The Null Device
It looks like the Wicker Man remake is going to be rubbish:
...In the original, Woodward's character was a virgin, making him ideal for sacrifice. That element has been ditched from the remake, because it was thought that while audiences would accept the idea of an American community that practised human sacrifice, the idea of a grown-up virgin was just too farfetched.Other than doing away with the lead's virginity (because nobody would respect a 40-year-old virgin as anything other than a comical schmuck, and certainly not a worthy hero for a thriller) and ripping the story out of its meticulously-researched setting amidst British folklore and Scottish religious weirdness and moving it to America because America Does It Better, the director has made Lord Summerisle a woman (to keep up with the times, presumably) and brought in killer bees. (I wonder if the director had to fight to make it killer bees rather than dinosaurs or something cool and exciting like that.)
Anyway, it looks like the Wicker Man remake will take its rightful place next to the Sylvester Stallone Get Carter (with its all-American message of redemption) and the Californian-set Italian Job. It'll probably eclipse the original more than in the previous cases, though, because of the poor quality of the surviving prints of the original.
In response to the British government's proposed
all-faiths blasphemy religious-hatred legislation, Christian satirical paper Ship of Fools has published a list of the 20 funniest and most offensive religious jokes. There are 10 of each; be warned that paedophilic priests and off-colour references to religious figures feature prominently:
Jesus came upon a small crowd who had surrounded a young woman they believed to be an adulteress. They were preparing to stone her to death.
To calm the situation, Jesus said: "Whoever is without sin among you, let them cast the first stone."
Suddenly, an old lady at the back of the crowd picked up a huge rock and lobbed it at the young woman, scoring a direct hit on her head. The unfortunate young lady collapsed dead on the spot.
Jesus looked over towards the old lady and said: "Do you know, Mother, sometimes you really piss me off."
An Indian man dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates.
"Yes, how can I help?" asks St Peter. "I'm here to meet Jesus," says the Indian man.
St Peter looks over his shoulder and shouts, "Jesus, your cab is here!"
Three researchers have developed a method of monitoring keystrokes by listening to the sound of the keyboard. Impressively (and perhaps frighteningly), their method does not require one to type a training text first; just drop a microphone into earshot of the keys, let it listen, and within 15 minutes or so of typing, the algorithms will have guessed which sounds correspond to which keys, by using the statistic properties of the English language and a machine-learning technique. In retrospect, it seems quite obvious (not counting the details); it would be surprising if intelligence agencies hadn't had something of this sort for some time.