The Null Device


No more Mr. Nice Geek: The copyright racket's recent string of coups in getting laws passed to protect its interests at the expense of everyone else has highlighted the way in which the tech sector is outclassed by the much smaller entertainment industry in political influence. So some enterprising geeks in the US have formed the so-called GeekPAC, to fly representatives around to talk to and educate politicians. Which will have no impact next to Big Media's hardball tactics, argues this article; instead, the geeks should take a leaf out of the playbooks of groups such as the NRA; single out one or two recalcitrant politicians and use their money and resources to get them voted out, sending a message to others. Macchiavellian, but it's that kind of world. (via Techdirt)


A page written by an outfit calling themselves "Objective: Christian Ministries" and detailing why Apple Computer is a tool of Satan; from their new Darwin OS, based on Communist open-source software and demonic BSD UNIX to notorious atheist Richard Dawkins' preference for Macintoshes, it's all here.

Mind you, I'm not sure whether these people are a joke or a genuine group of honest-to-goodness religious fruitcakes. For what it's worth they also have a campaign to shut down Landover Baptist as an "anti-Christian hate crime".

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Bruce Sterling's speech to the 2002 Computers, Freedom & Privacy conference, about the state of online freedom and privacy. Interesting, in a rambling and in places hubristic way.

It's the Wintel Gates OS versus Hollywood and the music industry, and as elephants fight, the grass is trampled. This is one of those *new* kinds of war, where the soldiers are perfectly safe and the *consumers* supply all the casualties. The hallowed halls of Best Buy and Circuit City are strewn with broken glass and broken promises.... The supposed explosion of digital creativity on a million websites and a thousand channels... Well, come 2002, it boils down to 95% market share by a single ruthless feudal empire! And you wonder where your excitement's gone? A thing like Linux... that isn't a competitive free-market innovation, that thing is like a slave revolt.


Former Swingin' Sixties it-girl and veteran actress Julie Christie (still venerated by '60s fetishists, and the subject of a song by Spearmint) has revealed that she suffers from autobiographical amnesia, a rare condition which strips away short- and long-term memory. Which may mean that her subjective experience of her glory days is now less than that of her fans.

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People love a bigot (an ongoing saga): France's far-right demagogue Jean-Marie Le Pen has survived the first round of the Presidential election, beating the Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin, once considered a favourite. While it is very unlikely that Le Pen will become President, this result has sent shockwaves through France and triggered spontaneous protests.

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Life imitates Douglas Adams: A NY Times piece arguing that global communication has sown conflict and enmity, rather than the new era of understanding it was supposed to usher in.

But at this halfway point between mutual ignorance and true understanding, the ''global village'' actually resembles a real one -- in my experience, not the utopian community promised by the boosters of globalization but a parochial place of manifold suspicions, rumors, resentments and half-truths.

(via Slashdot)

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