The Null Device
And here is my contribution to the world's pool of half-baked ideas. Enjoy.
Rehabilitating Goto: The Halfbakery contains this psoposal for exception handling in C. Actually somewhat useful (if not completely). One of the many proposals from one Jutta, who seems to come up with some interesting ideas.
Phalanx Of Lawyers Stares Hungrily From Back Cover Of Phone Book (new Onion)
This should make things a bit more exciting: an honest-to-goodness psychopathic killer has escaped from a day trip from his psychiatric institution. Neville Colin Garden, 45, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and murdered a milk bar owner in 1994 in the belief that he was part of the CIA-Vatican conspiracy against him. It is believed that the longer he is at large and without medication, the more likely he is to behave violently. He is still at large, has been sighted in Melbourne, and may have a passport.
(And if that doesn't liven things up, there are always those missing Russian briefcase nukes that have still not been accounted for. Not to mention uncounted planet-killer asteroids hurtling dangerously through space.)
The host of a TV comedy show was forced to make a humiliating public apology over a skit by an American comedian, played on his show, which contained offensive remarks about Christianity and the Catholic Church. The comedian, Scott Capurro, is in Australia performing live; no word on whether he will be arrested and expelled from the country, or just a review of the visa approval process (if they can keep David Irving out of Australia, surely they can keep other offensive figures out).
Computer scientists reconstruct the face of Jesus. Not sure how they did it (the article is light on details), though this is one of those rare Jesii who actually looks plausibly Semitic, as opposed to the chestnut-haired, spaniel-eyed Italians in paintings, or the Scandahoovian Jesii seen in films. Interesting how imagined images of Jesus have tended to look representative of the artist's intended audience.
The street finds its own uses for things: The latest craze in Los Angeles is "Heelys", or sneakers with stealthily embedded wheels in the heels. With these, a wearer can skate down the footpath, switching to walking/running if they see a police officer. (via RobotWisdom)
A piece on the CIA's "data mining" technology, designed to make sense of the massive volume of raw data; not much detail, but it looks impressive. If the CIA's machine translation system produces less unintentionally amusing results than Systran/Babelfish, it must indeed be impressive.
This just in: Oswald did not act alone. A British forensic scientist has determined, from an acoustic analysis of recordings of Dallas police radio channels, that there is a 96.3% probability that a shot was fired from the grassy knoll.
The Million Leech March: Napster has called on its users to march on Washington, protesting the harsh treatment of the company, and thus the violation of their civil and human rights to share MP3s. (While you're at it, could you put in a word for DeCSS? Us Penguinheads are eager to be able to watch our DVD collections legally.)
You know those unique, world-wide serial numbers mobile phones have to make stolen phones unusable, and which you should write down just in case? Well, don't bother. Don't waste your time; the numbers can be easily changed, with little more than a laptop, a cable and some software. Some crims even have their stolen handsets rigged to change the number every time the phone is used.
(Digression: apparently it is possible to replace the firmware inside most mobile phones with hacked versions, much in the way that car hackers can reprogram their BMWs' engine controllers; how much effort is required, I do not know. I can think of some neat (and benign) applications for this; having a phone display the relative strengths of several nearby base stations would be somewhat cool, in a somewhat trainspotterish sort of way.)
Though, just from following a search query, it seems that unlocking stolen phones and changing serial numbers is so trivially easy that any petty thief with a PC could do it. Which is rather stupid on the part of whoever designed the system.