Larry Hosken. Technical writer. Puzzlehunt enthusiast.
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I’m not sure what I am looking forRachmones.Duboce @ Mission St...

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I’m not sure what I am looking for

Rachmones.

Duboce @ Mission St in San Francisco, Ca

See her other art there

https://www.streetartsf.com/tag/rachmones/

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lahosken
28 days ago
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San Francisco, USA
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The Marine Firemen’s Union Hall is being sold.

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The Marine Firemen’s Union building sits on the western side of Second Street, an appropriate direction given the union’s relationship with the Pacific Ocean. Second Street itself tips ever so slightly up as it intersects with Folsom. This angle is probably all that’s left of the vertiginous sand dunes clumped around the foot of Market Street in the 19th century. After the dunes were dismantled, boarding houses sprung up in their place, housing men who worked on the docks and in the ships berthed at the Embarcadero, back when it was a working waterfront.

The union, formed in 1883, is formally known as the Pacific Coast Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers Association. MFOWW (pronounced em-fau) moved to their current location sixty years ago. Today, the building sits on a large lot next to Linkedin, a hiring hall of another kind, minus the collective action for higher wages and better working conditions. The union is preparing for another move.

“We’re selling the building,” Ivy “Cajun” Callais told me. Callais, who lives in Alameda, told me that once the building was sold, the union would move operations to Seattle. “All the jobs are in the Port of Oakland now, anyway,” he said.

Asked if the building will be torn down, he nodded his head. “The air above it is worth more than the building, honey.” Callais, who still has a southern drawl—“I’ve been here since 1964 and haven’t lost it”—is happy the building isn’t under the confines of historic protection. “We have to sell it before that happens. We couldn’t afford it. All that work we’d need to do. It’d bankrupt us.” The building was described by the Chronicle in 1957 as a “shiny, new … marble-faced construction” and cost $800,000 to build. It’s anyone’s guess how much the parcel will sell for. Millions of dollars is a safe bet: the building, which sits on 21,396 square feet, was last assessed at $1,057,237. Callais was proud of the building and its construction even as he predicted its demise. “This building was built with the best materials. You see that wood?”

Interior shot of the Marine Fireman’s Union hall, 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA

The building is home to two other unions: The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians–Communications Workers of America and The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Both unions possess the same sort of mouth-busting moniker made manageable by the phonetic pronunciation of their acronyms, NABET and IATSE (pronounced eye-at-see). The building also houses two prized works of art. A bas-relief sculpture is mounted above the entrance. Made by Olof Carl Malmquist, the noted sculptor whose work was scattered throughout the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island, the sculpture shows marine firemen inside the boiler room of a ship.

Olaf Carl Malmquist’s unnamed bas-relief sculpture above the entrance to the Marine Fireman’s Union hiring hall, at 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA

Inside the hiring hall hangs a mural created by the famed sculptor and muralist Lucienne Bloch. It depicts shipping products and their places of origin throughout the Pacific region. The marine themed mural is charming and whimsical, complete with a mermaid and a jellyfish. Noticeably absent from it are images of men toiling over boilers in the guts of the huge ships that carried them from port to port. Bloch, who created five murals in San Francisco between the years 1956- 1963, is famous for photographing Diego Rivera’s mural “Man At The Crossroads” just moments before it was destroyed on orders given by the thin-skinned capitalist Nelson Rockefeller.

Lucienne Blochs’ mural, inside the Marine Fireman’s Union hiring hall, at 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA.

The building has other historic features too, namely lead and asbestos, elements nobody wants to preserve. According to Callais, the building is full of both. “Look at your feet. See that tile?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s what you’re standin’ on. Asbestos. It’s up there, too,” he said, pointing skyward. These are problems the union doesn’t have the money to solve.

“You hear the media talkin’ about corrupt union officials, embezzlin’ and gettin’ paid too much. Well, let me tell you about this job, darlin’,” Callais explained in his languorous drawl. “If I didn’t draw social security, I couldn’t afford to work here.” He mused on the stability that union wages used to bring to San Francisco. “I could get you a job being a wiper—you know what that is? It’s simple.” He mimed wiping a surface. “I could get you a job doing that, and you’d make a better living than me.”

He remembered a time, after the Vietnam war, when members of the union and “casuals” or non-members, would line up outside the door. “There were jobs in those days,” he said “Some of the casuals, they’d go to Shelley’s bar up there at the corner, and wait. And if at the end of the day, there were still jobs to be filled, jobs the members didn’t want, the dispatcher’d go to bar, walk up to a guy and ask him if he wanted the job. And if that man hesitated, why the dispatcher’d walk to another man and ask him. If you wanted a job, you had to say so. Couldn’t hesitate. There was always a man wanting to work.”

These days, the big hall is often empty, although it is still open. “People still get jobs here,” he said. According to the union’s secretary treasurer, the union’s combined assets totaled $2.6 million. MFFOW had 430 active members and dispatched a total of 1,909 jobs in 2016. He thanked me for stopping in—“take all the pictures you want!”—and handed me some newsletters to read. The April 13 issue of “The Marine Fireman” touted the “hundreds” of new jobs coming to the Port of Oakland and announced the newest advance in the shipping trade: automation. The headline read “Danish researchers excited about prospect of unmanned ships.” Before leaving, I’d asked Callais what he thought of the economy. He paused. “The minute the US loses its shipping trade, well,” he said, “that’s the day the US is finished.”

The view from the dispatcher’s desk inside the Marine Fireman’s Union hiring hall at 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA

“Immigrants and native-born workers wash against each other all the time in the California economy, like the tides moving in and out of the bay beneath the Golden Gate, coming together, only to be pushed apart by powerful forces.
The difference between metaphor and reality is that water and tides are not sentient. Workers are conscious and capable of changing direction together  if the current in which they find themselves is not to their benefit or liking.”
From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement
Fred B. Glass, University of California Press

* Consider ordering not only Fred’s book but “The San Francisco Labor Landmarks Guide Book” as well. It’s edited by Catherine Powell, director of the Labor Archives and Research Center and can be purchased here:https://www.amazon.com/Francisco-Labor-Landmarks-Guide-Book/dp/B008GFRD7O

 











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lahosken
35 days ago
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San Francisco, USA
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There’s a well-funded campus industry behind the Ann Coulter incident

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There’s a well-funded campus industry behind the Ann Coulter incident

A leaflet in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

In a classic case of “heads I win, tails you lose,” conservative provocateur Ann Coulter emerged from last week’s events at the University of California at Berkeley as a free-speech martyr. Although Coulter and her sponsors — the Berkeley chapter of the College Republicans, local donors and a national organization called Young America’s Foundation — complained about the unfairness of the situation, they actually won by gaining attention from the fallout.

Political provocation designed to agitate and attract the attention of the media is one long-standing style for well-funded conservative collegians, as my co-author Kate Wood and I showed in our 2013 book, “Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives.” Some conservative campus organizations and actors favor a more erudite style of political discussion and are mildly horrified by events that are intended to cause shock and disagreement. However, others — which are often very well funded — thrive on confrontation.

There’s a lot of organization behind events like those last week

For decades, a handful of organizations has been working in the trenches with conservative college students to stage events such as Coulter’s. With their emphasis on conservative victimhood and liberal indoctrination, these organizations have fostered right-leaning student activism and suspicion about higher education, which have created fertile soil in which larger-scale political attacks on higher education germinate and grow.

Young America’s Foundation (YAF) is the largest and most prominent of these organizations. A tax-exempt organization founded in the late 1960s, YAF boasted more than $59 million in assets in 2014, according to the latest available tax forms on the Media Matters website, and had expenditures of $23 million that same year. YAF’s annual expenditures include organizing campus speaking tours for conservative celebrities such as Ted Nugent, Dinesh D’Souza, David Horowitz and Coulter. When not sending speakers to the nation’s campuses, YAF brings conservative students to it, at regional and national conferences every year.

YAF fuels a provocative style for what one of our interviewees called “Average Joe” college students. Enticed by slogans depicting faculty as “tree-hugging, gun-taking, wealth-hating, and leftist-loving,” students are taught in “boot camps” to fight “persecution” on campus with an “activist mentality,” confronting their liberal peers and professors head-to-head with “aggressive” tactics. Students take up the combative charge by staging showy events like “Affirmative Action Bake Sales” and “Catch an Illegal Alien Day.” This provocative style of right-wing activism is designed to poke fun at liberals, get them angry, protest their events and, when chaos ensues, attract media attention.

Another organization we studied, the Leadership Institute, had $21 million in assets in 2014 and spent nearly $15 million that year supporting conservative students online, on campus, and in their training facilities in Arlington, Va. The organization has trained tens of thousands of college students over the past four decades to enter politics and use advanced technology to get the conservative message out. One former Leadership Institute employee is James O’Keefe, the videographer who produced heavily edited undercover audio and video recordings with workers at ACORN, NPR and Planned Parenthood, all of which went viral years ago on Breitbart.com. While at the Leadership Institute, O’Keefe traveled to campuses to consult with students on starting clubs and conservative newspapers.

A newcomer to the scene is Turning Point USA, founded in 2012 by 20-year-old Charlie Kirk. Billing itself as a “24/7-365 activist organization,” its goal is to identify, train and organize students to promote conservative principles. With the motto, “Late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize,” Turning Point USA is the organization responsible for a newfound Professor Watchlist, a database of so-called liberal and leftist professors.

Not all conservative campus organizations agree

Right-leaning students who do not fit the “Average Joe” profile of these three organizations find support elsewhere for their speakers and activities. Disdaining confrontational actions such as “Global Warming BBQs” or hosting bomb-throwers such as Coulter, some College Republican clubs gravitate toward more intellectual events, such as bipartisan political conferences on campus or writing for arch, highbrow conservative newspapers.

The best known organization nurturing a more civil disposition is the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, founded in the 1950s by William F. Buckley. With assets totaling $11 million in 2014, ISI advertises itself as the premiere organization for the “best and the brightest” among conservative students. It offers seminars on moral and political philosophy, which ISI’s leaders argue are lacking on today’s college campuses. ISI also provides networking and internship opportunities at the National Review and other old-world right-leaning media. Ross Douthat, an op-ed writer for the New York Times, was a member of the 2002 class at ISI while attending Harvard and is now a speaker for the organization.

Events like last week’s help groups raise money and attention

All of these organizations rely on substantial amounts of funding from outside donors. They are not self-supporting. Given the large amounts that many luminaries charge to give speeches on campus — Coulter, for example, charges between $20,000 and $50,000 a speech — they could not be.

The amount of money pouring into conservative student groups from outside organizations has always outpaced the amount flowing to left-leaning students. Conservatives argue that makes sense because they feel as if they are outgunned on campuses that many of them think of as liberal indoctrination mills.

In recent years, the amount of money supporting the provocative style has outstripped support for the civil style. As a result of the altercation at Berkeley, it is likely that organizations supporting provocation will grow even richer, if donors on the right like what they see. And what they seem to like in the age of Trump is Coulter vs. Berkeley.

Amy Binder is a professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego. She is co-author of “Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives,” published in 2013.

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lahosken
48 days ago
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Minitrue: “Voiceprint Analysis Can Recognize Swindlers”

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The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Find and delete The Paper’s Article “Voiceprint Analysis Can Recognize Swindlers: Causes 80% Drop in Fake Legal Case Phone Scams in Anhui”; do not hype related technical content. (February 28) [Chinese]

The article from state-owned flagship online news outlet The Paper, which is reposted in full at CDT Chinese, begins with the story of an Anhui woman who received a fraudulent phone call. The caller claimed to hold a court summons against her, and said she would need to authorize a large payment over the phone to resolve the matter. At the last moment, the report says, the call set off an alarm with the local public security organs’ voiceprint recognition system, and they were able to terminate the call, averting the loss of ten to twenty million yuan.

The technology involved is reported to have been developed by the Intelligent Speech Technology Public Security Key Laboratory, established in 2012 by Anhui public security authorities and the University of Science and Technology of China’s Xunfei Information Technology, also known as iFlyTek. Its new Telephone Fraud Monitoring and Interception Platform can identify known scammers based on the voiceprint created by their unique biometric and behavioral characteristics. iFlyTek chairman Liu Qingfeng has claimed that the system, now integrated with local phone networks, reduced phone scams involving fake legal cases by 80% in Anhui in 2015, even as they rose by almost 70% nationally. The company claims that its voiceprint identification is more than 95% accurate, and besides fighting phone fraud can offer an extra layer of security in contexts like credit cards, remote stock trading, and social security.

The article goes on to note concerns including the fact that biometric characteristics, unlike passwords, cannot be changed if they are somehow compromised; the effects on one’s voice of factors like disease, drunkenness, and mood; and the security and privacy implications of automatically monitoring the entire phone network. This may be behind the order to delete the article, whether because it falsely alleged or inadvertently revealed the extent of automated monitoring.

iFlyTek also powers the LingLong DingDong, a Chinese-speaking home voice assistant akin to Amazon’s Echo. The privacy implications of such systems have been highlighted by Amazon’s ongoing U.S. court battle over recordings of a murder one of its devices may have witnessed. Privacy hazards have also been revealed with microphone-equipped childrens’ toys, another area in which iFlyTek is pushing its technology.

The company and its government collaborations recently appeared in a New York Times article on Chinese advances in defense-related artificial intelligence technologies, in which chairman Liu expressed his hope that an iFlyTek device would be able “to attend the college entrance examination, and to be admitted by key national universities in the near future.”

Another article from The Paper, on research into the public health impact of smog, was targeted by a deletion order earlier in February.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.


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lahosken
114 days ago
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pancake rom

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lahosken
124 days ago
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"...similar to the way a floppy disk works but this time using a Swedish pancake marked up with chocolate"
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Get to know Vladimir Putin

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Putin argument

Putin1

A non-fiction “explainer” comic about Russia’s controversial president.

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lahosken
125 days ago
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