The Null Device


Modern audio processing technology can work wonders, such as, for example, turning a song by manufactured pop star Justin Bieber into a 35-minute glacial ambient soundscape, in an Icelandic touristcore vein. Apparently the trick was slowing the original down by 800% with the right software. (Which makes me wonder whether or not that is, in fact, how artists like Jónsi make their music, or at least the backings.)

détournement music touristcore 0

Found in digitised archives of the British Medical Journal, the transcript of a 1925 lecture by one Sir John Bland-Sutton, titled simply The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive, which one imagines was given for the entertainment of the fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons:

A thin and foolish woman believed she had accidentally swallowed a frog and that her thinness was due to the frog eating the food in her stomach. In order to dispel the illusion the doctor gave her an emetic an during the vomiting, he slipped a small frog into the basin. When the patient saw the frog her joy was great, but in a few minutes her depression returned: "Oh!" she exclaimed, "I am sure this frog has left some young ones in my stomach." The doctor looked wise, pulled out his magnifying glass, and after critically examining the fron said unto the patient, "Fear not: this frog has not left any froglets inside you. Behold, it is a male!" The patient was quite satisfied, became happy, and in a few months was plump again. She was not a naturalist, and therefore ignorant of the fact that it is due to tell the sex of frogs by mere inspection except at the breeding season.

(via Boing Boing) bizarre 1

With the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan having begun, some Islamic scholars are pushing to replace Greenwich Mean Time with a new standard based on Mecca time, at least in the Islamic world. The scholars assure us that the choice of Mecca as a global meridian has a sound scientific basis:

According to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric known around the Muslim world for his popular television show "Sharia and Life", Mecca has a greater claim to being the prime meridian because it is "in perfect alignment with the magnetic north."
This claim that the holy city is a "zero magnetism zone" has won support from some Arab scientists like Abdel-Baset al-Sayyed of the Egyptian National Research Centre who says that there is no magnetic force in Mecca.
Not surprisingly, these "scientific" claims have not met with universal acceptance. In any case, magnetism or not, it'll be interesting to see whether Mecca Time makes inroads into replacing GMT in the Islamic world. I imagine it'll have an easier time of gaining acceptance than other proposed time standards (such as, say, Swatch's so-called "Internet Time", a weird form of metric time proposed in the 1990s and not actually connected to any internet standards), given that the conversion is merely a matter of adding a few hours.

(via Boing Boing) islam postcolonialism pseudoscience religion time 0