The Null Device


Despot or Sexpot? Or, can you tell the porn stars from the dictators just by their mustaches? It's harder than it looks. (via Reenhead)

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Oh yes, yesterday's blog meetup was good. It was at the Gin Palace again, which is always good (though not cheap). A lot of people turned up, and a lot of good (if punctuated) conversation occurred.

I was looking at the blog meetup page and found that there's now an Iraq Crisis meetup. It seems to be mostly anti-war types, at least in Australia. I'm surprised there's no Fisking Meetup.

I looked at some other ones too, and found that there's also an indie meetup (which should be fun, as long as it's not overrun by mooks who think that Interscope is an indie label), a Smiths meetup (which sounds like a great place to get dates, or just an all-round fun place to be) and even a shoegazer meetup, for all the shoegazer/ethereal/4AD/swirlygoth fans. Who'd have thought there'd be enough people in Melbourne for one of those?

(Btw, what's the difference between the Goth Meetup and the Teen Vampire meetup?)

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Adbusters on the apparent failure of Brand America, the Whitehouse's project to sell America™ to the Islamic world; deemphasising the liabilities (Bush, Playboy, Israel) and emphasising the big selling points (Coca-Cola, democracy and opportunity), and finally boiling down Brand USA to three themes: opportunity, democracy and freedom. Unfortunately, those damned Middle Easterners are being stubborn.

So how are sales? In January, Beers visited Egypt to start sussing out Arab opinion-makers, who, it turns out, wanted to talk about American policy. Beers and her team preferred to talk about opportunity, democracy and freedom - hold the details. "No matter how hard you try to make them understand, they don't," said one Egyptian newspaper editor in response.

(via Plastic)

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"Quit hogging the victory blanket": During World War 1, America renamed sauerkraut and hamburgers to "liberty cabbage" and "liberty steak". Now, one US restaurant has renamed its french fries to "freedom fries".I wonder if it'll catch on.

Rowland said his intent is not to slight the French people, but to take a patriotic stance to show his support for the United States and the actions of President Bush. "It's our way of showing our patriotic pride," he said, noting that his business has a lot of local military troops as customers.

I wonder if he's taking the piss; why not just adopt the nomenclature of the old country (and America's most loyal lapdogs allies) and call the dish "chips"?

(Actually, didn't the Americans coin the term "french fries" to distance themselves from their former colonial oppressors' language, instead aligning themselves with fellow post-Enlightenment revolutionary nation France?)

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Uh-oh; Microsoft has bought VirtualPC, the PC emulation software for MacOS, extending their grip yet again.

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Australian PM John Howard accuses anti-war protesters of giving comfort to Saddam Hussein, all but accusing them of treason, and making vague noises about them being "held accountable". Could this be a warning to protesters to stay out of it or risk being charged with treason?

Meanwhile, Australia was the only country opposing further UN inspections in Iraq (other than the US, of course). ("What do we want?" "WAR!" "When do we want it?" "NOW!")


Via MeFi, reviews of heavy-metal musicians by groupies; and they're not concerned with their musicianship here, but rather their physical endowment and sexual performance, all laid out like so much meat in a butcher's window. (And not just metal musicians either; basically anyone with mook appeal will do. The likes of Eminem and Trent Reznor make appearances.)

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Authorities in California are testing a new high-tech solution for catching graffitiists: a network of sensors which detect the sound of aerosol cans and notify police, giving GPS coordinates. A worthy application of space-age technology to tackling contemporary urban blight, or a racist/classist attack on hip-hop culture/people's art, aimed at depriving urban minorities of non-corporate means of communications? Discuss. (via NWD)

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Metablogging: Graham spent all of yesterday going on about the NSW state election; and today's VM entry is devoted entirely to cricket. If he keeps this up, he'll probably end up alienating his entire Portuguese readership.