DNA Lounge: Wherein we roll a D20

On certain special occasions we bust out the D20 drink special: you roll a die and take what you get. That special occasion was this week's Rhapsody of Fire show, which I am told featured the nascent genre of Dwarf Metal. Lots of attendees had plastic swords, and one dude was in plate mail.

Anyway, this was possibly the most popular drink special we've ever had -- we sold 160 of them, which means that statistically we'd have sold like eight Cement Mixers in one night, and people paid for them, which also has to be a record of some kind!


Eating Disorder Helpline Fires Staff, Transitions to Chatbot After Unionization

Perfectly normal, non-dystopian timeline.

NEDA, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to eating disorders, has had a helpline for the last twenty years that provided support to hundreds of thousands of people via chat, phone call, and text. [...]

"We asked for adequate staffing and ongoing training to keep up with our changing and growing Helpline, and opportunities for promotion to grow within NEDA. We didn't even ask for more money," Harper wrote. "When NEDA refused [to recognize our union], we filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board and won on March 17. Then, four days after our election results were certified, all four of us were told we were being let go and replaced by a chatbot."

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Em like a boss

End of an era: I was issued a new ATM card and the new one no longer has raised letters, and that makes me surprisingly sad. They are denying me the possibility of having my card swiped by a clacky carbon-paper roller machine. BUT WHAT IF!! I can still hear the sound of it.

When I was trying to figure out how to print the DNA Lounge Patreon cards, I tried to find a machine that could do embossing like this at any kind of scale, and it was not practical.

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And now, a rant about subtitles! There are many like it but this one is mine.

Give a listen to the clip to the right, from the opening-ish scene of some movie I fell asleep to last night.

I have become one of those people who watches movies with subittles on, and not because I am old and am losing my hearing (I am old, but my hearing seems fine!) but because the sound design in modern films is shit (and everyone knows this). Anyway, this leads to having my senses assaulted by subtitles like this:

    [ suspenseful music ]
    [ light dramatic music ]
    [ suspenseful music ]

Is there anyone who is helped by captions like this?

I can understand when a show, in the midst of a dramatic heist scene, might choose to interject within the dialog subtitles something like [ Never Gonna Give You Up continues playing ] -- that detail might actually contribute to one's understanding of the scene. Or it might be contractually required by the product placement payola.

And I can also understand when there's a scene when two characters are angrily and silently staring at each other while subtitles relate [ Put this pussy right in your face, swipe your nose like a credit card ] because that's the song the producer bought for the club scene they're in -- and if you were hearing this movie, that's the song that would be distracting you from the acting right now. So that's arguably necessary to give you equivalency of experience.

But when they do this "suspenseful music continues" crap -- when they try to tell you the "emotional content" of some stock pabulum classical soundtrack nonsense -- is there any hearing-impaired person in the world who finds their understanding of the film even remotely enhanced by this?

I feel like these subtitles might as well read:

    [ **TK** rip off Danny Elfman or John Williams here ]
or maybe
    [ Look, we couldn't afford Graeme Revell so we found this royalty-free thing on YouTube ]

Later in the same movie:

    [ speaking foreign language ]
    [ man sighs ]

Reader, the "foreign language" he was speaking was Spanish.

I mean, I can accept [ sighs in spanish ] because that's a joke, but there is no excuse, ever, for "speaks foreign language" unless it's like, Klingon, but wait, no, NOT EVEN IF IT IS LITERALLY KLINGON. Seriously, some motherfucker is speaking Spanish and you're giving me [ speaks foreign language ], after you went all-in to caption your royalty-free stock soundtrack bullshit as [ suspenseful yet slightly more upbeat music continues ]?

Stares into camera and [ gestures wildly at subtitle ].

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"Tough love"

Mayor Breed spoke for 10 minutes, until the crowd shouted her down and someone threw a brick:

Board President Aaron Peskin called today's monthly Board of Supervisors mayoral question session outside at the plaza, only feet away from City Hall. It was a unique move to question Breed directly on her latest policies around the fentanyl crisis and record overdoses experienced by people on the street -- many of which happen right in and around the UN Plaza. [...]

As the sun shone brightly on the crowd, Breed bore a look of displeasure long before taking her position at the podium to scattered boos and clapping. [...]

When she returned to the podium, a spectator launched into an ear-splitting whistle of the "Star Spangled Banner," while others started chanting "No more cops" -- enough that the mayor turned around and Peskin abruptly pulled the plug on the outdoor meeting, called a recess, and relocated the event to the Board of Supervisors chambers on City Hall's second floor.

Once inside, to a much more sedate audience, the mayor told the crowd her new plan includes what she calls "tough love."

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The Whales have declared war on the Spanish Fleet

Orcas have attacked and sunk a third boat off the Iberian coast of Europe, and experts now believe the behavior is being copied by the rest of the population.

"There were two smaller and one larger orca," skipper Werner Schaufelberger told the German publication Yacht. "The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side." [..]

Experts suspect that a female orca they call White Gladis suffered a "critical moment of agony" -- a collision with a boat or entrapment during illegal fishing -- that flipped a behavioral switch. "That traumatized orca is the one that started this behavior of physical contact with the boat," López Fernandez said. [...]

"We do not interpret that the orcas are teaching the young, although the behavior has spread to the young vertically, simply by imitation, and later horizontally among them, because they consider it something important in their lives," López Fernandez said.

I don't give the White Gladis Militia good odds in this fight, but I wish them luck. Become ungovernable.

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Techbro SF

We are going to fix San Francisco

San Francisco is a dystopian hellhole caught in doomloop and it is all because everyone hates techbros. Well, we are tired of being disrespected. Therefore we are going to attack those who can't fight back, yes, poor people. To do that more effectively we want more police. Lots more police. LOTS more police! And less, far less, Narcan and other harm reduction.

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Dropbox fuckery

Dropbox is vile and I want no part of it in my life. However, one particular tool I work with has no way of getting its data to me except via Dropbox, and I can't fix that.

I have one of those anonymous "share" links for the folder in which my data materializes (the "dropbox.com/sh/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX/YYYYYYYYYYYYYY_ZZZZZZZZZZ" kind) and I have a script that has been just scraping the HTML and mirroring the files directly. It's slow and wasteful and irritating but it had been working for 5+ years... except recently the Dropbox web pages have begun shitting the bed, and half the time when I load and parse them, they return different, unparsable data. Maybe these are intermittent backend errors, or maybe they've changed their Javascript that be even more obscure and only some proxies have caught up to the new, more useless way. I dunno, I can't tell.

So I tried doing it the "official" way and creating and "app" and generating an OAuth token and using the official API, but after successfully authenticating, all it ever says is "missing_scope, required_scope: files.metadata.read". (That checkbox is among the many that are checked on my app's config page.)

Have any of you ever successfully used this API to list a folder and read a file?

Note: I am not asking for your anecdote about how you installed the Dropbox GUI on your machine. And even if it is possible to install a Dropbox file-system-impersonating rootkit daemon on a headless CentOS 7 server, I have no interest in doing that. I just want to mirror files out of this one URL, by polling from cron.

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Favorite tech innovation


What's your favorite tech innovation?
Illegal cab company
Illegal hotel chain
Fake money for criminals
Plagiarism machine
37,872 votes

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Today I learned that Church Molestation Liability Insurance is a thing that exists

Ministry Insured: Abuse and Molestation Liability Insurance:

No one likes to think about the possibility of a situation involving improper behavior or sexual misconduct against a parishioner, especially a minor. However, it is hard to escape the reality that these types of lawsuits are becoming more prevalent and more public. [...]

There is no other insurance policy or coverage that will protect an organization when a lawsuit for sexual misconduct is brought against it.

Bold choice of that insurance company to go with a stock photo of little kids for this product. Are we to assume that they are or will soon be rape victims?

Cry havoc and let slip the actuarials: Child Sexual Abuse Losses by Industry:

Religious organizations account for 30% of all child sexual abuse losses in Advisen's database. This is the second greatest frequency for all industries, behind only elementary and secondary schools at 39%. All other industries account for less than 10% of the total child sexual abuse losses.

Meanwhile in Texas: Houston's only lesbian bar denied insurance for hosting drag:

Ten years after launching what has become a pillar of queer nightlife in Houston, Mabry says the ongoing push by conservative lawmakers to restrict LGBTQ rights in Texas has jeopardized her business: for the first time since its doors opened in 2013, Pearl Bar was denied an insurance policy it needs to continue operations earlier this year, specifically because it hosts drag shows. [...]

Mabry's insurance agent shared the underwriter's explanation for denying Pearl Bar: "we will not consider this one due to the drag," the underwriter wrote. "We won't write this risk."

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