*Thousands gather in Thailand for anti-government protest.*

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Japan's red pine forests are endangered, and with them the prized matsutake mushroom.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Warning Latin America not to end lockdowns too soon.

The US, and then Europe, have shown that this is likely to mean a new outbreak of Covid-19.

England has been trying to restrain the spread of Covid-19 with local restrictions, and being rather rigid about them, but it is not working.

I think the country needs nationwide measures. However, they don't need to be absolutely rigid. The UK's approach strikes me like measuring the distance between two people and fining them if is only 198 cm instead of 200 cm.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

Congressional Democrats call for investigation of Barr for politicizing his office as Attorney General.

I don't know if this can have much effect. The bully has already placed his officials are above the law by showing that he will fire any inspector general that tries to investigate their crimes.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

The US deportation thugs extend their medical neglect for prisoners from the prisons to the deportation flights.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

California could protect its buildings from fire with requirements for careful precautions.

More frequent fires outside the cities might result in less intense fires.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

The smoke from wildfires, when breathed by pregnant women, causes lasting harm to their fetuses in later life.

In some US states, women could be prosecuted for breathing the smoke. Perhaps millions of women would commit this "crime".

One could imagine prosecuting oil companies too, but the right-wing officials in those states don't want to go after oil companies, only women.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

US citizens: call on your congresscritter to support the MORE Act.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

US citizens: call on the Department of Housing and Urban Development not to allow discrimination against trans people.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:

*Brazilian wetlands fires started by humans and worsened by drought.*

The people who set the fires are criminals who wanted to replace the wetlands with cattle ranching. Due to the drought, the large Pantanal wetland is not wet now.

Posted Mon Sep 21 00:00:00 2020 Tags:
Who could have predicted this, except literally everybody?

Also is there a more dystopian serving of word-salad than "The Virgin Money Unity Arena"?

The Virgin Money Unity Arena opened in Newcastle earlier this summer, offering live music junkies the chance to see a concert live and in person in a safe setting. Specifically, the venue's viewing area consisted of a series of enclosed platforms -- each spaced six feet apart. Individuals or small groups could watch the concert standing or seated on these platforms, while concessions and bathrooms could be accessed through a one-way system.

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

Posted Fri Sep 18 22:48:37 2020 Tags:
"The human 'supervising driver' in a self-driving Uber is just a meat-based liability magnet."

An Arizona prosecutor has brought charges of negligent homicide against the first human driver to fail to prevent an imperfect "self-driving" vehicle from killing a pedestrian. [...]

It was later revealed that Uber's technology didn't have "the capability to classify an object as a pedestrian unless that object was near a crosswalk," either -- functionally condemning "jaywalkers," who endanger no one but themselves, to a swift and violent death for their crime. [...]

Perhaps even more disturbing than Uber's tech failures, though, is the fact that the company had actually disabled the automatic emergency braking functions of the vehicle [...] and relied instead on Vasquez to take notice of the walker and stop the car. However, the system was not set up to actually alert the driver of a possible human being in the road, because Uber had deactivated the forward collision warning technology, too. [...]

"The fact that this driver has been charged with a crime does not vindicate Uber in any way," said Bryant Walker Smith, a lawyer, engineer, and internationally recognized expert in autonomous vehicles. "For me, this crash comes down to a vicious cycle: The driver falsely assumed that Uber's software would be vigilant, and the designers of that software falsely assumed that the driver would be vigilant. ... I would argue that the companies that develop and deploy these vehicles are driving them -- conceptually and morally, even if not legally." [...]

Perhaps the most unusual thing about the death of Elaine Herzberg is that the driver who killed her has been charged with a crime. That's so rare that there's virtually no national data on how many drivers who strike pedestrians face legal consequences; one investigation found, for example, that less than 1 percent of Minneapolis drivers who struck walkers between 2010 and 2014 were tried.

As I said before:

So of course they're going to throw their lowest-level Uber employee "non-employee independent contractor" under the bus. But it's Travis Kalanick who should be in jail.

And as I said before that:

  1. The Uber executives who put this software on the public roadways need to be in jail. They disabled safety features because they made testing harder. They disabled safety features because they made the ride rougher.

  2. This notion that having a "safety driver" in the passenger seat will allow a distracted human to take over at the last minute is completely insane. You think driving-while-texting is dangerous? This is so much worse. When people aren't engaged in the task of driving, their minds wander. They cannot re-engage fast enough. This is obvious on its face, we don't need studies to prove it. Oh, but we have them anyway.

  3. I would still like to know the answer to the question of who gets charged with vehicular homicide when one of these machines kills someone. Even if they are ultimately ruled to be not at fault, what name goes on the court docket? Is it:

    • The Uber employee "non-employee independent contractor" in the passenger seat?
    • Their shift lead?
    • Travis Kalanick?
    • The author(s) of the (proprietary, un-auditable) software?
    • The "corporate person" known as Uber?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri Sep 18 22:41:37 2020 Tags:
The White House blocked the plan.

At one point in April, USPS leaders drafted a news release announcing plans to distribute 650 million masks nationwide, enough to offer five face coverings to every American household. The document, which includes quotations from top USPS officials and other specifics, was never sent. [...]

Before the news release was sent, however, the White House nixed the plan, according to senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal deliberations. Instead, HHS created Project America Strong, a $675 million effort to distribute "reusable cotton face masks to critical infrastructure sectors, companies, healthcare facilities, and faith-based and community organizations across the country." About 600 million of the 650 million masks ordered have been distributed, according to an HHS spokesperson, including 125 million set aside for schools.

"There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic," one administration official said in response to the scrapped mask plan.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Sep 17 17:36:08 2020 Tags:
AnandWrites: This is Bloomberg saying it. Plute-on-plute violence, and true. "Facebook is a red state."

If you're a Democrat in elected office and you haven't yet been as tough on Facebook's existential threat to democracy, regardless of whether a child of yours worked there, wake up and don't be outflanked by Bloomberg.

I mean, Mike Bloomberg is a threat to democracy also. So when he calls someone else a threat to democracy, they're really, really a threat to democracy. It's like squaring a number.

Your occasional reminder that the path to a freer and more just America runs through more plute-on-plute beefing and less beefing among the rest of us.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Sep 17 17:19:57 2020 Tags:
New product alert!

Our Dazzle Masks are guaranteed to prevent the enemy from getting a lock on your heading and range!

Styled after the distinctive paint job in DNA Lounge's "Dazzle Room", itself based on the "razzle-dazzle camouflage" used on warships early in World War II, prior to the invention of Radar. Camouflage designed not to conceal but to confuse.

And every one of these masks is different: we have sixty-four different patterns, selected for you randomly!

They are of the same high quality construction as the Deluxe Masks: hand-made cotton twill masks with built-in over-the-nose wire. $25 each.

I expect these to be quite popular, so get your order in now! Our first batch is in stock, and we've already got a second run of them in production.

Posted Thu Sep 17 03:19:28 2020 Tags:
This electrical transmission tower has a little problem. can you spot it? Actually, it's not a small problem -- it cost us 16.65 *billion* dollars and caused the deaths of 85 people. [...]

Remember that worn C hook? How long was it rubbing against the hangar bracket? The answer is that we don't know. we think it is about 97 (!) years old, but we're not sure because PG&E didn't keep records about it.

After the fire, many of the pieces were taken to the FBI lab's metallurgical unit at Quantico, and they determined that the C hook was made of cast iron. Not all the C hooks on these 100-year old towers were made of cast iron -- many were made of steel. But again: no records.

PG&E knew that this was a problem because at some point they bolted on L brackets and moved the C hooks onto the new brackets, probably concerned that the old bracket hole had mostly worn through. we don't know when they did this because they kept no records.

And yes, PG&E is legally required to inspect these towers periodically. We don't know exactly when, because (you guessed it) no records from before the year 2000.

The investigating team interviewed troublemen (inspectors for PG&E) to find out exactly how they did the inspections. They were done mostly from helicopters. and despite having official procedures, here's what they did:

☑️ Is the tower still standing?

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Sep 17 00:23:39 2020 Tags:
Woodward evidently realized that he was dealing with a chump, a sucker, a patsy, a galoot -- the schmendrick of all schmendricks.

For what it's worth, I believe that there is much less than meets the eye to the most headline-grabbing quote in Rage: "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

As recorded, that reads like a cold-blooded confession that Trump intentionally concealed deadly knowledge at a time -- February and March -- when that knowledge could have saved lives. But you can reach that conclusion only if you believe that Trump knows things the way fully rational people know them: as statements about reality that exist independently from the speaker. Trump's mind does not work that way. He does not observe the world and then use words to describe it. He speaks the words he wishes you to believe, and then trusts the world to conform to his wishes. [...]

But despite the hashtag #TrumpKnew, Trump did not actually know anything. He said things to meet the need of the fleeting moment.

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

Posted Sun Sep 13 01:25:16 2020 Tags:
Parts of Louisiana hit hard by Hurricane Laura have been left fighting off hordes of mosquitoes so vast they are killing farm animals by biting them in huge numbers.

The animals are dying from the sheer number of bites, which leave them anemic and bleeding under the skin, as well as from the exhaustion caused by constantly moving to avoid the insects.

According to Dr Craig Fontenot, a vet in the city of Ville Platte, the "vicious little suckers", pushed out of marshes by the huge storm, have already claimed some 300-400 cattle, as well as a few horses. [...]

Hurricanes often present a risk of surging mosquito populations, as eggs laid by floodwater mosquitoes in previous floods start to hatch. While adult mosquitoes generally do not survive a hurricane's high winds, the egg-hatching phase that kicks in after a storm can drive a huge increase in the population.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Sep 12 18:52:17 2020 Tags:
tl;dr - because sysadminning a console is the worst game ever.

  1. Hear about [REDACTED] being released for PS3.
  2. Wonder if I can download that.
  3. Turn on PS3 for the first time in... a year?
  4. Remember that for some reason it stopped being able to connect to the network.
  5. Dick around in settings for 30 minutes.
  6. Completely disassemble it. (Wow, those heat sinks are not fucking around!)
  7. Detect nothing obviously unseated. Re-assemble.
  8. Dick around in settings again. Oh, now it wants to download an update! I guess the network is working again.
  9. Download. Wait.
  10. Install. Wait.
  11. It gets to 99%, aaaaaand....
  12. Yup. Repeatedly.
  13. Download PS3UPDAT.PUP to a thumb drive. Ignored.
  14. Safe mode? Nope, it goes right back to the installer loop, but this time in glorious SD.
  15. Pull the drive to see if I can replace the PS3UPDAT.PUP there surgically. Nope, it's in some goofball file system that a Mac can't mount.
  16. Safe mode with the drive pulled? Nope.
  17. I guess I don't have a PS3 any more, now I have a brick. Hooray!

Posted Sat Sep 12 02:55:15 2020 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.