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Had much fun chatting with a newly returned mycroftb and lazerus101 over in a quiet nook of the Lost Furest, in between sim crashes. ^_^ The ornj one had just been upgraded (but not in that way, though I would like to give that bit of avatar design a try), with some enhancements to the venerable Luskwood bunny. A really good time, spent chatting about many things culinary, and scripting/building possibilities and achievements. Okay, so I'm a bit of a food geek, so I found chatting about the wonders of balsamic vinegar and different styles of Bolognese sauce fun. Is that so wrong? =:)

"DRM as we know it is over." - Paul Birch, member of the executive committee and main board of the International Federation of Phonographic Institutes (IFPI) as well as the BPI Council and Chairs International. The day can't come too soon. All DRM ever accomplishes is penalising legitimate owners, restricting their use in various additional ways (only working on certain platforms, requiring the original disc be present, breaking after a certain OS version, never to be fixed as the company's long since gone, etc).

A report of free hugs in San Francisco. ^_^

Via orona_red, there's a petition (hosted, you'll notice, on the Prime Minister's subdomain) to remove the ban in the UK on blood donations by gay/bi people. Open to British citizens and residents.

I found this simultaneously encouraging and regrettable - heartening in that he'd come that far, yet only to find the power brokers against him. The Christian Coalition's new president elect, 'The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood's Northland, A Church Distributed, said Wednesday that the national group would not let him expand the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

This is the latest setback for the group founded in 1989 by religious broadcaster the Rev. Pat Robertson. Four states - Georgia, Alabama, Iowa and Ohio - have decided to split from the group over concerns its changing direction on issues like the minimum wage, the environment and Internet law instead of core issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative political group Jan. 1, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said. "They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base.'"'

Fun costuming project.. Cerberus is making a raccoon mask in the style of that Seeed video. ^_^ (Complete with LED eyes, of course)

An interesting look at how Asperger's Syndrome plays out positively in SL.

there's a petition (hosted, you'll notice, on the Prime Minister's subdomain) to remove the ban in the UK on blood donations by gay/bi people

I agree with the sentiments, and certainly support an end to the automatic ban, but I'm not all that convinced by the wording of this particular petition.

The report that came out from the Health Protection Agency the other day showed that the number of new cases of HIV in men who have sex with men was at its highest ever, that MSM make up 80% of the syphilis epidemic (yep, the HPA used that word) and that gonorrhoea was rising among MSM but falling among heterosexuals. Uncomfortable as it may be, there's considerable evidence that MSM are at greater risk overall.

Now, as I say, that doesn't affect my overall view that the outright ban is unfair. It just means that I have some difficulty with some of the supporting text to this particular petition. (And it also used "your" when it meant "you're", which is unforgivable on something that actually matters!)
Here, I feel, we're at modest risk of not seeing the woods for the trees - the matter distills to whether or not an automatic ban is justified, and we're in agreement, it seems, that it isn't.

I'll be wanting to follow this story, I think. Such a ban is wretchedly unfair, not to mention a terrible waste, considering the degree of need the service sometimes has in times of urgent demand. But petitions are all too easily ignored - even large scale demonstrations can be brushed aside, as we saw in the run-up to Bush's decision to invade Iraq regardless of the country's irrelevance in the WTC attacks, or in international terrorism in general. Still, both would seem essential components of a healthy democracy.

I might even be able to overlook the misplaced possessive, though it will be difficult. Perhaps I can mask its presence by re-reading this particular example of mangling of the English language, not to mention pummeling the precepts of logic.
I didn't even read the More Details bit. I really should look before I leap.

So France accepts gay blood but not British blood, eh?
Actually I've already written to the government myself protesting at the automatic ban: your description of the ban as "wretchedly unfair" is absolutely accurate. In any case, I'm banned from donating blood myself because of being epileptic, something I (and my GP) believe is unfair, so I suppose you could say I have a personal interest in the subject in that sense.

My point, which I didn't get across too well in my initial reply, is that if you're petitioning on a subject like this, it's really important to stay focused on the precise matter in hand. Drifting off to one side a bit as seems to have happened with this petition gives an obvious get-out for the govt, since they can attack those bits and ignore the main point. And the easy one in this petition is the implication that heterosexuals are at no less risk of having infected blood than gay/bi people... which in many cases is not actually true.

It's a bit like in the Commons, where MPs persist in asking long-winded, multi-claused questions that can easily be wriggled out of by (prime) ministers, where a simple "X is unfair because of Y. What are you going to do about it?" would be a lot harder to escape. In other words (and I'm a fine one to say this!) don't waffle in the supporting text, because it makes your point easier to ignore.
Its good to hear DRM getting its deserved comeuppance. Rusty was always assuring me that it was doomed due to consumer rejection.

As for the blood service...I doubt the ban will be there much longer anyway. I do work for GUM on occasion, and they are more concerned about blood borne infection in hetrosexuals nowadays.
Of course, what people now need to be careful of is what other schemes such industry bodies may have in mind - but, if his prediction is indeed born out, I'll be very happy indeed to see pragmatism win the day. That said, I do remain sceptical - I fully expect HD-DVD and Blu-Ray to press ahead with their much stronger DRM. Another couple years, and the HD format players will be at the same commodity levels we see existing DVD players at, whereupon production will shift towards the newer formats, and away from DVD. Will the newer formats be as easily broken as DVD's CSS was? (Bear in mind the pivotal point there wasn't the encryption scheme so much as the leaked key from Xing Networks) I much prefer playing video from the hard drive than DVDs, as I can have a considerable collection with me without the need to carry around the physical discs (less to forget on the train, f'rex), as well as the lower power consumption with no need to keep a disc spun up, and the lack of drive noise.

That's good to hear on the bloody front too. =:) I should educate myself on the issue more, in particular who will wind up actually making the decision, and thus where people might most usefully direct their efforts.
I have never had any problem with the idea of being unable to transfer copyrighted data from one person to another. But I feel thats the only acceptable way of locking it down. To the PERSON, not the equipment. I suspect the REAL reason why the BPI favour locking copyrighted information down to equipment is that it more or less emasculates fair use copying of data between devices that are owned by the person who purchased the data.

It also more or less means that people who upgrade their equipment have to either buy the data again or jump through hoops.

They have NEVER liked the idea of the consumer being in control, and DRM was a way of realising their deepest, darkest dreams.

As for the blood thing, the evidence that the safe sex message has "got through" to the gay community seems to be contradicted by Loganberry's cited post. It could be that just the Wakefield area is area is experiencing a rise in hetrosexually transmitted infection, or the statistics could be flawed in some day. I get all my information from a Doctor that I know, so I cannot say for sure.
That was me by the way.
Thanks - I reposted that petition. I can't sign it, of course, but I hope folks I know who live in the UK will. :)

An end to DRM would be nice, too, although I share the concerns of the author of the article - the major labels, as well as the media mafia (*AA etc.), will still try to fuck us over, milk us for every penny they can get from us, and try to keep independent labels and artists down so we'll all spend our money on the latest Bitchney Spears album instead. :P They'll think of new ways to do so, of course, but we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that they learnt anything fundamental.

Ah well. :P
It might be interesting to find out what the blood situation is across EU members - it seems like an area worth applying uniform standards across the territory, given AIDS is no more or less lethal to people of particular nationalities, though there is that intriguing line of research indicating a lower risk of STD infection where circumcision's been performed.

Indeed, dropping DRM would be something of a sea change in the stance adopted by the RIAA (et al) - I'm still wary of any broad proclamation like that, but, there's the chance they're finally catching on. After all, a movie only needs one person in the entire world to rip their DVD, and the file can spread around the world - what's the sense in subjecting everyone to measures that will, with as solid a guarantee as this life can ever offer, be circumvented? CDs have no copy protection, yet plenty of people still buy them. DVDs may as well have none, and they still sell massively. Whether publishers like it or not, we are in an age of shareware - people can obtain any such works for free, and they will pay for those they can. Nobody begrudges the creators their due, after all. (Which is another reason I support digital distribution - I'd far sooner spend $3 on a digital comic - I'd read it on the screen, but a sensible resolution PDF could be printed out easily, for those with a preference for paper - where virtually all the money goes to the publisher and creator, than $4-5 with much of it going to the printer instead. And then there's the joy of postage costs, especially if international)

Britney Spears, constantly demonstrating the sanctity of marriage, as so-called "social conservatives" love to pound home in their opposition to gay couples being fully recognised. (Mind, I did see one set of such bigots - in Ohio, I think - note that they should make divorce much more difficult)
Hmm... interesting. I suppose being circumsised might make it easier to clean your bits, so you'd have less of a chance of contracting something...?

But yeah, finding out about how other countries handle this would be worthwhile, I think. I'm not sure about Germany, but I do know that the local university (where I used to donate blood) had a question on their questionnaire asking whether you're a member of a "high risk group", which was defined to include, among other things, gay people (men, at least - I'm not sure about lesbians). They didn't even ask about your sex life, just about whether you were gay or not.

Given that I was a virgin back then, I freely admit that I lied a couple of times: my identification as such doesn't make a difference, and if I never had sex at all, I refuse to let myself get labelled "high risk" because of it.

The whole thing's really stupid, anyway, I think. I'm not sure how blood donations are handled, but I cannot imagine that they don't routinely screen them for HIV and other STDs, anyway - can you imagine the outcry if someone contracted HIV from a blood donation and it turned out that the blood wasn't tested? Given that, I'm sure that they test the blood, anyway, so the whole "no gays because they might have HIV" thing is just a smokescreen. In reality, it's probably either about an anti-gay bias (less likely, or so I hope at least) or an attempt to avoid the extra work that would be wasted if a donation turns out to be unusable.

But then, if it's only about the extra work, it absolutely *would* make sense to ask "do you engage in risky sexual activities" or so rather than "are you gay"...

As for DRM, yes, you're absolutely right: the bad guys only need to circumvent it once, anywhere in the world, and that's it. It's a fight the labels can't win, and maybe they're realising that. (On a side note, there's also another question: many jurisdictions, including Germany, explicitely *permit* private sharing of music, movies etc. with friends, and all media sold as well as all devices like DVD players and all movies/music CDs/... carry a levy that's automatically forwarded to the *AA equivalents. Given that the labels etc. are thus already being compensated for the private copying that occurs, how can one justify making it illegal (with DMCA-style laws) or impossible (with DRM)?)

But you're right. There's already technologies like print-on-demand books (for those who still prefer to have dead-tree editions rather than PDFs), and there's services like iTunes etc.; there's the Internet and all that, and I'm actually not really sure why we still need the media cartels at all. They may have been useful in an age where distributing content was difficult, but nowadays, there's no reason why consumers shouldn't or couldn't directly interact with the artists (possibly mediated by services such as iTunes that are merely facilitating access, just like banks facilitate the flow of money without being directly involved with most of the transactions conducted through them).

The only ones who have something to lose are the major labels (specifically, upper management with large salaries or others who make lots of money off of the current situation), the *AAs (which would become completely irrelevant), and talentless homunculi like Bitchney Spears who only became rich and famous because of the labels' marketing machinery.

Most artists (specifically, those who actually care about music etc.) would win, though, as would consumers.
When, SL time, are you usually around?
Difficult to predict, really - depends how well I slept on a given day (the horde is often not quiet in the mornings), and how peaceful or otherwise things are in the evening. But while it could be anywhere from around 8am-10pm Pacific, I suppose I'd be more likely around 1-6pm Pacific.

Having said that, I might well pop on in a moment. ^_^
Not a big fan of Lux Avs, Shit to mod

I'm planning on working on my own AVs in the New year
Mm, mycroftb wound up with a tricky point, where he couldn't easily tweak the area around the eyes, without affecting the eyes themselves. But the new version apparently has some nice augmentations, including the ability to swivel the ears to certain positions, and save those in one of three slots in a HUD. That's the kind of thing I'd love to see in The Ultimate OMGWTFBBQ Bunny Av, given how central to lapine body language ears are. (Of course, the SL client UI could use a lot of work in that department, so additional input devices could be used. It'd be wonderful to see on-the-fly animations, too, so someone could maybe gesture from their hand to someone's shoulder, and have the walk over to that person and placing your hand on their shoulder be carried out without having to first upload or acquire a specific animation for that action)

I'll want to see how those turn out! It's certainly an area that holds interest for me too - of course, my species focus would be slightly different. =:) I may well start on the basics now, given I've discovered the old location of where I used to live is (well, actually, just next to it, I think) open, and it's a pleasantly quiet area.. I could probably concentrate fairly well there, until I can get something permanent sorted out. Might even go for that specific spot, despite it being part of the massive Anshe Chung combine.
Bugs the hell out of me theres no decent Rat AV [Tried making my Kakera chara using the Lux Rat, but you can't enlarge the head, looks shit with Human Head hair removed etc] so that'l be my 1st full scratch build

Make a Giant [As in GIANT !] Panda AV using a 5m off the ground script and tinkering with Minis and a Quad too [Theres NO Bear Quads out there so I'm modding a Jakkal one]

Been busy making Thanksgiving and Xmas stuff on SL lately, so AV building will prob be in the new year like I said
ISTR marko_the_rat eventually went for Ninja Weasel's rat, and mixed'n'matched a bit - not a bad appearance overall, but more certainly couldn't hurt. You might consider making an otter, too, given there's quite few of them around, and none really all that ottery, with those short legs.

How does it work with quads? I understand something like my bunnies are essentially head & paws on top of a shrunken bipedal mannequin - presumably there's a choice of basic mannequin types an av can specify? (I'd like to try making a good My Little Pony =:)
It was a bit disconcerting to check my mail and get a message from the Bunny Upgrade Server. "Oh no! I'm due for recertification! Seven exams, lots of books, and I never can get my ears up high enough for the testers.. damndamnda- oh! SL. Ok.."

And of course, all the mods I've made to the previous edition don't carry over. WHAM! "ACK! I'm.. I'm CUTE!!! (whimper)"
Is it possible for a bunny to not be cute, though? Seems rather like the problem Red always faced around Halloween - just how do you make a toony red panda even vaguely menacing?

Ooh, awkward point with mods not being carried over.. would be good if there were some way of making a collection of modifications into a single "delta" pack, which one could then apply to a later version. It might not always work out perfectly, depending on how extensive the changes were, but a macro function like that could be handy. Still, I'd take arbitrary on-the-fly animations first.

(Not strictly true, of course. I'd take an RL mod into a form like that first)
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Indeed, your tummy's very cute now. =:)

Plungerfeet. *giggle* Love it - accurate, though.. they did have a bit of a Bender feel to them, though cute nonetheless.

if prim attachments take their sweet time rezzing in

Ahh, the sims knew you might try that. I recently encountered this, apparently their response to such thoughts:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

I'll have to think about mix'n'match - I quite like the heftier NWS paws, as they feel appropriate for a snowshoe hare. Mind, I would like to make up some hooves, just for the fun of it. =:) The tail, though, I would like to play with.. I'd like to see what I could come up with using flexiprims plus supporting inflexibles. Maybe a degree of fluffiness, though maybe not to the extent Lazerus has used, adorable as that one is. ^_^
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Indeed. Quite a neat look, really.. the Cheshire Bunny, anyone? =:)