The Null Device


Typical recording racket scumbaggery: first they sued Napster out of business, on the grounds that it robbed artists of their royalties, and now the official, securely locked-down recording industry download services don't pay artists a cent either. (Actually, they are planning to pay them an insulting US$0.0023 per download. Some artists are unhappy with this; to which the racket has responded by putting clauses in their standard contracts giving them the right to use their music online as they see fit.)


A firm named set up a trap for a spammer; a page generating a unique IP address, traceable to contain information about the IP address of the visitor. Within 8 hours, the address began receiving spam, sent through open relays, and traced (via the address) to a cable modem on the @Home network in Arizona. All the spam (which ranged from financial scams to hardcore porn sites) seemed to be from the same spammer, though the ISP has so far not taken any action.


Scare meme of the day: Eating vegetables may cause gullet cancer, due to the use of nitrate fertilisers. Researchers at Glasgow University, who have discovered the connection, say that it is unlikely that organic vegetables are any less carcinogenic. (via Unknown News)


Economic rationalism in the news: Telstra disconnects terminally ill woman's mobile phone, allegedly so that the contract could be paid out before she died.

"When I asked and the guy went and got the supervisor and he came and said the notation on her file said she had cancer, they wanted the contract paid out before she died and it was easier for them to get the money from a living person than from an estate, they wanted the money paid out,"

A Telstra spokesdroid has denied any policy of weeding out terminally ill customers or other poor revenue prospects in this fashion.


Good news for public transport activism: Transport Victoria Association, which is sort of the Melbourne public-transport-advocacy equivalent of the Sozialistiches Patienten Kollectiv of the late 1960s, finally has a web page. Unfortunately, they've only put their relatively sane policies up, leaving out the charmingly psychoceramic flights of fancy such as elevating the Geelong railway line to give passengers better views.

melbourne psychoceramics public transport 0

Bogotá, Colombia, can be a rather rough place; so much so that even the local Goths mug people for their blood, to drink with brandy. (Brandy? Wouldn't absinthe or Chartreuse or something be more goth?) (via Lev)


Telltale signs of Hollywood villany: black hats, English accents, and now using Wintel PCs instead of Macs.