The Null Device


Just heard a track from the new David Bowie album; it sounds like he's jumping on the glitch/laptop electronica bandwagon. Though it's probably a good change from him trying to sound like Nine Inch Nails or someone, as he did through much of the 1990s. (The whole angstcore thing doesn't really work unless you're a self-loathing teenager from the Bible Belt, and a veteran conceptual-artist type doesn't quite cut it. Though perhaps someone should tell Gary Numan that.)

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15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense, which does a good job of shooting down the obfuscations and misquotings of the creationists, not to mention their numerous attempts to dress religious dogma up as science (i.e., the so-called "intelligent design theory"). (via Pagan Prattle)

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To all intents and purposes, AudioGalaxy is dead. Despite their filtering of known copyrighted tracks, the RIAA went after them anyway, and they rolled over. The settlement involves them blocking all songs not specifically approved by copyright holders; which means no more obscure, long-out-of-print remixes or records from defunct indie labels. Which is a shame; if it wasn't for AudioGalaxy, there is so much I'd have never discovered (such as most of the Field Mice and Even As We Speak back-catalogues or the DJ Spooky remix of Lush's Undertow).

(Plug: if you haven't done so already, check out The Circle. It's completely decentralised, and so there's no central point to go after.)


Photos of today's spectacular train crash at Epping, north of Melbourne.


As our governments prepare to give government employees extraordinary surveillance powers over communications, with the usual provisos about how this is necessary to keep us and our children safe from terrorism and how the employees in question are bound by strict codes of honour and can be trusted to not abuse their powers, here is a list of top 10 police database abuses; they range from officials using confidential data to influence elections to a crooked cop scouting out "potential girlfriends" in the database, and another suspected of using the database to arrange the murder of his ex-wife. And if the cops can do this sort of thing with their databases, what's to say the tax department, post office, ticket inspectors and other minor functionaries can be totally trusted with your email, phone and web access records? (via


Proof that blogs are no longer the exclusive domain of introspective cat-owners, list-making geeks and right-wing warhawks: women in Iran take to blogging, to talk about social issues that women cannot discuss openly in the conservative Islamic society. (via Reenhead)

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How not to meet women:

A minor bump, always apparently the woman's fault, was usually followed by an informal cash settlement and months of telephone calls and rejected invitations to dinner. When a number of victims complained to police of harassment, the scale of Cabiale's hazardous dating game was quickly exposed. Police searching his flat found 2159 photographs of damaged vehicles and their female owners, all taken by Cabiale immediately following his accidents. An address book was also found, containing hundreds of names and phone numbers, all belonging to women aged between 20 and 40.
In one of Cabiale's cars investigators found a mechanism that temporarily disabled the vehicle's brake lights.

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Looks like Saddam Hussein is fair game now; the CIA have apparently been instructed to send in special forces to capture him, or kill him if he puts up a struggle.

(I'm not at all fond of Saddam Hussein; he seems like the typical barbarous alpha-male thug who claws his way to power over the corpses of lesser competitors -- only he had the help of the Reagan administration, who considered him to be "our sonofabitch", and a useful foil to Iran. However, given that there is no evidence connecting Iraq to the WTC bombing, this seems unjustified except as Bush Jr. (speaking of power-drunk alpha-males) settling family scores.

And then there's the nation-building argument; the only two factions who could establish an post-Saddam Iraqi government with a reasonable powerbase are Shiite Islamists and Communists, both of whom are unacceptable to Washington. So whoever replaces Saddam is likely to be a minority warlord, kept in power with the help of School of Americas-trained death squads and US military and economic backing, against the will of most of his subjects. And we've seen how well such regimes turn out.)

Anyway, in ancient times, captured kings were paraded about in cages in the victors' cities. Of course, these days the cages would be Plexiglass, and city squares would be replaced with shopping malls and TV networks. Which inspired me to jot down this short story a while ago.


Feeding my addiction: Reader's Feast are having a sale during which purchases count for double bonus points; as such, I went down this afternoon and spent too much money on books. I picked up a book on computer-based music composition and genres titled How To Get The Sound You Want (which seems OK, and is conveniently Mac/Cubase-centric), The Feng Shui Detective Goes South, which promises to be quite entertaining, the second His Dark Materials book, the graphic novel of From Hell, and the Lonely Planet guide to London. All of which should get me one or two free books when my bonus points come in.

(Isn't it funny how words can be like sweets or cigarettes or sex or anything else that's habit-forming? How there is such a thing as binge reading, and how one can compulsively read. Or, indeed, if there is nothing good to read, how one will sometimes pick up rubbish like the MX street murdoch and read about the latest celebrity plastic surgery or whatever, like a junky looking for a fix?)