The Null Device
From this week, anybody wishing to use an internet cafe or public telephone or fax machine in Berlusconi's Italy will have to produce their passport or identity papers. Furthermore, the managers of internet cafes and communications centres will be obliged to keep records of the times customers enter and leave the premises and which computers or telephones they use.
A streaming radio outfit named Flat Four has a series of 3 programmes about 1980s home computer music. I just listened to the Commodore 64 one, and it's pretty interesting. It has interviews with various game-music composers (including Rob Hubbard and Benn Daglish, who now participates in the chiptune-party scene), fragments of the original music and various reworkings thereof (from club/dance remixes to heavy metal and acappella vocal covers), and some examples of new music made using Commodore 64s.
Salma Qureshi, a thirtysomething computer programmer and British Muslim, is studying to become Britain's first female imam:
"I'm quite religious but at the same time I'm quite a liberal person myself," she says.
She said that when she was younger, she could not "differentiate what was religion and what was culture," and that she thought Islam imposed "too many restrictions" on women. "It's only afterwards I realised that this is all cultural - religion doesn't really stop women doing anything," she added.Good luck to her, I say. If she can provide a role model for an Islam that's in harmony, rather than at odds, with the values of liberal society, it should take some of the wind out of the sails of extremists (on all sides).
The FBI's War On Pornography draws its first blood before it even begins: purveyor of nekkid-goth-chick-pictures Suicide Girls has taken down some photographs, preemptively, in the hope of avoiding a FBI raid. (Because we all know the devoutly religious types Ashcroft had appointed would love to take those darkness-worshipping punks down with maximum force.)
We have received no formal government notice to remove these images, however, in the course of our involvement, as witnesses, in a federal criminal prosecution that does not target SG, we have been made aware of the risks posting such content poses the owners of the company. Given the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' new war on porn task force and it's intent to bring obscenity charges against their loosely defined "Deviant" imagery, we have removed any images with fake blood and any images we felt could be wrongfully construed as sadist or masochist.It could probably be argued that piercings and punk/goth paraphernalia automatically constitute "deviant" imagery. Perhaps not strongly enough to win a court case, but enough to keep the site offline until the matter is dragged, expensively, though the courts.
I wonder how long until the War On Porn spreads to Australia. (Given the Family First presence in the Senate, the government's paternalistic style, the lack of US-style constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and senior Tories' periodic thumping of the wowser-moral-values tub, I wouldn't rule it out.) Perhaps one day soon we'll wake up and read in the Age or hear on RRR about the Australian Federal Police raiding I Shot Myself and impounding their servers or something.
(Warning: some links in this post may contain erototoxins.)
(via bOING bOING)
Time Magazine has an interview with Neil Gaiman (who has a movie, made with Dave McKean, coming out) and Joss Whedon (who did some rinky-dink TV show about valley ghouls in California or something):
JW: I find that when you read a script, or rewrite something, or look at something that's been gone over, you can tell, like rings on a tree, by how bad it is, how long it's been in development.
NG: Yes. It really is this thing of executives loving the smell of their own urine and urinating on things. And then more execs come in, and they urinate. And then the next round. By the end, they have this thing which just smells like pee, and nobody likes it.
A video game simulating being a graffiti artist is in the works. Titled Getting Up, it was developed with the involvement of hip-hop streetwear mogul Mark Ecko and various veteran graffitiists and urban artists (including Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant fame). (I wonder whether Banksy approved of the rat-shaped stencil that's visible in the Flash site.) It's said to be an accurate simulation of the activity of tagging/doing pieces and avoiding the police, and has a story line about an evil, megalomanic mayor (which sounds like Turk 182 meets Rudy Giuliani). No word on when it's coming out or what platforms on.