Wednesday, March 11th, 2015


I Heard it Through the Blurred LIne

The ruling of a federal jury in a case to determine whether the hit song Blurred Lines amounts to copyright infringement against Marvin Gaye's 1977 song, Got to Give it Up, has left many in the music industry wondering what's going on. Neither side argued that the newer song ain't nothing like the real thing, but oh brother, brother, brother, the $7.4 million ruling against Blurred Line's Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams could have an impact beyond this case; and maybe beyond music. This, after all, is the digital era when we're all borrowing ideas, words, and cat video memes from each other at an unprecedented pace. In fact, I think I'll sample a track from WaPo's Chris Richards right here: "Will Madonna sue Lady Gaga? Will George Clinton sue OutKast? Will Prince sue Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and umpteen-hundred others? And then will Little Richard sue Prince? These idiotic questions [just] became frighteningly legitimate."

+ LA Times: Ruling that Blurred Lines copied Marvin Gaye song rocks music world.


Kicked to the Curb

"I know everyone wants to know why or how this happened. I admit it likely was fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before the bus trip, but that's not an excuse." The two University of Oklahoma students seen chanting racial slurs on a fraternity bus offer up their apologies.

+ On an emotional level, one has to be heartened by the rapidity with which school officials gave these students the boot. But were the expulsions constitutional? (And in an institution where learning is the core value, were they a good idea?)

+ The Daily Beast: Why Racists Find a Home in Frats. It seems like they've made themselves at home pretty much everywhere at one time or another.

+ Related: Ferguson police chief to resign.


The Forgotten

"They've lost touch with their parents. They've lost touch with people in their villages, they're not able to articulate, to help trace their relationships, they can't even tell you what their names are." From BBC: Boko Haram's child captives forgot their own names.

+ Is the latest ISIS video (this one featuring a child-soldier execution) aimed at stifling dissent among the ranks?

+ "American forces, with their warplanes and twenty-six hundred military trainers and advisers in Iraq, are nowhere in sight. Nor were they part of the planning." The New Yorker's Robin Wright on the battle over Tikrit.


Electric Avenue

Is your electric car really helping the environment? That depends on where the electricity is coming from. Quartz sums up the findings of University of Toronto report: "Think about it this way: Every Nissan Leaf might run on electric power, but how that electricity was generated determines what greenhouse gas emissions the car is responsible for."

+ NPR: Why China's pollution could be behind your cold, snowy winter.

+ How cold and snowy has it been along the east coast? Icebergs are washing up on Cape Cod. (Luckily, I prefer my Cape Codders on the rocks.)


Cars with Strangers

Parents used to tell their kids never to get into cars with strangers. Today's parents are not only advising the opposite, they're actually paying for the privilege. Welcome to the new carpool: Harried parents are embracing Uber to move kids around town.


A Mod Squad?

Several botched executions have left state legislators at a crossroads when it comes to the death penalty. For example, Utah's Senate just voted to allow the use of a firing squad if no lethal injection drugs are available.

+ Slate: Texas is almost out of its lethal injection drug. (Come on guys, pace yourselves...)


Feed Me

The New Yorker's Nicola Twilley looks at the ways our stomachs control our worlds: "Hunger seems like a simple phenomenon: the stomach rumbles until it's fed, then it's quiet until it rumbles again. Why, then, does it shape so much behavior that, at least on the surface, has so little to do with food?"



The latest app to be sweeping through the early-adopter crowd is a live-video sharing app called Meerkat (what could be more of a sure thing than mixing felines and Internet video?). If my hunch is right, the founders of Meerkat will soon be live-streaming a video of VCs throwing sacks of money at them. Welcome to the digital age, where everyone yells action, but no one ever yells cut.


An Article About Nothing

"I was supposed to use this trip to grasp something essential about the U.S., perceive something with my foreign gaze that Americans couldn't see for themselves. Instead, I saw nothing. I experienced nothing." Karl Ove Knausgaard is back in the NY Times Mag with more tales of his journey through America: My Saga, Part 2. (This is a guy whose memoir is longer than the Torah. You didn't really doubt he'd have a part 2, did you?)


The Bottom of the News

"She felt the vibrations of his 6 Plus pulsing through the thick fabric of his ironic dress-sweatpants. She arched her back and pushed her lips towards his ear and whispered, 'I only use one port. But it does everything.'" My latest piece (perhaps it's PG-13): 50 Shades of Space Grey - Sex Lit in the Age of the Apple Watch.

+ WSJ: Like Humans, Other Primates Have Fashion-Trend Setters. (In case you thought fashion was an example of our advanced evolution.)

+ Here's LVMH's luxury watch guru Jean-Claude Biver on the Apple Watch: "This watch has no sex appeal. It's too feminine and looks too much like the smartwatches already on the market. To be totally honest, it looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester." (And former Nokia and Blackberry employees shake their heads knowingly...)