The Null Device


Seen on a mailing list: Athletic lifestyle product company Nike has a promotion, in which customers can have shoes made imprinted with any word they choose. One customer ordered a pair of Nikes with the word "SWEATSHOP"; not surprisingly, Nike cancelled the order, mumbling something about it being "offensive slang".

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Cognoscenti in Greece are indignant about computers corrupting their language, causing it to degenerate into "Greeklish", written in the Latin alphabet and borrowing from English. Meanwhile, some Spaniards are reportedly using linguistic forms directly copied from English, rather than their own more brief forms. The Register article above also gives an example of "Singlish", the dialect of English spoken in Singapore (which one can encounter in Australian universities with large numbers of overseas students; I once saw a sign in a lab which read "This computer broken lah"), and, for good measure, to bizarre pseudo-English on Japanese product packaging.


WIRED correspondent Andy Patrizio had spent a lot of time playing the popular multi-user fantasy role-playing game EverQuest, though all his characters had been male. Then he decided to play a female character, and noticed how the other characters treated him differently when he was a "she".


Curiouser and curiouser: Narconon, a vaguely sinister "drug treatment" programme, which seems to be the bastard offspring of Scientology and U.S. penological practice, has allegedly ripped off an entire popular web site to make its own, only replacing the text with its own, and adding a "dob in a friend" page. Or so the Reg says.