Study: P2P effect on legal music sales “not statistically distinguishable from zero”

Little of my day is spent watching TV or even reading online now because of the obscene amounts of time I spend without an internet connection. But when I do manage a few minutes of spare time and a WIFI connection, my Google homepage is customized with all kinds of RSS feeds. When I got to my homepage, this JUMPED out at me from Slashdot. Having watched the RIAA cry for many years now and try and convict everyone from an 80 y/o grandfather to a 9 y/o girl, I wonder what their motivation truly is. What is the possibility that this could finally open the RIAA’s beady little eyes (with green dollar signs) to the fact that the reason their cd’s aren’t selling/shipping is cause they put out crap?

Nonsensical laws: Not just for gays anymore

With enough signatures from Washington voters, Initiative 957 might be the next Defense of Marriage proposition to be put to voters next election. If passed by Washington voters, I-957 would:

  • add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage
  • require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled
  • require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as “unrecognized;”
  • establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and
  • make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits

If the Washington State supreme court can deny same-sex partners marriage rights on the basis of being unable to biologically procreate, then it’s only logical that all couples who can’t have kids be denied those benefits also, right?

I wouldn’t be surprised if it were, but this proposition isn’t sponsored by some fundie Christian group. It’s being put forth by the gay-rights group WA-DOMA to highlight the hypocrisy of the Supreme Court ruling and indeed of all “defense of marriage” laws around the country. The initiative has no chance of passing, of course, but if it gets on the ballot the point is made. And (to paraphrase a commenter on Slog), if hell freezes over and it does get on the ballot and pass then it will just have to be declared unconstitutional … along with the gay-marriage ban. So sign on!

(Thanks to Carol for the tip.)

Beautiful World

My Aunt Helen in Australia sent me this amazing picture. Her words say it all:

Hi there friends, what a sensational planet!! How lucky are we…..this was taken on AUSTRALIA DAY 2007!

Fireworks, Lightning, Sunset, a Comet, and the greatest of Aussie icons, the Beach all in one image.

In addition to the obvious features in the photo, look between the two displays of lighting up the sky to see the third – McNaught’s Comet.

The photo was taken just north of Hillary’s Marina (W.A.), which you can see the harbour wall on the left with fireworks being launched.

Click on the thumbnail for the full glory, and happy (belated) Australia Day!

McNaught Comet, Australia Day

Update: The photographer is Antti Kemppainen, and according to the feature on Astronomy Picture of the Day, the photo is actually a montage of three separate photos to create the panorama.

Conan beats Serena at Wii Tennis

This is a great clip. Conan O’Brian challenges Australian Open champion Serena Williams to a match of Wii Tennis … and wins!

Wii Sports certainly seems to bring the best out of unlikely candidates. First Jay beats me at boxing, Paulette beats Matt at bowling … and now this! Seriously though, I think this has been a key aspect of the success of the Wii. Jay and I never played competitive Xbox together very much, because I play it more and in most games it’s how much you’ve played — as opposed to innate skill — that determine who wins. But with the Wii, you don’t need to have had experience at the video game to play well, just familiarity with the game itself. That’s why so many people who’ve never played a video game before are getting into the Wii: it’s fun to play with others.