The Null Device


I got a phone call today from the landlord's representatives, telling me to get rid of my cat. It seems that neighbours have complained about it meowing during the day, obliging the landlord to act. Pity, I was getting used to having the little rascal around.

(A word of advice: if you want to keep a surreptitious cat in a flat, make sure it's not a Burmese kitten; they're a rather boisterous breed, and don't like being left alone all day.)

Anyway, it looks like I'll have to stash him at someone else's place, at least for the time being.


Fed up with waiting for JK Rowling to finish the much delayed next Harry Potter book, some anonymous party in China has decided to take matters into their own hand, by publishing an alternative fifth Harry Potter book. Written in Chinese and translating as Harry Potter and Leopard Walk Up To Dragon, the book uses existing Harry Potter characters, though diverges wildly from Rowling's works, going in a somewhat more Tolkienesque direction; in it, the young wizard is transformed into a fat, hairy dwarf and stripped of his powers by a mysterious rain, and goes off to battle evil in the shape of a dragon.

The book begins with the lines: "Harry doesn't know how long it will take to wash the sticky cream cake off his face. For a civilised young man it is disgusting to have dirt on any part of his body. He lies in the high-quality china bathtub, keeps wiping his face, and thinks about Dali's face, which is as fat as the bottom of Aunt Penny."

I wonder whether this will show up in English. Maybe I should start checking certain bookshops for it...

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Whenever talk of fighting bullying at schools comes up, the religious right and their ilk get up to vigorously oppose it, as it would protect leftists, homosexuals, freaks, nerds, hippies, atheists, questioners and other undesirables from being set right by the crew-cut defenders of our values. Bullies, their argument suggests, are the unsung guardians of moral probity, the kids who draw the line and make sure everybody else toes it, without whom the values that make Our Great Nation great would be lost, and who grow into staunch patriots, the backbone of society. Well, perhaps this is the sort of righteously patriotic act they have in mind. (via

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When injustice becomes law... As the US Government's webcasting royalty rates force small hobbyist-run streaming music stations offline, a new generation of peer-to-peer streaming tools are taking lessons from both Napster and Radio Caroline, and threatening a new age of underground pirate radio, challenging the Clear Channel homogeneity of big, trustworthy, RIAA-approved corporate webcasters. Meanwhile, the RIAA are planning to target individual MP3 swappers. And the MPAA's pet congressman is preparing a bill to give the copyright cartels letters of marque, or permission to attack file-sharing computers with legal impunity.


When a boy in rural Pakistan was seen walking with a girl of a higher social status, violating age-old conventions, the tribal council decided to punish him and his family by ordering the gang-rape of his sister.

This is the sort of thing that argues that, not only is the belief in the superiority of Western liberal-humanist values consistent with progressive thought (rather than the shameful manifestation of racism that many naïve ivory-tower leftists would say it is), it is perhaps an essential part of it. Human progress won't come from respecting barbaric ideas of "family honour" as equally valid, in the name of diversity and cultural relativism. (via Reenhead)

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A former employee of late lamented MP3-sharing application AudioGalaxy spills the beans on how it worked, and the lengths they went to to prevent copyright infringement (despite the RIAA's disingenuous protestations that they didn't try). (via Found)

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This humble blog now has a (somewhat rudimentary) RSS feed. Let me know if it works/doesn't work for you.


Chinese-based spiritual movement/terrorist group (depending on whom you believe) Falun Gong have reportedly hacked one of China's main TV satellites, broadcasting a pro-Falun Gong banner on TV channels. (Mind you, this news comes from The Australian, a publication of News Corp., whose executives have outspokenly condemned Falun Gong and defended the Chinese government's hard line against the group. Make of that what you will.)

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