The Null Device


An article on the rise of blogging in Iran, and how a young generation of web-savvy reformists is leapfrogging the power of the theocracy, largely due to Iran's lack of resources and/or will to establish a Saudi-style censorship infrastructure. Wonder how long this will continue.

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The Chinese government has stopped issuing custom numberplates because of concerns in the Communist Party about "an unhealthy fixation" with symbols of Western military power. Among the offensive numberplates were "IAM 007" (this is in a nation on guard against Western espionage), "FBI" and "TMD", a reference to Bush's Star Wars 2 programme. (via Athrist)

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The Target chain in the US has withdrawn a range of streetwear believed to bear neo-Nazi insignia. The baseball caps and baggy shorts in question bore the numerals "88", believed to be "white power code" for "Heil Hitler". (Or perhaps Chinese numerology for good luck?) Are anti-racism groups jumping to paranoid conclusions, or did Target really stock neo-Nazi skate shorts? And when will someone do something about Microsoft Wingdings? (via New World Disorder)

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A good interview with Hacktivismo founder Oxblood Ruffin, where he talks about pro-democracy technologies, and Western technology companies' complicity in totalitarian control regimes and also claims that the Klez virus is likely to have been the work of the Chinese Public Security Bureau. (via bOING bOING)

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0wnz0red, a pretty doovy new short story by Cory Doctorow (of bOING bOING), touching on transhumanism, "trusted computing", secret military biotech projects, and a lot of hacker-culture references. Go read.

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One day after East Timor signed a treaty guaranteeing to never hand US citizens over to the International Criminal Court, Australia is considering doing the same. I'll be surprised if they don't sign it; for one, they wouldn't want to displease Uncle George, our bestest friend ever, and secondly, such a reciprocal treaty would be useful if any Australians are charged with crimes against humanity (which, with the mandatory detention regime and such, is not inconceivable).

Of course, such a treaty would severely undermine the court, which Australia has ratified. Though a body such as the ICC is looking rather unfashionable in the landscape of Bushian international relations (i.e., "I'm the sherriff, you're the posse").