The Null Device
The FBI are looking for a Middle Eastern former intern who worked at anthrax-hit tabloid company American Media; meanwhile, the anthrax infection is believed to be man-made, and to have originated in a letter mailed to the National Enquirer. And so begins Saddam Bin Laden's war against the American press.
Authorities in charge of the disaster area in New York are faced with a new problem: keeping out celebrities who have been swarming in to walk around in the rubble. (Perhaps it's a new Hollywood new-age personal-development fad?)
The Onion is back in full form, with pieces like Freedoms Curtailed In Defense of Liberty:
"Now is not the time for such divisive, destructive things as dialogue and debate," McCain said. "Now is not the time for, 'My opinion is just as valid as yours,' and 'What are my country's leaders doing and why?' and 'I have a question, Mr. President.' Now is the time for one thing and one thing only: The defense of the American democratic ideal. Any and all who disagree with this directive, or who have different ideas about how it should be accomplished, should learn to shut their mouths."
And Everybody Browsing At Video Store Saying Stupid Things is quite good too.
Metablogging: Some of Jorn's links and comments have gotten a bit ugly in recent months, but now he has really crossed the line, by posting a link to an "apparently well-researched survey of Jewish media domination", on a white-supremacist group's web site. For one, by honouring such extremist tracts as legitimate discourse, he does a disservice to mainstream critics of Israeli government/military policies, and plays right into the hands of those who would brand all such criticism as the work of rabid racists.
In the results of the recent UK census, "Jedi Knight" got its own numerical code, but "Discordian" didn't. Shows how much they know.
The spread of the Internet has cost 400 jobs, namely those of carrier pigeons in India made redundant by the rise of email. (via Techdirt)
Tenser, said the Tensor: Scientists are studying Stuck Tune Syndrome, commonly known as 'earworms', or the condition in which a melody or song starts repeating in one's head, becoming impossible to dislodge. A researcher at the University of Cincinnati is investigating what causes a song to become an earworm:
Kellaris, a marketing teacher who moonlights as a bouzouki player in a Greek band, theorizes that certain types of music operate like mental mosquito bites. They create a "cognitive itch" that can only be scratched by replaying the tune in the mind. The more the brain scratches, the worse the itch gets. The syndrome is triggered when "the brain detects an incongruity or something 'exceptional' in the musical stimulus," he explained in a report made earlier this year to the Society for Consumer Psychology.
The fact that the researcher in question is a marketing teacher, and working in "consumer psychology", is slightly worrying, making one wonder exactly how the research is going to be used. (See Egan, Greg, Beyond the Whistle Test.)
A classic example is "If You're Happy and You Know It," he says. The melody in each verse builds sequentially from the previous verse... With each "happy and you know it" line, the melody changes slightly, "but in a predictable way," he says. "It's the same pattern, which makes it more memorable."