The Null Device


Surprise, surprise: According to a recent study, Internet users are more socially engaged than those who don't use the Internet: (BBC News)

Previous studies tended to take a dim view of those who spend a long time in front of a computer: "We have a tendency to see using computers as slightly negative or slightly dysfunctional. What is often missed it is what people are using the computers to do."
People who use e-mail or chat rooms regularly not only communicate more but the quality of that communication tends to be better too, said Dr Joinson. He believes the communication that takes place via the web is more intimate and trusting than it would be face to face: "People tend to disclose four times as much information by email than they do face to face. It is a very strong foundation for friendships and relationships."


An interesting essay about the paradoxical effects of security systems, by scifi author Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Police departments, especially in small communities, began to slow their responses to homes with security systems--always assuming that the alarm was tripped by user error or by a bug in the system. In larger communities, people who triggered their own alarms often were flagged so that the department wouldn't waste its resources on them. The net result was that the illusion of safety made these people less secure than they had been before.


The Vatican reveals one of its mysteries, the third secret of Fatima. Apparently it relates to the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981 -- or so they say anyway fnord. (BBC News)