The Null Device
Psychologists in Canada have proven that the mere sight of an attractive woman can induce men to act irrationally, impulsively. Candidates of both sexes were shown images of people's faces, ranked in terms of attractiveness (and taken from amihotornot.com), and then offered a choice between a small amount of money tomorrow or a larger one at some variable time in the future; men who saw images of highly attractive women were more inclined to go for the smaller reward available the next day (an irrational behaviour, much like those exhibited by drug addicts). Female candidates showed no difference in their behaviour when shown images of attractive or unattractive men.
A Seattle company is about to start selling heads-up displays for motorcycle helmets. The Sportvue display will use a GPS receiver to determine speed, and a lens, mirror and backlit LCD to project the information onto the visor, in the periphery of the driver's vision. A bicycle version, which also displays heart rate, is in the works.
(I wonder how long until we have HUDs in sunglasses, connected to address books, mobile phones and web browsers.)
Tonight I went to the cinema to see Master and Commander, Peter Weir's film depicting naval battles between a heroic British crew and dastardly French privateers in the oceans around South America. Visually, it was quite spectacular, with impressive sets, locations and effects. The story was the usual boy's-own adventure on the high seas. Interestingly enough, the music was composed by one Iva Davies (the lead singer of 80s Australian-rock band Icehouse, and best known for not wearing underpants); it consisted mostly of chamberish pieces. There were also some sequences in the film with the captain (played by Russell Crowe) playing (and almost rocking out on) a violin; I wonder whether he'll incorporate his violin lessons into the next TOFOG album.
(Something else to think about: would Master and Commander, a film in which the British Navy are heroic and the French are snivelling villains (not all that far removed, morally, from the craven, effete redcoats in The Patriot), have been made before 9/11? Could it be the trade-off for films like Fight Club and Starship Troopers (not to mention the two Che Guevara biopics Hollywood had on the drawing board on 10/9/2001), which would not get the green light these days? My hypothesis is that, on September 10, Middle America saw the British Empire as evil colonial oppressors; after September 11, the British Empire became a projection of contemporary America/McWorld, a force for good through superior firepower; sort of the way that the Star Trek Federation was. Discuss.)