The Null Device
Following the US lead, Australian companies (such as Myer) are now turning to call centres in India, staffed by lower-wage workers with meticulously coached Australian accents and knowledge of local culture:
"They had a barbecue on the Yarra, they went to a footy match at the MCG, they went to the call centre in Burnley and they were all given a copy of the video of The Castle to take home, to help their accent, and to show the others at home."
Scare meme of the day: Drug users in the US are turning to a new kick: embalming fluid, which is comprised of formaldehyde, methanol and various other chemicals. Some of the users are robbing funeral parlours to get high. The effects of embalming fluid are said to include hallucinations, euphoria, a feeling of invincibility, and increased pain tolerance, as well as anger, forgetfulness and paranoia.
Dr Julie Holland, of New York University School of Medicine, said: "The idea of embalming fluid appeals to people's morbid curiosity about death. "There's a certain gothic appeal to it."
Coming soon to a goth club near you?
Extreme-right-wing and neo-Nazi organisations have developed a new recruiting tactic: leaving stickers in library books, with contact numbers. Didn't know that people who read books were a target demographic for them. Meanwhile, libraries are reluctant to implement some of the measures recommended to tackle the problem, such as searching patrons' bags or installing surveillance cameras, saying that the measures would be "Hitlerish". (via Lev)
Film Festival: Tonight I went to see two films; firstly, I saw Before Night Falls, the alleged CIA propaganda piece about the gay Cuban poet persecuted by Castro's regime. It was OK in places (Johnny Depp's camp portrayal of the macho Communist apparatchik was one of the highlights), though meandered quite a bit in places and could have been made a lot more concise. Afterward, I saw Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages; this is a Swedish silent film about witchcraft, made in 1922, reenacting the witch hunts of the middle ages, and comparing the phenomenon to the "modern" medical phenomenon of hysteria. This was quite good; as it was a silent film, they had a DJ mixing various appropriately ominous ambient soundscape music on stage to the film (I recognised some of Shinjuku Thief's Witch trilogy pieces in places).