The Null Device
This looks interesting: BlackDog appears to be a device the size of a USB flash drive containing an entire Linux-based computer. Plug it into a PC's USB port and it appears as a network-connected Debian box, and auto-runs an X server to connect to the machine in question (this is presumably on Windows). It also includes a "biometric reader" to control access to it.
And then there's the Neuronium. An eye-catchingly blue box hand-built by a German vintage synth designer, it looks like some kind of dance-techno sample-synth module or virtual analogue synth, but is basically an analogue neural network for generating vaguely Tangerine Dream-esque electronic burbling noises. If you have €2499 to spare, it could be yours.
In 2003, the CIA found what it thought were al-Qaeda terrorist instructions encoded in the al-Jazeera news ticker. The "instructions" detected by the CIA's steganalysis software included dates, flight numbers and the coordinates of targets including the White House and the small town of Tappahannock, Virginia, and resulted in the national terror alert level being raised from "extra-severe" to "brown trouser time" and almost 30 flights being cancelled. That is, until it emerged that the "hidden messages" were just the result of random noise, coincidence and the human pattern-finding instinct:
The problem with hunting messages hidden by steganography is that there are so few of them, any computer program will come up with false positives - messages that aren't really there. "The false positive rate, even if it's vanishingly small, starts to throw signals at you that makes you want to believe you're seeing messages. And somebody could be fooled by that if they didn't understand the nature of steganography," says Honeyman.This happened some time after it was discovered that al-Qaeda weren't hiding terrorist instructions in images on internet porn sites.
Momus gets stuck into what he calls "fashion goth", which seems to be a construct containing a whole bunch of things he dislikes, from the Goth subculture and BDSM to Suicide Girls to the New-York-hipster fashion of wearing clothes with skulls on them to show how hard and cynical you are and to Judaeo-Christian asceticism in general.
I'm not into Suicide Girls. I hate tattoos and piercings and the cult of self-injury. Sex is not evil or wicked. What Christian sect do you guys belong to?
Japanese people tend not to be fashion goths, or into kitsch. Even the black lace Gothic Lolitas in Japan are something else, really. They're human mille feuille cakes, not goths.
Can you imagine a fashion goth soaking in a sento and then playing pachinko and then eating a hearty meal at an isakaya, chatting away and laughing at the comedians on TV? "Where's the agony?" he would cry, meaning "Where's the beauty?" He'd miss the beauty in the food, and in the water.
When I was in New York this time all I could see on everyone's T shirt was skulls, skulls, fucking skulls. How can you protest the Iraq war if there are skulls all over you, fucking fashion goth?
Australia's Education Minister endorses Creationism, or "intelligent design", calls for it to be taught alongside evolution. And so, John Howard's Australia slips closer to the parallel universe in which the Joh For PM campaign was successful. There is no word on whether flat-earth geography, geocentric astronomy or alchemy will also be taught along the Godless post-Enlightenment sciences to give students diversity and "reasonable choice".