The Null Device


First there was global warming, and now we have global dimming, where the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface has been diminishing. Scientists aren't sure of the cause (and some dispute the existence of this phenomenon), but a leading explanation is pollution particles in the atmosphere. This could have far-reaching effects, from nobbling solar power to causing massive ecosystem collapse by affecting photosynthesis. However, the decline does not affect ultraviolet radiation, so you can still get skin cancer as you scrabble around in the dark. (via 1.0)

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Via message-threading algorithm guru jwz, a new way of showing message threads, as a 2-dimensional diagram not unlike underground railway maps. Which looks pretty nifty; of course, as it's from Microsoft Research and undoubtedly patent-pending, don't hold your breath for it to appear in the latest GNOME suite, unless you can go for 20 or so years without oxygen.

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Via Graham, an interesting recent interview with Tim and Lætitia of Stereolab:

Unsurprisingly, Sadier has found lyrical inspiration in the Iraq war. I tell her that Jacques Chirac is seen as some kind of peacenik in the UK and she is horrified. "Bulls**t, he's not a pacifist. It's good to be non-aligned with the US, and Europe is a great project, but the guy makes weapons! He's ready for war. Now hes saying lets put UN control in Iraq and share the cake. I dont think he cares for the Iraqis."
He looks genuinely scared by the phenomenal power of pop music. "There is an evil twin version of any song you write. You must remember that youre only a step away from being Bonnie Tyler at any moment."

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Jon Johansen acquitted, again, of copyright violation for writing DVD decryption code. The acquittal came several weeks before it was expected; this will undoubtedly make it harder for the MPAA to get a conviction if the case moves up to Norway's supreme court. (via Slashdot)

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