The Null Device


Fitter, happier, more productive: Meet the Organization Kids; raised on Ritalin, safety rules and accelerated learning programmes, they are clean-living, achievement-oriented, self-regimented, conformistic and deferent to authority; their world is an orderly, stable one without all that postmodern, pre-millennial uncertainty, and they look like becoming the next ruling elite.

In short, at the top of the meritocratic ladder we have in America a generation of students who are extraordinarily bright, morally earnest, and incredibly industrious. They like to study and socialize in groups. They create and join organizations with great enthusiasm. They are responsible, safety-conscious, and mature. They feel no compelling need to rebel -- not even a hint of one. They not only defer to authority; they admire it. "Alienation" is a word one almost never hears from them. They regard the universe as beneficent, orderly, and meaningful. At the schools and colleges where the next leadership class is being bred, one finds not angry revolutionaries, despondent slackers, or dark cynics but the Organization Kid.
The world they live in seems fundamentally just. If you work hard, behave pleasantly, explore your interests, volunteer your time, obey the codes of political correctness, and take the right pills to balance your brain chemistry, you will be rewarded with a wonderful ascent in the social hierarchy. You will get into Princeton and have all sorts of genuinely interesting experiences open to you. You will make a lot of money -- but more important, you will be able to improve yourself.

Perhaps Huxley was right?


Now that's a Daft idea: Consumers in New York will soon be able to get Coca-Cola on tap in their homes. Customers get a sealed unit installed which mixes Coke syrup with carbonated water; the unit is sealed to keep the recipe secret. (No news on whether opening it is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, though it could well be that the banning of DeCSS and such has set the precedent to allow something like this to happen in the world of atoms.)

Mr Daft told the newspaper that he does not see Pepsi as a rival and will only be happy when customers are turning on their taps to drink Coke rather than water

I swear I'm not making this up...


Is schizophrenia a byproduct of the evolution of human intelligence? A new theory suggests this. I wonder whether in some situations some forms of schizophrenia could have been adaptive to genetic fitness (i.e., making the afflicted a fitter chieftain/prophet/leader), with current forms being a throwback to this.

evolutionary psychology intelligence mental illness schizophrenia 0

So this is what the Blue Man Group is. I've heard a number of people from A Certain Mailing List (mostly those from the Boston/Cambridge, MA area) going on enthusiastically about them.


I went to the Punters Club tonight to see some live music. One of the acts was a chap named Seth Rees. He played a guitar through a multi-effects unit, set to various reverbs and delays, creating lush ambient soundscapes. Highly recommended; as young Alex would say, gorgeousness and gorgeosity.

Though then there was the crazy woman sitting at the table beside mine who kept going on, in a thick Scottish accent, about how I should buy the CD of the band that played before I arrived, and how Molly Meldrum lives down the street from her and is gay. I didn't get whether she approved or disapproved of Mr. Meldrum's alleged sexual orientation, though.