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

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.

Subtle rot

This is an excellent write up on what bothers me the most – the societal rot we’re experiencing is true the world over, and it makes me angry and sad that this could just happen, haphazardly and without any consequences other than the turmoil it created…

The American Variant of Democracy Is Contaminating My Home

The Trump effect has helped make Australia’s democracy more untruthful, cynical, angrily partisan, culturally charged, and politicized. • by Nick Bryant

Hello newer year

Let’s start this year with a delightful publication to set the scene for 2018:
On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit
by Gordon Pennycook, Jonathan A. Fugelsang et al in ‘Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563’

Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its (critical or ingenuous) reception has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.