The Null Device


While London's transport system shut down for Christmas, gangs of graffitiists made their way into the tunnels and spray-painted Camden Town tube station. Unfortunately, we're not talking about Banksy-esque acts of carefully measured artistic subversion here, but just tagging and covering as much space with big ugly letters as possible. (Bonus points for obliterating information boards; those commuters unable to see where their train is going from will be deeply aware that they are your bitch and You Da Man. Wanker.) Anyway, there are pictures here and here).

Meanwhile, someone else stole into Brixton tube station and did their own bit of redecorating; they seem to have been somewhat less destructive and more concerned with actual aesthetics, rather than just pissing all over everything; photos here and here.

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As the US government announces that Morse Code will no longer be required for holding amateur radio license, the response has been mixed. Some people accept that Morse code is no longer strictly necessary for communicating by radio (if one discounts scenarios of being stuck on desert islands with only primitive spark-gap transmitters, of course), while others lament the decline of standards that has led to its passing (see also: not teaching Latin in schools):

"It's part of the dumbing down of America," said Nancy Kott, editor of World Radio magazine and a field representative for the Centers for Disease of Control and Prevention in Metamora, Michigan. "We live in a society today that wants something for nothing."
"Freed from all pretense of practical relevance in an age of digital communications, Morse will now become the object of loving passion by radioheads, much as another 'dead' language, Latin, is kept alive today by Latin-speaking enthusiasts around the world," Saffo, a fellow at the Institute for the Future, wrote in his blog.
I suspect that disestablishment won't kill Morse. Given that Latin, Esperanto and Klingon flourish in communities of enthusiasts, Morse probably will as well. And given that an experienced Morse user can enter text in it faster than anyone can do so on a mobile phone text keypad (and, apparently, there are applications for some smartphones allowing the user to enter SMS messages in Morse), it will have sufficient utility for some people to learn it for practical reasons.

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