the coloring book boost was a welcome change.


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US immigration officials force Nigerian software engineer to complete written test to prove his computer knowledge

It looked to him like someone with no technical background Googled something like: 'Questions to ask a software engineer'

One of the officers then presented him with a piece of paper and a pen and told to answer these two questions to prove he is actually a software engineer:

"Write a function to check if a Binary Search Tree is balanced."

"What is an abstract class, and why do you need it?" [...]

After spending about 10 minutes working on them, he handed in his answers only to be told they were wrong.

As time passed, he said that he expected to be sent home to Nigeria, only for the official to let him go.

"He said, 'Look, I am going to let you go, but you don't look convincing to me,'" Omin said. "I didn't say anything back. I just walked out."

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A round-up on why Uber is awful

Maybe you deleted the Uber app when they scabbed the deportation protest in New York, then re-installed it the next day because convenience outweighed your momentary dalliance with having principles. So here's a brief round-up of reasons why you should have stopped giving them your money years ago.

I had hoped that I could just find someone else's round-up of all the reasons, but now I understand why I couldn't: there are so many and it's such a moving target.

Let's dive right in:

  • 2017: Uber CEO Argues With Driver Over Falling Fares. Travis Kalanick tells a driver to take responsibility for his problems and boasts about a tough culture:
    "Bullshit. You know what? Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!"

  • Oh, but he fauxpologized:
    After the video quickly made the media rounds, Uber publicly posted a short email Kalanick sent to all employees. Kalanick apologized to the driver, and added, "I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up." He also appeared to congratulate himself for his apology: "This is the first time I've been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it."

  • 2017: Susan Fowler published an essay alleging that Uber's human resources representatives ignored multiple reports of sexual harassment and sexism during her year-long stint at the company:

    Fowler also wrote that her manager threatened to fire her if she ever reported his boss to HR again -- which is called retaliation and is illegal according to equal employment laws. Fowler also wrote that she made the company's chief technology officer, Thuan Pham, aware that her manager was threatening retaliation -- which he acknowledged was illegal. However, nothing was done about it, Fowler wrote.

  • 2017: Uber says it's 'absolutely not' behind a smear campaign against ex-employee Susan Fowler Rigetti:

    Rigetti took to Twitter this morning to post that people were being contacted for "personal and intimate info" about her, causing many to conclude Uber was behind these actions.

    It's an easy assumption to make, given the company has said it would be holding an independent investigation into the claims and has used similar tactics before. In 2015, Uber hired a CIA-linked intelligence firm Ergo to look into the background of a conservationist suing the company. It used the same firm in 2016 to look into the backgrounds of the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the company.

  • 2017: Inside Uber's Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture:

    When new employees join Uber, they are asked to subscribe to 14 core company values, including making bold bets, being "obsessed" with the customer, and "always be hustlin'." The ride-hailing service particularly emphasizes "meritocracy," the idea that the best and brightest will rise to the top based on their efforts, even if it means stepping on toes to get there. [...]

    As chief executive, Mr. Kalanick has long set the tone for Uber. [...] Mr. Kalanick, 40, has made pointed displays of ego: In a GQ article in 2014, he referred to Uber as "Boob-er" because of how the company helped him attract women.

    That tone has been echoed in Uber's workplace. At least two former Uber workers said they had notified Thuan Pham, the company's chief technical officer, of workplace harassment at the hands of managers and colleagues in 2016. One also emailed Mr. Kalanick.

    Uber also faces at least three lawsuits in at least two countries from former employees alleging sexual harassment or verbal abuse at the hands of managers, according to legal documents reviewed by The Times. Other current and former employees said they were considering legal action against the company.

  • Oh yeah, that: Uber Cab Confessions:
    But the way he talks now -- which is large -- he's surely making up for lost time. When I tease him about his skyrocketing desirability, he deflects with a wisecrack about women on demand: Yeah, we call that Boob-er.

  • 2016: Uber's process of background checks and accountability remains top notch: Uber drivers accused of 32 rapes and sex attacks on London passengers over the past year:

    Freedom of Information data obtained by The Sun newspaper revealed 32 assault claims were made against employees of the taxi-hailing app in London over the past twelve months, equal to one every eleven days. The figure represents more than a fifth of all claims against taxi and car-hire drivers filed to 14 UK police forces last year, which totalled at 154 allegations including attacks in minicabs and chauffeur vehicles.

  • A very long roundup of articles about Uber and Lyft assaults.

  • 2016: Uber collaborated with Trump, but only until they suffered financially from that decision:

    "We'll partner with anyone in the world as long they're about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets," Kalanick told employees. [...]

    Outside of the internal pressure, Uber faced other fallout from Mr. Kalanick's stance. More than 200,000 customers had deleted their accounts.

  • 2015: Thinking About Suing Uber? Let This Be a Warning:
    After learning of Mr. Meyer's background as a conservationist, Ergo's investigator, Miguel Santos-Neves, misrepresented himself as he conducted interviews [...] All the "sources believe that I am profiling Meyer for a report on leading figures in conservation," Mr. Santos-Neves said in a message to a superior. [...]

    "The court cannot help but be troubled by this whole dismal incident," the judge added, later noting that the secret investigation had also delved into the background of Mr. Meyer's lawyer, Andrew Schmidt.

    A spokesman for Uber and Mr. Kalanick declined to comment.

  • 2016: Uber illegally launched self-driving cars on the streets of SF, immediately running red lights and literally trying to murder me.

  • 2017: They claimed that the red-light-running was "human error", and that the cars were not in self-driving mode when that happened. They lied.

    But even though Uber said it had suspended an employee riding in the Volvo, the self-driving car was, in fact, driving itself when it barreled through the red light, according to two Uber employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements with the company, and internal Uber documents viewed by The New York Times.

  • 2017: Oh gosh, that's too bad: Google's Robocar Lawsuit Could Kill Uber's Future and Send Execs to Prison:

    The lawsuit, which Waymo filed Thursday, alleges former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski secretly downloaded 14,000 proprietary technical files before leaving [...] "From a criminal perspective, I would be surprised if the FBI weren't looking into this."

  • 2014: A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media -- and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company:

    Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending "a million dollars" to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press -- they'd look into "your personal lives, your families," and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

    Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of "sexism and misogyny." She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. "I don't know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn't respect us or prioritize our safety," she wrote.

  • Oh yeah, that: Sexist French Uber Promotion Pairs Riders With "Hot Chick" Drivers. "Who said women don't know how to drive?" the Uber blog post asks.
    Thanks to a media backlash, the creepy promo never actually rolled out. "They didn't anticipate the reaction of Uber US," said Pierre Garonnaire, co-founder of Avions de Chasse, the escort service that co-sponsored the idea."In the US, you are more Puritan. For me and most of the people of France, it was a good [idea]. It was fun."

  • 2014: Lyft: "Uber scheduled, canceled 5,000 rides to hassle us":

    CNN reports that people associated with car-on-demand service Uber have been attempting to sabotage an Uber competitor, Lyft, by ordering and canceling as many as 5,000 rides since October 2013. Lyft drivers have also complained that Uber employees will call them to take "short, low-profit rides largely devoted to luring them to work for Uber."

    Lyft claims to have sussed out the fake requests using phone numbers used by "known Uber recruiters." Lyft claims that one Uber recruiter requested and canceled 300 rides from May 26 to June 10, and it said that recruiter's phone number was associated with 21 more accounts with 1,524 canceled rides between them.

    My understanding is that using burner phones to DDoS your competition is completely in line with Libertarian ideals.

  • How To (Really) Delete Your Uber Account.

And, by the way...

Lyft = Uber Lite:

Uber gets a lot of negative press (and rightfully so) for the actions it takes to reduce the pay of its drivers and to deny them basic workers' rights. Yet Lyft often evades similar scrutiny. That doesn't mean it isn't doing many of the exact same things. [...]

The idea that Lyft is a more compassionate or morally sound ride-hailing company is false. It continues to place profitability and ridership growth before fair wages and working conditions for its drivers, using the same methods as Uber. Lyft simply escapes the same level of scrutiny because its market share is so much smaller. [...]

Finally, those who really want to challenge the morally bankrupt model of Uber and Lyft, which denies drivers good benefits, reasonable working conditions and fair pay in the name of profitability, should instead be using public transit wherever possible and fighting to improve it. In November 2016, nearly 70 percent of all public-transit ballot measures were passed by voters, totalling more than $170 billion in additional transit funding. And from a worker standpoint, public-transit workers are generally salaried with benefits, and being a public-transit worker is still a solid path to the middle class.

Lyft saved $126 million by refusing to classify drivers as employees:

According to newly published court documents, Lyft would owe its drivers $126 million in reimbursement expenses for the last four years if the ride-hail service classified them as employees rather than independent contractors. The court documents provide a rare glimpse into the huge amount of cash that companies like Lyft and Uber save by refusing to classify its drivers as employees. [...]

Both Lyft and its much larger rival Uber face class action lawsuits from drivers challenging their classification as independent contractors. Lyft recently settled its lawsuit, agreeing to shell out $12.25 million in compensation to its drivers, while maintaining the right to classify them as non-employees.

Also, Lyft are unrepentant spammers, just in case you needed one more reason to hate them.

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