The Null Device


In the US, black motorists are often stopped and searched, selected because of their suspiciously dark skin colour. The black community is, understandably, none too pleased with this. So much so that one black community group is starting a campaign of decoy runs, in which black professionals, dressed to fit the neighbourhood, will drive around with hidden tape recorders, recording any unfair treatment that occurs. (via Leviathan)


Sometimes, in the course of protecting the public interest from dangerous deviants, the defenders of law and order must improvise. Details emerge of how the police used publicity to frame the Rolling Stones (who were sort of the Oasis of their day or something) on drug charges in 1967.

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I just picked up the twin Art of Driving CD singles by Black Box Recorder (the deadpan English pop trio, of no relation to any early-90s italo-house acts). CD1 contains a good cover of David Bowie's Rock'N'Roll Suicide (which is pretty much as one would expect a Black Box Recorder cover of said song to be), and the Chocolate Layers (which seems to be a Jarvis Cocker project) remix of their foray into cloying candy-R&B, The Facts of Life, which manages to make it sound more listenable (though the choruses are still too sugary). CD2 has an OK remix of Uptown Top Ranking, the syrupy radio edit of The Facts of Life and a video of same which I haven't seen, though. I'd recommend CD1, and CD2 only if you're a Black Box Recorder completist.


Berkeley has had the Naked Guy, and now Britain can match him with the Naked Chap, a.k.a. Vincent Bethell. Mr. Bethell has taken his clothes off and vowed not to put them back on until public nudity is legalised.

"Being human is not a crime - people should not be punished. I'm remaining naked until it's legalised but after me walking around for a few weeks it may be considered acceptable. I'm doing everything naked - I'm collecting my Jobseekers Allowance naked."

Not surprisingly, the British courts aren't sympathetic to Mr. Bethell's one-man crusade; he was arrested and appeared in court, charged with "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within sight or hearing of persons likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress", and kicked out of the courtroom for being naked.


A study in the UK has shown that 80% of workers send emails to their loved ones whilst at work, undoubtedly wasting millions of pounds of their employers' resources through lost productivity.


Unintended consequences: According to a British insurance company, police video cameras in cities cause crime to increase in the countryside, as bandits go to the countryside where pickings are easy.


VST plug-in update: I've just played around with Ces's synth plug-ins, and they're great. Well, the ones that work (which would be the analogue synth, the wavetable synth and the first drawbar organ). The wavetable synth makes some interesting sounds, the analogue is top-notch, and the drawbar organ sounds pretty useful too. (The analogue drum synth didn't seem to want to play anything other than the kick drum when I tried it though.) Anyway, nice one, mate! I'll be buying some registered versions in the near future. (Though I still reckon they should do something about the names...)

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While I'm mentioning Slashdot, they have a piece on Ogg Vorbis, the upcoming free MP3 alternative, by its author Christopher Montgomery. The possibilities of behind-the-scenes machinations by Fraunhofer and the RIAA to forcibly upgrade everyone to encrypted SDMI systems are also eye-opening, in a paranoid way. Wonder whether Vorbis will achieve sufficient momentum and visibility to make it hard to "disappear".

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