The Null Device


What do you get someone who's got everything? How about Grand Royal, the Beastie Boys' (now bankrupt) record company (current bid: US$10,000; includes master tapes and thousands of unsold CDs). (via bOING bOING)

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According to this web site, civilisation as we know it is coming to an end soon. The world's oil reserves will run out over the next decade or two (in fact, we may have passed the peak in oil production already). This will cause a decline in food production, mass starvation and the post-oil "die-off", with the world's population contracting to 500 million, as well as wars, fascism and the collapse of civilisation. As for alternative forms of energy, it's too late for them to do anything but prolong the human race's death-agony. Though I'm not sure I buy the claim that this will lead to America invading France. (via tyrsalvia@LJ)

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An article claiming that the "creative class", ranging from scientists to artists, are avoiding or fleeing the United States, because of the harshly conservative and xenophobic zeitgeist that has taken hold, Which isn't a good sign for a country most of whose wealth comes from intellectual property:

When I visited [Peter Jackson's studio in Wellington], I met dozens of Americans from places like Berkeley and MIT working alongside talented filmmakers from Europe and Asia, the Americans asserting that they were ready to relinquish their citizenship. Many had begun the process of establishing residency in New Zealand.
"Over the last few years, as the conservative movement in the U.S. has become more entrenched, many people I know are looking for better lives in Canada, Europe, and Australia," a noted entymologist at the University of Illinois emailed me recently. "From bloggers and programmers to members of the National Academy I have spoken with, all find the Zeitgeist alien and even threatening. My friend says it is like trying to research and do business in the 21st century in a culture that wants to live in the 19th, empires, bibles and all. There is an E.U. fellowship through the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Amsterdam that everyone and their mother is trying to get."
The altered flow of talent is already beginning to show signs of crimping the scientific process. "We can't hold scientific meetings here [in the United States] anymore because foreign scientists can't get visas," a top oceanographer at the University of California at San Diego recently told me.
The graduate students I have taught at several major universities -- Ohio State, Harvard, MIT, Carnegie Mellon -- have always been among the first to point out the benefits of studying and doing research in the United States. But their impressions have changed dramatically over the past year. They now complain of being hounded by the immigration agencies as potential threats to security, and that America is abandoning its standing as an open society. Many are thinking of leaving for foreign schools, and they tell me that their friends and colleagues back home are no longer interested in coming to the United States for their education but are actively seeking out universities in Canada, Europe, and elsewhere.

The article claims that this trend comes from the very roots of the rise of the creative class since the 1960s and the sorting phenomenon where like-minded people congregate in clusters; as the more creatively-inclined moved to cities like New York, San Francisco and Seattle, the heartlands became more dogmatically conservative.

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