Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Buddha, Lolita, Tunisia (Link Round-Up 11/26/13)

Buddha's birthdate pushed back after oldest-recorded shrine discovered in Nepal
The exact date of the Buddha's birth is disputed, with Nepalese authorities favoring 623 B.C., and other traditions favoring more recent dates, around 400 B.C.
How stories went viral in Antebellum America...loose copyright law
Cordell explained that larger newspapers had someone called the “exchanges editor” who combed through bundles of other newspapers as they arrived in the mail, and clipped interesting and relevant pieces as he found them. The clips were then organized by size, so if the newspaper had a little gap, the editor could go to the “four-inch” drawer and pop the other story right in. 
Though a literary scholar, Cordell worked with David Smith, a Northeastern computer scientist, “to look for patterns” and examine what kind of stories were going viral, at a time when doing so could take months or even years. It’s kind of comforting to hear that as much as the world changes, it’s pretty familiar. 
“In good internet fashion, there are a lot of lists that go viral,” Cordell said. “And there’s a lot of poetry. It was very common in 19th century newspapers. In some ways, I think, it’s like posting a song on YouTube, and there are lots of those.”
The science of "bitchiness" (aka "indirect aggression")
Tracy Vaillancourt, a psychology professor at the University of Ottawa, and a PhD student, Aanchal Sharma, then gauged the women’s reactions as the confederates, both sexy and not, left the room. The metric they used? A “bitchiness" scale, of course. 
“Why bitchiness?” I asked Vaillancourt, wondering why she chose to use such a loaded word. 
“Bitchiness is the term that people use,” she explained. “If I ask someone to describe what this is, they'd say it’s ‘bitchy.’”
Herodotus finds a translation worthy of his Homer-esque prose 
One crucial Herodotean stylistic feature is almost impossible to translate – the use of lonely, elevated polysyllabic words near the beginning or end of a sentence, anchoring the reader’s emotional reaction. But Holland ingeniously substitutes an arresting or unusual locution. He rarely forgets that Herodotus wrote in order to deliver live performances, rather than to be pored over in a library. Much of his translation is ripe for oral delivery.
Dorothy Parker and Vladmir Nabakov's curiously-timed Lolitas 
Dear Mr. Maxwell, 
I am dreadfully upset by the following coincidence. The Olympia Press (headquartered in Paris) are bringing out LOLITA, a novel of mine, on which I have worked for four years and which is scheduled to appear by September the 1st. Before I sold them the book, it had been seen by Viking, New Directions, Straus and Doubleday, and not only by their readers but also by the friends of their readers. There is a story entitled LOLITA in the last issue of The New Yorker by Dorothy Parker. 
Please do find out if the term “coincidence” I have used above needs some qualifications; and in any case would you consider my contributing a note in regard to both Lolitas to your Department of Corrections and Amplification? Or any other appeal, complaint, yelp or distress?
Tunisia’s embattled leaders face rising social discontent
He attributed the economic difficulties primarily to the political crisis, which has dragged on for months in the absence of any agreement between the ruling Islamist party Ennahda and its secular opponents on the formation of a non-partisan transitional government. 
Saidane argues that the current 3.0 percent growth rate is insufficient to bring down unemployment significantly or to launch major development projects, two pressing issues for young Tunisians. 
Joblessness and regional inequality were driving factors behind the popular uprising that unseated former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, inspiring protests across the Middle East and North Africa that toppled leaders in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. 
Meanwhile, the lack of functioning state institutions and a rise in attacks by Islamist militants continue to deter investors.
The myths (and precedents) behind the Beastie Boys/Goldieblox copyright dispute
In her decision, Judge Preska noted that the landmark 2 Live Crew case, settled by the Supreme Court only two years earlier, set a new precedent for deciding fair use cases. 
In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that commercial use does not preclude a finding of fair use, so long as the work is "transformative" — does it add value to the original material and use it for a different purpose, such as criticism or parody? 
Delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court, Justice Souter wrote, "The goal of copyright, to promote science and the arts, is generally furthered by the creation of transformative works... The more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use." 
Later in the ruling, Justice Souter specifically addressed parodies in advertising. He wrote, "The use, for example, of a copyrighted work to advertise a product, even in a parody, will be entitled to less indulgence under the first factor of the fair use enquiry, than the sale of a parody for its own sake."
This also marks the second time in eight days that I have referenced the legacy of 2 Live Crew on the judicial system:
Party rap and blunt descriptions of women became a permanent part of popular music when, in 1992, Miami Bass group 2 Live Crew had an obscenity ruling that deemed their music illegal to sell overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit - in a defense based, in part, on the argument that the explicit language "reflect[s] exaggeration, parody, humor, even about delicate subjects." Music with filthy lyrics across all genres has since been free to sell and distribute across the United States. 

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