The Null Device


Renaming French fries to "Freedom fries" is for sissies; why not eliminate all words of French origin from the English language, asks the Christian Science Monitor? (via MeFi) Ðough if we're going to do someþing like ðat, I prefer ðe idea of modernising Old English to bypass ðe Norman influence; ðat way we get ðose doovy þ and ð characters back. (Why should ðe Icelanders have ðem all to ðemselves?)

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Russian politician changes name to Harry Potter to win more votes. He has stood unsuccessfully in past elections, but hopes that his heroic new name will turn his luck around, perhaps even giving him the presidency eventually. They certainly do things differently in Russia; the best Australia can do in this vein was to have a politician named Stone change his name to Aussie-Stone (presumably back when ballot papers were in alphabetical order). (via bOING bOING)

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While land prices keep rising and the cost of building skyscrapers increase, recent improvements in tunnelling technology are making building underground an increasingly attractive option. Can we look forward to a future of subterranean cities and high-speed intercontinental subways?

If they are large enough, caverns will feel like the outdoors; they might even be plumbed for "rain" and specially vented to create "wind." Artificial weather will keep the air crisp, while artificial light sources - from vast LED arrays, fiber pipes carrying light from the surface, genetically engineered extra-phosphorescent lichen - will infuse this superspace in an eternal dawn. Sunbathers, though, will need to call for the elevator.

And, as always, artists are the shock troops of gentrification:

If history is any guide, artists will be the first to actually move underground full-time. They have a knack for converting industrial and commercial spaces into highly desirable residential real estate. Looking at their airy studios, we'll decide underground space isn't so dreary after all.

<SPECULATION> I wonder how the economics will work; will above-ground real estate become a highly-prized status symbol for the ultra-rich? Or perhaps pollution, ozone depletion or other catastrophes (nuclear fallout perhaps?) will make "up top" into a slum inhabited only by outlaws and untouchables; and as the mole people tuck their children into their beds belowground, they'll tell them blood-curdling tales about the monsters and fiends who live on the surface (much as have been told throughout the aeons about any desolate wastelands outlaws take refuge in). </SPECULATION>

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