The Null Device
Covering all bases: One of the world's largest tobacco companies is poised to get exclusive rights to market future lung cancer vaccines, a move which could net it billions of dollars.
The New South Wales state parliament has recently tabled a draconian Internet censorship bill, which, if passed, will criminalise all online content that would be rated R if it were a film, regardless of to whom it is made available. (And this is from a Labor government too; proof that right-wing paternalism is not just for Liberals any more.) However, there is hope; a similar bill tabled a year earlier in South Australia has been stuck in a parliamentary inquiry, thanks to people contacting their MPs and expressing concern. Residents of NSW, you know what to do.
Obituary: Hippie LSD prankster and author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey passed away yesterday, after a battle with cancer. He was 66.
Forwarded without comment: Elite: The Musical. (via Found)
According to this quiz, I'm a dedicated weblogger, but not a blogaholic. (via 1.0)
Extreme measures in defence of the World's Greatest Democracy: Allegations have emerged that Congressmen were not allowed to read the so-called PATRIOT bill, which gives police sweeping powers, before voting on it. The bill was passed all but unanimously.
This afternoon, I went to the Museum of Modern Oddities (today was its last day, and I hadn't managed to find the time to go earlier). It was interesting, in a surrealistic sense; it was in an old hardware shop in Collingwood (looking very much like something from decades ago, with decades-old stock still remaining amidst the exhibits), and had a number of exhibits, which took the form of found objects and dioramas thereof, with stories attached.
Some of the exhibits they had were Jock the Racing Possum (a dessicated possum corpse and a glimpse into a little-known aspect of colonial Australian life), the Geoffrey Dunstable Mania Dioramas (arrangements of nails and screws said to depict various states of mania and depression), and various arrangements of objects in boxes, often with labels attached giving them new meanings. There was also a do-it-yourself souvenir stand where one could take souvenirs home, in the form of pre-bagged objects from prior visitors, as long as you placed an object of your own in a bag provided, leaving it for another visitor. There was also a book for sale, of which I bought a copy; it's vaguely surrealistic, and has a lot of nice photographs of objects and other good design.
I also ran into Michael from Beebo there (whom I knew from my days at Monash).
The museum is now closed, but with any luck, they'll reopen at some stage somewhere else.
Election roundup (part 1): A piece in The Age on The Greens' unprecedented performance, in which they stand to pick up several more Senate seats. Meanwhile, redneck party One Nation is all but finished, with their protest voters flocking back to the Coalition, and Pauline Hanson is quitting politics, presumably going back into the fish & chips business. Wonder whether One Nation will stay around at all, or whether it'll merge with the Citizens' Electoral Council (that's the Lyndon LaRouche whackos).
Britain declares a state of emergency, suspending the European Convention on Human Rights in order to detain terrorist suspects without trial, powers which are usually used only in wartime. This may have been prompted by the sizeable number of pro-Bin Laden demonstrators in Britain, some of whom all but took over an anti-war protest, turning it into a pro-Taliban rally, and many of whom have been making noises about going overseas to fight against America.
Scare meme of the day: One of Melbourne's tram operators, British-owned National Express, has designated several of its tram routes as no-go zones, too dangerous to send ticket inspectors into.
Its report reveals that inspectors are at risk of abuse, racist and sexist comments, being spat on, punched, kicked and scratched, of being threatened with knives, guns and syringes - including the threat of HIV transmission, death threats and stalking by passengers.
The routes in question are the West Maribyrnong and Footscray routes.