The Null Device
US Republican wiseguy P.J. O'Rourke has written a guide to US pop culture for unhip oldsters who wish to not appear, like, totally lame-o when talking to Gen-Y kids. Well, it's what passes for pop culture; mostly packaged products like Eminem and Jennifer Lopez and boy bands, incubated in tall glass buildings in LA and handed down to the masses like manna from heaven via MTV and Wal-Mart. (link via bOING bOING)
A piece in the Moscow Times on some of the pranks played by those wacky funsters on the Mir space station:
Krikalyov sneaked an amateur radio onboard Mir and used it to establish a link with the truck driver, who was heading to Kimberley. The unsuspecting driver thought it was one of his colleagues driving on a nearby road and called Krikalyov a prankster when the cosmonaut said was he was heading for America via India and China.
The current (April 2001) issue of UK music magazine Mojo has a good feature on The Smiths, coming in at some 22 pages; it includes a look at the band's career, Morrissey's solo career, and an interview with the reclusive Moz himself, who's holed up in his Los Angeles home, with a new album's worth of material to record but no recording company willing to sign him. It's not on the Mojo web site, so you'll have to buy the dead-tree issue if you want to read it.
War is peace, freedom is slavery, but business is business: Murdoch's people have learned that, if you want any chance of access to the world's largest market, you bend over when the Chinese Government says so, or when you think it'll appreciate your doing so. Case in point: Murdoch fils James, in charge of dealings with China, gave a speech in Los Angeles, denouncing the Falun Gong movement, condemning Western media bias against Chinese government policy, and saying that Hong Kong's democracy activists should accept the reality of life under a strong-willed "absolutist" government. ("absolutist" sounds like a particularly psychoceramic strain of Ayn Randism, but is presumably a way of saying "totalitarian" without the negative connotations; sort of like the Reagan-era coinage of "authoritarian" for US-friendly right-wing dictatorships, as opposed to the truly evil "totalitarian" left-wing dictatorships.) (via Lev)
Boyd Graves, a black US lawyer is suing the US government for creating the AIDS virus to exterminate black people. His case has been thrown out of lower courts, and now he is taking it to the Supreme Court. Could he be the new Teri Smith Tyler? (via Leviathan)