The Null Device


Be paranoid: Connections between the CIA and the Florida flight school at which the September 11 terrorists studied. And Christian Fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell, who blamed gays, feminists and liberals for bringing God's judgment down on the WTC, is also connected to the company. Could it be that, sometimes, God's wrath needs a terrestrial helping hand? (via


A look at Britain's mobile-phone mugging epidemic, by a 14-year-old girl who has had two phones stolen:

My friends and I are "trendies". We wear American-type skateboarders' clothes: hoodies and baggy trousers. The kids who jack mobile phones we call "rudes" - rude boys. They're working class, mainly black, although not always, and at the moment they wear these funny woolly hats with two bobbles, and big jackets with fur-lined hoods. (Obviously, only a minority of kids who dress like this go jacking phones.)

(So the victims dress in imitation of ghetto gangbangers from America and the perpetrators are actual local gangbangers? The authentic preys on the imitation...)

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A few days ago, I dreamt that I saw a new Commodore 64. It was like the old one (well, the white, triangular one, anyway), but for one addition: beneath the joystick ports, there was a USB socket. Apparently there was logic onboard which translated USB mass storage to the Commodore's crippled IEEE-488, allowing the C64 to access ZIP disks and the like as if they were 1541 disks. Then I realised that the USB translator logic would probably be more complex and computationally powerful than the C64 itself.

And, as if by coincidence, NtK tells me that some enthusiastic soul is reviving Zzap!64 Magazine, undoubtedly reliving cherished childhood fantasies. Don't expect to see issue 107 at newsstands anytime soon, though if you have a fast link and a colour printer, you can print out yourself and show it to your trainspotter mates. (It's only 30Mb in PDF format.) And if that's not enough, they have an archive of back-issues, in HTML and scans; this includes a number of features, including Andrew Braybrook's Paradroid diary.

I wasn't a Zzap! reader during the 80s; I preferred Commodore Computing International, which had a bit more in the way of technical details. Now I just read Future Music, which fills a similar niche, though is perhaps a bit less silly. What is it about English tech magazines?

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First came archæological and linguistic analyses of the Christian apocrypha and Gospels, and the resulting theories of their authorship, and now a new generation of scholars are turning their attention to analysing the origins of the Koran and the Islamic religion using similar methods. Their research has shown a number of things at odds with the official line (for one, they claim that the Koran was written over several centuries, and probably somewhere with more Jews and Christians than Mecca; and also, the thing about the 72 virgins is apparently an error of translation). However, many of them write under pseudonyms, as their occupation is a dangerous one; some unorthodox scholars have already been attacked or threatened with death by fundamentalist groups. (via Plastic)