The Null Device


Re: the Deja/Google thing: I recently read on a mailing list a credible argument stating that there are no surviving USENET archives going back before 1995. Namely, those which existed were sent by their keepers (on VAX tapes and such) to DejaNews, who promised to put them online. Then Deja was seized by the barbarians who turned it into a naff shopping portal, making it hard to access news properly and so on, and causing it to go down the toilet; the old VAX tapes disappeared (possibly junked or burned as heating fuel or something), and are unlikely to have survived the dot-com boom. Which is saddening or blackly amusing, depending on how you look at it.


Destroy anything pink and fluffy: Islamic morality police staged a Valentine's Day crackdown, arresting lovers making out in cars and hotel rooms. Those who could produce marriage certificates were released; others found holding hands unchaperoned were sent home separately. No idea what happened to more severe cases; caning perhaps?

islamism love society valentine's day 0

Bruce "Applied Cryptography" Schneier on why hard-disk copy control threatens us all, and will lead to an era of repression.

We have a serious threat to civil liberties: large entertainment companies are allying themselves with the computer industry to dictate what can and can't happen on your hard drive... We have a technology that will, in some circumstances, make backups impossible. Compatibility problems between disk drives that have CPRM and those that don't will force networks to completely upgrade their mass storage. We have a technology that forces users to buy proprietary decoding software forever. We have a technology that won't really work unless it extends to computer output devices; you may find yourself forced to upgrade your monitor as well to watch movies on your computer. And we have an increased reliance on legal harassment by media companies. It's that last bit that scares me the most.


Right on schedule: In his latest actions, Ayatollah Bush bombs Iraq and plans to replace secular prison programmes with conversion to evangelical Christianity; secular programmes will still notionally exist, but be as hard to find as abortion clinics in Mississippi. Which may mean that in a few years' time America will be overrun with born-again Christians with tendencies towards violence and extreme behaviour which led them to prison in the first place.