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The Royal Mint gets with the program

They’ve just unveiled their new designs over at the royal mint – the result of a big competition. The winning designs are by Matthew Dent from London England. The resulting coinage doesn’t look too bad though they may look dated before long. They should have been producing coins like this twenty or thirty years ago. Should coinage look timeless? What of tradition – is it over rated? Never the less, the designs are nice so congratulations Matthew.

Socio-Capitalist Segregation Manifest

Deputydog has a good post going now about the rich-poor urban zone divide and photographs of it’s manifestation. One of the best parts is the comparison of the size of a tennis court (pictured) to the size of the low-income housing just over the wall from said court. Sao Paolo isn’t alone in this phenomenon though. It exists in varying degrees of contrast in just about any capitalist urbanity. This collection of photos is hardly comprehensive. One wonders what fruit an open call for submissions based on this theme would reveal.

Italy and the ecology of casual fridays

The Italian health ministry wants businesses (in Italy at least) to ease up on the dress code a bit. The reasoning here is that they think that if people dress more casually (read: comfortably) they won’t need to waste as much energy to compensate for the discrepancy between formality and comfort. If you can dress for comfort then maybe you won’t need as much air conditioning for instance. This seems to make sense. They’re starting with neckties claiming that taking off neckties lowers the body temperature by two or three degrees which means theoretically you will need two or three degrees less worth of air conditioning. For some reason tie makers are being particularly petulant about it.

Prius people posing presents possible problem

This is possibly a tough thing to realize but it turns out that most people buying a Prius hybrid automobile do so because of the statement it makes about them and how it makes that statement. It is a kind of status symbol. In lieu of actually having a conscience it is in fact more important to these people to feel like their piers believe they have a conscience and are responsible humans. Sadly only a quarter of the people buying a Prius do so for lower emissions. This is not nessecarally sad news except when you think about the inevitable spin car manufacturers will give this data while they refuse to quickly adopt strict emissions and lifecycle policies for their products. You just know that instead of actually making vehicles lower emissions, they will simply make the cars make a louder statement about the ‘green’ qualities of both the cars and owners. The second most popular reason to the statement factor is ‘other (including business incentives, etc.)’ which begs the question as to why these businesses are offering these incentives in the first place.

If people want to adopt more ecologically sustainable practices because its en vogue, thats fine, whatever their motives it is still part of a solution so long as these practices continue to be the norm for them once the fickle lens of fashion and politics has moved on. Maybe these people will inadvertently become educated to the maters at hand as a result. Maybe they will like their attention so much that they adopt a totally sustainable lifestyle. Please go feed a prius owner with some positive attention and punish depletists with some negative attention and a hurtful social stigma. Doing so will surely encourage the prius owners to adopt more similar choices, however misguidedly, and will also actively discourage others from continuing laissez-faire thus curbing potential spin from big-auto.

Cola wars indeed

John Ukec Lueth Ukec, the Sudaneese ambasador to the USA has indirectly suggested that unless economic sanctions are lifted off Sudan that he will cut off 80% of the world’s supply of gum arabic , putting a stranglehold on our reserves of Coca-Cola (and other soft drinks). He even used a bottle of Coca-Cola as a prop! Product placement, dare we ask? While its not likely that people will choose genocide over thirst, you can see where he is going with this one . Interesting gambit although Dana Milbank could report on it with a bit more of a serious demeanor considering people are actually dying over this.

Reactionary Retractions

Its been shown repeatedly (though never with satisfying reliability) that Canada is a breeding ground for movie pirates, with some claiming that Canada is responsible for at least half of all movie piracy. Like with most piracy conversations, lots of numbers and facts are getting tossed about but there is little effort but towards interpreting the information or evaluating the specifics of how it is gathered to determine exactly what it could mean.

Warner Brothers has recently announced that they are going to ban previews of their movies in Canada in an attempt to curb piracy. There seems to be so many things wrong with this stance that it just ends up seeming superficial and futile. It is really disappointing to see such a large media powerhouse flail it’s arms so helplessly.

One of the many facets of disappointment available here is that if Canada is, in fact, so responsible for movie piracy, that it probably indicates that Canada is really interested in movies and thus a potentially ideal market to tap. They really need to go back to basics and start making things people love and present it to them in the way that people want. This move by Warner Brothers is unfortunately symptomatic of flawed thinking by the industry as a whole.

Credit Card Statement Drawings

Kate is drawing all her credit card statements by hand. It looks like she is having fun doing it. You will probably have fun checking them out. Nice attention to detail Kate. One wonders if this makes her more aware and mindful of her role in consumer culture.

Cash for organs may be best

The British Medical Journal is often full of surprises. This time the latest shocker is that they are publishing a piece arguing that people ought to be paid for ‘donating’ their organs.   The piece argues that if the government can regulate the economy of the live human organ market that they can curb the existing black market for contraband organs which is the hidden reality in many parts of the world. There are some interesting arguments raised but this is really a cursory look at an issue for the sole purpose of raising counterpoints in the ongoing debate. To do this subject justice we must open up a larger and more comprehensive discussion than the BMJ can offer.

Big Bad Bullys Ban Beck’s Beats

Chartmakers in the UK have banned Beck’s latest effort from ranking up in their eyes. Is his music too ccontroversial? No. They are actually banning him because his CD is packaged with an added DVD featuring videos stickers and helps his fans create their own artwork. Who knew that giving the fans more content and attempting to embrace new business models could result in exclusion from your peirs. It really is amazing the music industry has lasted as long as it has.

Day against DRM

Tomorrow, October 3rd is the global day for anti-DRM action. We’re sure to see lots of interesting goings on with regards to protesting and educating the public about DRM issues. Check out if anything is going on in your city and if there isn’t then maybe you can take some initiative. Odds are you already circumvent DRM without realizing it so get educated on the issue and take a stand before you lose all control of your media. Some of the positions being taken are trite piracy-advocacy but the issue goes beyond that and explores the consumer’s right to use materials they own in the ways they prefer without being locked.

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