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Happy mutant, cyberpunk, and painter Rudy Rucker is hanging a show of his art at Borderlands Cafe and Science Fiction Bookstore in San Francisco's Mission district. Another great reason to visit an amazing store -- he's kicking it off with a reading this Saturday, Jan 12:
I’ll be hanging a show of my paintings in the Borderlands Books café with a reception on Friday, Jan 11, 5-7 pm. And I’ll give a reading and Q&A session for my novel Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel on Saturday, Jan 12, at 3 pm—you can visit with the paintings then as well.
Art Show & Reading At Borderlands Books (Thanks, Benjamin Wilson!)
From Carolyne Zinko's SF Gate story and slideshow from San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair (a kink/fetish event), this fantastic mask on an unidentified "reveler." I want to wear something like this on an everyday basis.
50 shades of fetish at Folsom St. Fair (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a larger photo by Carolyne Zinko)
Eric sez, "The Singularity Summit 2012, exploring 'Minds and Machines' and 'Emerging Technologies and Science' will be taking place October 13 - 14 at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco. The Singularity Summit is the premier event on cutting-edge technologies including robotics, regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfacing and more.
Join some of the most brilliant minds in the world for discussions on the most revolutionary technological advancements on the horizon. Speakers include inventor, entrepreneur and author Ray Kurzweil, Nobel Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman, professor and author Steven Pinker, professor and author Temple Grandin, science fiction author Vernor Vinge, and many more."
The Singularity Summit | October 13-14, San Francisco (Thanks, Eric!)
So much human excrement was drawn into one San Francisco subway escalator that a HAZMAT team was required after it ground to a poo-glued halt. Will Kane in SFGate:
While the sheer volume of human waste was surprising, its presence was not. Once the stations close, the bottom of BART station stairwells in downtown San Francisco are often a prime location for homeless people to camp for the night or find a private place to relieve themselves. All those biological excretions can gum up the wheels and gears of BART's escalators, shutting them down for long periods of extended repairs, increasing station cleaning costs and creating an unpleasant aroma for morning commuters.
I've written a sequel to my talk The Coming War on General Purpose Computing, called "The Coming Civil War Over General-Purpose Computing," which I'll be delivering twice this summer: first on July 28 at DEFCON in Las Vegas, and then on July 31 in San Francisco at a Long Now Foundation SALT talk, jointly presented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. As far as I know, both talks will be online, along with slides (a rarity for me -- I normally hate doing slides, but I had a good time with it this time around).
These people in San Francisco probably had more fun than you on Passover/Easter weekend. BB reader Bhautik Joshi shares his photographs from "Bring Your Own Big Wheel 2012" in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, and explains the idea behind it—
For the uninitiated, the gag is really simple:
- large group of adults in costumes assemble with a variety of wheeled, childrens toys (Group A)
- large group of spectators gather (Group B)
- Group A races down windy Vermont St as fast as they can, leaving a trail of noise and awesomeness in their path
- Group B cheer like maniacs
Rina writes, "Join SF in SF and PM Press for an evening with ON THE GROUND: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. with Trina Robbins, Billy X. Jennings, Judy Gumbo Albert and Terry Bisson. Join contributors to the original underground press movement in discussion, reading, and what's bound to be interesting debate!"
As with all SF in SF events, it's free: Mar 31, 6PM, 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Newly released documents shed light on the San Francisco edition of the CIA's notorious MK-ULTRA program (through which people were unwittingly given massive doses of LSD to see if the drug would be useful for brainwashing), which ran from 1953-1964. There's lots of detail about MK-ULTRA's work in NYC and Montreal, but the San Francisco operation has been shrouded in mystery. The newly declassified documents form the springboard for a good investigative piece in SF Weekly, in which Troy Hooper speaks to Wayne Ritchie, one of the survivors of MK-ULTRA's San Francisco operation.
There were at least three CIA safe houses in the Bay Area where experiments went on. Chief among them was 225 Chestnut on Telegraph Hill, which operated from 1955 to 1965. The L-shaped apartment boasted sweeping waterfront views, and was just a short trip up the hill from North Beach's rowdy saloons. Inside, prostitutes paid by the government to lure clients to the apartment served up acid-laced cocktails to unsuspecting johns, while martini-swilling secret agents observed their every move from behind a two-way mirror. Recording devices were installed, some disguised as electrical outlets.
To get the guys in the mood, the walls were adorned with photographs of tortured women in bondage and provocative posters from French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The agents grew fascinated with the kinky sex games that played out between the johns and the hookers. The two-way mirror in the bedroom gave the agents a close-up view of all the action.
The main man behind the mirror was burly, balding crime-buster George H. White, a Bureau of Narcotics maverick who made headlines breaking up opium and heroin rings in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the U.S. Few knew he doubled as a CIA spook for Uncle Sam. He oversaw the San Francisco program, gleefully dubbing it Operation Midnight Climax.
"[White] was a real hard head," said Ritchie, who regularly ran into him in courtrooms and law enforcement offices in downtown San Francisco. "All of his agents were pretty much afraid to do anything without his full approval. White would turn on them, physically. He was a big tough guy."
American chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the brains behind White's brawn. It was the height of McCarthyism in the early '50s, and government intelligence leaders, claiming fear of communist regimes, were using hallucinogens to induce confessions from prisoners of war held in Korea, and brainwash spies into changing allegiances. What better way to examine the effects of LSD than to dose unsuspecting citizens in New York City and San Francisco?
Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA Dosed S.F. Citizens with LSD (Thanks, tyrsalvia!)
Here's a long-lost 1937 report on police corruption in San Francisco:
In 1935, the citizens of the city of San Francisco were indignant when tales of police officers having amassed huge fortunes through payoffs, graft and bribery came to light. In a convulsion of civic anger, District Attorney Matt Brady and Mayor Angelo Rossi were pressed to act, and they hired private investigator and former G-man Edwin N. Atherton. The so-called Atherton Report prompted dozens of cops to quit or lose their jobs, some went underground, one killed himself and his family. The entire police commission was forced to resign and reports of police payoffs, staged raids on gambling houses and brothels, bail bond skimming, unpaid loans to public officials and other were laid at the door of the House of McDonough.
Lost for more than seventy years, here is the infamous Atherton Report.
The 1937 San Francisco Police Graft Report by Edwin Atherton (Thanks, hankchapot!)
This afternoon some friends and I will be playing this new game we really like in Yerba Buena Gardens, and you're welcome to join us.
Johann Sebastian Joust is basically like high-tech tag. Each person has a Playstation Move controller, and the object of the game is to jostle other people's controllers so that you're the last man standing. The twist is that as you play, a Bach concerto will also be playing and its tempo indicates the upper threshold for how much your controller can be jostled before you're out.
If you want to play, we'll be in Yerba Buena Gardens today at 5PM. You don't need to bring anything, we have a full set of controllers, and we'll trade off. See you there!
The NYT's Scott James recounts the insane red-tape endured by Juliet Pries, an entrepreneur who decided to open an ice-cream parlour in San Francisco's Cole Valley. She had to pay rent on an empty storefront for over two years while the necessary permits were processed, and tens of thousands of dollars in fees (including the cost of producing a detailed map of nearby businesses, which the city itself seemed not to have). If the story sounds familiar, it's because it was the subject of a notorious Xtranormal-produced Hello City Planner video that used it as an example to lampoon the planning bureaucracy in San Francisco.
Pries's restaurant, the Ice Cream Bar, is a popular hit, and employs 14 people, but “Many times it almost didn’t happen," as she says, due to the incredibly administrative hurdles she faced in opening it.
Ms. Pries said she had to endure months of runaround and pay a lawyer to determine whether her location (a former grocery, vacant for years) was eligible to become a restaurant. There were permit fees of $20,000; a demand that she create a detailed map of all existing area businesses (the city didn’t have one); and an $11,000 charge just to turn on the water.
The ice cream shop’s travails are at odds with the frequent promises made by the mayor and many supervisors that small businesses and job creation are top priorities.
The matter has also alarmed some business leaders, who point out that few small ventures could survive such long delays.
“Someone of lesser fortitude would have left three months into it,” Ted Loewenberg, president of the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association, said of Ms. Pries. “Through these hard times we’ve heard all the rhetoric about streamlining the process, about one-stop shopping. It hasn’t happened.”
The link comes by way of JWZ, owner of the DNA Lounge and the adjacent pizzeria, who notes that, "I started the process of trying to cut a door in the wall between my restaurant and nightclub in February 2011. It is now February 2012, and we still don't have the necessary permits and have not yet begun construction. If we have a door in that wall -- and are allowed to let people walk through it -- before 2013, we will consider ourselves lucky."