The Null Device


Marketing ploy of the day: ASUS, manufacturer of 3D graphic accelerator cards favoured by computer gamers, have hit upon a clever way of boosting the sales of their brand: offering the cards with a driver which allows you to see through walls, thus giving ASUS-based players of first-person shooters an unfair advantage over those using rival cards. However, the public didn't like this idea much, and the driver was withdrawn.

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Scare meme of the day: Operators of child pornography web sites and other such services are stealing the identities of innocent bystanders for their domain registration info. One Kevin Barkes found his name on the Network Solutions registration info for a child porn site, seemingly run from Russia, after receiving a snail-mailed request for pictures. (via Found)


Old, but worth reading: When Edward Gorey passed away a few months ago, the Guardian published an interesting article about his influences and various works.

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It had to happen: Identity politics comes to night people.


First came the slug-fueled slug-killing robot, and now researchers have created a robot that runs on meat, "digesting" it with bacteria in a microbial fuel cell. Applications include lawnmowers that eat grass clippings and carnivorous hunter-killer robots.


The Russian government has put up transcripts of top Russian businessmen/mafiosi, as they ordered hits, hired prostitutes and discussed getting out of government investigations. They're all in Russian, though, with no English translations, though Babelfish may be useful.


There has been a vicious spat between the two major spam blacklists, ORBS and MAPS, with allegedly sabotaging ORBS' routing.


Quote of the day:

"I did the right thing for my child. My grandfather had arranged a marriage of a relative with a dog 40 years ago and the remedy worked."

-- The father of a four-year-old Indian girl who was recently married to a dog in order to dispel a curse.


Justice in action: Under the United States' Reagan/Bush-era anti-drug laws and mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the fastest growing segment of the US' vast prison population is women who had sufficiently poor judgment to be involved with drug dealers. Many are getting sentences in excess of 20 years, and leaving behind families.

For a woman whose husband or boyfriend is involved in the drug trade, conspiracy may consist of having drugs in the house, taking phone messages from drug associates or driving the husband or boyfriend to the bank where he makes an illicit deposit. In some cases, prosecutors have not been required to prove that a "conspirator" knew she was committing any of these acts; a finding that she should have known what her man was up to has been enough to secure a conviction.
McKinnon was a school-bus driver; her boyfriend was a major crack dealer. McKinnon took messages for her boyfriend, occasionally let his employees drop off drugs at their house and on one occasion delivered money for him. Eventually she left him, but not soon enough. He was arrested shortly thereafter, and she was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. McKinnon is serving a life sentence.