The Null Device
Not long after Texas oilman and US President Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto global warming agreement, the Australian Liberal government is planning to follow suit. The ALP, Democrats and the greens (big surprise there) have condemned the proposal; though what matters may be what the swinging voters of the outer suburbs would say. The Libs may try to spin those in favour of keeping to the Kyoto treaty as an out-of-touch chardonnay-socialist elite who would raise petrol prices for dinkum aussie battlers; after all, if the World's Leading Nation can tear up an agreement, why can't we?
Some hacktivists who don't quite seem to have the point of the whole socially-aware culture-jamming thing have altered the UK Burger King web site -- leaving a message praising McDonalds.
Does China now control the Panama Canal, thanks to commie-traitor-scum in the Clinton administration? (Also, doesn't Hutchison Whampoa control mobile phone company Orange? I wonder whether the PLA has an Echelon-style intelligence gathering system installed in local Orange phone franchises.)
Yakuza for Jesus. (via Rebecca's Pocket)
My spam filter just caught a message titled "Investment Pact", from someone claiming to be the wife of an imprisoned Sierra Leone military commander, needing help in disposing of money and diamonds. spamcop recognised the complaint address as being in the .ng domain (Nigeria). It thus looks like Nigerian mail fraud has made it into the age of spam. Brace yourselves.
kuro5hin has an article about "the right to pleasure" that's somewhere between thought-provoking and amusing. It quotes 1970s study linking repression of pleasure and physical contact in societies to violence, religious fundamentalism and rampant greed. Then it goes on about bans on hugging, sexual abuse hysteria, teenagers being jailed for having sex, and bonobo chimps, and finally calls for the establishment of a news portal to fight against the alleged war on pleasure, rising to an impassioned crescendo.
People have been ignoring the right to pleasure and left it to pornographers like Flynt to fight for it. If we continue to ignore it, it will eventually be taken away. The consequences would be fatal for all of us. Because by denying children pleasure and giving them hate instead, as is the case in so many schools and homes today, you can turn them into monsters. Not necessarily people who will kill in violent outbursts. People who burn libraries. People who promote think that a picture is an insult to their strong and mighty God -- that even the face of a woman must be veiled because it is an obscenity. People who see children as asexual objects. Businessmen who think that diamond mines in Africa are worth every drop of blood that needs to be spilled to get them. People who can send other humans into gas chambers without feeling anything, because their brain isn't wired to feel affection for other people, for lack of childhood bonding.
The hedonistic tone seems quite unfashionable in the present day of Ritalin, Prozac, dot-com hypercapitalism, Neo-Liberalism and Organization Kids; it reads more like something Timothy Leary may have written, or perhaps Robert Anton Wilson's writings about the Illuminati. It will be amusing to see what happens when this portal gets created; whether you'll get pederasts surfacing and defending their right to have sex with young children, or neo-Nietzchean arguments for the right to kill anyone who stands between you and your right to pleasure, or even claims that the War On Pleasure is a reptilian conspiracy to enslave humanity.
(I once saw what seems to be a converse of the Prescott argument about repression of pleasure, which stated that societies which repress sexuality and hedonism, up to a certain point, tend to be more economically and militarily successful; if people are smoking pot and fucking like bonobos, they're not producing or consuming anything or conquering neighbouring lands, after all.)
Afterthought: I wonder how long until Jon Katz latches onto this and tries to rally the penguinheads for the cause.