The Null Device


Laptop thieves have started using a new tactic: disguising themselves as employees, hanging around workplaces, often pretending to work there, and walking off with equipment. (via Rocknerd)

(When I worked at Melbourne University, in Carlton, we would often get emailed alerts of junkies from the nearby streets wandering the corridors, trying doors, and, when questioned, pretending to be students looking for a specific staff member.)

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This is not the Onion: A born-again Christian who turned his porn shop into a Christian bookstore has found that business has declined steeply since he burned his entire stock of vibrators, bondage gear and porn and replaced it with Bibles and Christian materials. It seems that the trenchcoat brigade aren't lining up to hear the Word of the Lord, whilst much of the Christian community is still wary of the sincerity of his intentions:

``The problem is that some of the Christians are still waiting to see if my walk with the Lord is real or not,'' he said Wednesday, yet another slow day at Mike's Place (formerly known as Love World).
``I tried to go bankrupt a couple of months ago, but I couldn't afford it,'' Braithwaite said. ``I didn't have the $800 that the attorney wanted to start the process.''

Braithwaite, the owner of the bookshop, had his road-to-Damascus experience after almost being harrassed out of business by conservative religious groups.

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A look inside the FBI's "Zero Files", a category which technically includes all "non-actionable" items, but colloquially refers specifically to crank letters, conspiracy theories and far-out rantings that end up at the agency:

Most agents come to know repeat writers -- "frequent fliers" -- after a few shifts on the duty desk. A glance through the files shows that some agents found themselves acting as counselors of last resort. "It's almost like being a social worker when you're on the desk," LeFranchise said. "There's probably been at least three or four times . . . where I've just had to say, 'Look, sir, you need to seek clinical or psychiatric help.' "
In a world where everyday experiences are part of a secretive criminal conspiracy, the experts said, little wonder that the FBI -- a secretive organization that specializes in uncovering such conspiracies -- would attract attention, either as enemy or friend. Imagine, one expert said, what the CIA has in its version of the Zero Files.
"It turns out every one of the products on the market take part in this so called government training. The Folgers jar classic roast is capital F for Federal means gov't, FO LGE RE is broke into 3 sections FO is ENEMY RS is ours and and LGE backwards is EGL sounds out EAGLE says gov't our enemy." (9/14/01)

(Via the Psychoceramics mailing list)

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Some photos from last night's FourPlay gig at Bar Open:

The gig itself was excellent. They played two sets, each of a bit under an hour, to a packed venue, with the usual virtuosity and energy, doing all the old favourites (The Sweetest Perfection, Meshugganah, Gypsy Scream) and some great new (well, newish; a few of them were around when they played Apollo Bay last year) songs, with really intricate arrangements. And they'll be back next year, with a new album. I look forward to it.

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New Spectator Sport, a rant from Warren Ellis about the decline of the music industry:

TV shows specifically designed to manufacture the absolute least offensive pop product through game-show structure and the application of telephone democracy. If you're dumb enough to be able to sit through those shows without the front of your head filling with tumours, you get to vote for the performer who is retarded enough to be a comfort to you. Loathesome as they were, even the Spice Girls delivered with some character. I remember novelist and critic Nik Cohn saying he never would have been so hard on Bob Dylan if he'd known Bruce Springsteen was around the corner. People railed about the Spice Girls being a manufactured band, but who knew there was a TV-powered pod-person hothouse around the corner?
The American music industry, from my perception here in Britain, seems to have sunk into a bizarre obsession with paedophilia. Britney Spears has gone from schoolgirl gear to a deeply strange hentai look, little-girl head stuck above great shiny plastic boobs, singing in a Minnie Mouse voice. No wonder she was being stalked by a shifty-looking middle-aged Japanese bloke. He probably had a suitcase full of tentacles to use on her.
Mainstream pop music is almost always bad., it's a given. But, God, can you remember a time when the most popular acts were this empty? It's like that awful vacuum before punk, when people were buying Dean Friedman records just to have something to buy, and poster companies were printing off six-foot long images of Nana Mouskouri and Demis Roussos just to have something to sell.

(via Rocknerd)

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