The Null Device


It looks like the UK Labour Party has had it with Tony "the Smiler" Blair. The brand of slick spin that was synonymous with Blairism and New Labour is no longer papering over deeply unpopular policies, from unconditional and enthusiastic support for whatever comes out of the Whitehouse to neo-Thatcherite economic policies and a right-wing populist tint that's more Daily Mail than the Guardian, and, one by one, the former faithful are telling Blair to go before the Labour Party's standing declines any further. Now a junior minister has resigned in protest at Blair's refusal to step down. Interestingly enough, the rebel in quetion is Tom Watson of West Bromwich East, best known for (a) his rather clunky attempts to appear hip to the kids on his personal website, and (b) never rebelling against the party line (which would make him the quintessential Blairite, then). Now that's got to hurt.

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And eBay have pulled the Banksy/Paris Hilton album listing. Not surprisingly, given that it's unlikely that he licensed Hilton's likeness or trademarks (including "That's Hot!™", which reportedly appears on the CD), or indeed the original CD artwork mashed up to make the item. In this permission-based society, there is no such thing as fair use for purposes of parody, unless you have a legal department the size of Time Warner behind you.

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Investigations into the kidnapping of a 10-year-old Austrian girl who was kept in a hidden cell underneath a house have been complicated by the fact that the kidnapper stored all his files using a Commodore 64, which computer forensics teams are ill-equipped to deal with:

The beige-coloured machine was popular in the 1980s but is now considered an antique, though some electronic dance acts still use it and it has a cult following among some fans of retro computers.
There are emulators available which can make a modern PC capable of running Commodore 64 programmes but Maj Gen Lang said it would be difficult to transmit the data from Priklopil's machine to a modern computer "without loss".

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