The Null Device


Welcome to the Digital Millennium: An interesting and ominous article thoroughly debunking the tired old "information wants to be free" cant still heard from libertarian pirasite types, and showing how the Internet can be controlled, and probably in a much more draconian fashion than most people would want.

even if offshore firms are legal in their home bases, their owners "have to be willing to not come back to the United States." Not only do they risk losing any assets in this country, but U.S. businesses that deal with them will also be at risk. "Any revenue the offshore business sends to them could be subject to attachment," says Ballon.

(And if that fails, there are always cruise missiles. Just tell the press that it was a child pornography site, and not a MP3-sharing hub; only ultra-paranoid black-helicopter nuts will question the official version.)

Gnutella traffic has a distinctive digital "signature." (More technically, the packets of Gnutella data are identified in their headers.) Content companies are also learning how to "tag" digital files. The result, in Ballon's view, is easy to foresee: "At a certain point, the studios and labels and publishers will send over lists of things to block to America Online, and 40 percent of the country's Net users will no longer be able to participate in Gnutella. Do the same thing for EarthLink and MSN, and you're drastically shrinking the pool of available users." Indeed, the governments of China and Saudi Arabia have successfully pursued a similar strategy for political ends.
And if the hardware industry resists making copy-protected devices, says Justin Hughes, an Internet-law specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, an appeal to Congress may be "just a matter of time." If the Internet proves difficult to control, he says, "you will see legislation mandating that hardware adhere to certain standard rules, just like we insist that cars have certain antipollution methods."


Teeny-goth rebellion figure and ordained Satanic priest Marilyn Manson has comforted the mother of a fan who committed suicide after being persistently bullied at school for dressing like a prat. Hang on, though, isn't having pity for the weak against Satanic doctrines as taught by Anton LaVey, whose church Manson serves in? You'd think he'd be praising the jocks who persecute insecure goth kids unto suicide as agents of natural selection, weeding out the weak and enforcing the Law of the Wolf.


And in today's news, a rant on why meat-eaters are all cretinous barbarians. Discuss.

It's almost Cro-Magnon, but there it is. Beef is still what's for dinner in many philistine homes, homes where Coors Lite is the beverage of choice, where Kools are still smoked and where the television has been on continuously since Gerald Ford was in office.
Why, then, are people still eating meat? First of all there's that Genesis thing--you know, where God gave man dominion over the animals. Many a Republican likes to sling that quote around as sort of a Judeo-Christian carte blanche to destroy every living thing that isn't nailed down.
It's gotta be a self-esteem issue for those of limited reasoning ability. I may be a loser, the carnivore thinks, but at least I'm better than this dead critter I'm eating.
(via Plastic)


Researchers in India recently did an experiment: they set up a computer, connected to the Internet, in a window where illiterate street kids could operate it, and watched what happened.

Mr Mitra found that within days the children were able to browse the internet, cut and paste copy, drag and drop items and create folders. One of the things they particularly liked was drawing, discovering how to use the MSpaint programme to create paintings. The children then moved on to downloading games and playing then. They did not stop there. By the second month they had discovered MP3 music files and they were downloading songs.

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