Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the there-is-no-department dept

We were disgusted with Eric Holder this week when he rolled out some egregious “think of the children!” pleas as part of an attack on phone encryption. Ninja won most insightful comment of the week with his thoughts on the matter:

Excuse me mr Holder but I’d rather live with the dim risk of my kid falling in the hands of your fictional psychopath than having the very same kid live in a totalitarian, Police State future. The said child abuser is merely a small, statistically insignificant probability that law enforcement can maintain low by using basic investigative measures while the other is almost certain and will permeate all aspects of this kid life later.

Over in the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May was looking for the ability to ban “extremists” from using social media or appearing on television, as long as they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”. John Fenderson won second place for insightful by turning her words against her:

Funny, that. As soon as you are barring people from speaking — no matter how unpleasant you find the speech — you are a threat to “the functioning of democracy” yourself. The functioning of democracy requires the ability for people to speak freely, especially unpopular speech.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start with one more response to Eric Holder. This time it’s Applesauce, reminding us that the issue of backdoors for spying on communications isn’t just about how much you trust the US government:

In all these comments, everyone seems to keep forgetting that if the NSA and/or the FBI has a back door key, they will be unable to keep it secure. The Russian FSB will have it, and so will the Russian Mafia. The Chinese PLA will have it and all their friends too. It will be a long list and the key will be available for sale to anyone with $$$ soon after.

If anyone doubts this, remember:
1. The walker spy ring, which sold USA’s most secure Navy codes to the Soviets (for mere pennies, BTW).
2. The Robert Hanssen case, where the FBI’s top counterintelligence officer was a Soviet Spy.
3. All the ones who haven’t been caught yet (Hanssen got away with it for 22 years).

This week we also saw Grooveshark’s unsurprising loss to the record labels in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Though there was no doubt that Grooveshark’s actions were particularly egregious, there’s a broader perspective from which this whole thing is yet another broken copyright farce. Ninja gets a second nod this week for exploring that side of things:

They clearly are in the wrong side of the law but this whole issue begs much needed questions:

1- If the service was popular (and it was) why don’t the labels set up similar services and monetize on them (and instead try to actively kill the existing stuff like spotify or pandora)?

2- If it was doing good, why not strike a deal anyway and demand some money as compensation for the unlicensed days? Everybody wins.

3- Why is Grooveshark so vilified when the MAFIAA in general had to resort to piracy and infringement in their early days to take off? Would Grooveshark reach such size if they went the legal, standard ways? Can any service aspire to get big using the standard paths? (The answer here is clearly almost always no) If no, what are they waiting to open opportunities to more startups thus increasing their revenue channels?

We all know the answers and, sadly, they aren’t good or reasonable.

Over on the funny side, we start out with our post about a bizarre CIA redaction hiding the price they paid for a single Amiga computer in 1987. Though the agency later claimed it was a simple error, johnjac still deserves his win for funniest comment of the week:

It doesn’t make sense until you realize that this is the CIA security question for master password resets:
What was the price of your first computer?

In second place on the funny side, we’ve got Chris ODonnell playing the lonely supporter to Eric Holder:

I’m with Holder. Who wants to return to the wild west days before smart phones, when all crimes went unsolved due to lack of evidence?

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a story that is kind of funny in itself: a company that claims to be algorithmically generating content, and copyrighting it, so that it basically controls everything. One anonymous commenter decided to play along and crunch some numbers (or maybe they just faked it, I didn’t check):

All joking aside, the number of possible variations of, say, a 256 color image 32 pixels wide by 32 pixels high would be:
1090748135619415929462984244733782862448264161996232692431832786189721331849119295216264234525201987 2239572917961570252731098708201771840636109797650775547990789062988421929895386098252280482051596968 5161359163819677188654260932456012129055390188630101790025253579991720001007960002653583680090529780 5880952350501630195475653911005312364560014847426035293551245843928918752768696279344088055617515694 3499454066778251408149006161059202564385045780133264935658360472424073824428122451315177575191648992 2636574372243227736807502762788304520650179276170094569916849725787968385173704999690096112051565505 0115561271491492515342105748966629547032786321505730828430221664970324396138635251626409516168005427 6234359963089216914461811874063953106654048857394348328774281674074953709935118687563599703901170218 2361674945862096985700626361208270671540815706657513728102702231092756491027675916052087830463241104 9364568754920967322982459184763427383790272448438018526977764941072715611580434690827459339991961414 2427414105991174260605564837637563145276113626586283833686211579936380208785376755453367899156942344 3395566631507008721353547025567031200413072549583450835743965382893607708097855057891296790735278005 4935621561090795845172954115972927479877527738560008204118558930004777748727761853813510493840581861 5986522116059603083564059418211897140378687262194814987276036536162988561748224130334854387853240247 5141941718301228107820972930353737280457437209522870362277636394529086980625842235514850757103961938 7449629866808188769662815778153079393179093143648340761738581819563002994422790754955061288818308430 0796486932321791587659180355652161571154029921202761556078731079374774668415283629877086994501520312 3186259420308569383894465706134623670423402682110295895495119708707654618662279629453645162075650935 1018906023773821539532776208676978589731966330308893304665169436185078350641568336944530051437491311 2988343672652385954049042734559287239495252271846174043678547546104743770197680255766058810380772707 0771794222197709038543858584409549211609985253890397465570394397308609093059696336076752996493841459 8185705963754561497355827813623833288906309004288017321424808663962671333528009232758350873059614118 7237814221014601986157473868550968960891891804413395585248228675411132126387936755676503403629700319 3002339782846531854723824423202801518968966041882297600081543761065225427016359565087543385114712321 4227266605403581781469090806576468950587661997186505665475715792896.

Finally, since much attention has been paid to the Bendy iPhone Scandal recently, we’ll close things out with DannyB and his summing up of Apple’s gag-the-critics, sweep-it-under-the-rug strategy:

Do not try to bend the iPhone, for that is impossible.
Only try to realize the truth.
There is no iPhone.

That’s all for this week, folks!


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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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61 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not that high.

256 color choices per pixel over 1024 pixels would be 256x256x256x256…

so 256^1024 is correct.

However, OP AC said “256 color image 32 pixels wide by 32 pixels high” which could be interpreted to mean that all 256 colors must be present in the image. If that’s the case, the answer would be different (but smaller).

Whatever (profile) says:

Funny, that. As soon as you are barring people from speaking — no matter how unpleasant you find the speech — you are a threat to “the functioning of democracy” yourself. The functioning of democracy requires the ability for people to speak freely, especially unpopular speech.

An incredibly thoughtful comment, sadly lost on a site where people use the “report” button as a way to down vote unpopular opinions to shut them off.

Physician heal thyself!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Spam filters are nothing but censorship!

Do not the oft maligned spammers and trollish deserve to tell you about a new exciting offer, or repeat the exact same debunked claim 205 times in a row?! Does not pointing out when someone is being trollish by handing out insults like party favors make you no better than them?!

Nay say I, when someone acts in a childish manner by resorting to adhoms and strawmen, it is everyone’s duty to treat them like a fully mature adult with valid criticisms and well thought out arguments! To do else-wise, to dare treat them like the children they are acting like and sending them to digital time-out, is nothing less than persecution of the highest order!

After all, is not the proper way to deal with a child throwing a tantrum to try and talk to them about it? To treat their insults, attacks, and mudslinging just as worthy of consideration as the most well articulated and thought out statement?

Indeed, it is the solemn duty of those that encounter petulant children, or ‘children’, to give their statements equal treatment as those made by people who can make it more than 2 sentences without insulting someone. To do any less, to fail to accord those children the same attention and respect as an adult, is an affront to decency itself!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

To read the typical contents of this site is to believe that any interference with speech is wrong, and this would include interference well short of stopping speech altogether.

It would appear that, perhaps, you have a serious reading comprehension problem. I have never seen any such indication of what you are suggesting. There are plenty of concerns about government interference. There are concerns about pressure being used to completely block out certain forms of speech across the internet. But little indication that what your saying is true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I believe you have a misunderstanding of what Freedom of Speech actually means.
It doesn’t mean you can be an ignorant ass without consequence. It also doesn’t mean that people have to listen to what you want to say.
These two concepts seem foreign to you and no matter how many times your speech is downvoted and buried beneath a disclaimer of “This guy is fucking nuts, reader beware” (it’s not silenced as you so like to believe), you seem unable to learn that valuable lesson that not all speech is equal.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, but freedom of speech also means that YOU shouldn’t get to choose if other people can read my posts or not. That is censorship, plain and simple.

The only lesson I learn from people down voting my stuff is that they don’t want to hear anything except the sounds of their own voices. What a sad world it is when you don’t want to think.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I still don’t think you understand.
Your comments are not being removed, silenced or deleted. People are reading your comment and saying “This is abusive, spam, trollish or otherwise inappropriate.” After numerous people find and report your comment as such, it is put underneath a warning stating your comment is abusive, spam, trollish or otherwise inappropriate.
Now if other people come along afterwards and want to read your comment, they only need to click the little show button and it unhides your message for them.
You have the freedom of speech but people are not obligated to hear that speech. It doesn’t mean you are entitled to have people listen to it. What it means is that you will not go to jail for saying it.

Whenever says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well said. Freedom of speech means having the ability to say anything you want. Is Whatever being prevented from exercising that right? Is Whatever being blocked from saying anything he/she wants? Not even once has that ever happened here at Techdirt. Freedom of speech does not equal the right to be heard by everyone. It doesn’t equal the right to have your blathering not fall on deaf ears. It doesn’t give one the right to force anyone to listen to what you have to say. Unfortunately, Whatever keeps showing everyone here that he/she has a lot of difficulty understanding even the simplest of concepts. Sad really.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The thing is, freedom of speech goes both ways. It doesn’t mean that you can say whatever you like and no one else has the right to say whatever they like in return. You need to take responsibility for your actions.

Also, you don’t seem to understand that no censorship is actually taking place when your comments are flagged. Based on what I’ve seen so far, they probably should be anyway since you frequently and willfully operate with an information deficit. A person like that does get rather exasperating to deal with after a while.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, but freedom of speech also means that YOU shouldn’t get to choose if other people can read my posts or not. That is censorship, plain and simple.

Um, no, it’s not. This is plain and simple, a lie. And, you know this already because it’s been pointed out to you repeatedly. But, go ahead and say it again if it makes you feel good. It will still be a lie.

Reported posts are still present and anyone who chooses to may still read them easily. I frequently do read reported comments and I also report comments as well. The comments haven’t gone anywhere. Once again, you willfully try to misrepresent what the report button does on this site in some vain attempt to make it appear like you’re the innocent party here.

Your comments being reported should be viewed by you as one not appreciated by the community. That should be a signal to you that you need to change how you comment. If you choose not to, that’s fine. Just don’t expect the rest of us here to just mindlessly take it.

You and AJ (antidirt) share one common trait. You are under the extremely mistaken belief that you can be arrogant asshats in the comments here and not suffer any consequences for that behavior. As long as you two continue to shove your shove-it-up-your-ass attitude into the faces of the rest of the community here and engage in various types of trollish conduct, you posts will continue to be reported. And rightfully so.

You and AJ don’t want your comments reported? I have two choices for both of you.

1) Leave. Seriously, don’t let the door hit you on your way out. You won’t be missed.
2) Recognize that your arrogant attitude is the problem and learn how to communicate with the rest of the community here in a manner that doesn’t resemble fingernails on a chalkboard. We’ll all enjoy a good discussion even if we just have to agree to disagree.

But, what won’t work is exactly what you and AJ are prone to doing now. There can be only one result for that and it is exactly what you’re whining and lying about now.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

‘Censorship’.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Comment is reported: Comment is ‘hidden’, but can still be read and replied to with a single mouse click.

Comment is censored: Comment is gone. You cannot read it, you cannot view it, it is flat out not there, and nothing other people on the site can do will make it appear again.

One of the first steps to being taken seriously is to stop trying to make words mean something other than what they actually mean to try and defend your position.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I replied to the last one on the list, that’s all.

It’s pretty simple. If people an more easily see your comment than mine, because some people have decided that they do not like my comment, then it’s censored. Think of the report button a form of prior restraint, making it harder for me to express my views and easier for others. Anything that limits someone’s speech is censorship.

Nobody is trying to educate me, they are trying to JUDGE me. They don’t like my comments, so they insult me, they bait me, they call me names, and most of all THEY CENSOR me.

Oh, and Techdirt doesn’t even have the decency to show me when the posts are censored, I can find it out by using another browser that isn’t logged in. Isn’t that classy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

What you want is for your speech to be treated equally as everyone’s speech, whether or not everyone agrees with you.
It’s the same as giving equal air time to critics of global warming or antivax. You think just because you have an opinion that it’s equal to everyone else’s.
You also keep trying to redefine the word censored to make yourself out to be the victim of an injustice. If you were truly censored, nobody could read your comments at all. Instead, you think clicking a “show” link is too far removed and is considered censoring. It’s not. No matter how much you want to believe it is, it’s not. And you’re not the victim, you’re the antagonist who keeps trying to start things.

As it has been said to many people who have come before you and will again to many who come after: People don’t report you because they disagree with you. People report you because you antagonize, troll, use ad-hominem attacks and are otherwise uncivil in your discussions.

Saying something along the lines of: “I disagree with you because of reasons and also because Mike is a shill and Techdirt is a hypocrite and all the commentors are ignorant.” is not the way to have your comments thrust into the limelight for all to appreciate.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“They don’t like my comments, so they insult me, they bait me, they call me names”

“Points out the hypocracy of the local crazies, I guess.”

If you can dish it out, you certainly ought to be able to take it.
Also, that comment of yours reads to me like a whiny five year old “Miss…whaaaaaa! They they…sniff called me a bad name! WHHAAAAAAAAA!”
Grow a fucking pair why don’t you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I don’t know what school you graduated from, but in the real world, idiocy and ignorance isn’t rewarded.

Step away from the keyboard and scream about starving artists, poor policemen threatened by citizens wielding cellphones and how people holding Wii remotes need to be shot on sight. Do you think you’d be well-received then? And to use a popular RIAA tenet, why would the digital world be any different?

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

It doesn’t make it harder for you to express your views. You can still apply your trollish fingers to your keyboard and type out absolute poo. After your comment is rightfully reported several times, it receives a warning to other users that it is abusive, spammy, or trollish. Anyone who wants to read it can, but they are warned that it’s probably a pile of crap. I actually read your comments, mostly for the entertainment value.
Oh, and out_of_the_blue said the exact same thing, shortly before he realized he was too stupid to remember to breathe.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I understand how you feel, but it’s hard to sympathize since you do bring all of this out on yourself.

Yeah, there are some uncouth people here, but there are also some highly intelligent ones. Remember what I told you before about how if someone insults you, you shouldn’t abdicate the moral high ground by responding in kind? You’ve willfully leapt down into the dredges and you’ve spent so long there that you can no longer see the people up above who are still willing to throw you a rope and help you out of the pit you’re in.

You did this to yourself.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Nobody is trying to educate me, they are trying to JUDGE me.”

You’re judged on the quality of your comments, just like every other commenter. Plenty of people reply to your comments trying (probably futilely) to educate you. In fact there are over a dozen comments preceding mine that are doing just that.

Now stop whining like a little baby, you’re sure as hell being judged on that.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Some of it, yes. Then he goes and aggravates it.

Most of the time though, I’ve seen him seemingly not reading the articles or straight up using fallacious logic. I kinda doubt it’s worth defending him just because he might be right once a month or so. There are other commenters that can do what he does better.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

I suppose so… which does even less to help his case.

If I really had to boil it down though, I guess I’d say the main reason he’s not welcome around here is because he’s unwilling to learn. He’s not only just flat out wrong with his responses most of the time, but unapologetically wrong to boot, and that’s where the cardinal sins take place. You never stop learning throughout life, which is why there’s nothing worse than a poor student.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

“Frankly, it does appear that some of the negativity exhibited here traces to comments that challenge the opinions of the site’s principals.”

That’s a little insulting. It’s far more likely that some of the negativity exhibited here traces to comments that challenge the opinions of the readers. We can think for ourselves y’know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Not defending infantile behavior in the least. I am defending, however, the notion that comments should be addressed on their merits, and not because of some personal animus towards the commenter.

From my perspective, it is annoying to try and peruse a thread, only to be presented with a host of hidden comments and nary an indication of who made such comments. Each has to be opened to even find out the name of the commenter, much less what was said.

The best way to deal with “trollish” comments? Certainly not hide them behind a “click here”. Simply ignore them as not every comment deserves or merits a response.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

You are defending comments such as “Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced”. There are no merits to be addressed with comments like that; it just shows that a select few idiots have an ax to grind.

If anything, your commentary indicates exactly what the trolls aren’t doing. They’re not judging articles by merit. They’re lumping everyone into a filthy pirate group and assuming all of us are lawbreakers.

Given that you’d defend such behavior is very, very telling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Many forums have ways to allow the community or moderators to prioritize comments. Even commercial forums, like Amazon, tend to prioritize questions and answers and comments. Such prioritization methods are a form of speech either by the community or moderators. However, the difference between this and what IP extremists do is very different. The mainstream media, for example, is owned by IP extremists and they tend to censor speech that goes against their agenda while promoting speech in their favor. And IP extremist blogs have a long history of either disabling comments or censoring comments they don’t like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

and here is an example of how IP extremists treat speech they don’t like.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140915/16473628525/intellectual-property-maximalist-lobbying-group-proposes-new-trademark-sopa-plus-girl-scout-badges.shtml#c464

They can’t deal with the issues substantially so they resort to censorship when possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What freedom of speech means is that the government doesn’t do anything to encourage one type of speech over another.

Techdirt is a private blog. The owner is allowed to block or prioritize or deprioritize comments and speech all he wants. That’s not government interference of speech.

Broadcasting spectra and cableco monopolies benefit from government established monopolies. For the government to grant such monopolies is an inherent government interference of free speech because what that is is that’s the government prioritizing, giving a relative advantage/disadvantage, to speech based on what the speech that broadcasting and cableco monopolists wish to prioritize. Such monopolists clearly have certain special interests (ie: they are interested in maintaining their government established monopoly positions). These monopolies, therefore, are unconstitutional.

See the difference?

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