10,000 people attended Ultra Taiwan last week:

On November 14, Road to Ultra took place in Taiwan. No social distancing was needed, or any precautions. It sounds extremely unlikely and unreal for that to be the case in 2020, where most of the world is still battling against the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus, but its true. How?

Taiwan has been Covid-free for over seven months now. With only seven deaths and 550 cases in total between a population of 23 million people who inhabit the island, the way that the government handled the virus is truly admirable. Closing borders early, restricting public transport, evenly distributing masks to everyone and having a strict pandemic protocol is what made the island recover so quickly, and this meant that large-scale events were deemed safe again.


A note from abroad: Realizing now that I've been 5 days out of US that many folks back home don't realize how other countries might be living with the 'Rona. Here is what it was like to come to Taiwan. I think we could maybe learn a coupla things...

Upon our plane touching down in TPE, we were immediately placed in two lines: one for folks with a working intl cell phone, one for the rest of us (to buy a very affordable local SIM card.) The government is then able to track us while we are in the country

Once through immigration and baggage, we are required to take govt-approved covid-safe cars to our quarantine hotels. (If you are a local, you can self-isolate at home.) No leaving your room (or home) for 15 days. Not for walks- nothing.

At the hotel: meals are left outside your door three times a day. There is no contact with anyone. Every day, you get a call from the health department asking if you have any symptoms. If so, they will immediately rush you to the hospital for care.

As a sidebar, I have discovered that I am weirdly okay having all my daily living decisions made for me. Have not yet gone crazy confined within four walls. Perhaps I would have made a good housepet.

Never mind about domesticity, after 15 days, you are free to go. For 7 more days, you are required to check your temperature every morning (they actually gift you a thermometer) and someone calls every day to make sure you're okay.

Because most local citizens have voluntarily signed up for contact tracing (and all of us foreigners are required to opt-in) should a case break out, anyone who was in significant contact would be notified, then required to self-isolate for a number of days.

At any point, if you break quarantine - which they can tell by the movements of your phone - you could be fined 10-30k. They are quite serious on this point. Then again, they haven't had a case in 200 days. And everyone has been living their lives freely since February.

A note on contact tracing: I'm no expert, and historically a proponent of privacy, but if you have a credit card, or downloaded any number of apps, it seems "they" already have your info. So in a gosh-darn pandemic: sign up for contact tracing!

Again, not an expert. But again: EVERYONE IN TAIWAN HAS BEEN LIVING THEIR LIVES FREELY SINCE FEBRUARY! I mean yes, people voluntarily wear masks in public places, but otherwise, restaurants, subways, etc are packed. So....

I guess this could have been our lives too? Food for thought...

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NBC Primetime Movie, Nov 21, 1999:

"TV14. This program is a purely fictional thriller. The characters and situations are not based on fact. This program does not suggest or imply that any of these events could actually occur."

The whole thing is on youtube. I didn't watch it, but I did scan forward to see spoilers at the end, and it was like, people fighting with swords and being eaten by crows! I did not expect it to go there! But wait, no, it turns out "Y2K The Movie" had ended already, that was just a bonus 20 minutes of Beastmaster, which seems to be what was on this VHS tape before they recorded over it.

Also there's an entirely other "Y2K The Movie" movie, this one starring Malcolm McDowell and Louis Gossett Jr. that came out in July 1999! For post-Y2K video release they were retitled "Countdown to Chaos" and "Terminal Countdown", respectively.

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Baby Yoda Cocktails

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Vatican Investigating Pope Francis Liking Instagram Photo of Woman's Butt

"Magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri."

Last week, the Pope's Instagram account liked a photo of a woman in a miniature schoolgirl outfit sticking her butt out.

According to Catholic News Agency, "the Vatican is investigating usage of the papal Instagram account" now and started by making sure the Instagram account "unliked" the photo on November 14th.

In the meantime, the model whose picture was deemed favorable by the papal Instagram account, Natalia Garibotto, is taking it as a good omen. "At least I'm going to heaven," she tweeted.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein this Sunday is DNA Lounge's 35th Anniversary, and the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge!

DNA Lounge opened on November 22, 1985!

Our hope had been to tag each of this year's events as being part of a year-long anniversary celebration, and then to do something huge on the actual anniversary. But then the world had other plans.

Just about one year ago, on our 34th anniversary, I wrote a blog post about what I feel makes DNA Lounge unique, and worth saving. Go give it a read, it stands up!

Go ahead, I'll wait.

If after reading that you're feeling all nostalgic for what the world used to be like, and what DNA Lounge used to bring you, now would be a great time for you to contribute to our Patreon or make a one-time donation so that we can hibernate through the pandemic and still be there for you when you're allowed to see shows again.

Please join us on Sunday afternoon at 2PM for the Cocktail Robotics webcast! We had originally planned to do this seventh annual event in back in July, but obviously that couldn't happen. So instead, we recorded brand new in-depth interviews and demos of some of the finest cocktail-making robots from previous years! You're gonna love it. Join us in the live chat.

Even if you don't feel like watching a video about cocktail robots -- you monster -- I recommend you tune in at least for the first five minutes for a brief presentation from yours truly on the occasion of the DNA Lounge anniversary.

Here's what else we've got this weekend:


Church patriarch dies from Covid-19 after leading open-casket funeral of bishop killed by the virus

Turns out, kissing plague-corpses is bad for you. Why isn't that in Leviticus?

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, died in a Belgrade hospital on Friday after contracting coronavirus, according to a statement from the church.

Irinej, who was 90, led an open-casket funeral service for the church's top cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović, on November 1. Three days later, Irinej was admitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

Amfilohije's body had been displayed in an open casket during the service before being interred in the crypt of the church in Podgorica, Montenegro.

A large crowd had gathered in front of the crowded church, with only a few of the attendees inside the building wearing face coverings. Video of the service showed mourners kissing the deceased cleric's hands and forehead, as is custom.

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Also resurrected from the flash-heap of history, Bubbels!

This is my favorite bubble-popper. So much so that I saved a copy of the SWF file in case the site went away (it did) but then Flash went away too...

I know there are many, many variants of this game, but this version was just the right level of mellow for me. No timers, chill popping noises. Every other version is always like, "oh yeah it's a totally standard bubble popper, except it's got kookoobananas shaders, a happy hardcore soundtrack, and in-game purchases for Super-Pop."

Sadly, sound isn't working for me on this one.

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Fly Guy is back!!

Fly Guy! Fly Guy!!

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Lego Total Landscaping

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Tyson managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19

The lawsuit alleges Tyson Foods is guilty of a "willful and wanton disregard for workplace safety."

In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported the working conditions there "shook [him] to the core," plant manager Tom Hart organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19. [...]

On one occasion, Casey intercepted a sick supervisor who was on his way to be tested and ordered him to get back to work, saying, "We all have symptoms -- you have a job to do." After one employee vomited on the production line, managers reportedly allowed the man to continue working and then return to work the next day. [...]

The lawsuit claims that while Tyson has repeatedly claimed that its operations needed to remain open to feed America, the company increased its exports to China by 600% during the first quarter of 2020.

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