collage2016

Excessive Copyright Strikes Again in 2016

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1959 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2016,…

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What Khan Academy’s Fun, Free Learning Empire Has to Do with Dystopian Social Control

Over the Christmas break, I’ve been churning through Khan Academy math drills, so that I can be a more effective homeschool parent. It’s actually kind of fun watching my score go up, and earning badges. In the way that birds who are trained to peck buttons for food think it’s fun to peck their little beaks bloody. As a grad student ploughing through Kant and Derrida, I found it an intellectual relief to run a computer program through…

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Imagine all the people. Just reading their damned syllabus.

These are not the rhetorical choices I would make in order to convey this message to my own students, but I can certainly identify with the author’s evident frustration. My own syllabus has a FAQ section, and in the first week or so of classes I usually assign an open-notes “Syllabus Quiz” so that students can get points for demonstrating that they can, in fact, read the syllabus. Imagine you’ve…

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An Open Letter to Reuters Reporters Nate Raymond and David Ingram

How did Reuters happen to get a picture of the arrest of Martin Shkreli (the pharmacy bro who bought the rights to a drug and raised the cost an obscene percentage)? Why is that question at least as important as what Martin Shkreli looks like while being arrested? There are two subjects on which Reuters could have informed its audience, two sets of questions it could have answered: Subject One:…

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Final week of Pict Classic Theatre’s Oliver Twist (NEXTpittsburgh)

Today is Carolyn’s day off from Oliver Twist… the show’s final week starts tomorrow, and ends with two shows on Saturday Dec 19. Now, the iconic story of Oliver Twist makes its U.S. premiere in a production with local ties and significance for one Pittsburgh-based theater company. If you have yet to catch PICT Classic Theatre‘s Oliver Twist—which opened on December 3rd—you have six more chances to experience this timeless tale of redemption, charity and…