The Null Device


The Alphabet Synthesis Machine, a Java applet which interactively evolves random alphabets and lets you download a TrueType font when you're finished. They don't look anything like any existing alphabet though. (ta, Ben)

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Found art: SpamRadio. Spam turned into music with the help of a speech synthesizer. (Though for some reason it plays at double speed here.) (via bOING bOING)

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In a heartwarming example of global cooperation, the United States, whose constitution ties the government's hands in dealing with terrorists, has been outsourcing interrogations to torture-friendly régimes. So far this is only for Al Qaeda terrorist suspects (who, it has been established, are not human beings but vermin, and thus not eligible for human rights), but think of the efficiency savings if this is extended to dealing with drug dealers, computer hackers and domestic terrorists such as anti-oil-drilling activists. (via Plastic)


Putrefaction is the end, of all that nature doth entend: Researchers in Germany claim that face creams and preservatives in food are causing overcrowding in cemeteries, by preventing bodies from decomposing properly.


Read: Ex-WIRED cyberculture digeratus Kevin Kelly on where music will be coming from in the age of unlimited digital copying.

But the moment something becomes free and ubiquitous, its position in the economic equation is suddenly inverted. When nighttime electrical lighting was new, it was the poor who burned common candles. When electricity became easily accessible and practically free, candles at dinner became a sign of luxury

Of course, this Utopian view does not entertain the possibility of a dystopia of totalitarian access control everywhere in the interests of "protecting intellectual property" from becoming something other, and guaranteeing the megacorps' ability to harvest the profits as before; which may well be the most likely outcome.


Here's an idea: BookCrossing; a web site which lets you register books, so you can "abandon" them in public places for others to find. (via Wired News)


US teen slang after the WTC attack. Attractive boys are "firefighter cute", petty concerns are "*sooo* Sept. 10", mean teachers are "terrorists", and weird kids (read: acceptable targets for bullying) are "Taliban". (via Reenhead)

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Some authors in the US are complaining about used book sales cutting into their profits. I know... we need tougher copyright laws, severe penalties for redistributing books and universal copy-denial technologies to stem this nefarious tide of what amounts to theft. Umm...


How quickly they change their tune. The Government has confirmed that allegations of pederasty made by Senator Bill Heffernan against Justice Michael Kirby are completely false, and based on fraudulent documents, and called on Heffernan to apologise and resign from being cabinet secretary. This is not long after Howard himself lent credence to the allegations, suggesting that the government have the power to sack judges whose sex lives it didn't approve of (other than the usual puritanism, a breach of separation of powers), and insinuating that there is a connection between homosexuality and paedophilia; undoubtedly hoping to leverage the prejudices of Hanson-voting Middle Australia, so useful for winning the last election, to help purge a cumbersomely progressive judge.

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Blah. Back to the treadmill...