The Null Device


Christian missionaries working as part of the tsunami relief effort in India have ignited outrage after allegedly refusing to give aid to people who did not convert:

Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.

Which is another reason that, when I donate to a charity, I avoid religious charities. If I give money to a cause, I want that money to be used to help those in need, not to finance some religion's marketing campaign. Mind you, in the tsunami relief effort, funds were pooled between charities and parcelled out, with specific charities specialising on specific tasks. If the relief supplies being used as Jesus' Loss Leaders in this instance were paid for from these pooled funds, there should be a full inquiry, and action taken to ensure that such abuses of funds do not take place again.

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The MPAA have taken over BitTorrent pirasite hub LokiTorrent; not only that, but they have captured all site logs, which they intend to use to prosecute users of the site, and quite possibly the US$40k LokiTorrent "fighting fund", contributed to by those opposing Big Copyright's heavy-handed tactics, which may now go directly to the MPAA's war chest to fund the raids and prosecutions. This means that anyone who visited the site can possibly expect to have their equipment seized in a SWAT-style dawn raid and be given the choice between a five-figure out-of-court settlement or a much more expensive lawsuit, with the prosecution funded by the money donated by those considerate EFF-supporter types. If you've visited this site, incinerate your hard disks immediately.

And, from this discussion, it appears that it may have been the site operator's plan all along to collect the "defense fund" for a plea bargain and sell out his subscribers (all conveniently identifiable by login information; no idea whether credit card information is included, though if donors' card/PayPal information can be connected to accounts, it could be nasty).

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An Australian company is trialling a testosterone spray to boost the female sex drive. The spray, designed for post-menopausal women, also works on young women wanting to get their bootywhang on; the only side-effect so far is abnormal hair growth.

Of course, the street finds its own uses for things. Viagra and its competitors have transitioned from prescription-only anti-impotence solution to nightclub party drug (in some places, drug dealers mix them with speed or the cocktail of dubious shit that goes into "ecstasy" tablets and call it "sex-tasy"), and young men with no medical problems can buy them online for recreational uses from dodgy pharmacies (sometimes with tragicomic effects, such as the teenaged schoolboys who thought it'd be cool to take Viagra before going to school one day, not thinking through the mortifying social consequences of spending a day in school with a conspicuous erection). And there's no reason why the same won't happen for the testosterone spray. One imagines rampaging hordes of young women huffing the stuff like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet and ravaging their way across the urban landscape like amazon Viking berzerkers, aggressively hitting on everyone in their path, their mustaches shining in the full moon, and occasionally getting into testosterone-fuelled "he's mine! no, mine!" fistfights.

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In the latest phase of their world-domination-through-doing-good strategy, Google are offering to host content for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. And about time that someone made such an offer, as half the time Wikipedia's servers seem to be in a world of pain.

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