The Null Device
The San Francisco dot-com boom may have evicted most of the artists from the city (well, those who couldn't reinvent themselves as swooshy-logo designers or stock-optioned corporate Flash monkeys), but that doesn't stop someone there from holding an art exhibit on the dot-com bust, and its human costs (i.e., the hopefuls who toiled 70-hour weeks for now-worthless stock to change the world by pioneering e-business models like home-delivered toothpicks).
Civil discourse in the age of the Net: The American feminist group National Organization for Women is moving its forums to a pay site, to avoid abusive posts from teenage Limp Bizkit/Eminem fans looking for quick, cheap thrills.
Viridian Pope Bruce Sterling on the green boycott of US oil; or at least the European side of it.
Big Brother is not just a stupid TV show: In Britain, everybody is under constant surveillance, by the network of CCTV cameras and the Echelon system; though, for some reason, nobody cares:
Duncan Bennett, a systems administrator with the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, knows exactly what this means. He hasn't had a TV in 10 years and yet, annually, he gets threatening letters from the TLA. He has now discovered that, with no evidence against him whatsoever, they can get a warrant - always automatically granted - to break into and search his house. He is assumed to be guilty until proven innocent, a terrible inversion of ancient common-law tradition. He has struggled to find anybody willing to take up his campaign on the issue. Bennett is not suspected of drug-trafficking, terrorism or subversion. He is suspected of having a TV without a licence. Only in Britain would such an abuse of power - or even such advertisements - be tolerated.
And then there's this piece on the dangers of knowing the wrong people.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two Colorado teen-goths who acted out every picked-on non-jock's unspoken fantasy and massacred their classmates, are becoming cultural icons to an entire generation of teenage outcasts and misfits, with shrines and chat rooms in their honour appearing across the evil, evil Internet. Which means that they now share the same pop-cultural misfit Valhalla as Hitler, David Koresh and (in a few weeks) Timothy McVeigh.
Those oh-so-earnest good-doers in the Green movement are urging a boycott of US oil companies which pushed for the abandoning of the Kyoto treaty. Apparently Exxon-Mobil (who helped Bush get elected) are bad, but BP and Shell (who are diversifying into solar power) are OK. (Hang on, though; didn't Shell experiment with genocide as a management methodology in Nigeria? Have the executives who gave the gunships to the Nigerian government and gave the order to kill Ken Saro-Wiwa been dismissed yet (let alone tried by the International Court of Human Rights)? I haven't heard anything about it.)
First a domain-name speculator tried to sell the domain popesfuneral.com, and now the old-guard media are getting in on the act; in Rome, news organisations are discreetly scrambling for vantage points from which to film the plume of white smoke announcing the new Pope of the Catholic Church when the current one gets promoted to head office. The money's on it being sooner rather than later, but with such things, one has to be discreet. (via Lev)
An inside look on the first of the MP3 swat-team raids, in Taiwan. I suspect this scene will be played out many times again, and in many places; at least until the stigma of criminality is indelibly attached to possession of MP3s and they can launch a "dob in a MP3 pirate" hotlines.
Re: the Francis E. Dec rant, Graham: I think many people had the idea of using it in music. I believe Genesis P. Orridge (the technopagan nutter and industrial musician) actually did something like that under the name "Kitten Sparkles". Alas, I don't have a copy of it anywhere, though someone on Napster might.