The Null Device
A Reg piece on the Microsoft/Intel/AMD "Palladium" DRM/security system in development, and how it could kill the GPL. Basically, to work with DRM content and the "trusted" hardware, binaries and kernels will need to be certified, which makes the whole idea of open source useless. (You can compile your own, but it won't work, as it won't be certified.)
An article putting forward the case that sweatshops are good for the third world, that the alternatives are much worse, and that anti-sweatshop campaigns, run by well-meaning humanitarians, do more harm than good for the conditions of third world workers.
Nike used to have two contract factories in impoverished Cambodia, among the neediest countries in the world. Then there was an outcry after BBC reported that three girls in one factory were under 15 years old. So Nike fled controversy by ceasing production in Cambodia. The result was that some of the 2,000 Cambodians (90 percent of them young women) who worked in those factories faced layoffs. Some who lost their jobs probably were ensnared in Cambodia's huge sex slave industry -- which leaves many girls dead of AIDS by the end of their teenage years.
I've heard this argument before from "free trade" advocates pointing out how daft the Nu Marxists are. How much truth is there in it?
(Of course, this is separate from the issue of whether there is such a thing as a "free market", or whether what they call "free trade" is not just a way for the US/EU/&c to push smaller economies around.)
An interesting interview with Christian Saville, former guitarist from Slowdive (and, mercifully, not involved in any sort of alt-country/early-70s-AM-radio-easy-listening act), talking about the rise and fall of Slowdive, the crap state of popular music today, those unreleased Slowdive demos floating around, and his new band, Monster Movie (which is probably more interesting than Mojave 3 anyway). (via the Avalyn list)
The funniest thing I saw recently was on Travis' website, the very first screen you see has photos of their Brit Awards on. That sums the "big" UK bands up. It is revolting. The music is way down the list of priorities for these guys. I don't have a problem with bands getting famous, but some of the bands from Britain right now seem content to be as ordinary, unadventurous, and inoffensive as possible. As for the mercury prize, I don't understand it - it seems like its only function is for Record Company execs to try to seem like they are trendy and for irratating bands to mouth off about how innovative they are for bothering to do an album once every 2 or 3 years. Any award that can list previous winners as M People is totally worthless. I don't want to sound like a moaning bastard, there is plenty going on that I really like. The internet is great for hearing bands. I guess the thing is you have to look a little harder for the interesting things than you did perhaps 10 years ago. I really love 'Yo La Tengo', and 'Stereolab' and they are still around.
Yes. Too bad those RIAA fuckers have been determinedly shutting down all possible sources of interesting music on the Internet (from AudioGalaxy to web radio), one by one.