The Null Device


Our illustrious leaders: The Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, who is spearheading plans to criminalise unauthorised strike action and otherwise restrict trade unionism, said today that a bad boss is better than no boss; he went on to elaborate that bad bosses are like bad husbands or bad fathers, and on the whole did more good than harm. He backpedalled somewhat, after outrage from unions, feminists and others who, for some reason, found his remarks offensive.


3RRR just played a rather odd cover of New Order's Subculture; it's glitchy buzzing electronic sounds and a sparse electric piano, with a woman with a thick German accent singing/reciting the lyrics. It's by an act named Ming, and apparently from a compilation named Further Electronic vol. 1.


They're reopening Melbourne Central now, after giving it the all-clear. Given that there were no personnel in moon suits around, it's probably a good sign that the "suspicious object" probably wasn't one of them Al-Qaeda dirty bombs or deadly poison nerve gas or anything. (If it were Al-Qaeda, I'd probably blame Johnny "W.'s cabana boy" Howard for getting us into this mess in the first place.) There also didn't seem to be any TV news crews around, which is rather odd for an emergency of possibly terroristic nature they shut the entire city loop down for. (Unless the government can now get instant D-notices on events as they happen or something.)


Cat and Girl are back; and this week's one is quite good, dissecting indiekid/emo/hipster fashion/symbolism.

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I just walked past Museum Melbourne Central station, and found that it was closed. The down escalators had been sealed off, and two police and some station staff were guarding the entrance. The staff wouldn't answer questions as to why it was being evacuated, except to say that the city loop had been shut down, and passengers needed to go to Flinders St. Which is rather unusual, and perhaps somewhat worrying. (Could it be a terrorist gas attack or something?)


Apple buys Emagic, axing the Windows version of Logic, and effectively handing over the Windows sequencer market to Cubase. It'll be interesting to see whether Apple's Logic works better with OS X, whether Apple will still support VST plug-ins or tries to enforce its own plug-in format, whether they'll integrate Logic more with stuff like Final Cut Pro, and so on.

Then again, apparently they bought the two leading image-compositing software firms recently too. Wonder if this means that they'll be killing their Irix and Linux product lines to force everyone onto MacOS X. (Which is technically a pretty nice system, though is quite a bit more expensive than cheap Linux boxes. Which probably suits Apple just fine.)

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When two professors were murdered recently at Dartmouth University, the police followed a number of leads whilst looking for the killer. One of the leads was a disgruntled former dishwasher named Ludwig Poehlmann, better known as Archimedes Plutonium, author of numerous Usenet rants about his revolutionary religioscientific theories.

''It was (Hanover Police Chief Nick) Giaccone's impression that Plutonium, although a very odd individual, was not associated with the murders ... and that no further investigation was required into Plutonium,'' a police report states.

Sounds a bit Lynchian, wouldn't you say?

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A study at Imperial College, London has found that eccentrics become more extreme with age. The researchers speculate that this is due to the human nervous system becoming less plastic, and less capable of covering up eccentricities to better fit in. Though Eliot from whom I got the link suggests it may be due to people becoming less concerned about others' opinions as they grow old. Though I wonder whether, given that thought and consciousness are physical processes, one is not a physical side-effect of the other.

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Re: the 1'00" thing. Apparently it's not as absurd as it has been made out to be. Mike Batt, the composer in question is not being sued for putting a track of silence on his CD, but rather, he is being billed for royalties because he credited it to John Cage. And then, when billed for writing royalties, he claimed that the silence credited to Cage was his own, and not Cage's. Which is still absurd, but not the neo-Galambosian outrage it was reported to be.

Batt had used Cage's name for "obvious reasons," Caprioglio said to evoke Cage's provocative 1952 composition. "If Mr. Batt wants to produce a minute of silence under his own name," he conceded, "we would obviously have no right to the royalties."

So in a sense, Batt's defence comes down to "I credited John Cage as a joke, but shouldn't be expected to pay real royalties, because 4'33" is not a real composition"; which sounds a bit too much like the "modern art is rubbish" argument. (via the Horn)

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Healing the rift between Church and State: A Slate article on how America, a nation founded by secularistic Freemasons during the Enlightenment, became One Nation Under God, with monotheism of a particularly Protestantoid stripe its official core value. (Well, either that or fast-food franchises.) Not surprisingly, it had a lot to do with the McCarthy Era, and the fight against Godless Communism. (Even now, atheism is seen as un-American, and surveys show that many if not most Americans wouldn't trust an atheist with public office. What would Jefferson have said?)

I wonder what effects a War Without End against bomb-wielding religious fanatics would have. Perhaps the only good to come of it will be that people will come out of it not trusting those religion-spouting sonsofbitches. (via Reenhead)

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