22-Jul-2010 (Thu) Wherein the New York Times is dumb, and the NASCARization of the web continues.

You may notice that I've sprinkled a bunch of Facebook "Like" buttons all over the web site. You'll see one in the title box of this blog entry, on the flyer pages, and next to each calendar event. I guess it's a low-key way to tell your friends what events you're attending without making the commitment of actually posting about it, or something. It's kind of ugly and cluttered, but all the cool kids are doing it.

There's also a thing on the ticket checkout page that exhorts you to post about your planned attendance to Facebook and Twitter. I've seen a few people using that so far, so I guess that's working.

Meanwhile, here's a really dumb War on Fun article in the New York Times:

Patrolling Near Clubs Carries High Cost

But the police argue that closing clubs will not stem the violence, or the department's mounting costs. Kitt Crenshaw, a police commander who oversees the North Beach patrols, said the burden should be shifted to club owners.

So which is it? If the closing the clubs won't stem the violence, doesn't that imply that the clubs are not the cause? And if they are not the cause, why do you want them to pay for the excessive, commerce-destroying (and, apparently, ineffective) police presence in North Beach?

Mr. Crenshaw plans to propose regulations, based on practices in other cities, that would require clubs handling crowds of 100 or more people to enlist their state-certified security guards in unprecedented police-led training, install video cameras, improve outdoor lighting and install identification card readers that would allow the police and club owners to track patrons.

He said he would also like to see certain clubs pay a fee for police services.

So which is it? Are these "based on practices in other cities" or are they "unprecedented"? I think you do not know what that word means.

Forcing clubs to further invade their patrons' privacy by scanning their IDs on the way in will do nothing. If you've been following the press about the recent shootings, the common thread is that these people were not customers of the clubs! This was gang violence happening on public streets.

Then the article wraps up with the harrowing tale of a guy who was sitting on the sidewalk, and may have made a gang sign. Then the police told him that they were considering the possiblity of telling him to move along. Wow.

Isn't "sitting" illegal now, anyway?

4 Responses:

  1. pavel_lishin says:

    He said he would also like to see certain clubs pay a fee for police services.

    That makes sense. And if someone breaks into my apartment, and steals my car, I should probably pay for an officer to help me.

    Wait. I already do.

  2. fnivramd says:

    The "like" buttons are a fascinating escalation.

    Their predecessors were links which, when clicked, told some third party where you'd been before you clicked them, but a smart person would have been able to figure that out by what they did, and in any case, you didn't have to click them.

    But the "like" button is an iframe. As soon as it gets loaded, Facebook know what you are looking at, and of course that goes into your CIA file, sorry, marketing profile. No need to click "like" it could be labelled "confess" because the fact that you were looking at donkey porn or contraception advice (pro tip: a donkey can't get you pregnant) is already recorded by Facebook.

    (My CAPTCHA: but freedom)

    • lionsphil says:

      You could probably run an entirely separate browser profile for your social media fiddling if you wanted greater isolation, so that the necessary cookies aren't available in the "poking around the web" one. Although good luck getting the right one to pick up default-browser links.

      Having to do this is entirely reasonable and not at all hateful.

    • jwz says:

      It doesn't need to be an iframe, or even use cookies. All of this behavior was possible with 1993 browsers, via <img src="http://cia.gov/tracker.jpg?referer=here&sessionid=cookie">. The problem is not the technology, it's the willing complicity of... people like me.

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