The reason why (or so was said before) is because they want to keep tabs on how many people click the link, and it was easier this way then some other way. If pegr isn't trustworthy of Techdirt giving the right url in the bit.ly link then they can always click at the link at the end of each topic which has the same url the bit.ly link goes to but isn't obfuscated.
The link's description actually says "If the thought of eating insects isn't appealing, it's a lot more appetizing to eat meat from animals that feel no pain." That is they aren't talking about insects but animals, in this case cows that don't feel pain. Perhaps a reading lesson would help.
And off-topic: the site works perfectly for me and my connection, and other people have responded to you in the past with the same. Perhaps, just perhaps the issue is on your end? You know since you are the only one (that is known) that is having issues?
$7.50 is cheap? Where I live its 5 dollars max for any new release in a nice theater with all the normal amenities. It used to be 4 dollars for a while too but last year they raised prices it might be $6.50 for regular adults (I'm a student) but that's still cheaper than the $7.50 for four people price.
I'd rather go to a theater and save $2.50 per person and see a new movie (ok maybe not now cause all the movies out now aren't ones that I'm interested in) than do that.
Actually they do put the dates in the urls, they are just in an odd manner. Take today's url: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100709/11531110156.shtml the first set of numbers are the date: 2010 07 09 (year month day). I do however agree with you in adding "word slugs" (I didnt know this was an actual term?) instead of the number counter (the second string of numbers) would be beneficial.
That doesn't tell us anything about what the article is. Obviously it is relatively easy to make "our" links descriptive, but if you make the url of the post more descriptive (beyond just the date and some sort of counter which tells us nothing), then that would be helpful.
I'm kinda late to the discussion, but since I play WoW I do have some insider info regarding the celestial steed and blizzard's plans with the store.
First, as Rose and others have mentioned the mount doesn't give you any direct in game benefits (beyond having a interesting mount (though that is up to debate as some people make fun of purchasers of the mount)). It "scales" with your known riding speed, so if you have a 310% mount (currently the fastest speed, but only obtainable through certain "difficult" means (usually achievements but also being the top groups in arena play) then it can go 310%. Most people have 280% though and consequently they get a new 280% mount. The mount also scales on the ground as well (60-100%). If you buy the mount and start a new alt character once they hit level 20 they can buy the first mount training for a 60% speed increase. They can then use the CS instead of buying a different mount. Once they hit level 40 they can buy the 100% ground mount speed training (fastest ground speed currently) and the CS will auto-adjust its speed to be 100%.
Secondly, the code that you get from the store is theoretically transferable (I've seen many people selling codes for 10-15 thousand gold on my server), assuming of course you didn't use it already. Once it's used its useless to anyone else. Basically what happens is a person buys several of the codes, and sells them to people in game for whatever price in gold they agree to. I don't know for sure if it's legal (I don't remember their ToS exactly in this case, but they can probably just say it's like gold selling in which case it would be illegal), but people are (were) doing it. One person on my server supposedly sold 10 of those codes during the first few days of it being available. He/She spent $250 in cash but got back over 100k gold (supposedly is key they might have been scamming people by giving them used codes that were thus useless, but I hadn't heard anyone bashing them in chat)
Finally, Blizzard has made it very, very clear they have no intentions in adding stuff to the store that will somehow make people better in game if they buy it (i.e. armor, weapons). They seem to shy away from "forcing" people to buy armor/weapon upgrades through their store becasue then you create a disparity between people who can pay and people who can't. I would assume Blizzard would lose a large portion of their subscriber base becasue of that happening.
As far as I know the state university that I go to (University of Illinois) holds all of my projects as their own when we are done with them (I'm an architecture student so I can only speak for that college). I could ask around if the CS department does the same, but I know we've always been told that any projects we do for our studio class become the ownership of the university.