The Null Device


Those who don't understand UNIX are doomed to reinvent it, badly: I've been playing with MacOS X a little recently (in between doing a dozen other things), and all in all, it seems pretty doovy. One thing I'm not too fond of is that the UNIXyness only goes up so far. For example, there is no audio device under /dev. Presumably, to access audio from a program, you have to make all sorts of arcane API calls, with their own names, structures, data types and so forth; a less than ideal state of affairs when there are open(), write()/read() and ioctl().


And justice for all: A disabled woman is suing the organisers of a mingers' swingers' party for discrimination after she was allegedly discriminated against because she was in a wheelchair. Kathleen Ball claims that she was told to move off a bed that other guests wished to use, after which she staged a "non-violent sit-in" in protest.

Ms Morgan gave evidence that she made the comment about wheelchairs when flustered and intimidated by Ms Ball. She said she had experienced four hours of harassment. Guests had been upset and she had tried to talk to Ms Ball about her body odor and language, but Ms Ball had started screaming. In court yesterday, Ms Ball said she had bathed an hour before the party.

Ms. Ball is claiming that the incident left her "highly suicidal" and feeling "dehumanised", and is seeking unspecified damages for unlawful discrimination and court orders forcing the organisers to invite her to future parties. (If this was the U.S., there'd probably be a bit about them having violated her civil rights to get laid or something.)


So much for retail therapy: A study from the University of Newcastle (Australia) has shown that materialism can cause depression, or at least, is negatively correlated with life satisfaction. This applies both to "haves" and "have-nots".

Saunders explained that one source of depression among dedicated consumers was the fact that the property they acquired tended to lose value quickly. ``If your self-worth is invested in what you own, as can be the case in our market-driven society, then these things may not hold their value for very long,'' he said.

Or, as Tyler Durden said, "even the Mona Lisa is falling apart."


The Raelian UFO cult's heroic plans to clone a human being and bring the human race into a new golden age of science took a setback after the FDA raided their cloning lab, shutting it down. The Raelian-backed Clonaid was working on cloning the deceased 10-month-old son of a wealthy benefactor. But not to worry; the group says they will reestablish their lab somewhere far from the prying eyes of busybodies and the torch-wielding peasantry.


The Age has a piece on Naomi Klein, anti-corporate activist and author of No Logo, who will be speaking in Melbourne soon.