The Null Device
The latest project for Chris Morris, the satirist who brought us Brass Eye and Nathan Barley, looks set to be a fictionalised TV special about Islamist suicide bombers in Britain:
A casting sheet describes seven characters aged from 17 to 38, with one billed as "the sort of guy who'd protest against cartoons in a bomb belt" while another is "insanely intense, bright, very focused, blind to anything he's not focused on, small seething boffin".
Morris has taken a keen interest in Islamic terrorism and was recently spotted at a terror trial taking copious notes. He was also seen at a seminar on al-Qaida.Morris also mentioned a while ago that he is working on a second series of Nathan Barley. (Which, IMHO, should be more interesting than The I.T. Crowd, a rather dull and obvious American-style sitcom dressed up in computer-geek garb, and with all the bite of Hey Dad!).
Seeing his fortunes in the opinion polls plummet, Australia's militaristic Prime Minister, John Howard, made an impromptu visit to the troops in Iraq. All was going smoothly, when the Air Force C-130 he was travelling on filled with smoke, it had to make an emergency landing. Cue footage of the PM looking unflappable and heroic, and hopefully bouncing back in the polls. Except that, on closer inspection, the whole thing begins to look rather fishy:
I wonder whether the Australian media will pick this up (can the government slap a D-notice on such stories?), and whether Howard's poll ratings will actually improve.
- One cameraman got out of the aircraft before the PM, in sufficient time to capture him exiting the aircraft. Another cameraman was inside the aircraft, near the rear ramp, and panned with the PM's party as they ran from the aircraft. However, cut to the second camera as the PM exits the plane, and the first cameraman inside the plane is nowhere to be seen. Very strange -- or were there several takes of this?
- Camera on ground pans with PM and bodyguard as they run past, and we then see numerous passengers calmly walking away from the aircraft with their baggage -- so they must have exited the aircraft well ahead of the PM and escort. Which, given the apparent emergency, is unlikely.
- If you look at the aircraft's engines in the background, the propellers have almost come to a halt when the PM and bodyguard emerge running down the ramp. As anyone familiar with C-130 aircraft will know, it takes well over a minute from the time that the pilot cuts the engines until the propellers actually stop. So the aircraft was stopped on the ground for some time, and had initiated normal engine shutdown, well before the PM was bundled off.
- Add to that the fact that only the PM and escort are running -- everybody else in shot appears calm and relaxed -- and the odour of rodent becomes overwhelming.
The Reg digs up some corroboration of the rumoured Google mobile phone:
We've been making enquiries too, and a picture is beginning to take shape. In August 2005 Google acquired a stealth-mode startup called Android, founded by Andy Rubin. Rubin was a veteran of Apple and General Magic, but is best known for leading WebTV and subsequently Danger Inc. Danger produced one of the most-photographed phones of recent years, thanks to Paris Hilton: its Hiptop was marketed by T-Mobile as the Sidekick.
But plans have become more ambitious, as the recruitment of Apple veteran Mike Reed and Canadian mobile app company Reqwireless suggests. Graphics expert Reed worked on the ill-fated QuickDraw GX and on font technology at Apple. Google acquired his start-up Skia, which produced a vector graphics suite for resource constrained devices.Meanwhile, Alec Muffett reckons that Apple's solid-state laptop may be the reason for them adopting Sun's next-generation filesystem, ZFS, which has, as one of its many features, the ability to ensure that all blocks of storage are used evenly, something that is important when writing to devices that can only stand a fixed number of write cycles.