The Null Device


Make your own joke here: Boy band Nsync to play Jedi Knights in the second Star Wars prequel; apparently Lucas' daughter is a big fan. Though perhaps having them play ewoks would have been more appropriate.


Some predictions for 2002:

  • More misery; more terrorist attacks on the west (attempted, and perhaps some successful), and massive retaliation. The US invades Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya or Cuba, with Australia following in lockstep. The UK is divided over whether to join.
  • The US tears up more inconvenient international agreements. Emboldened, Australia follows suit. Expatriate Australian leftists start talking about pushing for South African-style sanctions against the rogue south pacific state.
  • The Israeli/Palestinian situation festers on, not improving.
  • White House spin doctors and US media figures try to tar Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists with the brush of atheism; expect commentary about how Bin Laden is not really religious, and the terrorist attacks are the result of Godless secular materialist ideas, and a lack of faith.
  • Linux' desktop marketshare more than doubles, with it having more than 0.5% of the desktop market by the end of 2002.
  • The Universal Music Group abandons its CD copy-prevention scheme after the trial turns out to be a resounding failure, with some legitimate consumers unable to play the medium at all and others being able to rip it with no problems. Nonetheless, they do kick up a fuss, threatening the authors of open-source CD ripping software with DMCA lawsuits, and resulting in some web sites being pulled, or at least moved from heavily proprietarian jurisdictions. By the end of 2002, sites for software like grip and CDex may be based in Russia or Ukraine.
  • The reach of copyright laws is extended further in the favour of content corporations.
  • The Punters Club closes on schedule, only to be replaced with a similarly titled Hard Rock Cafe-style venue, with rock'n'roll memorabilia (some local, some imported) on the walls, chrome tables and zero authenticity, frequented by yuppies and suburbanites. There is a stage, but the only acts that play there are crap commercial bands on promotional tours ("Friday evening: the Punters Club; Saturday afternoon: Knox City Shopping Centre"), much like what the Continental has become.
  • A Starbucks opens on Brunswick St.; a McDonalds follows suit, perhaps taking over the PolyEster Books site. The more interesting places move to Thornbury, Coburg and the like, they are replaced with clothes-shop franchises.


How much has the world changed irrevocably after September 11? Not that much, according to this Times article, and most of the things that do change will do so for the better. Or so the author insists:

First and foremost, September 11 and the subsequent rout of the Taleban reminded us that religion should have no place in modern politics or diplomacy. We will all be a lot more suspicious of religious fanatics, not only of Muslims, but also of Jews who quote the Old Testament to justify their occupation of Palestine, and of Christians who claim a God-given right to attack abortion clinics.
In other words, America still lacks a President of real stature. That is another thing that hasn't changed since September 11.


A few links stolen from onepointzero: firstly an insightful essay by a Pakistani professor on how Islam lost its way, falling to extremists some centuries ago and not recovering since. Secondly, French film Amélie is big in Japan, but mostly for the props and decor. The Amélie phenomenon has spawned a subculture, and entire industries of merchandising:

"I love this red colour in her room. It looks comfortable to live there. The furniture and the objects really suit Amelie and the story. I want the same lamp and bed, and the same flat with the bathroom and the nice white mosaic on the wall."

And finally, the story of some New Zealanders who ate some chocolates that arrived in the mail, only to find them laced with ecstasy.


History in the making: I went to the Punters Club tonight, for the last ever NYE to be held there before it gets turned into yuppie apartments and a Starbucks or whatever. I didn't see the first band; the second one was the once-off reformation of a band named Little Ugly Girls, who played some kind of punk/metal thing, with the singer writhing about in a green T-shirt on which was scrawled "PHILIP RUDDOCK NEEDS THERAPY" in what could have been red lipstick. Then at midnight or just before, some dudes calling themselves Legends Of Motorsports came on, attired in monastic robes. They played some vaguely pub-rocky thing. Not usually my cup of tea, but I was too inebriated to care (having had two beers, one which I bought, and one which was handed to me by a girl whose companion didn't want it). Anyway, I ran into some people I knew there (various local musicians), which was good.

Tell you what, I'll miss the Punters...