The Null Device
It is feared that, with modern statistical techniques, marketers can connect census data to individuals. To counteract this, the U.S. census bureau is applying various "blurring" techniques to the data.
Xine Resource Page. Apparently the latest version of Linux video player Xine can play VOB files with subtitles. (Of course, this is not for playing CSS-encrypted DVDs; that would be a felony.)
First all the characters from Winnie the Pooh were found to be mentally ill, and now the Biblical hero/mass-murderer Samson has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Samson exhibits six of the seven characteristics of ASPD; to be diagnosed, a patient must exhibit at least three.
Microsoft's Jim Allchin has addressed U.S. legislators on the threat of open-source software; this alien menace, you see, is fundamentally un-American, and threatens to destroy not only the software industry and innovation but to wipe out the concept of intellectual property altogether, unless swiftly checked. What measures would be required to contain the threat was not stated.
Oh yeah; the latest Fontomas font looks quite doovy.
Salon looks at the formulae behind manufactured teen pop acts:
Robert Thompson, founder of the Institute on Popular Culture at Syracuse University, describes the resulting boy-band product: "This is the ultimate dream -- a nonthreatening but dreamy guy. Dressing all together makes these guys look like fuzzy little pets instead of someone who might slip something into your drink."
Tonight I went to see the band Sir at Bar Open. Sir consists of a female vocalist/guitarist, a guy playing an old Farfisa organ (and a tiny, ancient Yamaha synth), and a bassist (the latter being Matt Bailey, formerly of my favourite Australian band ever, The Paradise Motel). Their sound is rather subdued, languid, vaguely melancholy in places yet the kind of thing that melts into the background; it would be good soundtrack music for a low-budget arthouse film, or to put on whilst going to sleep. Though in places the vocals bring to mind that Future Music quote, originally about trip-hop, about taking as much Valium as you can without falling over before singing.
Anyway, Sir are playing at the North Melbourne town hall this weekend, so that may be worth checking out. They are also selling their album, The Night I Met My Second Wife for $10 at gigs.
Is Batman gay? DC Comics refuses to comment, or indeed, to allow anyone to do so using its trademarks or artwork. Though the first allegations of this (from before the high-camp Batman TV series of the '60s) did prompt the invention of a nuclear "bat-family" with female members to dispell the allegations of homoeroticism (back then, commercially damning, and not a niche marketing opportunity).
(Copyright laws require permission from publishers to quote images, which has crippled academic criticism of comics. Though I seem to recall that Ariel Dorfman's scathing Marxist critique of Disney comics, How To Read Donald Duck, quoted quite a few strips; I find it hard to imagine Disney, with their authoritarian, McCarthyite culture, signing off on something like that.
Last night I went to Flickerfest, a screening of short films, and saw some quite entertaining films; among them the very amusing George Lucas In Love, showing the future Star Wars creator as a student filmmaker in the late 60s, the beautifully shot Scarecrow from Russia, and Infection, a somewhat Pixaresque computer-generated film from New Zealand, dramatising a hacking raid on a student-loan database with computer-animated avatars. All in all, a fun evening.