Saturday, November 21, 2015

links for the weekend, on the tyranny of optimistic expectations (from your potentially teen self and/or your parents), and curious copyright battles (ip for a monkey and birthday stuff)

nobody can be a hero to everybody, not even Gandhi, whose role in working for better lives for fellow Indians did not extend to the Zulu during his time in South Africa.

It may be the optimistic teens will be far more depressed in life than their emo/goth teen counterparts!

and as if failing to live up to your own optimistic expectations of what your life ought to be weren't enough ... there's parental expectation.  Hanna Rosin has a lengthy feature on the clusters of suicides in the Silicon Valley.

Around 1800, the Swiss mechanician Henri Maillardet built a sort of robot that captivated audiences with its ability to re-create four drawings and three poems, in French and English. Initially, the mechanical boy was displayed in the formal costume of a European courtier. Now the boy is displayed at the Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia, without clothes, because, as a sign explains, “today we marvel at the design of the automaton itself—rather than being fooled by its lifelike motion.” In these days of assumed meritocracy, where children can be turned into anything, we admire them as displays of remarkable engineering, to be tweaked and fine-tuned into bilingual perfection. What we’ve lost, perhaps, is a sense that there may be things about them we can’t know or understand, and that that mysterious quality, separate from us, is what we should marvel at.
 Admitting we don’t entirely know why teenagers kill themselves isn’t an invitation to do nothing to prevent it from happening. It’s just a call for humility, a short pause to acknowledge that a sense of absolute certainty about what children should do or be or how they should operate is part of what landed us here. [emphasis mine]
You "can" be anything that you wanna be ... but it would be advisable you choose to be something or someone that your parents will feel prouder about posting to Facebook?  It's the claim that in this age children can be admired is feats of parental engineering that seems calculated to disturb. One of the mysteries of life is that if you have brought kids into the world that they can surprise you in ways both great and terrible. 

and following on that sort of thing ... there's the "all or nothing" approach to marriage that may make marriages in our era both happier and more miserable than previous eras

did you think that, finally, the legal battles over the copyright of "Happy Birthday" were finally over? Last we linked to that topic it was to ...

well ... heh ...

it's not over yet, as a charity has gotten involved.  A musician designating royalties to a popular song go to a charity has a variety of precedents.  The easiest one to remember, as a fan of music by Brubeck and Desmond, is Paul Desmond's decision that the royalties for "Take Five" go to the Red Cross. 

And in other conceptually related news, there's apparently still some people willing to go to court about intellectual property that they believe belongs to Naruto (not the anime character, the monkey)

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