The Null Device

2000/11/2

Business models of the new millennium: A company whose business involves hypnotising paying customers to believe that they have been abducted by aliens is accused of implanting subliminal advertisements in their brains. Alien Abductions Inc. say that the advertisements are there to "enhance the abduction experience".

"Likewise, the compulsion to seek out and promote the work of certain design firms, such as Bullet Graphics (also of Rochester), is implanted because these firms incorporate special "trigger images" into their work."

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An insightful piece arguing that high petrol prices are good for Australia.

Once these external costs are taken into account, it appears that, instead of road users contributing $14 billion to general revenue each year, there is a subsidy to road users of about $16 billion a year.
The recent claim ... that Melbourne needs an orbital ring road to remain competitive with Sydney reveals an "old economy" mindset - which is the antithesis of "new economy" thinking. Material, energy and transport-intensive industries will be less important than knowledge in creating value in the future. Cities that wilfully spend billions on roads that cannot relieve congestion, and that generate pollution, noise and accidents, degrade the urban environment and starve the city of investment in life-enhancing infrastructure, undermine their long-term ability to compete globally.

Mind you, the political reality is that the swinging voters, who decide elections, are overwhelmingly outer suburbanites who drive everywhere out of necessity and habit. There is not likely to be any change to the automobile-centric transport policies of both major parties any time soon.

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Remember Empeg, the British startup which designed and built the Linux/ARM-based in-car MP3 player? Well, they've just been bought by SonicBlue (formerly known as S3), makers of the Rio.

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A new leaked email from "Bill Gates", on what's wrong with Linux. (Satire, though makes some good points)

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Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found an unusual predictor of a region's success in the high-tech economy: the concentration of gay residents:

He discovered to his surprise that the number one thing that correlates with a region's high-tech success is the concentration of gay people living there. Close behind were concentrations of people with college degrees and people who fit into the Carnegie Mellon researchers' Bohemian index--people who identify themselves to the U.S. Census as artists, craftspersons and musicians.

One hypothesis is that a region's gay concentration is related to open-mindedness and flexibility, essential traits for the new economy.

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In this week's Onion: "Clinton Goes Back In Time, Teams Up With Golden-Age Clinton"

bill clinton humour the onion 0

Science at work: British scientists are heading for the South Atlantic to determine whether penguins really do fall over backwards when aeroplanes fly overhead.

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In the wake of the BMG/Napster joint venture, a somewhat dispiriting report on how the recording cartel is using litigation to crush and co-opt the digital music industry, and reinforce its iron grip over the means of music distribution:

The RIAA has also used high-profile litigation to scare off venture capitalists, leaving many music companies without second and third rounds of funding.
"The problem isn't so much that the recording industry will drive out technology," Boyle said. "The real problem is that the technology will only be allowed to develop and operate under the recording industry's control."
"I can't wait to see how many companies they put in receivership when they try to collect two years of licensing royalties for webcasting music. Is there a single company that you have ever heard of that has reserves (of cash enough) for webcasting fees? Amazon? Microsoft? AOL? No, none of them."

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