The Null Device


Via Graham, Caring For Your Introvert.

With the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, whose fabled aloofness and privateness were probably signs of a deep introverted streak (many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors), introverts are not considered "naturals" in politics.

Isn't that the truth. If you're a natural introvert, being social can be like acting as it requires running an extra layer of emulation, and extra effort; which is why us introverts get tired by having to do so for long periods of time, or why we can be grumpy or unsociable when tired.

In our extrovertist society, being outgoing is considered normal and therefore desirable, a mark of happiness, confidence, leadership. Extroverts are seen as bighearted, vibrant, warm, empathic. "People person" is a compliment. Introverts are described with words like "guarded," "loner," "reserved," "taciturn," "self-contained," "private"--narrow, ungenerous words, words that suggest emotional parsimony and smallness of personality.
Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books--written, no doubt, by extroverts--regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts' Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."

What's more likely is that introversion will be medicalised (possibly classified as a form of Asperger's Syndrome; either that or a social anxiety disorder) and there will be drugs released to "cure" it. If your kid doesn't like playing sports with other kids and prefers to read books, or (less anachronistically) uses their computer for designing imaginary cities/languages/worlds rather than instant-messaging their friends, you will be able (and expected) to give them drugs that make them into a fully-functioning, ruggedly outgoing extrovert. Sure, they'll lose a lot of their creativity and capacity for abstract thought, but they probably weren't going to be the next Albert Einstein anyway, and isn't it much better that they play well with other kids?

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The Pope condemns sarcasm. Yeah, whatever. (via Reenhead)

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I just got a copy of the US pressing of Massive Attack's 100th Window (thanks, Lisa; I hope you're enjoying the Ninetynine CD). Why the US release? Well, the main thing that distinguishes it from the Australian release is no copy-denial mechanisms; i.e., it's a Red Book CD which plays and rips in any drive.

(Yes, I know that some people have successfully ripped the Australian "Copy Controlled" release. However, it's the principle that's at stake; and I'm sure that if people swallow this imperfect "copy controlled" disc, EMI will attempt to iron the bugs out of future releases (such as, say, the upcoming Morrissey album, and the next Radiohead album). However, if EMI's beancounters (who largely run things at major labels these days) notice that sales are higher in unrestricted territories, that may make them stop treating customers as potential criminals.)

(Does anybody know what the economics of the "copy control" technology are; i.e., how much does EMI pay to cripple a title, and do they pay per CD, per title, or outright? If they pay a percentage of the CD price per disc, then the tide may turn sooner against copy-denial, unless it actually makes people buy more CDs. Of course, the suits in charge would want to hold on despite losses until there are no unencumbered copies available in any territory. Though how long they hold on after people start MP3ing their CDs through the analogue outputs of their CD players is uncertain. Eliminating sound cards without built-in watermark detectors with anything less than a perfectly efficient global police state would be impossible; as far as audio goes, the "analog hole" is here to stay.)

Anyway, back to 100th Window. The album differs from the, umm, prerelease slightly (they've chopped a second or two off the start of Future Proof, and padded the space after the last track with some sort of filtered arpeggio texture). The artwork is also quite nice. Anyway, if you're in Australia and wish to buy an unrestricted copy, places like Amazon will sell you the US release. Or just find a US penpal and offer to trade them something from here. Think of it as globalisation for the people.

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Psst! Want some free Nikes? Well, if you're in north-western North America, they're washing up all over the coast. Apparently a container ship was caught in a storm a few months ago, causing 3 containers of shoes, all fresh from the sweatshop, to be lost at sea. All 33,000 shoes are said to be still wearable (in fact, the exposure to the elements could cause them to look fashionably weathered). The catch is that the pairs weren't tied together, so you'll have to look hard for a matching pair. (Or maybe some enterprising thrifthound will put up a web site allowing people to trade their finds with fellow finders?) (via NWD)

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Superidol, a new comic-book story by Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis, is now online. (via bOING bOING)

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One MP3 player company has defied the RIAA and announced that they will be supporting the Ogg format. The Neuros MP3 players will support playback of the royalty-free, unencrypted audio format. I wonder if they'll get sued for contributory copyright violation for supporting a non-grandfathered non-DRM-based format. Anyway, let's hope that the likes of Apple and Archos follow suit. (I'm currently awaiting the arrival of my Archos Jukebox Recorder.)