The Null Device

2001/8/27

A survey has found that listening to rap music on the car stereo is more likely to lead to road rage than any other genre (sounds fair enough, as if you've got Eminem cranked up and some asshole cuts you off you'd feel like bustin' some caps in the punk's ass, already being on that wavelength). Meanwhile, "pop" (which presumably means Top-40 girl/boy bubblegum) was the least likely to lead to road rage, being known for its tranquilising properties. (Which is probably why you only hear Top 40 radio in shops, because anything less mindlessly ebullient wouldn't induce people to be happy consumers quite as effectively.) Mind you, given that the survey was taken by an outfit named the Little Chef restaurant, its scientific validity may be in some doubt.

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An artist in the US has built a church for dogs. The chapel features stained-glass windows depicting labradors with haloes, and is intended to be visited by up to 15 dogs at once.

"I was up there today," he said, "and there were 15 dogs. They seemed really happy to be there."

So now Americans can cater to their dog's spiritual needs, but only if they live in Vermont. Maybe the next step would be to have drive-thru dog churches in shopping malls, thus bringing this much-needed facility to a wider audience?

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Zero-friction commerce in the global marketplace: In Brazil, packets of flour and sugar often don't have bar codes, but cocaine now does. Police have captured packets of cocaine bearing bar codes from a shanty town near Rio. It is not clear whether the codes serve any practical purpose, or whether they are merely decorative.

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The World's Oldest Multinational Corporation: The Catholic Church has been fighting back against accusations of sexual abuse by priests, and has been fighting with dirty tactics, including countersuing victims or their parents, intimidating witnesses and various high-pressure tactics more suited to tobacco companies.

The most egregious example of the Church's legal aggression involved an Albuquerque, New Mexico, man named Timothy Martinez. In 1991, he and 12 other men sued the Archdiocese of Santa Fe charging that they had been molested as children by convicted pedophile Jason Sigler, who left the priesthood in 1982. Despite the former priest's criminal conviction, Martinez faced a fierce fight. Detectives combed through his past; they tracked down old roommates and girlfriends. Among their questions: Did Martinez ever engage in homosexual acts? Did he like it?

(via Unknown News)

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A piece on the crackdown on Tolkienists in Kazakhstan, where the government is waging war against all "bohemian" and "counter-cultural" elements who deviate from accepted behaviours. This includes "alternative" artists, homosexuals and punk rockers, as well as people who dress up as hobbits on the weekend.

"I find city life so crude and gloomy. I want to get away from it and create a different world," one 17-year-old fan said. "When I look at other kids who hang out with nothing to do and no interests in life, I feel sad. Their lives seem so empty."

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100,000 lemmings can't be wrong: An article on the alarming phenomenon of pro-anorexia web sites, organised by adolescent girls who cherish the symptoms of their eating disorders and bond together to teach others how to be better anorexics.

"girls strive to hold onto it. It's their identity," says Ellen AstrachanFletcher, director of the eating disorders clinic at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. "An alcoholic, once they admit their alcoholism, typically acknowledges this is a bad thing, I need to get into treatment. With anorexia, these girls say look at how much self-control I have, look at how much everybody cares about being thin, look at what I'm accomplishing."
"When I was in my peak anoretic phase, I dropped 60 pounds (27.22 kilograms). In three months! God, I want to be there again ... I want to be empty and clean and free again ... So, thankfully, ana has re-entered my life."

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Former child stars have been known to get involved in some rather unsavoury activities: drugs, porn, crime.. now, we can add blogging to this list. (via Graham)

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And today, one of the people calling themselves Robert X. Cringely shows you how to roll your own ADSL connection, using nothing more than dry exchange circuits intended for serial terminals or burglar alarms and a bit of good old-fashioned ingenuity: (Note: your mileage may vary outside of the US.)

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