The Null Device


Escher's Belvedere in Lego(tm); that's the one with the monks on the infinitely ascending/descending staircase (and yes, it is physically impossible; still, it didn't stop these people from doing it). (ta, Peter!)

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One theory suggests that artists and criminals have a lot in common psychologically, such as a disdain for the rules of normalcy and often a primal rage, one which is expressed with creation in one case and violence in the other. (via FmH)

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This is classic: serial masturbator arrested at Sleater-Kinney show. Make your own joke about wankers at indie-rock shows here:

So not only is this guy Seattle's premiere alleged indie-rock show masturbator, he's a snobby indie-rock show masturbator who will only choke his chicken to certain bands! Classic! (In a completely disgusting sort of way, of course.)

(via Reenhead)

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Bias in the Blogosphere, an analysis of the blogging phenomenon using the Chomskyite propaganda model, and concluding that blogging is a reactionary, right-wing propaganda machine by its very structure. Makes some good points (about linkwhoring, the threat of being Dooced or mailbombed serving to shut down dissenters, and dependence on official resources for facts), but it appears to fall into the "blogging was born on 9/11" fallacy, the stereotype of equating blogging as a whole with the right-wing, jingoistic talkback-radio excesses of the "warbloggers". (via Graham)

It may well be that the majority of bloggers are wealthy white males, Libertarians turned born-again Rush Limbaugh clones when the planes hit the WTC, but that just reinforces Sturgeon's law; specifically, that when people have the means of expressing themselves, the vast majority will use it to download porn, put up photos of their cats, discuss the last episode of Friends, or loudly expound their allegiance to their favourite thought-saving orthodoxy, and only a small proportion of content will be actually interesting. (Well, that and the primal instinct to form packs and do battle against rival packs.) So it's not unexpected that big chunks of the blogosphere look like a conservative, vaguely xenophobic suburbia; well, that and the LiveJournal britneyblogs, and the technofetishistic E/N sites run by misogynistic virgins, and so on. Just that warblogging is the currently fashionable flavour of blogging for pinks.

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It looks like the second Sir album hasn't vanished into the black hole of heartaches, heartbreaks and inter-city relocations; according to their US label, its title is Only Lonely and it's slated for January 2003; and they have two MP3s from it, including one which fans will recognise from gigs. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this one... (thanks to Jarrod for the heads-up)

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The World's Greatest Democracy: According to this article, the company which makes all the voting machines used in US elections is owned by Republican-affiliated companies. The software in the machines is, thanks to hard lobbying, proprietary and thus not open to external scrutiny. Which is not to say that the machines are designed to rig elections; just that things look somewhat fishy, and if the manufacturers decided to give the voters a hand in making their choice, they'd have an easier time of it. (via Stumblings)

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Canada's outgoing Prime Minister wants to decriminalise marijuana. Not because he's a pothead or anything (he's not), but for more practical reasons. The US is unhappy with this, and has made threatening noises about trade restrictions and more. Perhaps if it happens, we'll see Whitlam-style "regime change" in Canada?

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Don't like surveillance cameras? A concerned New Yorker has discovered that you can temporarily blind them with a cheap laser pointer. Coupled with a telescopic sight, cameras can be jammed from well out of range. The implications are far-reaching; other than putting laser pointers onto the wallet chains of homeboy trainslashers, and adding them to the already extensive Al Qaeda doomsday arsenal, it looks like they could join aluminium-lined headgear as must-have accessories for the modern paranoid

(Though I'd be surprised if spy agencies, terrorists, professional burglars, &c, hadn't known about this for years.)

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Our obesogenic society: In parts of the US, walking is something that's not done outside of the home. If you're an adult, you drive. If you're a school student, you drive a golf cart to school. How long until there is a whole line of electric carts in "extreme teen" styles/colours, sold at Wal-Marts across the US and aimed at the commuting needs of suburban kids?

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Frequently Asked Questions about Calendars, which has a lot of information about how the Christian, Hebrew, Islamic, French Revolutionary, Mayan and Chinese calendars work. (via gimbo)

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