The Null Device
There are red faces at the Max Planck Institute, after the institute published an issue of its journal with a special report on China, and decided to include some Chinese characters on the cover for visual impact. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to have any Chinese speakers on hand, and after the journal went out to publication, it was discovered that the text on the cover was from a flyer advertising a brothel, describing in lascivious detail the talents of the "pretty-as-jade housewives" therein:
Editors had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on China, of the MaxPlanckForschung journal, but instead of poetry they ran a text effectively proclaiming "Hot Housewives in action!" on the front of the third-quarter edition. Their "enchanting and coquettish performance" was highly recommended.
The Max Planck Institute was quick to acknowledge its error explaining that it had consulted a German sinologist prior to publication of the text. "To our sincere regret ... it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker," the institute said in an apology. "By publishing this text we did in no way intend to cause any offence or embarrassment to our Chinese readers. "The faux pas apparently caused much amusement amongst Chinese internet users, with the exception of some who thought it was a deliberate insult to China. Then again, some people said the same thing about that Guns'n'Roses album. Having said that, this is by no means the first instance of clueless Westerners making fools of themselves in Chinese:
There are tales of drunken teenagers walking out of tattoo parlours with characters reading, "This is one ugly foreigner" or "A fool and his money are easily parted". Another web-user wrote: "I recently met a German girl with a Chinese tattoo on her neck which in Chinese means 'prostitute'. I laughed so loud, I could hardly breathe."The brothel-keeper could not be reached for comment.
Did you ever wonder why companies like Apple will let you get your gadgets engraved for free? It's got nothing to do with being generous; it's so that you can't return them:
Back in May of this year, Sony told the WSJ that free engraving had recently saved them a million dollars.
(via Boing Boing Gadgets)
Now that he no longer needs the votes of the faith-based voters, outgoing president George W. Bush pretty much admits to not believing that religious stuff he earlier expounded:
Here's the précis: he does not believe in the literal truth of the Bible, did not invade Iraq because of his Christianity and does not believe his faith is incompatible with evolution. Bush will not even assert that the Almighty – who, he believes, is much the same one as is worshipped by other religions – chose him to become president.Remember that Jesus Camp documentary, in which kids from the red states were indoctrinated in Taliban-style facilities to believe that Bush is the instrument of God's will? Well, I'll bet there will be a lot of disillusionment there.
Momus has decided to make the albums he recorded for Creation available for free in MP3 format, completely illegally and piratically:
Okay, this is quite a big decision, but I've taken it. Six Momus albums -- the ones I recorded for Alan McGee's Creation label between 1987 and 1993 -- are out of print. Creation doesn't exist any more, and in theory Sony owns the rights to these albums, but isn't doing anything with them and probably never will. In the meantime, only Russian pirates are profiting, charging punters for illegal downloads.
So, during the rest of December, I've decided to release mp3s of my six Creation albums here on Click Opera, for free. Think of it as a sort of Creation Advent Calendar, with a new old Momus album every couple of days. If you're the sort of person who likes to donate to the artist when you download, do it here. But it's not really necessary; these albums paid for themselves long ago. Think of this as a Christmas present. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!Over the next month, he will post them to his blog, with freshly-written liner notes. The first one, 1987's The Poison Boyfriend, is up already.