The Null Device


Long-time Australian political crackpot and anti-divorce-law campaigner loses court bid to use his new name on his passport. The man changed his name to Prime Minister John Piss The Family Court And Legal Aid to run for election in 1997. The name was rejected because it contains an expletive and a title not legitimately acquired.

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Who says theology isn't a useful science? Game designer and theologian discuss the mechanics of deities in multiplayer game world. (via bOING bOING)

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A decent (user-oriented) tutorial on how TrackBack™ works. Somewhat enlightening, though not enough detail to actually implement it if you use your own blog software. (via bOING bOING)

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Outrage as Iraq parades US POWs on TV, violating the Geneva Convention. Mind you, this is coming from the people who haughtily asserted that the Geneva Convention does not apply to al-Qaeda prisoners in Guantanamo. But, of course, that's different. God is on our side and all that.


As the war rolls on, demonstrations are an angrier affair. The middle-class Guardian-reader types who went to the February demos are largely staying away, leaving the protesting to the usual militant nutjobs.

Gone, it seemed, were the ranks of the well-dressed middle-classes, most of whom had been holding a placard for the first time, who swelled the first event to such historic proportions. Instead, the more bizarre groupings and banners (South London Home Educators; Sex Workers of the World Unite - and, yes, you can bet that heads were craning to see who was holding the poster) were almost lost in the sea of CND, SWP and Socialist Alliance posters, and their messages were not the stuff of musical comedy. 'Weep with the Widows of Iraq.' 'Bomb Texas, they have oil too.' The Workers' Revolutionary Party Young Socialists, in particular, built a number of bridges with the rest of the nation by carrying the simple, pithy, 'Victory to Iraq.'

Could it be the realisation that if the Yanqui imperialists did what the protesters demanded and withdrew all troops immediately, Saddam's forces would roll into formerly-conquered cities and exact terrible revenge on anyone suspected of welcoming in the invaders; or that leaving Saddam in power at this late stage would be the worst outcome for all (other than the ANSWER people, to whom he's a Third-World Liberation Leader, just like Che and Lumumba and Mugabe and Idi Amin and such)? Or has the smooth and (apparently) not overly bloody running of the war so far raised the hope that maybe, just maybe, it will be over soon and will have been all for the best?

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I was deliberately avoiding blogging about the war (you can find all manner of kibbitzing, pontification, play-by-play commentary and ill-informed speculation in too many other places, or just bypass the armchair pundits and tune into the BBC or someone), but this piece is too good to pass up: Richard Dawkins on Bush and the system that elected him.

Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this...
Bush seems sincerely to see the world as a battleground between Good and Evil, St Michael's angels against the forces of Lucifer. We're gonna smoke out the Amalekites, send a posse after the Midianites, smite them all and let God deal with their souls. Minds doped up on this kind of cod theology have a hard time distinguishing between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Some of Bush's faithful supporters even welcome war as the necessary prelude to the final showdown between Good and Evil: Armageddon followed by the Rapture. We must presume, or at least hope, that Bush himself is not quite of that bonkers persuasion. But he really does seem to believe he is wrestling, on God's behalf, against some sort of spirit of Evil.

atheism evil george w. bush religiots richard dawkins secularism 5