Thursday News: Ode to the DMCA; food and social class; an “ibreakup;” and Julia Rothman’s “Nature Anatomy”
How the DMCA made YouTube – A really interesting piece on the way the DMCA, which was enacted in 1998, and in particular the safe harbor provision, has allowed services like YouTube to flourish. Given the onerous provisions of the DMCA, and with all of the changes at YouTube (and how I hate the ubiquity of ads preceding the videos), it can be difficult to celebrate the ‘freedom’ of the site. But David Kravets is right that without the DMCA’s safe harbor protection for internet service providers that take down content once they receive notice of its status as infringing, it would be virtually impossible to post anything online. But because these services are not automatically responsible for third-party content, they can host it unless otherwise (and lawfully) directed.
“Without the legal protections provided by Congress, YouTube would not exist in its current form and probably would not exist at all,” Goldman said. “We can trace billions of dollars in activity that can be attached to the safe harbor.”
Imagine Twitter, Goldman said, if it had to screen tweets “before they go public.” This alternate universe idea isn’t new. However, the DMCA’s success is worth pointing out on YouTube’s birthday because largely we associate the DMCA with something else entirely—abuses. –Ars Technica
TRASH FOOD – Chris Offutt’s piece on the relationship between social class and food in America has been making the rounds on social media, but if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a read. Offutt is Appalachian, which makes him very attuned to the power of class distinctions, which USians often dislike acknowledging or discussing. While there are sections of this piece that may have you wincing (e.g. his insistence that humans are the “civilizing force on the planet”), but many of his observations about how food is hierarchically valued in the same way as social class (and race, for that matter) are poignant and potent. Also, Offutt has a pretty interesting family history.
Economic status dictates class and diet. We arrange food in a hierarchy based on who originally ate it until we reach mullet, gar, possum, and squirrel—the diet of the poor. The food is called trash, and then the people are.
When the white elite take an interest in the food poor people eat, the price goes up. The result is a cost that prohibits poor families from eating the very food they’ve been condemned for eating. It happened with salmon and tuna years ago. When I was a kid and money was tight, my mother mixed a can of tuna with pasta and vegetables. Our family of six ate it for two days. Gone are the days of subsisting on cheap fish patties at the end of the month. The status of the food rose but not the people. They just had less to eat. –Oxford American
Woman gets revenge on boyfriend by throwing Apple devices in bath – My local news referred to this story as the “ibreakup.” A woman in Japan, upon learning of her boyfriend’s infidelity, gives his extensive collection of Apple products a nice warm bath. This would be a brilliant set up for a Romance novel heroine getting shot of a cheating ex. Check out the pics in the linked story. –Stuff.co.nz
Nature Anatomy: A Glorious Illustrated Love Letter to Curiosity and the Magic of Our World – Because I live in a cave (actually it’s an office in which I spend way too much time), I didn’t realize that yesterday was Earth Day, so this is a bit late. But it doesn’t really matter, because Julia Rothman’s book seems like it would be pretty charming for any day. This is definitely the type of book I would seek out in print, given the quality of the illustrations. I like the way Rothman honors nature without anthropomorphizing and sentimentalizing rhetoric. This also seems like it would be a great book to teach kids about different natural elements.
Rothman notes that the book — in which she enlisted the help of friend and nature-expert John Niekrasz — is no more a “nature book” than her walks in the park are true “nature walks,” for there is no way to contain all of the living world between the covers of a single book. And yet it’s her nature book — a visual record of those aspects of our world that most sang to her and tickled her curiosity.
And that, I think, is precisely the point — we miss most of what is going on around us anyway, but it’s the act of looking that creates our reality, which is invariably subjective. Looking at nature in this way reminds us both that we are finite beings limited in the reach of our seeing abilities and that we belong to a world of infinite complexity and beauty — an awareness at once immensely grounding and immensely elevating. –Brain Pickings
I hope that dude thinks twice about cheating on his future girlfriends. Sure, it’s immature to destroy your cheating ex’s tech toys, but willfully deceiving and cheating on your partner is a thousand times worse. I’m inclined to think he deserved, karmically, every last broken, waterlogged iWhatever.
Somebody should rewrite that Carrie Underwood cheating ex song with those electronic devices replacing the four wheel drive!
Super rough draft :)
Filled the bath with water, nice and hot
Dropped in his toys and shiny laptop
Tossed in all of his accessories
Threw in all the tech that I could see
All the stuff from the Apple tree
Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats
@Heather Greye: Awesome!
“When the white elite take an interest in the food poor people eat, the price goes up. ”
And when men do the cooking, the pay and respectability goes up. Women cook, men are chefs.
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, etc etc