9.29.15: What Makes a Baby, Barbie's New Brain, & Happy Birthday

Sep 29, 2015

The Barbie doll has been targeted for her unrealistic proportions and for setting up an unattainable ideal for girls. Well, meet the new model - equipped with artificial intelligence, Barbie just got even more persuasive. Plus, “when a daddy really loves a mommy…” has long kicked off the story of how babies are made.  But what about now,  when surrogacy, same sex couples, and fertility labs are challenging old norms? We talk with the author of a series of books about sex for kids without gender, and without judgment. Today, we learn about the birds, bees, and biology.

Listen to the full show.

What Makes a Baby

Cory Silverberg is a sexuality educator, a founding member of the “Come as You Are Co-Operative,” and author of What Makes a Baby, the first book in a series that teaches readers about gender, sexuality, and sexual health.  


What Makes a Baby Book Trailer from Cory Silverberg on Vimeo.

Barbie's New Brain

When the Barbie doll debuted in 1959, she came with a name:  Barbara Millicent Roberts, and a profession: teenage fashion model. Since then she’s added 170 careers to her resume, taken on 40 nationalities, and worked with more than 75 fashion designers. And at 56, she’s getting another re-boot…this time becoming an artificially intelligent doll.  James Vlahos wrote about “Hello Barbie” for the New York Times magazine.


Frugal Science for Everyone

There is a whole world of toys designed to help build critical thinking skills and scientific literacy - which can also be expensive.  One educator and scientist hopes to give all kids the opportunity to play with a new kind of inexpensive educational toy. Producer Angela Johnston of KALW reports.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

The Complicated Legal Battle Over 'Happy Birthday'
Credit The Shifted Librarian via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/7yT81T

  Last week, a California judge’s decision freed the lyrics to the Happy Birthday song from decades of copyright protection and made headlines around the world.  But don’t blow out your candles yet…that ruling may have made a confusing legal battle even more befuddling.  The judge decided that Warner Music does not own the lyrics as the company insisted for decades.  And while many claim this ruling means makes is legal for everyone to sing, it’s still likely that someone else owns the rights.

Perhaps it is safest to take the tack of Scott Keyes, who thinks we should all stop singing Happy Birthday. We spoke with him when he first made the case months ago in Pacific Standard magazine. Plus, our own version of the Birthday song, which definitely is in the public domain.