The Null Device
Is it just me, or does the artwork for the new Superjesus album Jet Age look suspiciously similar to that from St. Etienne's Sound of Water?
I just heard the upcoming Fatboy Slim single, Bird of Prey, on Far and Wide. It's pretty good; Skinny Boy Tubby seems to have put behind him the faux-Americana pretensions and keg-party grooves of You've Come A Long Way, and come up with a quite amenable chilled-out, vaguely drum & bassish track.
A Scottish man, facing trial for housebreaking, is petitioning the European Commission on Human Rights to reveal which judges are Freemasons; the accused, Thomas Monogue, claims that he would not receive a free trial from a Masonic judge.
To promote an upcoming television show, some Hollywood marketroid type had the idea of putting a hidden speaker in the toilets of a Los Angeles café. The speaker, installed in a poster frame near a urinal, played recordings promoting the TV show and making anatomical jokes at the listener. It was removed after complaints were received.
"Last night the toilet talked. Tomorrow it may listen, and the day after it just might run a drug test."
Bad things are happening in Melbourne, with the Labor government having done a back-flip and having put all the former Kennett government's freeway projects back on the agenda, whilst continuing to neglect public transport. The local inner-city rag Metro News says that this is largely due to the voter demographics shifting to the outer suburbs; the ALP needs the votes of SUV-driving outer suburbanites who don't use public transport and for whom the inner city is just some place to get through as quickly as possible, and thus the more of it is paved over, the better. And what are the vegetarian bicyclists of the inner city going to do about it: vote Liberal? (Anyway, among non-dreadlocked circles, the prevailing wisdom is that public transport is a discredited ideology, much like Marxism-Leninism.)
Whilst laying out the cover of the Samford University directory, graphic designer David Carrigan used an uncopyrighted image found on the Net. Only once the directory was printed and distributed to students did anyone notice that the image was a mosaic made up of hundreds of pornographic images.
Has SDMI been cracked? SDMI officials are tight-lipped about it, and some say that this could be the end of SDMI as we know it. The penguinhead boycott, though, seems to have come to naught; perhaps there are enough Windows hackers who don't give a brass farthing about Linux support or other hippie crap like that (after all, it's just a toy operating system, and after all the hype dies down everyone will go back to Windows and actually get some serious work done, or so it goes).
Bad news roundup: It looks like there is likely to be war in the Middle East. This probably means that Israel will wipe the floor with the various Arab states in a few days and the situation will cool down to a simmering rancor, with all recent gains more than undone. Unless some Arab state lobs a nuke at Israel, in which case things look like getting really bad. Meanwhile, Europe is on the verge of adopting US-style software patents, which could all but give a few giant multinationals with cross-licensed portfolios a monopoly on innovation.
The 2000 Darwin Awards are in...
Valids and invalids: Britain has approved genetic testing for health insurance. Tests are not mandatory, but disclosure of results is. So far, the approval covers only one hereditary disease, but insurers are likely to ask to be allowed to test for others.