The Null Device
Bizarre spam: I just found in my spam filter an email advertising "horse and dog chiropractic seminars". They're apparently hosted by the author of various animal chiropractic books, with titles like "The Well Adjusted Horse" and "The Well Adjusted Cat". If you ever wanted "to REALLY learn how to adjust animals" (and who hasn't?), and didn't mind giving your money to a spamming scumbag, that'd be the place to go.
The latest profession to feel the impact of freelance consultants is the priesthood. A website named rentapriest.com is offering the services of Catholic priests who have left the church, either to marry or because of other differences over the Vatican's increasingly hard-line doctrines. The priests perform weddings, divorces and absolution, among other services; some of their clients are refused service by the mainstream church because of its doctrines (such as those on divorce), and others simply find the waiting lists too long. Catholic canon law does not provide any means of unordaining an ordained priest; however, the Catholic church does not recognise the renegade priests, or any sacraments performed by them.
Hmmm... apparently Björk's upcoming album was written with Napster in mind; and designed to sound great when downloaded. Never mind that they've all been pulled from Napster, along with pretty much everything else. I've heard snippets on Far And Wide, and it certainly sounds very quiet and minimalistic; though perhaps too much so.
Mars may need women, but it's not getting any, at least not from any Russian mission.
EMI CD download update: Apparently the CD-burning technology EMI intend to use to allow consumers to download tracks does include copy protection, in the form of "a scrambled digital signal that would prevent it being copied" in between tracks. Could this be that holiest of Recording Racket holy grails, a Macrovision for CDs? I'd be skeptical about anything like that working reliably one way or the other.
(It makes me want to buy/burn one of those CDs, just to see whether I can rip it and/or whether it plays on all kinds of CD players. Mind you, to do so I'd probably have to sell my soul and run Windows and all sorts of closed-source corporate spyware.)