The Null Device
Iraqi agents infiltrated al-Jazeera, using it as a propaganda tool. Or so says the US-backed Iraqi National Congress (cool name, that; I guess that makes Ahmed Chalabi the Iraqi Nelson Mandela then), speaking to Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times. I wonder whether we'll next see exclusive reports from the Murdoch media claiming that Iraqi agents took control of the Guardian's editorial policy and that Robert "Lord Haw Haw" Fisk earned a handsome salary from the Mukhabarat.
More proof that Tony Blair is not any sort of progressive or liberal: Britain's Labour Party is planning to introduce legislation allowing employers with a "religious ethos" to sack gay/lesbian employees, and legalising discrimination against atheists. The law was meant to give protection to gays and outlaw discrimination, in line with an EU directive, but were watered down after a directive "from the highest level". Critics claim that this will allow any employer owned by a personally religious entrepreneur to discriminate freely. (via MeFi)
What is this man doing leading the Labour Party?
A few bits lifted from Techdirt. Firstly, secretive Stalinist cult-state North Korea has staked its claim to the Internet Age. The rigidly centralised, computer-poor nation claims to have invented the computer drink. Ah, good; we needed one of those.
But what it lacks in utility, it makes up for in entertainment value. The Ectaco Personal Translator proved the perfect icebreaker during a dinner party in rural France. It turned "thank you for the great dinner" into "it was disgusting," and "you are very beautiful" into "how much?" What better way to break the ice with a roomful of total strangers in a foreign country whose language you don't know?
After the BBC's 100 Greatest Britons series (in which Winston Churchill barely pipped Princess Diana for #1, and genuinely deserving candidates like Charles Darwin were left in the dust), bolshy TV broadcaster Channel 4 have compiled a list of the 100 Worst Britons. Tony Blair is #1 (though if these were voted on by the Guardian-reader types who watch C4, it's hartly surprising), followed by Jordan (she's some kind of model or something, right?) and Margaret Thatcher. Other notable figures: The Queen is #10 (one behind Geri Halliwell), Liam Gallagher is at #11 (though you'd think his ex-wife Patsy Kensit would get a mention on the strength of her complete inability to act), Prince Charles at #24 (Diana is apparently still too much of a national saint to merit the list), Harry Potter is at #35, Tracy Eminem at #41, Pete Waterman at #45, and Loony Left Red Ken at #50. (via VM)
Local music scene news/gossip: apparently Ninetynine won't be playing around town much in the future, as Laura is moving back to Perth (where her family live). Though they're playing at the Love of Diagrams CD launch next weekend, and possibly a few shows after that. Or so I'm told. (I hope this isn't the end for them; if they broke up after the tour de force that was The Process, it'd be a shame.)
Meanwhile, Sir's new album will be released on local indie Unstable Ape, who are also home to local post-rock/grindcore fusion outfit The Night Terrors. The title won't be "Only Lonely", as previously suggested, but something else.