Facebook Twitter Gplus Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube RSS

Why Batman And Rhapsody In Blue Should Be In The Public Domain, But Aren’t


In 1998, if Congress hadn’t extended copyrights by 20 years, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind would all be in the public domain. This year, the comic book characters Superman and Batman would be free to use by anyone. Meanwhile, movies from 1940 – like Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath – would have been slated to enter the public domain at the end of 2015.

Instead, all of these works – and tens of thousands more – remain firmly under copyright at least until 2019. Surely, we’ll see another effort by those in the copyright extension camp to lengthen the term yet again.

More at The Conversation

Robot Journalists Are Writing Their Own Stories Now

Robot Journalist

Minutes after Apple released its record-breaking quarterly earnings this week, the Associated Press published (by way of CNBC, Yahoo, and others) “Apple tops Street 1Q forecasts.” It’s a story without a byline, or rather, without a human byline — a financial story written and published by an automated system well-versed in the AP Style Guide. The AP implemented the system six months ago and now publishes 3,000 such stories every quarter — and that number is poised to grow.

Quarterly earnings are a necessity for business reporting — and it can be both monotonous and stressful, demanding a combination of accuracy and speed. That’s one of the reasons why last summer the AP partnered with Automated Insights to begin automating quarterly earnings reports using their Wordsmith platform.

More at The Verge

The Devil Wears Pulsars

Fashion Stars

The night sky is a perfect canvas for the stars—and for fashion designers seeking inspiration. Celestial objects are inherently stylish, because designers can translate them into simple shapes (think circles for planets, streaks for comets, five-pointed polygons for stars) that look pleasing as patterns on fabric.

Which is why the universe of, well, universe-inspired clothing is everywhere. For every moon necklace on Etsy, there’s a pair of “galaxy” leggings available on Modcloth. Constellation-themed formal wear dot Pinterest boards. And Tumblr just can’t get enough of star dresses.

More at The Atlantic

Why Is My Digital Assistant So Creepy?

Ex Machina

Siri, Cortana and Alexa are robotic personal assistants, but they are also women. They live in your pockets, their skinny smart phone bodies executing your every command. They are intimate with you. But they are also, as Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore said at the Windows 10 keynote last week, “a member of your family.”

It’s hard to say where the craze for a humanized digital assistant came from. Maybe it started with the very first movie about robots, Metropolis, about a sexy android who leads a workers uprising. Or maybe it came from I Dream of Jeannie, where our plucky magical girl carries out her master’s orders with about as much enthusiasm and accuracy as Siri. There are dozens of other examples. Regardless of when the idea was born, today it just seems natural to expect your tech’s voice to have a personality, a name, and even some kind of fictional backstory.

More at Gizmodo

The Surprising History Of Hippy Crack

Laughing Gas

In January 2012, an attractive woman over 40 and that guy from That ‘70s Show were going through a rough patch (spoiler alert: it didn’t work out). Demi Moore, the woman in question, allegedly turned to the comfort of nitrous oxide, also called “whip-its,” “whippits,” “whippets,” “nossies,” “hippy crack,” and, of course, “laughing gas.”

Moore’s experience with nitrous oxide was not, however, the brief, weightless euphoria that most people report: She collapsed with seizure-like symptoms and was rushed to the hospital. Her subsequent stint in rehab – for eating disorder issues and substance abuse – could have sparked a nationwide soul-searching about nitrous oxide and other inhalants abuse; it mostly just sparked a bunch of snarky headlines.

More at Boing Boing

Are We Ready For Companies That Run Themselves?

Automated Distribution

It is January 2014 and at least 400 people are packed into a conference hall in Miami Beach. High-profile journalists stand against the walls. Powerful venture capitalists crouch in the aisles. Banking and finance gurus crane their necks from the back of the room. They’re waiting for one of the most anticipated presentations of the 2014 North American Bitcoin Conference. A massive surge in interest from the media has just pushed the price of a single Bitcoin to around $900, up nearly 800 per cent in three months. Bitcoin Miami is the largest ever conference of its kind. In this moment, the possibilities for Bitcoin seem limitless.

More at aeon

Hacking The Tripping Mind


Pay attention. What if you could focus and control your consciousness when under the influence of psychedelics? Cognitive roller-coasters may be upon us.

Almost fifty years ago, ex-Harvard professor Timothy Leary and his colleagues penned an essay titled “On Programming Psychedelic Experiences.”

Essentially, the article served as a field manual for navigating awareness during altered states of consciousness, a kind of map to help orient and manage subjectivity, a voyage chart to focus the attention of a tripping mind.

More at The Daily Beast

Man Trapped In Constant Deja Vu

Deja Vu

Scientists believe the extraordinary case of a 23-year-old British man with “constant deja vu” may have been triggered by anxiety. It is the first time such a link has been made. But what is deja vu – and do we really know what causes it?

Most of us know the feeling – the fleeting sensation that you have been somewhere or done something before, when common sense tells you that is not possible.

The term deja vu translates literally from French as “already seen”.

More at BBC

Which Days Of The Week Have Inspired The Most Hit Songs?

Musical Days Of The Week

Rebecca Black may have single-handedly ruined what was once the greatest day of the week for an entire generation of Americans, but why should Friday get all the musical glory? We searched every monthly Hot 100 chart in the Billboard archives—dating all the way back to the first in 1958—for songs that contain a day of the week (or multiple days of the week) in their titles.

We would’ve guessed that Friday or Saturday would ride weekend-night party anthems to victory, but to our surprise, the clear winner is Sunday (think “Pleasant Valley Sunday“), followed by Saturday (think “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting“), Monday (think “Monday, Monday“) and Friday (think “Friday I’m in Love“). Tuesday and Wednesday number only seven songs between them, while Thursday inspired just one Billboard hit: Johnny Mathis’ “Sweet Thursday,” dating back to 1962.

More at Vocativ

Money Makes You Less Sad But Not More Happy

Money Happiness

For a long time, researchers have been trying to untangle the relationship between money and happiness, and there’s mounting evidence that things are significantly more complicated than the reasonable-sounding proposition that more money makes you more happy. Now, in a recently released paper in Social Psychology & Personality Science, a team led by Kostadin Kushlev of the University of British Columbia has added yet more nuance to this debate: Their work suggests that, all else being equal, greater income does reduce unhappiness but doesn’t increase happiness.

More at Science Of Us