The Null Device

2001/5/25

I just discovered (via Graham's blog) that I got mentioned in another Australian article, this time about weblogs. And it's too late to pick up a copy. Sorry, Mum.

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Yes! the ACCC gets stuck into DVD zoning. DVD zoning, the quango argues, may breach the Trade Practices Act; a ruling may require all players sold in Australia to be multi-region (as in New Zealand). Now maybe all us Region 4 plebs can actually get stuff like The City of Lost Children before waiting for an exec at Sony to decide that there are enough Australians into quirky French art films to justify bringing it out in Region 4, without getting it FedExed from the States at extra expense.

Mind you, if such a ruling comes down, it may well be struck down by one of those "free trade" treaties that removes governments' rights to interfere with multinational corporations' profits.

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2001/5/24

Wonder what was going through this bloke's mind. "Hmmm... maybe if I insult her enough she'll go out with me"? (btw, Jin Wicked rocks. Check her site out, folks.) (link via Jim)

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Tonight I went to the Builders Arms (which makes me think of a similarly-named DAAS song) to see some bands. I missed the first band, but caught Sir (who played a number of new songs, in their usual trip-hop-without-the-breakbeats sort of way), and then an outfit named Panel of Judges, who were a sort of indie/power-pop thing.

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According to this test, I am 45% Internet pure. Though had I taken it some years ago, it would have been lower, as back then I did spend much more time online, and didn't get out quite as much. Then again, back then (a) I did live in an outer suburb where there were no live bands worth seeing (and all-ages bogan-rock shows don't count), no arts/spoken-word nights and no cafés with groovy decor and chai tea (and even if there were, everything's so spread out that you'd probably have to drive for ages to meet a friend there anyway), and (b) back then, USENET was actually something other than a sewer of spam and random newbie questions. (I remember those days; I spent way too much time in alt.religion.kibology.)

When USENET went down the toilet (some time around 1995; it coincided with my Honours year, which probably contributed to my dropping out of USENET), I did what a lot of people did, and retreated to mailing lists. I formed one of my own, inviting various people to it from across the net; that is still going, though not as fiercely as before. I also joined a number of other lists, some of which have been host to some quite stimulating discussions.

My posting to mailing lists declined somewhat when I began blogging, some time around 1999. Looking back, I'd say this blog largely took over the role that lists have held before that, and USENET before that: of providing a forum for me to exorcise the voices in my head post links to articles I find interesting, observations and miscellaneous thoughts.

Curiously enough, I also have kept a journal/diary since 1989/1990 or so. And when I started blogging, that has also declined, as I am more likely to have said what I meant to say before actually writing in it. Or maybe as I'm further and further away from being an angst-ridden adolescent.

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An interesting piece about the quest for the ultimate stink bomb, and the use of odours as psychological weapons.

During the Christmas season county administrators in the northeastern United States will sometimes spray public-property evergreens with a fox-urine-based repellant, in order to discourage poachers. In subzero weather, and open air, the scent is barely detectable. But bring the tree into a closed, 70-degree house and it'll stink up the place.
Dalton and her associates also discovered that people's reactions to odors varied dramatically, depending on the situation in which the scent was smelled. (In normal tests, for instance, people like the smell of wintergreen. But in situations where subjects are told that they'll be smelling an industrial solvent -- but are still given wintergreen -- they won't like it. Most, in fact, will feel actually sick.)

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Some members of Italy's misunderstood, persecuted paedophile community have taken a leaf out of the Mafia's book and established a terrorist group, planning terrorist attacks against police officers and judges engaged in the fight against child abuse.

An extract from seized material says: "The only option left for the pedophiles' political party is a recourse to terrorist action and the physical elimination of the people who are most active in fighting violence against minors."

Wonder whether they have thought of dealing drugs to finance their terrorist activities.

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Dubya's Middle Eastern buddies, the Taleban, have decreed that Hindus must wear pieces of yellow cloth to designate them as non-Muslims. Didn't the Germans try something similar some decades ago? (Also, I so wouldn't want to be the one Jew in Afghanistan these days.)

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Did the U.S. army massacre an entire African-American regiment in 1943 to suppress rebellion? The U.S. army denies this, but witnesses and investigative journalists have cast doubts on the official report. (via Lev)

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BZZZT! Actually, I steal most of my links from Plastic, not Metafilter. Come to think of it, I don't even read Metafilter. And I don't write this blog for consumer satisfaction, but rather because the voices in my head tell me to do so. If someone happens to enjoy it, well, good for them. (link via Graham and/or Meg)

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Corporations are citizens, individuals are subjects: In the US, Bush's treasury secretary has proposed plans to abolish all corporate taxes, saying that they are inefficient and it would be more productive to tax the consumer directly. The corporations already control US government policy (I doubt that ordinary Americans really want draconian copyright laws and reduced environmental regulations, to name two issues).

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