Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 9 July 2014


Houston, We have a Public Domain Problem • 24 June 2014

This is an anecdote that illustrates the ways in which the public domain is shrinking. That this phrase should be subject to a take-down challenge, even a misguided one, is remarkable. And Parker Higgins of the Electronic Frontier Foundation was the wrong person at whom to shake the challenge. Read the anecdote and the conclusions he draws from it.

Copyright has been in the US news this past week with the Supreme Court decision in the Aereo case (which went the right way in my judgment). I think Mike Masnick in his Techdirt post is right to see the Houston incident as a copyright problem as much as one of a shrinking public domain. In my opinion when we departed from requiring explicit registration of copyright we opened this door through which unintended consequences cascade. (Michalko)




First Principles Thinking: A Better Way to Innovate

Game Changer • 26 June 2014

Let's go back to first principles. Jorge Barba summarizes Elon Musk's methodology for innovation by avoiding thinking by analogy which only results in derivative work. Musk urges starting from first principles which takes a lot more energy (and discipline). Read the brief article and watch the short video Musk capsuling this approach.

We rarely get the opportunity in established organizations to think this fundamentally. Our cultures, processes, and structures represent enormous investments around which it's difficult to see let alone ignore. But if you're in a disrupted enterprise like we are then first principles might be just the right life raft to grab. For a bit more on Musk's approach with some really nice examples in a range of domains try Envato Studio Blog—"Elon Musk's Secret Weapon: A Beginner's Guide to First Principles." (Michalko)



A Theory of Jerks

aeon magazine • 5 June 2014

Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you're the one with the jerkitude. Eric Schwitzgebel, a philosophy professor at UC Irvine, takes a stab at a theory of jerks. Besides being a clever exercise you should read it to see if it provokes some uncomfortable self-reflection.

He had me when I got to his line "The classic jerk kisses up and kicks down." Yep, that's why you can find out a lot faster from a secretary whether the boss is a jerk or from a nurse how well the doctor is going to listen. I was glad to see him call out the "moralistic jerk" as a special species whose archetypes have been long established but in which Charles Dickens excelled. Mr. Bumble. (Michalko)



Do Copy Editors Know the Meaning of Life? The Radical Power of David Zweig's "Invisibles"

Flavor Wire • 23 June 2014

This is a short interview with the author of Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion. It's worth reading to hear about some people who don't believe that attention is the highest form of currency.

It's not quite an RILR but it is an interview in lieu of reading. One that actually made me want to read more. So here are two reviews from sources that usually celebrate the very visible captains of industry and champion the cult of personality—WSJ and Fortune. (Michalko)



Elementary School Kids Record Adorable Recommendations for Their Favorite Books

Brainpickings • 30 June 2014

This from the mouths of small children . . .

Summer is in full flight. It's Independence Day holiday in the US so we will have a long weekend. And reading on the porch is a favorite activity. These kids remind you of the joy of reading. I was charmed by how narrowly and literally The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was taken by Macy, the fourth grade reviewer. Enjoy a good holiday read. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some "good guy" policies for reproduction and permissions from special collections?

Get the answer.