The Null Device
ICANN has approved the .xxx top-level domain, intended for use by porn sites, rejecting arguments that governments appealing to populist puritanism will eventually force all sex-related sites (including sex-education sites or those supporting victims of sexual abuse) into this easily-censorable ghetto.
Other new domains approved have been .jobs, .post and .cat. I wonder whether the last one means that cat pictures now have their own TLD.
If you're pop royalty in need of medical treatment, your celebrity can buy you a lot; such as, for example, a hospital ward to yourself:
Reports today suggested elderly heart patients at the Cabrini Hospital were moved from their beds to vacate an entire ward for [Kylie Minogue].
The night before Minogue arrived, patients were moved from their beds to give her a wing to herself with a security guard at the end of the corridor, the report said. Visitors to the hospital were made to enter through the intensive care unit, escorted by a nurse each time.
"Several people were severely inconvenienced. I was very surprised that eight beds were given to one patient with a non-cardiac condition."
"One of the (security) chaps that had a British accent said to me, 'You can't go there', and I said, 'Yes I can, I've visited my mother here for a week, I'm certainly going to see her tonight. "These guys escorted me back like a criminal.''
Paul Slocum converts dot-matrix printers into musical instruments, by reprogramming the EPROMs; the resulting instruments use the print head, paper feeder motors and internal beepers to play music, of which MP3s are provided (this one is probably the best). And then there's the Mellotron-like contraption made of a printer, a Walkman and a length of cassette tape.
The Mundane SF Manifesto, an attempt at a Dogme-style manifesto for a new science fiction movement (i.e., no aliens, universal translators, easy interstellar travel, parallel universes). Which sounds a bit like the New Puritans, a movement of mostly hip young British authors of the post-Ibiza generation from about five years ago which forbade nonlinear narratives and settings outside the present, and ended up with such edgy-hip works as stories about narrators masturbating by the side of motorways and such, in dogmatically-correct real time.
Alternatively, there's the Infernokrusher Manifesto, which is all about monster trucks and blowing stuff up:
Infernokrusher fiction explodes stagnant genre conventions, e.g., that it's not okay to have all your characters run over by a monster truck in what would seem to be the middle of the story
While other attitudes to art yearn to communicate truths, to move people, to challenge, or to entertain, infernokrusher art wants to blow stuff up
The first Infernokrusher poem: I blew up the plums
that were in the icebox
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
I like fire
(via Charlie, bOING bOING)
Attempting to soften its hardline image somewhat, the Australian government recently "granted freedom" to several imprisoned asylum seekers. Only, according to a recent letter to The Age, not quite:
Reports of the Government "granting freedom" to 10 long- term detainees (The Age, 31/5) are misleading. These 10 people are being released into the community on the Removal Pending Bridging Visa (RPBV). This is a visa that can be revoked at any time without notice and requires the person to abandon all their current legal proceedings and future legal rights to seek asylum. This means that an asylum seeker will have no access to judicial review against any decision to revoke or cancel this RPBV and cannot do anything to stop their removal.
All this visa does is prey on the desperation of people who will agree to it to get out of the hell of being in detention. It is designed to circumvent involuntary return, and provides no solution to those who cannot return and rather just leaves them in limbo, possibly
Is this what we call "freedom" these days in Australia?
Kon Karapanagiotidis, co-ordinator, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Avondale Heights
Scientists in Zurich have found that dosing people with oxytocin (aka the "cuddle hormone", associated with makes them pathologically trusting:
"Of course, this finding could be misused," said Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich, the senior researcher in the study, which appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. "I don't think we currently have such abuses. However, in the future it could happen."
"I once likened trust to a love potion," Damasio writes in Nature. "Add trust to the mix, for without trust there is no love."
Dose a group of people with oxytocin and it's group hugs all round. The problem with that is that they become easy prey for anybody wishing to take advantage of them, such as con artists. If a delivery system (perhaps an aerosolised form of oxytocin, or one that can be dissolved in drinking water) could be developed, oxytocin could also be useful as a non-lethal mass-behaviour-control weapon. Imagine oxytocin bombs dropped on Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba or Venezuela; all the warring factions, insurgents and resisters put down their weapons and become one big happy family, with the added advantage that they're more than happy to sign over their sovereignty, oilfields, folk-song copyrights and traditional medicine patents, and give Starbucks a national coffee monopoly if merely asked.
(via bOING bOING)