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- TIMES front-page headline, Mon 2000-08-14
...develop new hobbies, use net less, make more friends their own age
>> HARD NEWS <<
calls of Cthulhus
No news in August, so we had planned to make this a special
"literary" summer special, prompted by next week's Iain M
Banks tour for his new novel (called "Return To Widdershins",
or something). Unfortunately, the only book we actually got
round to reading was HP Lovecraft's re-released THE CALL OF
CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES (Penguin, UKP7.99), whose dank
imaginings so afflicted our well-being that we resolved,
without delay, to record the week's events in the fashion of
the Lovecraftian mythos. The first portent was not slow in
coming: on Friday, a Kansas couple consecrated the life of
their first-born to a .com, bestowing upon him the unearthly
moniker of IUMA - signature of that dread fraternity, the
Internet Underground Music Archive. In eerie synchronicity,
NTK acolyte Paddy Smith then alerted us to the SOCIETY OF
KABALARIANS, who offer numerological assistance in selecting a
name to "harmonize with [your] child's inner potential".
"Iuma" isn't in their database yet, although Smith reports:
"Idly, I tried the names of my favourite Old Ones", eliciting
a response that shocked his very being: "As CTHULHU, you have
a natural interest in the welfare of your fellow man, and a
desire to help and serve others in a humanitarian way. You are
responsible and generous, although somewhat scattering and
disorganized at times." "Thanks to the insights of Kabalarian
Philosophy," Smith gibbers, "I now see how Cthulhu's well-
meaning though disorganized attempts to help might have come
across as manifestations of an ancient, hideous, evil."
- goes on to warn of "A tendency to overeat"
- hey, it's better than "Zowie Bowie" or "Moon Unit Zappa"
- "It is a Culture story and Iain is 'very happy' with it"
Continuing the salutary lessons in the Power of Naming, Katie
".com" Jones writes to correct our story last week. "What we
(katie.com) did was ask them [Penguin] to pull [the book] and
re-name it. Not to do a deal", she insists. "NOT TO DO A
DEAL", the walls of the NTK office echo, mournfully. But,
despite her incantations, the publishers of the forbidden tome
still remain silent. Katie warns, unless she hears from the
Orange Catalogue with the Thousand Editions, she'll be
attempting the dangerous Rite of Litigation within the lunar
month. And she gathers strength from many letters of support
she has received: "Even as a Linux user," writes one devotee,
"I am horrified to see the Penguin [dragged] through the mud
in this fashion. It is a quite noble animal." Noble, but who
knows what powers it has drawn from those icy wastes?
- come not in that form!
And finally, that fiendish sect known as AMAZON have been
raising authors from the dead. Gentleman truth-seekers THE
REGISTER have been investigating certain manifestations for
some time, pressing the book-merchants for details of the
purported "security checks" intended to prevent any n'er-do-
well from impostering as a respected man of letters on their
"comments" pages. It seems these safeguards may be but another
of the Amazonians' notorious fictions; surely even a cursory
check of breathing, or pulse, or brain activity would indicate
whether the original author had, for instance, been dead for
- 45 years ago, in the case of Albert Einstein
- or 119, for Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- cleaning up that "tombstone" interface
- one bankruptcy at a time
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
terrible "dressing up as Lara Croft" ads maybe not such a good
idea: http://www.urwired.com - urFALCO'd!... HARRY POTTER fans
also buy "Stairway to Hell : The Well Planned Destruction of
Teens": http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0937958301/ ...
company called "Rapid Insure" running CONCORDE competition:
http://www.f-secure.com/ shares logo of http://www.drevil.com/
... Kids Who Threaten Are Likely To Be Violent, study shows:
Ever Replace The China-Man?" http://www.192.com/2000er.cfm
(Chinese government could now have a complete copy of the UK
Electoral Roll - then again, how much worse than a credit
agency can the Chinese Government be?)... not much progress
since Feb 2000: http://www.ericsson.se/jambala ... US AIR
FORCE experimenting with gigantic, building-sized modems:
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
You've posted your nomination forms - and cheques for hundreds
of pounds - to the Interactive BAFTAs (deadline next Fri), and
you've pre-registered for this year's ECTS (which holds its
ungodly opening on Sun 2000-09-03). If NTK (or Mini-NTK, or
whatever the hell it is) is even more bizarrely delayed than
usual over the next few weeks, it may well be because we're
trying to mail it out from the BURNING MAN "temporary art
community" in Nevada's Black Rock Desert (from 2000-08-28), an
"experiment in radical self-expression" which, pioneeringly,
charges punters $200 to hang around their great big patch of
nothing (in their defence, it's kind of like Glastonbury, but
with the ever-present threat of death by dehydration instead
of the bands). Of course, if you wish to know true terror,
there's always the West Coast GEEK PRIDE FESTIVAL (sometime
around 2000/09/16, precise "San Francisco" location TBA) or,
for the real hardcore "extreme O/S advocacy" fans, WARPSTOCK
2000 (downtown Philadelphia, from 2000-09-09), uniting "some
of the most prominent people of today's OS/2 community".
- then they charge you another UKP100 to attend the awards
- to feature "new video" of Metal Gear Solid 2
- why don't they just build their "city" and stay out there?
- free, because "you shouldn't have to pay to hear Jon Katz"
- lots of streams (that's pre-emptive multi-tasking for you)
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
Those who ignore their browser history are condemned to repeat
it - and none more so than the otherwise ideologically pure
text-mode browser users, traditionally stuck with bookmark-
handling that's almost as fiddly and time-consuming as those
decadent GUI Web clients. Thank goodness, then, for the
uncompromising "Shell Users' Revolutionary Front Rage Against
the Web". Their array of little mini-scripts call up the
repetitively useful bits of HTTP from the shell prompt, with
command line parameters replacing those niggly on-line forms.
The collection includes google, deja, linuxdoc, newscientist,
and for those who like all-fresh physics abstract action,
"xxx" for the dirty, dirty arXiv archive. It's not perfect: if
you're using a text-browser to avoid all those irritating
adverts, for example, the suite's frequent exhortations about
supporting the Front's efforts may prove a little counter-
productive. And at the risk of spawning yet another splinter
group, the routines do tend to throw you into your text
browser to peruse your results, instead of doing the Right
Thing, which would be to re-format and pipe the answers to
stdout for future grinding. But we imagine implementing that
is a historical inevitability.
- more tee?
- robots beware!
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
proving not *all* LARA CROFT fans are couch potato obsessives:
RUSSIAN SUBMARINE debacle disproves "Hunt For Red October"
claim - "It's a rescue sub, we can fly it anywhere in the
world in 12 hours"... BIG BROTHER grooming replacement
contestant (ideally less devious, unable to read or write)?:
http://www.portalofevil.com/eatme.shtml throws down gauntlet
to ENTIRE BRITISH ISLES... so, do THINKGEEK come round and
administer http://www.word.com/habit/enema/ in person?... life
imitates CHRIS MORRIS: http://www.wayne-kerr.co.uk/ ... E-CARD
site turns to dark side: http://www.hellos.com/about.html ...
interesting test-case for your workplace surfwatch filters:
proving BRITNEY paid attention in class in "Baby One More
Time" video: http://britneyspears.ac/lasers.htm ... no
TVGoHome this week, or we'd have submitted "BIG SUBBER - a
bunch of Russian conscripts get trapped in a submarine, and a
UK studio audience hears pleas from their families before
voting on which ones get rescued"...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> like Network 7 never went away, new live riot FRONTAL
(12midnight, Fri, C4) promises shouting presenters, "banned"
pop videos, no-holds-barred cybersex, and website reviews by
MTV's James Hyman who, we believe, emailed NTK's near-sentient
admin software back in October 1999 with the plaintive command
line "Add me to your list please"... Roobarb and Custard -
ner-ner-ner-ner, ner-ner-ner-ner, ner-ner-ner NER - present I
LOVE 1974 (8.55pm, Sat, BBC2)... C4 counters with "Sex and
Disability" night, incorporating Lars Von Trier's on-screen
penetration spazz-fest THE IDIOTS (11.35pm, Sat, C4), and
delicately introduced by HEROES OF COMEDY: BENNY HILL (9pm,
Sat, C4)... tough call against craggy Clint Eastwood/ Gene
Hackman Western UNFORGIVEN (10.50pm, Sat, ITV), and Heather
Locklear's superhero semi-spoof THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING
(10.50pm, Sat, C5), followed by John Sayles' hard-hitting
baseball politics EIGHT MEN OUT (12.25am, Sat, C5)... in
another unexpected quality vs cheap nudity table-turning, it's
C5 who are showing BUGSY (9pm, Sun, C5) and C4 SIRENS (9pm,
Sun, C4)... but things are back to normal later in the week,
as BLAST (9pm, Wed, C5) features *both* Rutger Hauer and
Linden "Mortal Kombat" Ashby, while U.S. SEALS (9pm, Thu, C5)
appears to be a low-rent knock-off of Michael Biehn's "Navy
Seals", if such a thing is possible... sounding a bit like
Sky's old extreme sports slot, GRAVITY GAMES (6.45pm, Mon-Fri,
BBC2) nonetheless broadcasts from Providence, Rhode Island -
watch out for the team from Miskatonic University... Susan
Greenfield grapples with the notion that so-called
"consciousness" (or "free will") somehow arises from physical
processes (!) in BRAIN STORY (9pm, Tue, BBC2 - last in
series)... while Jamie Theakston's PHONES, ROBBERS AND
VIDEOTAPE (10.15pm, Wed, BBC1) has oddly failed to fuel lynch-
mob outrage against people who steal from telcos since it last
aired last December...
FILM>> you'd have to be a pretty big fan - well, aren't you? -
to be disappointed with the X MEN (http://www.capalert.com :
exclusion of Creation in favor of the theory of evolution;
cleverly ambiguous suggestion of support to the alternate
lifestyle movement; numerous "miraculous healings" maybe lent
a bit of discomfort for those who love Jesus; [ability] to
control the weather. Even Satan does not have that power -
compare and contrast with http://www.mutantwatch.com ). For
instance, no-one seems to have pointed out it's more closely
based on the "X Factor" era of Marvel continuity... the spirit
of mutagenic experimentation goes on to infest all this week's
other releases: improvised, multi-stranded split-screen DVC
"Rope"/ "The Player" hybrid TIMECODE (http://www.screenit.com
: Saffron [Deep Blue Sea] Burrows plays Alex's mostly
estranged wife who snorts coke and wants out of their marriage
and seemingly gets involved with Cherine) - cast also includes
Jeanne "Waterworld" Tripplehorn, Salma "From Dusk Till Dawn"
Hayek, Kyle "Dune Guy" MacLachlan, but in the end you'd rather
see them film the pitch about the time-travelling toilet... as
some sort of weird prequel to the Farrelly's split-personality
slapsticker "Me, Myself And Irene" comes "Sliding Doors"-style
alternate reality ME, MYSELF, I (http://www.cndb.com : Nude
appearances by: Rachel [Hilary And Jackie] Griffiths, David
Roberts, Sandy Winton) - not based around the De La Soul tune
of nearly the same name... while terrifyingly atmospheric
limited-release death-by-movie Videodrome rip-off RING
(Classification: Hong Kong:IIB / Singapore:PG) has been
renamed from the original Japanese title, "Ringu", presumably
in case kids thought it was a feature-length version of
"Pingu", the animated penguin...
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
happened last week or might happen next week. You can read it
on Friday afternoon or print it out then take it home if you have
nothing better to do. It is compiled by NTK from stuff they get sent.
Registered at the Post Office as
"rich, sweet flavour with a hint of acidity"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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