The Null Device


The Death of Brunswick St. (an ongoing saga): This week's issue of the Melbourne Times has a section on the transformation of Brunswick St. into an upmarket gated community and shopping mall. There is an article about a plan to dig a tunnel from the housing commission blocks to Sunshine, to provide residents with "access to affordable consumables and appropriate social activities"; the article has a photograph of the public housing block surrounded by a high wall, keeping all the riff-raff in. Then there is the section on the "bigger, brighter and better" Brunswick St., with photographs of the Punters Club Photoshopped into a Country Road, the new Planet Hollywood, and a Starbucks.

Planet Hollywood, which replaced Flowers Vasette in December, is now the hottest nightspot in town. "It is amazing. The young professionals from their designer apartments, and even people from the eastern and southern suburbs, are flocking to this vibrant venue," Ome said.

Yes, it's a parody issue, but it's (unfortunately) too close to the truth.

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An archæological dig is underway in the CBD of Melbourne, on the site of a notorious 19th-century brothel. Some believe that the dig may finally solve the mystery of the lost parliamentary mace, believed to have been lost in a brothel during an orgy/mock parliament attended by the state's politicians. (via Reenhead)

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The Onion's back in fine form, with pieces like Area Man Not Exactly Sure When To Take Down American Flags:

"I don't want to be the first to take one down and look like an ass," Wenger said. "When I put the flags up, I was saying, 'I support America.' If I take them down, some people will probably think I'm saying, 'I no longer support America.'"

And then there's this ever-helpful collection of Dating Tips:

  • Ladies: Your date's salary divided by your own equals the base you should let him get to on the first date.
  • If you are overweight and socially awkward, consider "online dating." You can go on a dragonslaying adventure instead of to a movie, play games on instead of dancing, and masturbate instead of having real sex.
Once again, The Onion hits the nail on the head, nailing peer pressure, hypocrisy and the profoundly depressing realities of the whole romance thing; in short, the human condition.

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From Signum, an interesting essay about the history of vaudeville, a form of mass entertainment from the days before electronic media.


Whar do you say to a former dot-com CEO? I'll have fries with that. (via Plastic)


We are McWorld. Don't fuck with us. Human-rights groups and other commie-mutant-traitor-scum have been criticising the US's treatment of Taliban prisoners held at the Guantanamo prison facility. The US insists that the prisoners are not POWs but "unlawful combatants", and thus not subject to the Geneva Convention. Mind you, the Geneva Convention asserts that prisoners are POWs unless judged otherwise by a court, and says nothing about any "unlawful combatant" category. Then again, this is the US, a world power too powerful and important to allow itself to be bound by inconvenient international treaties.

For the moment, the US doesn't need treaties to ensure its security, as it has unchallenged military might. They don't need to treat others with respect to command respect; they command respect through fear, because they can rain death from above on anybody who gets in their way. (Though wait until, in the Sino-American War of the 2020s, the Chinese start taking US POWs; then they'll probably wish they hadn't torn up the Geneva Convention when they had the choice.)


The strange but true story of the reindeer smuggled aboard a submarine from Russia to Britain during WW2.


Fitter, happier, more productive: A look at the phenomenon of online dating, and its effects on human interaction:

And that's what's fascinating about online dating. It reflects the human propensity for choice and classification, and the fact that technology is being molded to meet those propensities. By online dating Darwin might have been disturbed, but he would not have been surprised.
Morever, the truly innocent are often truly hoodwinked, according to the anonymous author of, a site with extremely detailed advice and gruesome online dating stories, started by a woman who met her husband through the Internet, but "went through hellish experiences" beforehand. Online dating anecdotes posted on have titles like "Determining Honesty Is Like Military Intelligence" and "A Horror Story of Cons and Scams."
"Our study showed if people are communicating with someone they believe to be attractive, they edit and rewrite more than if they don't care whether they are impressing them." Walther's chief concern is that email correspondence can lead to a dangerous wish fulfillment for the perfect love. "It is nearly impossible for people to live up to such an artificially high, idealized range of expectations," he noted.

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This evening, some friends and I got together at SubTerrain (a rather nice vegetarian café in North Fitzroy), for a sort of belated birthday celebration. All in all, a pretty good time was had all round. (Some photos were taken by various people, which will probably appear around the traps. I'll neither confirm nor deny that I was the guy with the paisley shirt, jester's hat and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs-style pipe.)


The UK domain registry has just launched the domain, intended for personal domains (sort of like the domain, only without the silly rule about everything being under subdomains named after native plant species, which is perhaps why you haven't seen too many addresses). Not surprisingly, things like have all been snapped up pretty much straight away (probably by vanity free-mail services or somesuch).