The Null Device


Wired News looks at Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the latest arcade craze sweeping Japan. And it's even more odd and worrying than the brochure suggests:

The player is not expected to spank the protruding bottom exactly, but to poke it enthusiastically with the attached plastic finger. On the screen, the character's face grimaces and screams with each finger thrust. The harder a player pokes the rear end, the higher his or her virility is rated. At the end of the game, the machine prints out a card explaining the player's "sexual behavior."


Unforeseen consequences: Residents of the Kentish village of St Margaret's at Cliffe have been unpleasantly surprised to find that their mobile phone coverage goes through France. Because of conditions across the English Channel, more often than not, mobile phones lock onto French networks with roaming agreements; as a result, residents have found themselves paying international rates for local calls, and the companies have refused to give refunds. (via 1.0)


First the Religious Right denounced Harry Potter as a corrupting influence on youth; now Washington Post is running an article warning that the Potter phenomenon is producing a nation of dweebs, and no-one to beat the stuffing out of them at recess.

It's funny how the religiots and bullies often see eye to eye; a while ago, religious right groups across the US were vigorously opposing anti-bullying laws, lest they protect gay kids and other deviants from being put in line by righteous, god-fearing jocks. Bullies, it seems, are the natural enforcers of God's Law.


Meg has been asking personal questions of her readers lately in her blog forums, and the latest one is "are you a cat person or a dog person". I'm definitely a cat person.

Btw, has anybody noticed the dichotomy between popular representations of dog and cat people? Dog people, the cliché goes, are rugged, well-adjusted, extroverted, go-getting types (you could imagine Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meeting in some romcom whilst walking their dogs in the park). Cat people, however, fall into a number of stereotypes: the crazy old lady, the misanthropic loner, the the moody teenager who writes woeful poetry by candlelight, and so forth; so much so that fondness for cats is a code for eccentricity, or mental instability.


Classic albums: I picked up a copy of Lush's Split a few weeks ago, and have been listening to it quite a bit; it's a great album. Anyway, I've written up a review for RAN.

(I should probably write up some other of my favourite classic albums (such as This Mortal Coil's It'll End In Tears, or one of Slowdive's albums (if I can decide which one to single out), or perhaps Dead Can Dance's Within the Realms of a Dying Sun. Though the problem, again, is finding enough distance between oneself and the album to write something more substantial than "this is fucking brilliant", or somesuch.)


Oho; scientists are looking at recreating the thylacine from DNA taken from a preserved femur.