It’s a happy day for “Happy Birthday.” A judge has ruled that the companies that have been collecting royalties on the song do not hold copyright claims to the popular tune. (LATimes)

A small but passionate group of Shakespeare scholars is asking the weighty question: Is Hamlet fat? The answer is turning out to be fairly complicated. (Slate)

On a beautiful but solemn note, author Heidi Stalla contemplates what humanity lost beyond the artifacts themselves through the destruction of Palmyra by the Islamic State. (Wilson Quarterly) •

Maren Larsen is the associate editor of The Smart Set. She is a digital journalism student, college radio DJ, and outdoor enthusiast.


Wherever you go, it’s the same song.

Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday, dear (name) Happy birthday to you!

Today has the possibility to be many things: a day of triumph, a day of mourning, a judgment day, a holiday. But we know with certainty that, for all the things today is, it is also a birthday. Which means that today is an occasion for the Happy Birthday song. You may, and likely will, hear it, today. In a bar after work: the Happy Birthday song. At the zoo: the Birthday Song. At school: Birthday. In prison: Birthday song. In the English-speaking world, we sing “Happy Birthday to You” more than any other song. It has also been translated into Finnish, French, Cantonese, Arabic — “Happy Birthday to You” is an international hit. It may be the modern world’s greatest hit. Maybe the greatest hit ever;… More…