The Null Device


April is the cruelest month: Staying in the morbid vein for a while, statistics have shown that spring is the peak season for suicides. Apparently the popular notion about the Xmas-New Year period being peak suicide season is just an urban legend. (via Plastic)

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The latest fashion among teenaged girls in Britain: self-mutilation as a fashion statement or assertion of identity.

Margot Waddell of the Tavistock Clinic, author of Inside Lives, a book about adolescence, says there are 'cutting schools' and 'anorexia schools', so strong is the tendency to mimic behaviour. And Sue Sherwin-White, a therapist who has studied the phenomenon, agrees: 'In some schools, it is fashionable, exciting and even rather competitive - and it has the added advantage of scaring teachers and parents.' What starts as an experiment can become a perverse gratification that is hard to give up.

Wonder whether there will be pro-self-mutilation websites in the way that there are pro-anorexia web sites (and Trent Reznor fan pages and such don't count).

'Adolescents,' says Wilson, 'do things that disturb us, by definition. There's something morbid about adolescents. Look at the imagery of the pop music they listen to. They are drawn to death. It's not surprising that the second most common cause of death in this age group is suicide.'

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Do you suspect that your neighbour may be a terrorist? Take this test and find out if your suspicions are true. (via Charlie's Diary)

Take a stroll down your street. Which houses are missing the appropriate decorations for the time of year? Which are missing a well-decorated Christmas tree and lights? Which do not have Fourth of July decorations? Which are missing an American flag? (this is an obvious sign of a terrorist's house.)

(How to determine if your co-worker/neighbour/spouse/brother may be a terrorist (Australian version): ask them which football team they barrack for. If they answer, ask them to name the team captain and several players. If they are unable to provide answers, they may be a terrorist sleeper agent.)

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Famous paleontologist and evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould has passed away. He was best known for his theory of punctuated equilibria (which, some say, paralleled his youthful Marxist beliefs in the impossibility of reform and the necessity for sudden revolution for change, though you won't see CNN mention that for some reason). He was also a key critic of Dawkins' "selfish gene" theory. (via VM)

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Righto; new review up on RAN: Can't Stop It! Australian Post-Punk 1978-1982. Go read.


There was a rather odd film on at Splodge tonight: The Bed Sitting Room. Directed by Richard Lester (of Hard Day's Night fame) and starring various members of the Goon Show, it was set in Britain after a nuclear holocaust. in landscapes of rubble (some of the locations included a still-running London Underground, a mountain made entirely of crockery and various ramshackle buildings made of rubbish), and full of oddball characters, dressed in rags and yet carrying on with their lives in a peculiarly English way. Oh, and some of them started turning into houses and furniture. The design was pretty doovy, in an improvised way (especially things like the police balloon). It could probably be described as being somewhere between Eraserhead, Delicatessen and Monty Python, with perhaps a touch of absurdist theatre.


The US Department of Justice has sent a warning to Europe's antitrust authorities: "leave Microsoft alone".


Oh dear: Gwyneth Paltrow to play Sylvia Plath. Oh well, at least they didn't get Nicole Kidman or someone for the part.