The Null Device


Scientific researchers discover the inner workings of homeopathy? (WIRED News)

CalTech chemistry professor Shui Yin Lo, who was performing experiments on how to improve car engine efficiency... found that water molecules, which are random in their normal state, begin to form a cluster when a substance is added to water and the water is vigorously shaken -- the exact process homeopaths use to create their medicine. ... So even though the chemical can no longer be detected, its "image" is there, taken on by the water molecules.


The latest collectable card craze: cards with pictures/details of boys, marketed at adolescent girls. (BBC News)

Costing about £2 for a pack of nine, each card has a photo of an ordinary boy aged 12 to 22 - with details such as eye colour and hobbies. They are aimed at 10- and 11-year-olds and can be swapped or played as a game, with a girl choosing her favourite. To win cards, her friends have to guess which boy she fancies.


Interesting biography/article on Philip K. Dick:

...he began to inform on his sf colleagues, accusing them of being part of a Communist conspiracy-led by Stanislaw Lem, his great admirer-to kidnap him. Typically, although he mailed some of these letters to the FBI (they were ignored), he put others in a trashcan behind his house, assuming that whomever was watching him would deliver them. Blade Runner neared completion, Dick was offered a $250,000 bribe-- the Harrison Ford-starring movie was supposed to be the next Star Wars-- to suppress the original version of Electric Sheep in favor of a novelization based on the (vastly inferior) screenplay. He was ready to negotiate; his agent talked him out of it; they compromised by changing the name of the novel to Blade Runner.
For Dick . . . the answer to the question "What is Human?" is: kindness, empathy. That's why it doesn't matter, to Dick, that those mechanical systems in his stories and novels that display kindness-like the automated taxicab that counsels the protagonist of The Game-Players of Titan not to leave his wife-are programmed to act human; if they act human, they are human. The converse is also true: A sly and cruel human being without empathy, without caritas, who "stands detached, a spectator," is-Dick insists-no kind of a human at all.


Has rave culture sold out, or was it corrupt from the start? (Salon)

The American and British governments were incredibly helpful in maintaining the delusion that rave was radical. With its idiotic drug war, the United States gives chemical consumption endless transgressive power, allowing generations of young people to feel like they are defying the man every time they swallow a tab of E.
As it turns out, though, in rave culture, the singular artist hasn't been replaced by the crowd. He's been replaced by the consumer. Really, what else is the DJ, that icon of contemporary cool? He's part ultimate shopper -- the guy who always has the coolest, newest, most obscure records...
a new collection called "Back to Mine" is "by" Danny Tenaglia, even though, aside from one song, he neither made nor remixed any of the songs on it -- he simply chose them.
Even more ironic is Lanza's observation that the industrial symphonies of the decadent Italian Futurists -- often cited as rave's forefathers -- "were matched by those of the enemy Soviet camp. Artists from the pre-Stalin halcyon days of 1920 staged a Concert for Factory Sirens that consisted of an orchestrated crescendo of sirens calling comrades to their workstations." Similarly, electronic music may have been born in hedonism, but it makes the perfect soundtrack to work.


Smart kids: The winners of the Intel Science Talent Search:

Viviana studied steganography, a data encryption technique that embeds secret messages within large amounts of seemingly innocent information. She encrypted the message, "JUNE6_INVASION: NORMANDY," inserted it in the gene sequence of a DNA-strand, and flanked it by two secret "primer" DNA sequences. Then she combined the molecule with many other similar molecules. The hidden message could be retrieved only by someone knowing the two secret primer sequences - the keys to the code. Because the pair of primers provides a trillion trillion options, she concludes that the code is essentially unbreakable.


A date-rape "how to" web site: free speech or criminal incitement? (WIRED News)


The Matrix prequel to be produced as anime? (AICN)


Parents Of Nasal Learners Demand Odor-Based Curriculum: (The Onion)

"Nasal learners often have difficulty concentrating and dislike doing homework," Panos said. "They also frequently have low grades in math, reading, and science. If your child fits this description, I would strongly urge you to get him or her tested for a possible nasal orientation."
Panos said nasal learners do best when they are encouraged to use odor-based recall techniques in testing situations, and are allowed to organize and prioritize items by scent. The biggest challenge now, she said, is to "educate the educators."

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