The Null Device
The story of Stagolee (also known as Stagger Lee or Stack Lee), the 19th-century black pimp from St. Louis (real name: Lee Shelton), who became a legend and inspired every American musical genre from folk to gangsta-rap, not to mention cinema and the civil-rights movement:
The screen Cave adds to Stagolee tradition tells us more about the culture of the singer than it does of the culture of the song. Stagolee as African-American tradition is the screen that allows the projection to take place. "The reason why we [recorded it] was that there is already a tradition," said Cave. "I like the way the simple, almost naive traditional murder ballad has gradually become a vehicle that can happily accommodate the most twisted acts of deranged machismo. Just like Stag Lee himself, there seems to be no limits to how evil this song can become."
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has publicly denounced George W. Bush.
"I think George Bush is the most corrupt American president since Harding in the Twenties. He is not the legitimate president." He later added: "This really is a completely unsupportable government and I look forward to it being overthrown as much as I looked forward to Saddam Hussein being overthrown."
Could Loony Left Red Ken's career in politics be finished much like George Galloway's looks to be? Anyone want to take bets on how long until he is investigated for paedophilia, financial corruption or outright treason?
Britain's Independent Television Commission is investigating claims that Rupert Murdoch's Fox News is biased. Apparently, for some quaint reason, such things are still frowned upon in Britain, to the extent that if the claims are found to be true, Fox News could be forced off Murdoch's Sky satellite TV network in the UK (something for which there is ample precedent). Unless, of course, they get their sponsored politicians and/or their good friend Tony Blair to relax the "archaic", "anti-competitive" impartiality laws (which, given enough money, can probably be proven to contravene some international free-trade agreement or other).
A Microsoft PR piece on why Digital Rights Management will make you free: (via Rocknerd)
Documents. Using a simple on-screen dialog prompt built into her word processing application, an advertising copywriter specifies that her document, a draft marketing plan, may be viewed and edited by a selection of the client company's managers for one week. She posts the document to a Web portal to share with them. Based on their feedback, she finalizes the plan and posts it. Managers who downloaded the obsolete draft can no longer open it, which prevents confusion as to which document is current.
And it also has the useful effect of destroying audit trails and suppressing documents which may, in future, come back to haunt their authors. DRM is not a value-neutral technology, as some free-market "libertarian" platygaeans would believe; it's one which reinforces existing power structures, and has more to offer to corporations and authoritarian states than to consumers or whistle-blowers.
Email communications. A senior partner in an accounting firm needs to send email to his partners with a confidential contract proposal attached. Besides specifying who may read the proposal and that they may not copy, paste or edit the information, he specifies that the email itself cannot be forwarded. The recipients' email and word processing applications transparently enforce these policies.
Which also has the nice effect of "de-commodifying" open standards for email. The glorious New Galambosianism of end-to-end total information control would depend on file formats remaining proprietary, a trade secret belonging only to a trusted gatekeeper, i.e., Microsoft. Thus it's hardly surprising that Microsoft, who have built an empire from locking people into proprietary file formats, are advocating such a totalitarian vision as the salvation of Capitalism and Civilisation As We Know It.
Irony is dead, again: A Norwegian parliamentarian has nominated Bush and Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize, for invading and winning the war in Iraq.
French videogame giant Infogrames (they're the ones not making a "Shock and Awe" game) have changed their name to Atari. Infogrames acquired the Atari brand, best known for Pong, the Atari 2600 and retro videogames favoured by pill-popping GenX hipsters, in 2001, which is about a decade and a half after its glory days ended. I guess that this means that their lawyers will start going after all those people selling bootleg Atari-logo T-shirts to aforementioned hipsters at Camden Market and similar places.