New Piracy-Proof Music Format

Music bosses have unveiled a revolutionary new recording format that they hope will help win the war on illegal file sharing, which is thought to be costing the music industry millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Nicknamed ‘Record’, the new format takes the form of a black, vinyl disc measuring 12 inches in diameter, which must be played on a specially designed ‘turntable’.

“We can state with absolute certainty that no computer in the world can access the data on this disc,” said spokesman Brett Campbell. “We are also confident that no-one is going to be able to produce pirate copies in this format without going to a heck of a lot of trouble. This is without doubt the best anti-piracy invention the music industry has ever seen.”

As part of the invention’s rigorous testing process, the designers gave some discs to a group of teenage computer experts who regularly use file swapping software  and who admit to pirating music.

Despite several days of trying, none of them were able to hack into the disc’s code or access any of the music files contained within it.

“It’s like, really big and stiff,” said Doug Williams, one of the testers. “I couldn’t get it into any of my drives. I mean, what format is it? Is it, like, from France or something?”

In the new format, raw audio data in the form of music is encoded by physically etching grooves onto the vinyl disc. The sound is thus translated into variations on the disc’s surface in a process that industry insiders are describing as ‘completely revolutionary’ and ‘stunningly clever.’

To decode the data stored on the disc, the listener must use a special player which contains a ‘needle’ that runs along the grooves on the record surface, reading the indentations and transforming the movements back into audio that can be fed through loudspeakers.

Even Shawn Fanning, the man who invented Napster, admits the new format will make file swapping much more difficult. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” he told reporters. “How does it work?

As rumors that a Taiwanese company has been secretly developing a 12-inch wide, turntable-driven, needle-based, FireWire drive remain unconfirmed, it would appear that the music industry may, at last, have found the pirate-proof format it has long been searching for.

Dolly Parton’s Buddy Program

In 1990, the high school dropout rate for Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevierville Tennessee was at 34% (Research shows that most kids make up their minds in fifth/sixth grade not to graduate).

That year, all fifth and sixth graders from Sevierville were invited by Parton to attend an assembly at Dollywood. They were asked to pick a buddy, and if both students completed high school, Dolly Parton would personally hand them each a $500 check on their graduation day. As a result, the dropout rate for those classes fell to 6% and has generally retained that average to this day.

Shortly after the success of The Buddy Program, Parton learned in dealing with teachers from the school district that problems in education often begin during first grade when kids are at different developmental levels. That year The Dollywood Foundation paid the salaries for additional teacher assistants in every first-grade class for the next 2 years, under the agreement that if the program worked, the school system would effectively adopt and fund the program after the trial period.

During the same period, Parton founded the Imagination Library in 1995: The idea being that children from her rural hometown and low-income families often start school at a disadvantage and as a result, will be unfairly compared to their peers for the rest of their lives, effectively encouraging them not to pursue higher education.

The objective of the Imagination Library was that every child in Sevier County would receive one book, every month, mailed and addressed to the child, from the day they were born until the day they started kindergarten, 100% free of charge. What began as a hometown initiative now serves children in all 50 states, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, mailing thousands of free books to children around the world monthly.

On March 1, 2018, Parton donated her 100 millionth book at the Library of Congress: a copy of “Coat of Many Colors” dedicated to her father, who never learned to read or write.