links for 2011-01-04

  • "The pattern was cut in the middle of the 17th century. To maintain an image of what is now called “austerity Britain” after a plague outbreak in 1665 and the Great Fire of London a year later, Charles II ordered his courtiers to dress in simple tunics, shirts and breeches. This was a profound reversal."
  • "That means that all these examples from 1954 are only the tip of the iceberg. If the pre-1978 law were still in effect, we could have seen 85% of the works created in 1982 enter the public domain on January 1, 2011. Imagine what that would mean to our archives, our libraries, our schools and our culture. Instead, these works will remain under copyright for decades to come, perhaps even into the next century. And for most of them – orphan works – that means they will be both commercially unavailable and culturally off limits, without any benefit going to a copyright holder. Think of the cultural harm that does."
  • "The intellectual ancestors of the evangelical religious right once regarded this as the most glaring and dangerous supposed flaw in America's governing document. But the godlessness of the U.S. Constitution was not an oversight, it was a matter of deliberate design — a principled choice for which the framers fought passionately."