The Null Device


More bitmap fonts for X. (Freshmeat)


Nazi symbols as marketing, again: this time in Korea, where a bar named the Third Reich is doing quite well: (via Rebecca's Pocket)

Nazi flags emblazoned with swastikas hang from the ceiling and photographs of Adolf Hitler adorn the walls, along with Nazi propaganda posters and military insignia. ... There young South Koreans frolic in dim light, sipping a rum cocktail named "Adolf Hitler" that is served by waiters and waitresses wearing mock black Nazi uniforms.
"This is a well-designed bar. The colors match, and the music is good. That's all I care about," said Yo Sung-kwan, 25, a design student who was at the bar Monday night.


Persuasive technology: Technology can be used as a tool for modifying human behaviour.

The baby is a tech variation on the "carry an egg" pregnancy prevention program once used by teachers to make their young charges think twice before indulging in any hanky panky. ... The crying can only be stopped when its "parent" inserts a key into the control unit on the doll's back. And when the experiment is over, a detailed record of the student's performance is printed out, revealing such perceived abuses as neglect and shaking.

...meanwhile, a laboratory at Stanford attempts to develop the most devious, underhanded and manipulative technologies imaginable:

At the fictitious site, a jealous wife is taunted with provocative phrases like, "Do you know where your husband is?" Once convinced of a probable infidelity, the suspicious missus registers for a service that will scan her husband's email for selected keywords, like "sex," "passion," and "kill." The service uses a Trojan horse that she has sent to her husband in the form of an innocuous-looking e-greeting.
(from Wired News, via GirlHacker's Random Log)


Interesting Salon piece on new Japanese fashion subcultures:

Ganguro want to look black and American, like their idols TLC and Lauryn Hill. In pursuit of a color that's beyond tan, they frequent tanning salons, purchase sunlamps and smother their faces in brown makeup. It's not uncommon for a girl of limited means to color her entire face with a brown magic marker.

Wonder whether Australian "homies" will follow suit. -- acb

while it may not be difficult to grasp the kind of naughty appeal that Akari has to men suffering from a "rori-kon," or "Lolita complex,"...

Neologism of the day: "rori-kon"

Just last week, a trio of eighth-grade girls in my English class flipped through an issue of Teen People magazine I'd brought to school for use in a culture lesson. Peering at pictures of teenage stars, my students were unwilling to believe that girls as "mature" and "grown-up looking" as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera could possibly be under 20. They were particularly shocked by their "mature" clothing and "adult" hairstyles -- no pigtails in sight.
While the Japanese term "romansuguray" ("romance gray") is commonly used in reference to sexy members of the male salt-and-pepper set, there is no equivalent word for desirable older women. On her 25th birthday, an unmarried Japanese woman automatically becomes what's laughingly referred to as "spoiled sponge cake," in honor of the Christmas sponge cakes that are discounted and rarely purchased after Dec. 25.
In a recent city high school debate over whether students should continue to wear uniforms into the 21st century, those in favor won with a high margin. Their main contention, that uniforms help provide "a group-feeling," mystifies most non-Japanese. The cozy concept of group-feeling doesn't even translate properly into English.


Colombians plan release of US-developed anti-coca biological agent: (BBC News)

But if the coca-killing fungus, known as Fusarium oxysporum, is introduced into Colombia, it is expected to gradually become endemic across the entire country. This would leave nowhere to hide and because it can survive in soil for many years, it could continue to attack coca plants for decades to come.