Japan ignored the usual rules but contained COVID-19. How did it work?


No restrictions were placed on residents' movements, and businesses from restaurants to hairdressers stayed open

This article is full of inaccuracies and the comments reveal that very few Canadians know anything about the country beyond the stereotypes, few of which are remotely accurate 🙄

Deep Space Nine: The Trek spinoff that saved the day by staying put


[…] research seems to show that seeking out forms of entertainment that scare us—a method of confronting fears in a safe environment—can be a coping mechanism against perceived threats.

When thinking about the above criteria, however, one not-so-scary show comes to mind as a fitting series to retread: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. That prompts a fair question: how does a '90s Star Trek spinoff about a space station in the 24th century relate to a coronavirus-driven pandemic in 2020?

Lots of love for DS9 on Ars this morning.

Suspected drunk driver flees Hamilton police down dead-end street


Police say the driver rear-ended a city employee’s vehicle around 10 p.m. in the area of Wentworth and Cannon streets. An officer happened to be nearby and witnessed the incident. […] Attempting to flee the scene, the driver turned down Huntley Street and was soon confronted with a dead end. The officer blocked in the vehicle and arrested the man without incident.

No good will come from this for the driver 😑

Your every word and move may be tracked — are you finally scared about workplace surveillance?


About 20 years ago, I published my dissertation research on workplace surveillance. Not surprisingly, I found that people being monitored electronically react very negatively when their privacy at work has been invaded, and respond in very negative ways. But back in 2001, no one could really visualize the kind of employee surveillance made possible by technology, and no one really cared. […] Even if you think you have nothing to hide, once your privacy is gone, you don’t get it back. It’s time to care.

Indeed. I stripped all the monitoring crap out of the work-supplied equipment and, if I couldn’t, the device was politely refused. I use the corporate VPN only when communicating with servers or doing the HR paperwork.

I have plenty to hide. Root passwords. Access tokens. Sensitive financial/HR/student/client data. I also have a very keen understanding of what the middle management inside the company does when presented with lots of unstructured data; they give it structure in the shape of a giant hammer. “I see you listen to Spotify on a work computer. That’s a no-no!”

To heck with that. If I’m trusted enough to literally have the keys to every mission-critical system that the company has, then I should be trusted enough to use the tools at my disposal properly. The same modicum of respect should be given to each one of my colleagues unless there is reasonable doubt of malice.

Just because we can monitor what people are doing does not give us the justification to do so.

Spotify snags Joe Rogan's podcast as its latest exclusive


Spotify has added another major podcast to its audio war chest: The Joe Rogan Experience. On September 1st, the show will arrive on Spotify for the first time, with all users (including those on the free tier) having access to the full JRE archive. At some point before the end of the year, the podcast will become a Spotify exclusive.

While this is likely very good for Joe, it’s unfortunate for his listeners without a Spotify account. 15 ad-free hours per month is not enough for Joe Rogan …

Amazon Makes Graviton2 AWS Instances Available


Following the Graviton2's first official announcement back in December, as well as the preview period that has been going on for several months now, Amazon has today publicly launched new m6g instanced based on their new in-house Arm platform.

Well … I know what I’ll be measuring tomorrow …

New Lenovo ThinkPad Range with Ryzen 4000 & 4000 PRO Mobile


Lenovo has also announced new ThinkPad T, X, and L series models powered by AMD Ryzen PRO 4000 series processors. The Lenovo ThinkPad 14 Gen 1 is advertised to include a projected 16-hour battery life and a thin lightweight frame of 17.9 mm and 1.46 Kg, with an even bigger 20-hour battery life on its uprated T14s model. The ThinkPad T14s has a slimmer profile at 16.1 mm thick, with a weight starting at 1.27 Kg. The smaller ThinkPad X13 model has a claimed battery life of up to 17.5 hours, with a thickness of 16.9 mm and a weight on an upward curve starting at just 1.28 Kg. This makes the ThinkPad X13 the lightest from its announced stack.

20 hours of battery life … 😮

Our Dress Rehearsal for a Police State


If you love liberty, you must see that it is jeopardized more than at any time since America’s founding. And that means, among other things, that at this time, a vote for any Democrat is a vote to end liberty.
— Dennis Prager

This is quite the claim. While there are certainly some politicians with delusions of grandeur and societal “reconstruction”, having the house, senate, and presidency 100% under any single party1 — be it Republican or Democrat — would be a very bad thing.

There will certainly be a lot of bizarre situations encountered in the US and elsewhere for years or decades to come, but it’s up to the citizens to pay attention and ensure the people they choose to represent them in any government setting are grounded, rational, and ideologically sound.

Oh jeez … we’re all screwed, aren’t we? 😕

  1. Or even 70%, for that matter.

In the fight against COVID-19, neighborhood associations could be Japan's ace in the hole


Japan has found itself in a unique predicament. While governments around the world have responded to the spread of the new coronavirus by instituting draconian measures to curtail social interaction, Japan’s central and local governments have no authority to implement or enforce such measures. Instead, they’re relying on something else to convince citizens to socially distance: persuasion.

Correct. It is against the law for any government in Japan to compel law-abiding citizens to go home and stay there. The American-written Japanese constitution forbids the government from having that degree of power over the population ever again, meaning any “Stay Home” law would need to be preceded by a constitutional change, which is incredibly difficult and time consuming.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set a target of reducing social interactions by 80 percent. However, recent data suggests that, at least in Tokyo, foot traffic and public transport ridership have dropped by only about half of that. This raises the question: What if this approach isn’t enough to suppress the virus’s spread? […] Japanese history may also provide a solution to the current problem, in the form of two of the country’s most durable local institutions — neighborhood associations (chо̄naikai) and residents’ associations (jichikai).

This is an interesting idea, and completely reasonable for many people. The neighbourhood association members know the people in the area and their various circumstances. This could allow for a semi-lenient means of encouraging social distancing should the need for stricter adherence arise. So far, in this area, a half-assed commitment to distancing seems to be sufficient.

Confusion reigns over who will foot bill for delayed Tokyo Olympics | The Japan Times


Confusion emerged Tuesday over who will shoulder the additional costs for the postponed Tokyo Olympics after the International Olympic Committee said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe committed Japan to cover the amount while the top government spokesman denied any agreement.

In a question-and-answer post on its website Monday, the IOC said Abe has “agreed that Japan will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

“For the IOC, it is already clear that this amounts to several hundred millions of dollars of additional costs,” it states.

The postponement is projected to add approximately ¥300 billion ($2.7 billion) to the games’ price tag.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday disputed the IOC’s statement, saying Abe has not agreed that Japan will foot any additional costs.

“There is no such agreement,” he told reporters during his daily briefing.

Aside from receiving money for other people’s efforts, what exactly does the IOC do? They’re of less use than a used tissue. In happier news, not only will kids in Japan be paying for the bailouts the government is giving people for the COVID-19 issue, they’ll be paying for the stupid Olympics, a failing pension system, and a crumbling infrastructure that is repaved but never maintained.

Lovely 🙄