The Null Device


China moves to block spam senders, blocking 127 machines sending e-mail spam. Before you get excited at the prospect of less spam, note that all but 8 of the servers are outside of China, and 90 are in Taiwan. This suggests that the Chinese government may be more concerned about political dissidents spamming Chinese internet users with proscribed messages than they are about genuinely cracking down on penis-pill-hawking chickenboners. Either that or this is connected to the China/Taiwan "hacker war" in the news recently.

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First we had disposable mobile phones (did those ever take off?); and now the latest development in disposable technology is self-destructing DVDs, engineered to become unreadable within 48 hours, thus protecting the integrity of the intellectual property encoded thereon.

Isn't it amazing that so much effort is being put into removing value from objects and making things more fragile and less usable. First there were intentionally broken CDs, sadomasochistic "digital rights management" file formats and software "copy-protection" systems which impede upward compatibility (aside: the main reason why MacOS X software can't run MacOS 9 VST plug-ins is because, with commercial ones being copy-protected (i.e., engineered to depend on low-level quirks of MacOS 9; anywhere else, this would be considered bad programming), they would be unable to run, and there was no point running just the free ones). And now, the wonder of modern technology allows us to have products which turn into garbage within 48 hours, taking up space in landfills and leaching god knows what toxins into the groundwater. But that's just the price we have to pay for protecting the basis of civilized society, the inviolate rule that intellectual property is sacrosanct.

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A criminologist attempts to explain why Adelaide has so many bizarre murders. Allan Perry, a criminologist from Adelaide University, claims that the Snowtown killings and other crimes are symptomatic of a malignant subculture that exists in South Australia, and that Adelaide is a social hothouse that breeds psychopathic killers:

"We're seeing a sub-culture which has arisen out of family breakdown, economic deprivation, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment," Mr Perry said.

That could also explain the Adelaide tradition of breaking into the zoo and mutilating the animals. I wonder how long until the local film industry clues in to this and starts setting teen-slasher horror films there, wallowing in the morbidity and social decay of our very own City of Ghouls?

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