The Null Device

2000/12/19

For all of George W. Bush's stellar achievements, Europeans will always see him as the Texas Death Machine.

A front page cartoon in the British newspaper the Guardian on Thursday showed a stockbroker with the message "Bush wins" on his computer screen sending frantic investment advice to clients: "Buy Lethal Injections!"

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Just in case Celine Dion's Frankensteinesque reproductive hijinks didn't freak you out enough: the singer of syrupy ballads, currently pregnant with a child made with her husband's surgically-extracted sperm, has had an embryonic "twin" of her unborn child placed in cold storage, co that she can bear it at a later stage. Some day, Dion's story will be looked upon for inspiration by writers of sci-fi horror fiction.

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Vivendi may fold Canal Plus into Universal Studios. Say it isn't so; and I was hoping that a French acquisition of Universal (who bought European film/music company PolyGram some years ago; which is why all those BBC costume dramas appear to come from a Hollywood studio) may lead to the resurrection of a strong European film company, independent of the businesslike tyranny of Hollywood formulaicism. What would J. Arthur Rank have thought?

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Shoplifters wanted: A doctor in Minneapolis is looking to test a drug treatment for kleptomania. Dr. Jon Grant is looking for compulsive shoplifters to test whether Naltrexone, a drug which blocks various neural receptors and has been used to treat alcoholism, can be used to treat clinical kleptomania, and possibly other compulsive conditions.

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Some lefty troublemakers staged an unusual protest outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court, throwing cream pies at the court building and each other. (Could the fabled Groucho Marxist Party be behind this?) Inside, one Marcus Brumer was on trial for throwing a similar pie at State Premier Steve "Jeff" Bracks some months earlier, this being in protest of Bracks' vocal praise of the police's heroic use of violence against dangerous enemies of the Australian Way, including kids and little old ladies, at the S11 protests.

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Common sense in the most unlikely of places: an Italian Jesuit magazine, vetted by the Vatican no less, has called for prostitution to be decriminalised, with state-regulated brothels established, in order to alleviate exploitation, slavery and the involvement of organised crime in the sex industry. (via Unknown News)

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Internet advertising is about to get more intrusive. Since nobody clicks on the annoying Buy Now! Shop Here! banners, it appears that they are not annoying enough, and thus will make way for interstitial ads which interrupt your web browsing, in a similar way to TV ads.

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Statistic of the day: MS Internet Exploiter is the most popular browser on Slashdot? (At time of writing it was leading with 39%, with Nyetscape having 35%.)

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Is the forwarding of the Claire Swire email, often accompanied with vicious comments, an act of machine-mediated sadism, the depersonalised nature of the target allowing participants to submit to the mob mentality and take part in the age-old human witch-hunt ritual for finding No-Good Shits and dumping on them, whilst still retaining the belief that they're decent, fair-minded people?

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