The Null Device


These people make improvised electronic musical instruments (with names such as the "Pikachu Glitch Synthesizer") out of toys and other devices. Pretty doovy. (via Slashdot)

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A documentary titled The American Nightmare looks at how 70s/80s cult and horror filmmakers were influenced by the upheavals of the era:

George A. Romero, it turns out, got the idea for 1968's ``Night of the Living Dead'' from the civil rights movement. Wes Craven (``Last House on the Left,'' 1972) and John Carpenter (``Halloween,'' 1978) were traumatized by the carnage they saw on TV of the Vietnam War, while Tom Savini, who worked as a makeup artist on many of these films, learned his trade as an actual army photographer in Vietnam. Tobe Hooper was shocked by the violence of consumer behavior in response to the oil shock, and came up with ``The Texas Chain Saw Massacre'' (1974) after experiencing an epiphany during a sale at Sears (``It was so crowded and I just had to get out, and suddenly I saw this chain saw''). David Cronenberg (``Shivers,'' 1975) and John Landis (``An American Werewolf in London,'' 1981) were spooked by the sexual revolution.

Judging by that, the morass the world is stumbling into should lead to some interestingly edgy cinema. So much for the prophesied New Norman Rockwell Era... (via a certain mailing list)

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Comment posting should now be fixed; sorry about that. (A bug got in when I was adding cookies to remember posters' details.) Anyway, it should work now. If not, email me.


Don't Panic: A retired US military weapons/munitions/training expert has written this explanation of chemical/biological/nuclear weapons, how the various types work and how to survive attacks (and it's a lot easier than you'd think):

Bottom line on chemical weapons (it's the same if they use industrial chemical spills); they are intended to make you panic, to terrorize you,to herd you like sheep to the wolves. If there is an attack, leave the area and go upwind, or to the sides of the wind stream. They have to get the stuff to you, and on you. You're more likely to be hurt by a drunk driver on any given day than be hurt by one of these attacks. Your odds get better if you leave the area. Soap, water, time, and fresh air really deal this stuff a knock-out-punch. Don't let fear of an isolated attack rule your life. The odds are really on your side.

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Terrorists are everywhere. Today, as I was walking down Brunswick Street (going to PolyEster to buy the Múm CD), I was approached by a young woman with a pleasant smile and a clipboard. It turns out that she was collecting signatures/donations for Greenpeace (who are either a designated terrorist group under US law, or soon likely to be so).


A British media artist named Matt Rogalsky plans to release a 24-CD set of recordings of silence. Well, not perfect silence, but the moments between words taken from radio programmes and the like. The CD set won't be cheap; it will set you back US$426. I'd be willing to bet that, when it comes out, Synæsthesia will have it, right next to the Japanese noise sculpture, Austrian laptop drum'n'bass, atonal "sound art" and recordings of numbers stations. (via Meg)


This evening, when I came home, I stumbled across a pretty doovy programme that was playing on 3RRR. It's called International Pop Underground, runs from 8 to 10pm on Wednesdays and plays a lot of glitchy-yet-melodic electronic ambience and such. It's sparse and novel and yet not so experimental as to be unlistenable, a good mix of atmospheric instrumentals and songs with avant garde production and instrumentation. (An example: some of the things they played tonight have included Björk, New Buffalo and a GYBE-related act whose name escapes me.)

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The Middle-East Thing: Not In My Name, a site run by a Jewish group opposed to Israeli government policy towards the Palestinians, containing a lot of resources on the matter. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Bloghop on Jorn and his increasingly extreme anti-Israeli rhetoric. (via 1.0, Graham)