The Null Device


Who says different people can't live in harmony? In a heartwarming display of what is possible, Neo-Nazis and Jewish extremists have put their differences aside, teaming up to produce anti-Arab hate sites. Perhaps that's the secret to reconciliation and peaceful coexistence: finding someone both parties despise even more. (via The Fix)

bigotry extremists hate jewish neo-nazis 2

Having claimed the lion's share of the US non-jingoistic media market with its web edition, the Guardian is planning to establish a US edition. This will be a weekly magazine (perhaps like the Guardian Weekly sold here in Australia), with 60% of the content from the Guardian proper and the rest written by US contributors.

First, it's important to understand the anomalous nature of the Guardian itself. There may not be anything else quite like it in commercial publishing anywhere. The Guardian is the fruit of a legal trust whose sole purpose is the perpetuation of the Guardian. In other words, the trust&emdash;the Scott Trust, created in 1936 by the Manchester family that controlled the paper&emdash;eliminates the exact thing that has most bedeviled media companies: the demands of impatient shareholders and the ambitions of would-be mogul CEOs.

I wonder whether there is any reason that such a thing started and kept going in Britain and not America. Is there some difference between the British and American cultural and/or media environments that would have made something like the Guardian less likely to get going, or to survive, in the US, or is the Guardian's British origin more or less an accident of history? (via FmH)

guardian media usa 2

Those defenders of intellectual property, Metallica, are suing a Canadian band for using the E and F chords. Metallica are suing Unfaith, a Canadian independent band, for trademark infringement.

"We sent a demand letter and haven't reached a resolution, so we had to sue," she said. "They continue to shamelessly feature the two chords on their website song samples and we just can't have that."
Ulrich states that he's not trying to prevent Unfaith from using the two chords, only that he feels Metallica should be credited for them whenever used, and is calling for 50% of all revenue generated from any song using them. "It's nothing personal against them," he added. "We intend to enforce our rights with any band intending to use Metallica-branded chords in the future."

And so the space of ideas is being partitioned and enclosed into proprietary domains. First came trademarks on colours and overly broad patents, then AOL Time Warner claimed magic-themed fantasy novels as derivatives of its Harry Potter property, and now Metallica are asserting that they own a combination of two chords. Eventually, we may well end up with a neo-Galambosian dystopia, in which every possible idea belongs to a rightsholder and must be licensed.

galambosianism metallica music 9

It's official: Britain has surrendered its sovereignty to the US. Its military is dependent on the US (both its nuclear weapons and cruise missiles are under indirect US control), it could not expel US bases on its territory even if it wanted to (and contrary to popular belief, the RAF has nothing to do with bases like "RAF Fairford"), and now the government has sided a one-sided treaty allowing the US to extradite British nationals without the need to produce prima facie evidence:

Blunkett agreed that the UK would extradite Britons to the US in future, without any need to produce prima facie evidence that they are guilty of anything. But the US refused to do the same with their own citizens. The Home Office press release concealed this fact - out of shame, presumably. Why did the US refuse? According to the Home Office, the fourth amendment of the US constitution says citizens of US states cannot be arrested without "probable cause". The irony appears to have been lost on David Blunkett, as he gave away yet more of Britain's sovereignty. If we really were the 51st state, as anti-Americans imply, we would probably have more protection against Washington than we do today.

So the US and Britain seem to be more like China and Hong Kong; i.e., one country with two systems. Real power rests in Washington, while Britain has sufficient autonomy to offer its nationals different lifestyle choices (gun control, nationalised healthcare, no capital punishment) within its territory.

airstrip one uk usa 1

Hipster Bingo; funny, the ironic trucker caps don't seem to have made it down to Melbourne yet.

Also, Australian hipsters seem to be a bit more low-tech than the American variety. While the hipsterati of New York and San Francisco have photoblogs and futurephones, many Australian hipsters draw the line at using Hotmail and are more likely to snap pictures with a Lomo than a digital camera (let alone a futurephone). (via bOING bOING)

hipster bingo hipsters lomo trucker hats 6