The Null Device


A lot of stuff is being outsourced to India these days; call centre work, programming jobs, Catholic prayers...

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What sort of person do the Tories appoint to run a student newspaper they've gotten control of? Well, here's a mirror of her LiveJournal; and here's her user info. She reads almost like a stereotype.

You'd think the tories would have had the sense to play the all-lefties-are-joyless-puritans card by having some kind of fun-lovingly politically-incorrect Sam Newman clone edit Farrago or something, but apparently they didn't. Though it is slightly reassuring to see that Liberal Club-run student newspapers still have eye-bleedingly awful graphic design; some things apparently never change. (via Ben Butler)

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Scientists find monogamy gene in voles, successfully making a promiscuous variety of the rodents monogamous by changing one gene (commonly found in a different, more monogamous, variety). The article suggests that the research could have implications for humans with autism or Asperger's Syndrome, which impair social bonding. Though, putting this assertion together with the commonly cited piece of folklore about autism being a concentrated form of a condition which, in its weaker form, is common among "geek" subcultures, is intriguing. For one, it suggests a genetic basis for the prevalence of polyamory among "geek" subcultures. Though perhaps that's stretching things a bit too far. (via MeFi)

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The Raven's Spiral Guide to Music Theory is, if you'll excuse the daftly new-agey name, pretty comprehensive, going from the usual basics ("this is a scale") to the details (different chord types with descriptions, strategies for chord progressions and melodies, and a treatise on microstructure and macrostructure), illustrated with examples from everything from classical to techno, and throwing out the occasional idea (such as combining counterpoint with the Amen break).

Anyway, the author (someone calling himself "Kurrel the Raven", not to be confused with another electronica artist named Raven) also got some musical fragments, of which he posts one a day. Some of them are quite good, in a shoegazer/krautrock/electronica vein.

Oh yes, and he's one of those furries. Still, he'd hardly be the first talented musician to be somewhat weird. I suppose with goth being mainstream these days and the Church of the SubGenius having more or less petered out, the eccentric people who, 5 years ago, would have been wearing black or praising "Bob", now gravitate to newer weirdo/fringe subcultures.

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The latest troublemaker of the London art world is some calling himself AK47, who claims to be an international "arto-political movement" named "Art Kaida".

He also claimed that AK47 was a rapidly growing international "arto-political movement", but was vague about the membership, saying only that it had "a lot", and adding: "It's not about members, it's about believing. Believe, and you're in.

(Which, to me, translates as either "it's just one bloke", or "it's just one bloke and a bunch of variously deranged hangers-on".)

Anyway, AK47 recently took responsibility for stealing a pink neon sign called Just Love Me, by celebrated angstmonger Tracey Emin, from outside the Hackney Empire theatre, sometime after filching a sculpture by yesterday's aesthetic terrorist bad-boy Banksy. (Does this mean that Banksy is now safe and accepted and conventional?)

Asked to explain his motives further, he said it was "an act of terrorism" and he was posing the question, "What is terrorism?"

("Ooo! Look at me, I'm a *TERRORIST*!" Wanker, more like it. For one, that sort of posturing, stealing a Tracey Emin neon sign and calling it terrorism, cheapens the whole idea of terrorism as art. What would Andre Breton, who said that the archetypal Surrealist act would consist of "going into the street, revolver in hand, and shooting at random into the crowd", say about Mr. AK47's oh-so-scary "terrorist" outrages?)

Now if Mr. AK47 wants to be really hardcore, he should come to Melbourne and steal one of Chopper Read's paintings.

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