Nicodemus (nicodemusrat) wrote,

Misc Bits

Space News
the Messenger spacecraft is approaching Mercury. It will make three flybys of Mercury over the next couple of years before entering orbit for ongoing observations. This is our first return to the inner planet in 33 years!

On Mars, the Spirit rover just passed its four-year anniversary. (Earth years, that is.) Opportunity will soon pass the same mark. Though they have developed problems, they're both still actively exploring.

Also, it looks like a Mars collision won't happen. As I mentioned last time, the way the probability works is that it gets increasingly likely until it's finally determined that it will miss. (Except in cases where it actually will hit, of course.) So we won't get to see a dramatic planetary impact. This time.

Digital Music
It's now official: Sony will music sell on Amazon. This means Amazon will offer (inherently DRM-free) MP3s for sale from all four of the major labels. While there's a lot of great music not on the major labels, this is still huge from a marketing and philosophical point of view. It also maneuvers Amazon into an interesting position as a strategic market rival of Apple.

This is also a sharp about-face from earlier this week, when Sony announced the most convoluted way to sell MP3s. They plan to offer DRM-free tracks provided you go to a store selling their special cards, scratch off a code number, and then download one of only 37 albums available. WTF? I thought only the PS3 branch of the company management had contracted a terrible case of the stupids but it appears to be endemic.

Meanwhile, Swedish politicians are calling for filesharing legalization. They want to decriminalize it. Sadly, the US is moving the other direction, with the RIAA calling even personal fair use "unauthorized copying".

Futurama Fandom
In case you haven't heard, there's actually a new Futurama direct-release movie out, Bender's Big Score. The show was so popular in DVD sales that they decided to bring it back for a few encores, this being the first.

Futurama fans may remember that there was an episode where Bender decided to brew beer inside himself. An inspired fan has built a home Bender-replica brewing rig. Nice workmanship, too. (Of course, I still have to give a nod to tilt_longtail's Bender with working beer storage. Best costume adaptation, I think.)

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