The Null Device
The "broken window" effect in action: After public transport funding has been cut, station staff and tram conductors eliminated and maintenance neglected, vandalism has increaded dramatically as have train cancellations. Consequently, patronage has dropped, especially on late-night services, as people feel unsafe:
The perception is that if something does happen, no one will be watching. And when train carriages are spidered with graffiti, have knife-slashed seats, shattered windows, busted lights, dirty floors and an atmosphere of neglect, then it transfers into the mindset of customers who, regardless of physical threat or not, feel more unsafe.
Judging by passenger numbers, Bayside Train customers have been finding alternate ways of travelling on certain routes at night. They're scared by what might happen; perhaps still scared by the murder of pensioner Yuksel Asar by a 21yearold at the unstaffed Hallam station - two on from Dandenong - in 1997, when the Public Transport Corporation - and nearly 10,000 of its staff - had long gone. Even though Asar's murder (he was robbed, tortured and beaten to death) was captured on video, there was no one at the station to see it;
Hughesdale has graffiti all over the station sign, rendering it unreadable.... Then, while two very young and innocent gay boys kiss in the seats at the back of the train, a group of loud drunks leer at them from up the carriage and chant "poof" in high voices, just loud enough but for too long. By Clayton they've had their fun and get on with eyeing up the women.
An insightful piece on why political decisions made based on religious morality are a dangerous thing.
Yes! Shoegazer-turned-atmospheric-drum'n'bass act Love Spirals Downwards has some material on mp3.com, including a new track named "Ecstatic". You can download a 3-minute excerpt from this track, or stream the 9-minute club version (which sounds most impressive, even in lo-fi). Also check out the other stuff they have there if you're not yet convinced you need to invest in some Love Spirals Downwards CDs.
Not much has happened on the upcoming Neverwhere film, but the project is still alive.
The spam war heats up, with spammers getting an restraining order against the MAPS blacklist. If this is upheld, it could mean that spam filtering services operating in the US would have to let spam through or face legal liabilities. Of course, they could always move offshore to Sealand or some orbiting Objectivist data haven...