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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.

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.