Cory about the stolen Public Domain

Cory Doctorow majorly switched on again : 2024’s public domain is a banger – excerpt below, read his post full here pluralistic.net/2023/12/20/em-oh-you-ess-ee/#sexytimes

First in 1976, and then again in 1998, Congress retroactively extended copyright’s duration by 20 years, for all works, including works whose authors were unknown and long dead, whose proper successors could not be located. Many of these authors were permanently erased from history as every known copy of their works disappeared before they could be brought back into our culture through reproduction, adaptation and re-use. (Copyright is “strict liability,” meaning that even if you pay to clear the rights to a work from someone who has good reason to believe they control those rights, if they’re wrong, you are on the hook as an infringer, and the statutory damages run to six figures.)

Works that are still in our cultural currents 50 or 70 or 90 years after their creation are an infinitesimal fraction of all the works we create as a species. But these works are – by definition – extraordinarily important to our culture. The creators who made these works were able to plunder a rich public domain of still-current works as inputs to their own enduring creations. The slow-motion arson attack on the public domain meant that two generations of creators were denied the public domain that every other creator in the history of the human race had enjoyed.

The Miracle Is to Walk on Earth

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book was originally a series of letters to student workers who were being attacked during wartime to remind them of the essential discipline of following one’s breath to nourish and maintain calm mindfulness, even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

on Sociography

Sociology is just as much an art form as it is a science. And while sociologists and those in cognate disciplines have long experimented with their writing, the search for new academic forms and practices has acquired new urgency and potentiality. How we write up our research is of paramount importance: our language can be used in experimental and innovative ways to offer nuanced, critical commentary without foreclosing alternative viewpoints, and without excluding others from dialogue.

Sociography offers spaces for new sensibilities and sensitivities; unresolved or incomplete argument; multiple, multi-dimensional and multiplying possibilities: for writing differently. As an intervention in writing the social, our collection works to resist the ideological promotion of dry, dispassionate, and seemingly ‘objective’ discourse, one which has traditionally upheld a set of dominant, privileged voices. And in so doing, our collection explores the potential of new ways of writing the social for both a trans- and post-disciplinary academy and a wider reading public; and seeks forms of writing that do justice to the critical curiosity that animates sociology.

In sum, the challenge embraced by this collection is to argue for and showcase a praxis that activates sociological knowledge and enlarges the sociological imagination.

read on here https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/00380261221108842

bias and trust

It’s a bit funny that I feel like I live in the past since I moved to Australia. The gender definitions, the bad coffee, the social segregation, the rampant conservatism with all sides dangling along, building more houses or inheriting their lot while pretending to object… so many moments of total cringe over the past two decades, and now this week brought another one of these moments…

They have upped their anti on the coffee side down here, but the rest is still pretty much strong in traditional hands, and that stridently so on both sides of the political spectrum.

So my lesson learnt is that I have to be even more observant in choosing where to go and who to hang with and what to ask them, as folks really don’t like to be questioned here, especially not about their own cognitive bias.

PS: the word cowardice wanted to be included but I didn’t.

Desiderata

Desiderata by American writer Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, 1948

Wikipedia.org/Desiderata

Dave’s view on work – or not to

8 Sep 2020 – David Gräber: ‘To save the world, we’re going to have to stop working’

Writing as part of Jarvis Cocker’s Big Issue takeover before his untimely death in August 2020, David Gräber explains his confusion about why we’d destroy the planet if we don’t have to

“Our society is addicted to work. If there’s anything left and right both seem to agree on, it’s that jobs are good. Everyone should have a job. Work is our badge of moral citizenship. We seem to have convinced ourselves as a society that anyone who isn’t working harder than they would like to be working, at something they don’t enjoy, is a bad, unworthy person. As a result, work comes to absorb ever greater proportions of our energy and time.

Much of this work is entirely pointless. Whole industries (think telemarketers, corporate law, private equity) whole lines of work (middle management, brand strategists, high-level hospital or school administrators, editors of in-house corporate magazines) exist primarily to convince us there is some reason for their existence. Useless work crowds out useful (think of teachers and administrators overwhelmed with paperwork); it’s also almost invariably better compensated. As we’ve seen in lockdown, the more obviously your work benefits other people, the less they pay you.

The system makes no sense. It’s also destroying the planet. If we don’t break ourselves of this addiction quickly we will leave our children and grandchildren to face catastrophes on a scale which will make the current pandemic seem trivial.

If this isn’t obvious, the main reason is we’re constantly encouraged to look at social problems as if they were questions of personal morality. All this work, all the carbon we’re pouring into the atmosphere, must somehow be the result of our consumerism; therefore to stop eating meat or dream of flying off to beach vacations. But this is just wrong. It’s not our pleasures that are destroying the world. It’s our puritanism, our feeling that we have to suffer in order to deserve those pleasures. If we want to save the world, we’re going to have to stop working.

Seventy per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide comes from infrastructure: energy, transport, construction. Most of the rest is produced by industry. Meanwhile 37 per cent of British workers feel if their jobs are entirely unnecessary; if they were to vanish tomorrow, the world would not be any the worse off. Simply do the maths. If those workers are right, we could massively reduce climate change just by eliminating bullshit jobs.

So that’s proposal one.

Proposal two: batshit construction. An enormous amount of building today is purely speculative: all over the world, governments collude with the financial sector to create glittering towers that are never occupied, empty office buildings, airports that are never used. Stop doing this. No one will miss them.

If we don’t break ourselves of this addiction quickly we will leave our children and grandchildren to face catastrophes on a scale which will make the current pandemic seem trivial.

Proposal three: planned obsolescence. One of the main reasons we have such high levels of industrial production is that we design everything to break, or to become outmoded and useless in a few years’ time. If you build an iPhone to break in three years you can sell five times as many than if you make it to last 15, but you also use five times the resources, and create five times the pollution. Manufacturers are perfectly capable of making phones (or stockings, or light bulbs) that wouldn’t break; in fact, they actually do – they’re called ‘military grade’. Force them to make military-grade products for everyone. We could cut down greenhouse gas production massively and improve our quality of life.

These three are just for starters. If you think about it, they’re really just common sense. Why destroy the world if you don’t have to?

If addressing them seems unrealistic, we might do well to think hard about what those realities are that seem to be forcing us, as a society, to behave in ways that are literally mad.”

Bullshit Jobs: The Rise of Pointless Work, and What We Can Do About It by David Gräber is out now (Penguin, £9.99)