The Null Device


First Foot is a new(?) "alternative media" site from Scotland. (Think socialists-in-kilts radicalism, regional humour and a wealth of information on Scottish culture you probably won't find in Edinburgh's Royal Mile.) (Not sure where I found this.)

Interesting to see that their list of Good Scottish Pop contaisn Cocteau Twins, Bill Drummond and The Associates, whereas Belle & Sebastian and Jesus and Mary Chain are classed as Bad Scottish Pop. No word on where Mogwai would be.

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Well, support for the war is rising in various parts of McWorld, even as we bomb innocent civilians. Now our leaders are saying that post-war Iraq should be run as a US colony, without those meddling UN euroweenies undoing all the good that we're doing. And Dick Cheney's Halliburton have been handed an Iraqi contract without any bidding. But this isn't about oil, it's about weapons of mass destruction and terrorism and liberating the Iraqi people so that they can vote and eat Big Macs and buy Britney Spears CDs and Nike sneakers like any free people. Meanwhile, it looks like those silly, ungrateful Iraqis don't want to be liberated, with some even returning from overseas to fight. Not to worry; we'll liberate them yet, even if we have to kill half of them in the process. God Bless America!

Meanwhile, all's well in the Land of the Free, as long as you're white and fervently nationalistic. a US teacher claims in her LiveJournal that Muslim students have disappeared, along with their families, without a trace. Meanwhile, other schools cancel exchange programmes with Germany, over the Germans' opposition to the war. And the spirit of McCarthy lives on; failure to show the proper amount of bloodthirst may have unpleasant consequences.


Oh yes, Simpático has a new EP out shortly, titled Club Life. Apparently it's more electronic and dance-friendly than The Difference Between Alone & Lonely, and the announcement promises reverb and swirling guitars too (as well as the usual fey lyrics); what more can you ask for?

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Dr. Michael Persinger of Laurentian University, Canada, has developed a magnetic helmet which stimulates religious and mystical experiences in the wearer. A BBC science series decided to put this to the test, choosing the ultimate test subject: militant atheist Richard Dawkins. The score: Dawkins:1, the God Helmet: 0.

Unfortunately, during the experiment, while Prof Dawkins had some strange experiences and tinglings, none of them prompted him to take up any new faith. "It was a great disappointment," he said. "Though I joked about the possibility, I of course never expected to end up believing in anything supernatural. But I did hope to share some of the feelings experienced by religious mystics when contemplating the mysteries of life and the cosmos."

This suggests that openness to religious experience is controlled by temporal lobe sensitivity (something Dawkins scored low on in a prior test), and that this may be genetic. Which suggests that susceptibility to religious belief could be partly genetic. (Though, obviously, not wholly; the environment would have to play a major role.) (via New World Disorder)

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Null Device handy home hints: Do you have a bunch of old IDE hard disks sitting around gathering dust and waiting to take their place in the landfill because they're too small to waste case real estate on? Well, here's how you can use them as removable storage, backup media, &c.

For this exercise, you'll need:

  • An external 5.25" USB/FireWire Mass Storage case:
    Note that it must be one of the 5.25" ones (i.e., wide enough to fit a CD-ROM or similar), not one of the smaller ones.
  • One or more mobile IDE hard disk racks.
  • Some old hard disks, as mentioned above.

Open the USB mass storage case and mount the outer tray of the rack where the CD-ROM unit would go, connecting all the necessary cables.

Then mount a hard disk in the inner tray.

Repeat for other hard disks and racks.

Voilà! Now you can access your old hard disks as USB Mass Storage devices, and swap between them. (Note that you should switch off the case before removing disks, otherwise your machine will have a fit. And if it doesn't work properly, make sure the hard disk is slotted in firmly before switching it on.)

If you have spare IDE device space, you can of course forgo the external USB case.

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