Posted Thu Apr 9 19:28:40 2020 Tags:
Stay open or close down

Food businesses shouldn't have to balance the fates of their employees with public safety. That's an inhuman moral dilemma and a completely capitalist fabrication. A choice you make because, if you choose otherwise, people in your employ will lose live-saving health coverage or stable housing, is not a choice. What is the point of preserving someone's life while also ruining it?

To close temporarily, even for a week, is incredibly punishing to the vast majority of food businesses. They are still on the hook for rent, utilities, sales taxes, benefits and payroll taxes.

Closing would be even more punishing for those who work at those businesses: members of the working class who still need to pay for rent, health care, and various debts. Unemployment benefits can help allay some of those costs. But many food industry workers make the majority of their income from tips, and these are not counted when determining benefits. And according to a 2008 report by the Pew Hispanic Center, 20% of restaurant workers are undocumented but, despite the fact that they pay into that system, are ineligible for those payments. [...]

What we've seen so far from the federal government has not made the decision to close easier. According to the Small Business Administration's guidelines for the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), issued April 2, what was pitched as a forgiveable business loan with a 10-year repayment plan has morphed into one that must be repaid in 2 years with 1% interest.

If a business doesn't rehire all of its staff by June 30, a large chunk of that loan will qualify as non-forgiveable. It's unimaginable that restaurants will recover enough to rehire their entire pre-coronavirus staffs even by the end of 2020. [...] And even though evictions have been put on hold by San Francisco, commercial and residential landlords still have the right to demand rent be paid in full at in the future. The result is a ticking time bomb: We might see restaurants come back from this in May, only to shutter en masse when they have to start paying back their loans and deferred rent.

Previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Apr 9 18:39:55 2020 Tags:

The bully's men have added artificial obstacles to the recently passed law offering paid sick leave, which will have the effect of excluding many workers who were supposed to have this benefit.

The conman cheated contractors he hired to work on his buildings. Why wouldn't he cheat workers too?

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

*The Coronavirus Paradox: Biden's Delegate Lead Increases as the Need for Bernie's Politics Adds Up.*

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Republicans reluctantly agreed to a law to send checks soon to non-rich Americans. Then they cheated on the deal, by making an arbitrary rule that poor people who live on government pensions or aid, and don't file tax returns, would not get checks. Unless they find out about this and file a return solely for this rule, they will get shafted.

Yielding to a wave of criticism, Republicans dropped the new requirement _only_ for those who receive Social Security pensions. They must hope that this will divide the opposition, so they could get away with shafting the other affected people: military veterans, and those whose income is small enough to qualify for the existing income assistance.

Why deny this aid to the poorest? Those politicians' overriding goal is to transfer money to the rich, so they take advantage of any opportunity,

I do not submit my tax returns on line because it requires nonfree software. I use xournal to write my data on the PDF form, and print that. As I have no printer, I will visit a copying store to do the printing.

I do this because keeping safe means protecting our freedom as well as our health.

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Republicans reluctantly agreed to a law to send checks soon to non-rich Americans. Then they cheated on the deal, by making an arbitrary rule that poor people who live on government pensions or aid, and don't file tax returns, would not get checks. Unless they find out about this and file a return solely for this rule, they will get shafted.

Yielding to a wave of criticism, Republicans dropped the new requirement only for those who receive Social Security pensions. They must hope that this will divide the opposition, so they could get away with shafting the other affected people: military veterans, and those whose income is small enough to qualify for the existing income assistance.

Why deny this aid to the poorest? Those politicians' overriding goal is to transfer money to the rich, so they take advantage of any opportunity,

I do not submit my tax returns on line because it requires nonfree software. I use xournal to write my data on the PDF form, and print that. As I have no printer, I will visit a copying store to do the printing.

I do this because keeping safe means protecting our freedom as well as our health.

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

The ACLU won a US court ruling that disobeying a server's terms of service (or disservice) does not violate the CFAA.

This will be a milestone victory, if it endures, but we cannot take it as final yet. I expect the big digital quasi-monopolies will arrange to try to reverse this decision.

Too bad we could not bring Aaron Swartz back to life if the decision stands.

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Greta Thunberg rebuked the US government for ceasing enforcement of environmental protection regulations.

Environmental damage allowed now by the EPA will make people more vulnerable to Covid-19 now, and continue harming people and nature for years after Covid-19 has ceased to preoccupy us.

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Robert Bork's evisceration of US antitrust law allowed a gouging company to dismantle the US government's contract for making copious inexpensive ventilators.

More information about those events (though it doesn't trace the connections to antitrust law and Medtronic).

But it does mention that the US government pushed to reduce the number of hospital beds because it expected that the business-based US medical system would seek excuses to keep all hospital beds full.

A National Health Service can maintain extra beds as a reserve, given political will to provide good medical care.

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

*Decline in Fossil Fuel Emissions Due to Coronavirus Lockdowns No Substitute for Climate Action, Advocates Say.*

Covid-19 will be licked in a year or two, and greenhouse gas emissions will rise again (the plutocrats intend to make sure they do), so the bigger (but slower) danger of climate disaster will still be waiting for us.

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

In education, don't think of "soft skills" as secondary. *Soft Skills Are Essential Skills and Our Kids Need Them Now More Than Ever.*

Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:
Posted Thu Apr 9 00:00:00 2020 Tags:
There are no winners here.

Facebook, the anti-social network widely recognized as the standard-bearer for horrible privacy violations, is squaring off in court with an equally reprehensible spyware company -- and things are getting spicy. Surveillance vendor NSO Group ("Dictators' choice!" -- not their actual slogan) told the court that Facebook has had such a hard time spying on people without consent on Apple products, that Zuck's minions approached NSO in 2017 to contract use of NSO's famously reprehensible spyware, Pegasus. [...]

It will feel gross learning about more terrible stuff they do to us (and want to do to us), but maybe some judge or juror somewhere will see fit to render justice in the way NSO and Facebook deserve: tossing a nail-studded baseball bat on the floor.

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

Posted Wed Apr 8 09:18:22 2020 Tags:
I added a chat widget to the video webcast, since, you know, the one thing missing from any web page is anonymous shitcockery.

Anyway, because the modern web is a crumbling edifice of unspeakable horror, please let me know if either the chat widget or the music video request system are getting the sizes wrong on your various devices. (Oh yeah you can also request music videos.)

One thing I've seen on occasion, but can't really reproduce, is that sometimes scrolling stops working on iOS. Maybe it is trying to scroll the page instead of the 'overflow-y:auto' DIV? I dunno.

Posted Tue Apr 7 23:55:56 2020 Tags:
A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta:

Here, we describe easily deployable hardware and software for the long-term analysis of a user's excreta through data collection and models of human health. The 'smart' toilet, which is self-contained and operates autonomously by leveraging pressure and motion sensors, analyses the user's urine using a standard-of-care colorimetric assay that traces red -- green -- blue values from images of urinalysis strips, calculates the flow rate and volume of urine using computer vision as a uroflowmeter, and classifies stool according to the Bristol stool form scale using deep learning [...]

Each user of the toilet is identified through their fingerprint and the distinctive features of their anoderm, and the data are securely stored and analysed in an encrypted cloud server. The toilet may find uses in the screening, diagnosis and longitudinal monitoring of specific patient populations.

"Distinctive features of their anoderm."

I wonder what "specific patient populations" is a euphemism for, and if it's as sinister as it sounds.

There's a fingerprint scanner on the flush lever, and yes, those are close-up photos of assholes.

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

Posted Tue Apr 7 00:16:05 2020 Tags:
Last night we did a Hubba Hubba Revue "Best Of" show and pledge drive on the webcast. If you missed watching it live, you can check it out now on the tubes.

As pledge drives go, it went ok I guess? We had around 160 simultaneous viewers at the peak, and we made a few hundred bucks in donations. Which is not nothing. I mean, it's almost nothing, but it's not nothing.

We're doing it again next Friday: Burlesquerpiece Theatre Two: Electric Boogaloo! Add it to your busy social calendar.

As per tradition, we will have a drink special for this event, but you're gonna have to get it delivered! We've updated our menu of pre-mixed cocktails for delivery from DNA Pizza: Currently on the list are:

Black Manhattan; Sazerac; Negroni; Ketel Peach Lemonade; Rosemary Paloma; and Lavender Lemonade Cooler.

We deliver from 4pm to 10pm every day. Find us on Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub, AllSet and now SliceLife.

Posted Sat Apr 4 18:44:52 2020 Tags:

This is a follow up from the kernel support for high-resolution wheel scrolling which you totally forgot about because it's already more then a year in the past and seriously, who has the attention span these days to remember this. Anyway, I finally found time and motivation to pick this up again and I started lining up the pieces like cans, for it only to be shot down by the commentary of strangers on the internet. The Wayland merge request lists the various pieces (libinput, wayland, weston, mutter, gtk and Xwayland) but for the impatient there's also an Fedora 32 COPR. For all you weirdos inexplicably not running the latest Fedora, well, you'll have to compile this yourself, just like I did.

Let's recap: in v5.0 the kernel added new axes REL_WHEEL_HI_RES and REL_HWHEEL_HI_RES for all devices. On devices that actually support high-resolution wheel scrolling (Logitech and Microsoft mice, primarily) you'll get multiple hires events before the now-legacy REL_WHEEL events. On all other devices those two are in sync.

Integrating this into the userspace stack was a bit of a mess at first, but I think the solution is good enough, even if it has a rather verbose explanation on how to handle it. The actual patches to integrate ended up being relatively simple. So let's see why it's a bit weird:

When Wayland started, back in WhoahReallyThatLongAgo, scrolling was specified as the wl_pointer.axis event with a value in pixels. This works fine for touchpads, not so much for wheels. The early versions of Weston decreed that one wheel click was 10 pixels [1] and, perhaps surprisingly, the world kept on turning. When libinput was forked from Weston an early change was that wheel events would have two values - degrees of movement and click count ("discrete steps"). The wayland protocol was expanded to include the discrete steps as wl_pointer.axis_discrete as well. Then backwards compatibility reared its ugly head and Mutter, Weston, GTK all basically said: one discrete step equals 10 pixels so we multiply the discrete value by 10 and, perhaps surprisingly, the world kept on turning.

This worked out well enough for a few years but with high resolution wheels we ran into a problem. Discrete steps are integers, so we can't send partial values. And the protocol is defined in a way that any tweaking of the behaviour would result in broken clients which, perhaps surprisingly, is a Bad Thing. This lead to the current proposal of separate events. LIBINPUT_EVENT_POINTER_AXIS_WHEEL and for Wayland the wl_pointer.axis_v120 event, linked to above. These events are (like the kernel events) a parallel event stream to the previous events and effectively replace the LIBINPUT_EVENT_POINTER_AXIS and Wayland wl_pointer.axis/axis_discrete pair for wheel events (not so for touchpad or button scrolling though).

The compositor side of things is relatively simple: take the events from libinput and pass the hires ones as v120 events and the lowres ones as v120 events with a value of zero. The client side takes the v120 events and uses them over wl_pointer.axis/axis_discrete unless one is zero in which case you can discard all axis events in that wl_pointer.frame. Since most client implementation already have the support for smooth scrolling (because, well, touchpads do exist) it's relatively simple to integrate - the new events just feed into the smooth scrolling code. And since you already have to do wheel emulation for that (because, well, old clients exist) wheel emulation is handled easily too.

All that to provide buttery smooth [2] wheel scrolling. Or not, if your hardware doesn't support it. In which case, well, live with the warm fuzzy feeling that someone else has a better user experience now. Or soon, anyway.

[1] with, I suspect, the scientific measurement of "yeah, that seems about alright"
[2] like butter out of a fridge, so still chunky but at least less so than before

Posted Sat Apr 4 04:00:00 2020 Tags:
This month in 1952, Wilhelm Reich began defending Earth from an alien invasion using a battery of surface-to-air orgasmatrons.

(4) The severe DOR effects began at Orgonon during the vernal equinox for three years. Leslie starts his report with the 30th of March 1952; my own report on the "Blackening Rocks" (OEB V/1,2, 1952). This is no mere coincidence. The month of Apri 1952 was reported in the Oranur report just mentioned as the period when the nauseating DOR clouds were observed for the first time in the Rangeley region. April 1952 is, according to Leslie's report, also the month with the most frequent sightings of CORE space ships. The nauseating DOR clouds must have some connection with the space ships. [...]

Operation Galactic OR Stream had demonstrated the tremendous power of a single cloudbuster, brought into action on the basis of the knowledge of the Cosmic OR Energy streams. It was immediately clear what this would mean in the hands of sick men. Therefore, the legislative procedures of the Eisenhower administration which tended to secure safety in weather control were greatly appreciated. [...]

(7) There can no longer be any doubt as to the source of the substance called Melanor. It disclosed heretofore entirely unknown characteristics. Melanor stems from the CORE men and their space ships. However, there are several questions which must be answered in due time if the menace which the DOR clouds as well as Melanor present for the human race, is to be met. Any definite questions themselves should be formulated now. They may direct us toward the true, valid answer in due time. [...]

(C) If the DOR clouds are results of deliberate action on the part of the people from space:

(a) Are these intentions benign? Do they want to help us? This possibility cannot be and should not be excluded, since Oranur and DOR have disclosed most fantastic curative qualities, in spite of the DOR sickness, or maybe just because of the DOR sickness; it represents a kind of immunization which the people on Earth are bound to go through.

(b) Or, are these DOR clouds designed to change our green planet into a wasteland of desert similar to the moon's surface? The severe droughts of late which coincide with the DOR as well as CORE men problem, may well be results of such deliberate action. In this case, let us not fool ourselves: the war between Earth and an invading enemy from space, using weapons strange to us, is already on and must be met right away. [...]

Things were fitting well, even too neatly for my taste. Therefore, I hesitated to tell anything to anyone about them. I only worried about what might have happened to the facts and equations which a student had acquired in 1947 to 1949. he had worked on the OR energy motor, and he disappeared in 1949 under mysterious circumstances.

(9) Just as space is not empty, light does not "come down to us from the stars and the sun". It is an effect of lumination in the OR energy envelope of the planets. It is a local phenomenon. Therefore, there is theoretically no limit to speed in cosmic space, except technically. This agrees with the apparently limitless quantities in energy functions which characterize the orgonometric "krx- system" as progressing in geometric proportions. These orgonometric calculations seem to be applicable to the technological problems of Cosmic OR Energy Streams.

There are times in the history of man when all slogans of the day become suddenly meaningless; when eternity seems to come home to every living soul. The end of 1953 was such a time.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Apr 2 20:35:26 2020 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.