The Null Device
Greek Orthodox monks, aghast at some of the things young people are into, make music videos about the evils of technology.
The video features a gold-garbed man who represents an evil computer user, armed with personal data. The bearded monks belt out the lyrics to "Tsipaki," or "Little Computer Chip": "I'm a chip, so small, that will lead you to slavery."
A charming piece on the postal system and mail art (BBC, via Found)
Linux kernel second-in-command Alan Cox disses the proposed hard-disk "pay-per-read" standard. Quite rightly, too.
A new online company is looking to streamline the manufacturing of boy bands and other machine-generated pop music. Pickthehits.com will allow visitors to listen to and rate songs, and sell the information to recording companies, so they can more accurately put together pop groups tailored to move CDs with unprecedented efficiency. Now all they need to do is replace the web site with neural polling implants and it starts to imitate a Greg Egan story.
And while we're on the subject of US spy agencies, The tree at the CIA's Christmas party is apparently quite a sight to see, festooned with ornaments designed in the agency's spy-gadget labs.
A dragonfly ornament's wings move at hummingbird speed when the tree lights are clear. The wings are made of sheer material that could be used to construct a microphone that would be almost impossible to detect... And if you put on a pair of special cardboard glasses, the words "happy holidays" appear dancing around the star, showing off a way to conceal messages.
One straggler with perky short brown hair and black-frame glasses snapped into a sandy-haired corporate type by shedding her disguise. Agents in the field can don a new look in two minutes, she said.
Myself, I wouldn't mind some of those compact speakers that can produce the sound equivalent of a 50-foot woofer.
Dispatches from a strange world: The NSA (yes, the US spy agency) have developed a secure version of Linux, and released it under the GPL, no less. Just the thing if you're really paranoid about hackers/users. Of course, if you're really paranoid, you'll want to verify each and every line to make sure there are no sneaky back doors there.