The Null Device


Scare meme of the day: Experts in Thailand are alarmed at the threat of computers to the nation's youth. Not only do computers cause autism and hyperactivity, or so they believe, but also allergy to sunlight, physical weakness and even dehumanisation, creating a generation of young people who "speak less, order more and their language is filled with symbols". Oh, the humanity! (via Techdirt)


A US company is encouraging celebrities to copyright their DNA, so that they can sue anyone who clones them without permission. Though the question of what happens to the illegal clone is an interesting one.

cloning copyright dna 0

Nick Hornby on the current Top 10:

The single biggest influence on most of these artists, according to the acknowledgments in their liner notes, is . . . Actually, let's see if you can guess. Who do you think is at least partially responsible for such songs as "Where the Party At," "Bootylicious," "Bad Boy for Life," "American Psycho," "The Girlies," and "Pimp Like Me"? ... Give up? O.K. You may well be surprised to learn that the very first person thanked in the liner notes of the CDs containing these gems is the Almighty Himself. He gets thanked on seven of the ten albums, by sixteen different contributing artists. ... Michelle, of Destiny's Child, is moved to point out to the Creator, "There is no one like you!!," which is, on reflection, one of the tidiest ontological arguments you could wish to hear.
The D12 album "Devils Night" offers no respite, needless to say; listening to the fourth track here -- a "skit" entitled "Bizarre," in which one of the gang members' attempts to seduce a colleague's girlfriend goes awry, because he farts all the way through it -- was, I think, the single most dispiriting moment of my professional life so far this millennium.
Ever since Elvis, it has been pop music's job to challenge the mores of the older generation; our mistake was to imagine ourselves hipper and more tolerant than our parents. The liberal values of those who grew up in the sixties and seventies constitute an Achilles' heel: we're not big on guns, consumerist bragging, or misogyny, and that is the ground on which Eminem and his crew choose to fight. I know when I'm beaten; I can only offer sporting congratulations and a firm handshake.

(via Robot Wisdom)


PC woes: My Wintendo NT box at work, taken away for repairs on Tuesday, is still not back. Now, this PowerBook is a nicer machine all round (except for the lack of a good virtual desktop utility), but it doesn't have my MP3 collection on it. As such, I've had to bring in my pocket MiniDisc player and some discs, most of which I had recorded months earlier at latest. (Right now I'm listening to Piano Magic's Artist's Rifles didn't really feel like listening to The Smiths or Joy Division this early in the afternoon.)


IBM says Linux is set to dominate special effects/animation; the reasoning being that it's more hackable than SGI's Irix, and Hollywood's effects geeks like that. So now we'll have movies which are made on Linux boxes but cannot legally be viewed on them because cracking CSS is a felony.


It was an interesting night at Babble (local spoken-word night) tonight; a few months ago, they had a theme night where people recited pieces on a theme ("The Dance"), and these would later be performed as interpretive dances by some interpretive dancers. So I decided to write a piece, in the oversexed vein of a lot of the poetry read there, titled Together We Dance, and containing the line "to the spiralling heights of the cosmic planes of supreme bootywhang".

So I arrived tonight, and was informed by a woman in gothic fishnets that she was going to be performing an interpretive dance to my piece. Which would involve me reading the piece out afterwards. Uh-oh, I thought, and went downstairs, downing a shot of Chartreuse.

Anyway, the dancer (one Lady Hannah Cadaver) came on, writhing erotically in a Sandman-style gas mask and cavorting with an ox tongue, to much applause, and then I went onstage, reading the piece out. (The Chartreuse had, by then, taken effect, allowing me to not feel like a total wanker reading said piece out in front of an audience.) I had persuaded the sound engineer to add a lot of reverb to the vocal when I gave a hand signal, which I gave just before the words "supreme bootywhang". Nobody threw anything at me, so all in all, things went well.

The rest of the night was quite good too; with the possible exception of the guy who went on to do a poem about how his girlfriend fucked up his life and ended up ranting about how Germaine Greer was in league with Hitler and Mao and abusing the audience when he got moved off after exceeding the 3-minute limit. Though, still, that's irritainment.