Descension

Anish Kapoor:

He built several versions of this, but most of them were just glory holes. There is not much video of this much cooler precessiony version. This is what the (now-paved-over) Rincon Center waterfall pool should have been.

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So that's going well

Restaurants In SF and Oakland Temporarily Close Out of Caution

A likely deluge of new COVID cases is on the horizon for the Bay Area, due to the Omicron variant and despite widespread vaccination. [...] San Francisco health officials announced Friday that they've confirmed 31 cases of the Omicron variant in the city, but there are likely many going undetected by official testing channels. [...]

UCSF's Dr. Bob Wachter says that people with three shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should consider themselves "very immune," and those who are boosted and who were also previously infected are now "super-immune." [...]

And Wachter said he'd spoken with a friend in New York City who had COVID in 2020, and had three mRNA vaccine shots, but after attending holiday parties last week where proof of vaccination was required, the friend is once again COVID-positive.

That is a head-spinning definition of "super immune", right there. How does he hold on to that cognitive dissonance?

Also, keep in mind that confirmation of cases lags behind infection by like 3 weeks. Someone gets infected; it takes a week for them to show symptoms; a few more days for it to be bad enough that they go to the hospital; 3+ days to sequence their strain; then the hospital reports to CDC (but only on Fridays!) and more days before the report comes out.

So let's generously call that 2 weeks. Omicron reportedly has a doubling rate of 2.5 days. So if there are 31 reported cases, that means that there are probably 31 × 2 ^ (14 / 2.5) = 1,503 actual cases. And in two weeks, when the official report says 1,503, there will be 72,928. You hit a million in 37 days.

Also, because I have spoken to a number of people who have said "but they say Omicron is less dangerous", let me point out that a less deadly but more infectious disease is still WAY WORSE. Even if it is less deadly -- which it probably isn't -- you are multiplying a slightly smaller number (chance of death when infected) against a much larger number (chance of infection) resulting in your actual, much larger, chance of death.

I keep seeing anecdotes of people with extremely mild or asymptomatic infections developing debilitating long-COVID symptoms months later, but I haven't seen any estimates of what your odds are. Probably that means they have no idea.

babyrelentless:

I really think most people's conception of Long Covid is "I'll get a little winded walking up stairs" and not "I'll get an incurable neurological disease worthy of an Oliver Sacks book" and that's a communication problem.

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X11 multi-head

Lazyweb, how do I get a Pi 4 running Raspbian 11 into X11 multi-head mode, meaning displays :0.0 and 0.1, rather than display :0.0 spanning both monitors?

If you answer, "Here's something that works on my machine that is not a Pi 4" that will not help me.

I gather that the video driver I want is called "modesetting", but if I use that, I can only ever get a single spanning screen that is 3200x1200x24. If I use the "fbdev" driver, I can get 2 screens, but both are 640x480x16.

Here's some crap that does not work when dropped into /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d:

Section "ServerLayout"
 Identifier "Dual"
 Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
 Screen 1 "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
 Identifier "Monitor0"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
 Identifier "Monitor1"
EndSection

Section "Device"
 Identifier "Card0"
 Driver "modesetting"
#  Driver "fbdev"
 Option "Monitor-HDMI-1" "Monitor0"
 Option "Monitor-HDMI-2" "Monitor1"
 Option "ZaphodHeads" "HDMI-1,HDMI-2"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
 Identifier "Screen0"
 Device "Card0"
 Monitor "Monitor0"
#  DefaultDepth 24
#  SubSection "Display"
#    Modes "1920x1080"
#    Modes "1280x720"
#    Depth 24
#  EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
 Identifier "Screen1"
 Device "Card0"
 Monitor "Monitor1"
#  DefaultDepth 24
#  SubSection "Display"
#    Modes "640x480"
#    Depth 24
#  EndSubSection
EndSection

(Why someone would voluntarily run X11 this way in this modern world I cannot fathom, but here we are.)

Update: I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible to make X11 do this on Raspberry Pi 4 hardware. However, I was able to debug the thing I was trying to debug by running a nested server with:

    Xephyr :1 -ac -screen 1280x720 -screen 640x480x8
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Dazzle is very in right now

And by "right now" I mean with 18th century kook alchemists.

Rocchetta Mattei:



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Today in Weird Machines

This is absolutely bonkers: a PDF impersonating a GIF that contains an entire virtual machine built out of BITBLT NAND gates.

Project Zero: A deep dive into an NSO zero-click iMessage exploit: Remote Code Execution

JBIG2 doesn't have scripting capabilities, but when combined with a vulnerability, it does have the ability to emulate circuits of arbitrary logic gates operating on arbitrary memory. So why not just use that to build your own computer architecture and script that!? That's exactly what this exploit does. Using over 70,000 segment commands defining logical bit operations, they define a small computer architecture with features such as registers and a full 64-bit adder and comparator which they use to search memory and perform arithmetic operations. It's not as fast as Javascript, but it's fundamentally computationally equivalent.

The bootstrapping operations for the sandbox escape exploit are written to run on this logic circuit and the whole thing runs in this weird, emulated environment created out of a single decompression pass through a JBIG2 stream. It's pretty incredible, and at the same time, pretty terrifying.

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Metaverse

Gonna tell kids this was The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.



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Base Rate Fallacy

This is a very good graphic:

When a headline says "half of hospitalizations are vaccinated" it is innumerate fearmongering that will make people who are bad at math misinterpret that as "vaccines are only 50% effective", or worse lies.

An increasing ratio of hospitalized vaccinated is an inevitable result of increasing vaccination rates. It is a marker of success, not failure.

E.g.: "About two-thirds of people who die on UK roads are wearing a seatbelt, but this is a consequence of usage rates of nearly 99%."

Explaining probability, statistics and combinatorics to the public is really, really hard. This stuff is extremely nonintuitive even without dealing with the grifters. Here's a really good, easy to understand video on Bayes theorem.

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Lauren Boebert will make you shit blood

How did I miss this the first time around?

Lauren Boebert's pork sliders poisoned dozens at a local rodeo, sending some home with bloody diarrhea:

Shooters Grill, which Boebert co-owns with her husband, has a schtick. Wait staff are required to wear holstered and loaded guns as they serve customers. (For years, they were not required to take training courses.) [...]

Shooters Grill made the news when the state temporarily revoked its license for re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic in defiance of the governor's orders. [...] But local health officials were already familiar with Boebert's operations. In 2017, authorities cited "an unlicensed temporary retail food establishment associated with Shooters Grill" for a mass food poisoning incident during the Rifle Rodeo at the Garfield County fairgrounds. [...]

Officials who later visited the restaurant suspected that the pork had not been stored at a safe temperature. They found that Smokehouse 1776 had no "cold holding" or "hot holding" mechanisms in place, and that the restaurant "does not maintain temperature logs so there was no way of showing that food was kept at proper temperatures." [...] They also reported "bare hand contact with ready to eat foods, no handwashing station [and] no barrier protection from insects."

A Boebert spokesperson told The Beast that the restaurant "did not receive a fine or have any other type of disciplinary action." [...]

The health department report said "100% of those interviewed with diarrhea ate pork sliders."

These days, Boebert is a conspiracy theorist who wants to abolish the Department of Education and does not believe that comprehensive sex education should be taught in schools.

She supports the bizarre but ascendant QAnon movement, the far-right fringe group which believes President Donald Trump is on a divine mission to arrest thousands of celebrities, Democrats and members of the "deep state" for allegedly running a global pedophilia ring and eating children.

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How To Do Your Part To Fight Climate Change So Major Corporations Don't Have To

The Hard Times:

Science nerds will tell you that climate change is an existential threat to our world, but more importantly, to our corporations. That being the case, we need to make major sacrifices in our everyday lives so big businesses can keep this economy running until the ground eventually swallows us whole. Here are a few climate hacks you can do to relieve corporations of any responsibility.

Put All Your Trash in a Recycling Bin
Turns out garbage is bad for the environment. So recycle it! Food scraps, plastic bags, and pretty much anything laying around the house can be put into a recycling bin. This way we can do our part which will allow major corporations to continue throwing their trash directly into the ocean. [...]

Use LED Lighting
These lights use 75% less energy than ones you get at Target. We all need to make the switch before Earth is literally on fire. When that happens, you don't want to be the one with egg on your face who had regular light bulbs in your home. That would be embarrassing. Please consider doing Chevron this one favor.

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Recent Movies and TV

  • Night Teeth (2021): This was a great vampire movie, like if Blade had double the politics and none of the fights. There's a huge amount of backstory that is only mentioned in passing. I suspect they have the scripts for two prequels and a sequel already written, and I'm ok with that.

  • Broadcast Signal Intrusion (2021): Inspired by the Max Headroom incident and probably also the "I Feel Fantastic" videos, this is just great. It's a bit VHS-forensic, so it's very reminiscent of the first act of Videodrome, though it doesn't go body horror. So good. And the period tech! Hats off to the propmasters and set dressers on this movie, because wow.

  • The Estate (2020): Gay failson and stepmom end up banging the same guy, decide to murder dad. Despite the porny setup, it's pretty funny. Stepmom is played by Eliza Coupe from Futureman, and she's hilarious. The ending is kind of weak, though.

  • The Spore (2020): The first post-COVID zombie movie, maybe! It kinda freaked me out, might be just too soon. It's more of a series of vignettes about people dealing with the apocalypse. Some very creepy low budget body horror.

  • Only Murders in the Building (2021): Somehow I had managed to miss that Steve Martin and Martin Short are in this. Why was I not informed? This was really funny.

  • Violet (2021): Wow, this was brutal but really good. Our lead's internal monologue keeps cutting her down in brutal voiceover while her cry-for-help narration plays out in handwritten subtitles, so there are three simultaneous lines of dialog. It's very creative and I haven't seen anything quite like that before.

    My one complaint is that it's a "Hollywood" story, which... I know they say write what you know, but there has to be a limit. Every time I see a movie that centers a screenwriter or a director my reaction is "Please stop, I know you are in the most egotistical of all possible industries, but nobody wants to watch you licking your own asshole". This same story could have been told with characters who had real jobs, not breathing the same extremely rarified air as studio execs.

  • Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021): This is a Nicholas Cage movie that has almost the same plot as the Rowdy Roddy Piper classic, Hell Comes to Frogtown but with extra samurai. Some of those words will either convince you to watch this, or to never watch this. And either way, I cannot help you, Sir. I cannot help you. This movie is bonkers even by late-stage-Cage standards.

  • Multiverse (2021): Some undergrads build a magic mirror that draws some of their variants in from another dimension, which again, is why I keep saying that Mad Science needs to be a graduate level course. Anyway, it's very low budget and has some nice twists.

  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum (2019): It's just Jeff Goldblum being fascinated about things that I don't care about at all, like sneakers and denim and RVs, but he's such an adorable goofball that he made me care! I'm not sure this show would be any different if the host was David Byrne. Or Mr. Rogers.

  • Cowboy Bebop (2021): It's been ages since I watched the anime, but this felt exactly how I remembered it, like, almost to a Watchmen level of slavish detail. I really enjoyed the first half of it; the relationships between the three main characters and their small cons were really fun. But a show is only as good as its villain, and "Vicious" was boring as shit and I didn't care about anything to do with that subplot (including the ex-girlfriend who had no discernible character traits of any kind), which was basically the entire second half of the show.

    It's also striking, again, how much Firefly was 100% a remake of Cowboy Bebop with the serial numbers filed off. Whedon really brought nothing new to that party.

  • Dexter, New Blood (2021): I was pretty over Dexter by the time the first show ended -- I thought the final season, and the series finale, were pretty poor -- but I am enjoying this revival a lot so far. First episode was iffy, but it's shaping up nicely.

  • Hawkeye (2021): I think Renner's Hawkeye character in the Marvel movies is... just... the... worst. However, there have been some very good Hawkeye comics that I have enjoyed very much, particularly Hawkeye Vol. 4, 2012 by Fraction & Aja, and Hawkeye Vol 5, 2016 by Thompson & Romero (the Kate Bishop version), and this show borrows heavily from both of those. The Kate character in the show is exactly like the comics. So I'm sold so far.

  • Hanna, S03: Again, I enjoyed this, but it has been so long since the previous season that I have completely forgotten which bits I am remembering from Hanna and which are from Treadstone because they had exactly the same plot.

  • The Wheel of Time (2021): Stop me if you've heard this one before: it's the future of our Earth, but there was an apocalypse, and after the complete collapse of our society, the world recovered technologically to around 1500s England and then stayed exactly there for 10,000 years, and also oh yeah there's magic now or something. And some monarchist propaganda about pretty teens with a genetic predestination to rule. FFS, why do they keep making this same show?

  • Venom, Let There Be Carnage (2021): With the caveat that I was pretty drunk at the time, I found this funny. It's definitely way better than the first one. And all of that gay subtext from the first one is just text now.

  • Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021): This was pretty great. The MUNI fight is as good as you've heard. The first half of the movie is a straight-up kung fu movie, and it's fantastic. The second half turns into a Marvel movie, and that gets to be a bit of a slog, but overall it's worthwhile.

    Can someone explain to me, though, how this has basically the same plot as Batman: Soul of the Dragon? Like, the whole second half boss battle was, "Wait, didn't I just watch this?" Is it because DC and Marvel were just madly plagiarizing each other in the 70s?

  • Last Night In Soho (2021): This is absolutely fantastic, and gorgeous. Without giving too much away, it's a mystery taking place partly in the 60s and partly today, and in the telling of the story, the two actresses switch places often, which is done with incredible choreography. There are some tricks with mirrors that rival Candyman, but I'm pretty sure this was all practical.

  • Arcane (2021): Some poor kids do parkour and Fight The Man in Steampunk Land. It was pretty great. The character had personalities and the animation was awesome. It had a very painterly feel to it. Spiderverse pretty much showed that there is no longer any difference between "animation" and "3D animation" and this is a worthy continuation of that. Apparently it's based on a video game that I know literally nothing about, so it's fair to say that you don't need the backstory. Maybe I would have liked it less if I had ever seen the game.

  • The Great S02: Just as hilarious as the first season.

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