The Null Device
Life imitates Stand on Zanzibar: The latest fashion accessory: stick-on plastic nipples.
A baby-boomer journalist takes The Dish to task for trivialising the past; he claims that the Australian hit movie glosses over the Vietnam War issue and sanitises the youth culture of the time in order to make a gentle feel-good nostalgia movie.
In the US, the Catholic church's health-care division has been aggressively expanding, taking over secular hospitals and forging joint ventures, and now has a health-care monopoly in 91 communities. Needless to say, the Catholic hospitals do not provide services that go against the Vatican's increasingly conservative doctrines. Which is bad news if you're a rape victim in need of emergency contraception.
Women in need of reproductive health care who find they must rely on a Catholic-run facility may suddenly encounter the strictures of the Ethical and Religious Directives, adopted by the church's National Council of Bishops in 1994, which applies to all U.S. Catholic institutions. It explicitly states that abortion "is never permitted." It also prohibits sterilization, including tubal ligation, the most commonly used method of birth control in the nation, as well as other legal reproductive health services. The religious proscriptions apply to all patients, regardless of their individual religious beliefs
(via Unknown News)
Scientists from the University of Chicago say that songbirds dream of singing.
Divers exploring the wreck of the Kursk have found a note from one of the victims, stating that 23 men survived the initial explosion, only to die slowly as the oxygen ran out. (Surprising that Russian military censors didn't keep these details out of the Western media.)
Using a computer model, mathematicians prove that beauty makes the world miserable. In particular, exposure to images of unnaturally attractive people in the media causes dissatisfaction with their mere-mortal relationships.
I just came back from the Empress Hotel, where I saw a number of bands. The last one on was Minimum Chips, who played some tracks not on their EP. Their bass player was absent, leaving the band with drums, a guitar and two keyboards (a Korg MS-10 and a retro-looking Yamaha organ). Afterwards I chatted a bit with Nicole (the vocalist/multi-instrumentalist), bringing up the obvious Stereolab influence. She said that Minimum Chips were inspired by the same records as Stereolab, hence the similarity, and that there's also a Nick Cave/Birthday Party influence in there somewhere.
In between sets, there was a sort of DJ/electronica/noise performance by a chap calling himself Son Of Icewoman, who made soundscapes with two old reel-to-reel tape recorders, a number of spliced-together loops of tape (kept in old Twinings tea boxes on the table) and a GameBoy (running the camera cartridge, not NanoLoop). Quite a creative use of improvised technology; check him out if you get the chance.