The Null Device

2001/1/21

Speaking of historical railway maps, here is an archive of maps of the Victorian Railways network, by decade. Fascinating; now I know that the Fitzroy line closed sometime in the 1980s, and the branch line to East Kew (which once linked Oakleigh to Fairfield or somesuch, around 100 years ago; not to be confused with the Kew one) was closed in the 1950s sometime. Though there is no trace of the rumoured railway line which ran from Elsternwick to Oakleigh or somewhere like that.

(I have been interested in historical maps for some time; since I started looking through a 1970s-vintage Melway street directory which had belonged to my late stepfather, probably from back when he was a features editor at the Herald. Unfortunately, this book has since been lost, some time before when I became curious about the dismantled railway lines of Melbourne.)

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Vintage London Underground maps. Useful for the historically curious or Mornington Crescent players.

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Australia now has its own religious "miracle". Not quite the Blessed Virgin Mary in a tortilla, but a cross of light has appeared in a frosted window in the small central Victorian town of Baringhup. The killjoys from the Australian Skeptics, always eager to pour the cold water of reason onto outbursts of religious mania, say it is an illusion caused by the refraction of light; though that probably won't stop the pilgrims from coming to behold the sign of (the end of the world / the glorious new age / the Second Coming / whatever).

Believers will point out that dozens of identical crosses of light have been mysteriously appearing all over the world in the past decade or so, which must be a sign of a greater force sending a message to the faithful, rather than a simple natural phenomenon. Though one could equally ask why any greater intelligence worth its salt would bother putting glowing light-refraction crosses onto windows, images of the BVM onto automobile mufflers, and so on, unless it finds the reactions of the credulous entertaining.

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Belgium to legalise cannabis. Mind you, sale will still be illegal, so Belgian stoners will have to go to the Netherlands to buy the stuff legally, or else grow their own. Of course, in 10 years, when C. sativa has been rendered extinct by U.S. Government-developed biological weapons (along with whatever ecological collateral damage they cause), it won't matter.

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The Slow Wave cartoon for this week is quite a good one.

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Interesting software of the day: AMACDYS: a MP3 player on a boot image, which may be used for making bootable MP3 CDs which don't need an operating system.

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