The Null Device

2001/4/2

They're planning a Hitchhiker's Guide computer game. Yes, another one. This time it won't be a boring old text adventure, but instead, a 3D arcade "towel-'em-up" similar to Tomb Raider or Mario 64. Bet you can't wait to see that...

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They take things so much more seriously over in Europe. While Australia's local dreadheads are planning to spend May 1 doing impressions of that peasant guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, an anarchist group in Britain has been training its members for violent paramilitary tactics. Or had meant to, had Scotland Yard not demolished the disused factory they were using as a base. The group, calling themselves the Wombles, are an offshoot of an Italian anarchist group which hijacked and torched a train last year and has been behind many violent demonstrations across Europe.

Detectives are increasingly worried about a significant outbreak of violence being planned for May Day. Det Supt Randall said: "Last year's demonstration was largely organised by Reclaim the Streets, which is a peaceful organisation, although there was trouble. This year the organisation has been overtaken by far more violent groups."

That seems to be happening here, with hard-core Marxists having pretty much taken over anti-multinational activism. (If you don't believe in the need for a revolution, the abolition of private property or that Cuba is a workers' paradise, you can't call yourself "anti-corporate" these days.) Makes me wonder whether they're not secretly funded or otherwise promoted by strategic consultancies in the employ of multinational corporations, in order to paint anybody worried by the concentration of power as One Of Those Nutters.

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2001/4/1

Switzerland's long-held fairy-tale image has taken a beating in recent years; first they cop some flack for running off with Holocaust survivors' life savings and killing third-world babies to maximise profits, and now a new film has presented their national icon, the flaxen-haired orphan Heidi, as a blue-haired punk who steals fruit and dodges fares. As expected, the traditionalists are up in arms. (via Lev)

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The War On Drugs: How the zero-tolerance movement hijacked the drug campaign, turning it from a reasoned debate into a one-sided, take-no-prisoners moral crusade against evil. Or so a proponent of surrender-by-stealth (so called "harm minimisation" by the crypto-Communist dope fiends who back it) who got kicked off the anti-drug committee claims.

The Prime Minister's office wanted the booklet to be called "Our greatest weapon against drugs: families." The harm-minimisation proponents on the committee wanted "weapon" substituted for "resource". The final compromise was "defence".

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Freaky Trigger have switched to an all-Cure format. Somehow I get the feeling they won't stick with it for long, though.

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Tonight I went to the Empress to see some bands, playing at the launch of the Pacific Highway compilation CD (a collection of live recordings from a 3RRR show). Anyway, I missed the first band (Long Weekend), but saw the other three. Royal Chord sounded a bit like some '70s guitar instrumentals I remembered from ages ago; I got the impression that they were the sort of thing you could expect a trucker with a Burt Reynolds mustache to be listening to on his 8-track whilst driving down Route 66. Sleepy Township sounded somewhat more upbeat than their name suggested (I'd have thought they'd be some kind of minimal atmospheric shoegazer thing, or perhaps something like Sir). And Sodastream were OK, though didn't really form an impression on me.

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Steam Piston Chicken. That's apparently a phrase in a Kenyan pidgin dialect, meaning "aircraft". Aren't you glad to know that.

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A Roman Catholic theologian is arguing that the Bible should be restricted from children, partly because of its sexual content, and partly because of the questions it raises. Then again, didn't the Catholic church argue for a long time that only its priests have any business interpreting the Bible?

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Riding to the rescue of beleaguered dot-coms is Back the Net, arguably the daftest rescue idea since "I know; let's open-source Iridium!". Among their proposals are encouraging people to buy dot-com shares (out of faith/as a donation), to spend more money at dot-coms, and to spam 10 of their friends with a "Back the Net" chain letter.

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Eager for sponsorship and favour, Australian universities are handing out honorary degrees left, right and centre, not only to those politicians ruthless and pig-headed enough to make it to the top of the maggot heap of politics, but also to very rich persons and, god only knows why, to athletes. Which is irking those who earned their degrees the traditional way; if some meathead can get a doctorate for swimming or running really fast, how much less prestige does that PhD you toiled for in poverty for six years have?

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Those ever-tasteful thirtysomething teenagers Limp Bizkit have released a violent moshpit game, in which you have to avoid "security goons" and getting killed in the pit. Is it any wonder that frontman Fred Durst became Senior Vice President of teen-rebellion sausage factory Interscope, the brand which brought you Snoop Doggy Dogg, NIN and Marilyn Manson, brought goth and gangsta rap to the seething, bored, mall-lurking masses of suburban teenage America and then single-handedly manufactured the "mook" subculture, combining the ugliest sides of jock, goth, metalhead and hip-hop into one mall-ready packaged lifestyle product? (link via Virulent Memes / Lev)

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A preview of some of the changes due to go into Linux 2.5.

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