Marcus Carab's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the week-themes-are-for-the-weak dept

I came up with several concepts and themes for my Favorites column, but none of them came together quite as neatly as I hoped, so I?ve opted to play without rules. These five posts are selected for different reasons and presented in no particular order, alongside some of my thoughts on each. If it draws your attention to something interesting that you missed, then I?ve done my job!

(Note: I had to polish this post off on Thursday night, so I?m afraid there are no Techdirt posts from Friday included here. Hopefully it?s a slow news day.)

Time For Google To Leave Italy? Italy Announces That YouTube Responsible For All Content
Online companies are gaining so much cultural clout that we often hear calls for this ?we?ll just leave and see how you like it? response to oppressive regulations?and yet you rarely see it happen. Posts like this one get me wondering why, because boy it sounds like fun, doesn?t it? But maybe it?s wise for these companies not to bet too heavily on their ubiquity; after all, online services can rise and fall in the blink of an eye, and regional competitors in huge markets like China and Russia already represent some of the biggest threats to the established western players. I wonder: what would really happen if YouTube pulled out of Italy?

UK Man Convicted Of A Crime For Letting Drivers Know They Should Slow Down To Avoid Speed Camera
Okay, I think the conviction in this case is pretty silly, but I got caught up in this post because in a purely abstract sense there is a lot of fun logic to play with. By flashing your lights in this manner, you encourage someone to obey the law while at the same time encouraging a broader culture of disobeying the law?as an ethical thought experiment, it?s nearly as fun as the Trolley Problem.

Have We Reached A Tipping Point Where Self-Publishing Is Better Than Getting A Book Deal?
I have a friend who is a novelist trying to get his first publishing deal, but is resistant to self-publishing for interesting reasons. In short, he agrees that the old ways are changing, but he?s wanted this for a long time and he?s damn well going to give it a shot before trying to be a pioneer. His response to this post was so good I had to share it, but I haven?t had a chance to ask him so I?m omitting his name for now (though the nature of the quote gives you an alphabetical clue):

?Once upon a time, vanity presses were for vain writers. Today, traditional publishing is for vain writers. I do want my books to sit on a bookstore shelf. Any bookstore I walk into, I go looking for James Michener, because that’s where [X]?s work will one day sit. Isn’t that vain? Isn’t that my pride talking? But isn’t that the stuff meaningful dreams are made of??

I wish him well, and I’ll be there to help him if he ever does decide to self-publish.

Dear Gary Larson: Your Kids Go Out At Night; Let Them Be
Ah, the Heartfelt Plea—one of the classic creator responses to the discovery that their work now belongs to their fans. It?s certainly better than the Angry Tantrum or the Silent Treatment, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The Angry Tantrum is all about chastisement, the Silent Treatment is all about punishment, and the Heartfelt Plea is all about another weapon: guilt. It?s an attempt to make your fans feel guilty for enjoying and sharing your work. Though I?m a fan of The Far Side, I?m not a fan of that.

(Incidentally, The Complete Far Side is only available as a two-volume set with a list price of $150. And he wonders why fans want to digitize his work?)

IHOP Drops Trademark Lawsuit Against IHOP
As a Canadian, I know very little about IHOP, but everything I find out makes it sound all the more ridiculous. I was astonished to learn from this post that the Rooty Tooty Fresh ?n? Fruity is a real thing. How does anyone order it without giggling?

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Comments on “Marcus Carab's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week”

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Dr. Winsauce says:

How about the Moons over My Hammy?

We don’t have an IHOP so by far the best thing on the menu is at Denny’s and it’s called “Moons over My Hammy”

If you haven’t had one of these delectable dishes, here’s what your missing out on…. Ham and scrambled egg sandwich with Swiss and American cheeses on grilled sourdough. Served with choice of hash browns or grits.

Mmmm! Sounds tasty huh?

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

An excellent addition to some fascinating articles

I agree, the Trolley Problem was interesting. I ♥ these weekend posts. 🙂

Also, I agree that killing the one is better than the five, in general, but what if you recognize two of the five as ravening serial killers (the other three being innocent prison guards kidnapped along with them), and the one is Mahatma Ghandi or someone similar?

Dave the serial killers or Ghandi?

Anonymous Coward says:

How about the Moons over My Hammy?

Hey Dr. Winsauce,

You eat at Denny’s too? That’s great! As a way to start every week, my husband and I go to Denny’s and “moon” each other with a side of hammy. While we wait for the breakfast to finish, my husband reads the paper while I search everywhere online for lovenotes using my 3G iPad. LOL!

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

An excellent addition to some fascinating articles

That’s the thing – the 1 v. 5 is fairly easy, but it’s all the variations that make it more complex.

A good basic one is: what if instead of switching tracks from five people to one, you could save the five people by shoving a passerby in front of the trolley – would you do it? Suddenly the level of your participation changes and the whole question is different even though the end result is the same…

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