The Null Device

2001/4/6

I was thinking that my next PDA would be a Psion, but now I'm thinking that one of these may be better.

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Undoubtedly after late-night phone calls to his handlers in the Vatican, Victoria's Carnifex and Psychopomp Jeff Bracks has ruled out lifting the ban on screening The Exorcist on Good Friday, despite widespread criticism from various lefty ratbag types and (of all people) the Liberal Party. A wise Christian ruler, that Bracks; a true latter-day Prester John.

[Premier Bracks] said it was reasonable to ban the showing of a film like The Exorcist, which is R-rated, on such a holy day for Christians. "This is one day in the year. One day. I think people would be patient enough to realise one film on a very important day is not such a big issue," he said.

A very important day for whom? Not for me, nor for any of the many atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and other Victorian citizens and taxpayers who do not hold with the Cult of the Wooden Cross. I myself had no plans to see The Exorcist on Friday the 13th of April. Though I resent being coerced by the (notionally secular) laws of the land to observe holidays of a religion I do not belong to. This isn't Iran, folks.

IMHO, the cinemas should define the ban and challenge the government, seeing whether it has the will to prosecute them on religious grounds and enforce a law written when the Church of England was the state religion.

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Our old friend, MPAA supremo Jack Valenti has testified before Congress claiming that the copyright industries are America's greatest economic asset and why they should be exempted from antitrust laws, and allowed an iron grip on both production and distribution of content; not to mention why the Internet must be strictly regulated, for America's only hope for a future.

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Now that's brand loyalty: First there was the couple who named their newborn child Iuma, to get some peanuts tossed their way by now-defunct MP3 purveyor iuma.com, and now, a sports fan in Texas has named his son Espn, after the cable-TV sports channel.

"When my wife was about six months pregnant, I was sitting on the couch watching a game on ESPN, and my sister and I were talking about baby names," Jason said. "She just kind of laughed and said, 'Hey, you watch so much ESPN, you should name the baby after it.' My sister was just joking, but I brought it up to my wife.

(via Plastic, and not from The Onion)

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#!/usr/local/bin/dwim    A Cambridge software engineer claims to have invented a system which creates programs from instructions in plain English. Bob Brennan is keeping quiet about how his new system works until patents are granted, but claims that he has solved the problem of not understanding ambiguities in natural language. However, others are skeptical.

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