Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the tsa-tales dept

This week, we pointed out that the TSA’s investigation into agents who were caught conspiring to grope passengers left little chance that they would be prosecuted. A lot of it came down to the lack of a named victim which, as an anonymous commenter pointed out in our most insightful comment of the week, is a rare conundrum enabled by the very nature of the TSA itself:

They didn’t have a victim because they didn’t tell the victim he was a victim. In any other situation the victim of assault would know without having to be told, but here its just normal TSA procedure to be assaulted so the victim walks away.

Speaking of victims, this week we also all shed a tear for the poor MPAA which faces a possible spread of fair use principles around the globe thanks to the TPP. After a leaked email from Chris Dodd to a USTR ambassador revealed the association’s fear of fair use, jupiterkansas won second place for insightful with an accompanying letter of his own:

Dear Ambassador Froman:

The community I represent doesn’t think much about copyright or fair use at all, which is why you don’t hear from us very often. After all, we aren’t paid huge sums of money to send you emails like Chris Dodd is. We aren’t paid to try and get laws passed and trade agreements made to benefit ourselves. We aren’t in the room when all those industry representatives get together to decide what’s best for our country. In fact, we aren’t even allowed in the room.

But we’re the reason you have a job. We’re the ones you’re supposed to be helping. We’re the people most affected by your trade agreements. Your job isn’t to help Chris Dodd keep his job, and what’s best for Chris Dodd my not be best for us.

All we ask is that you keep us in mind through all of this, because your job, most of all, is to represent us. You’re all we’ve got to protect us from Chris Dodd and all those seeking to profit from your actions. Please stand up for us.

Sincerely, The American Public

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a response to the assertion that Google somehow makes it impossible to find and use alternative search tools. That One Guy decided to put this notion to the test:

Well, congrats, you actually got me to do something that I haven’t for… I don’t know how long, I actually used Google to search for something.

Anyway, using Google to search for ‘Search engines’, here at the top 10 results:

1. Bing (search engine)
2. DuckDuckGo (search engine)
3. The wikipedia page for ‘Web search engine’.
4. Dogpile (search engine)
5. Ixquick (search engine)
6. Top 15 most populat search engines (Ebismba article)
7. Entireweb (search engine)
8. ‘Web search engines’ (article of some sort I’m guessing)
9. ‘The terrifying search engine that finds internet…’ (Forbes article)
10. ‘Ducking Google in search engines’ (Washington Post article)

If the claim is that they are intentionally modifying their results to keep people from finding alternative search engines, then this simple test would seem to put that particular idea to bed. Just because a good number of people don’t know about or use other search engines, is not Google’s fault, and they don’t really seem to be doing anything to hide the alternatives.

Next, we’ve got a straightforward and personal response from John Fenderson to the assertion that piracy forces creators to work for free:

Baloney. I have been producing commercial software for decades (without ever using copy protection schemes). Most of my software has been widely distributed amongst the pirate community. And yet, I’ve managed to make a very good living anyway. I can personally demonstrate that unlimited copying hasn’t forced me to work for free. If it hasn’t forced me, then how can it force anybody else?

For first place on the funny side, we head to yet another story about TSA agents, this time busy destroying Cory Doctorow’s “TSA-safe” suitcase. One commenter put on their tinfoil hat to suggest that the agents ripped the idea directly from one of Doctorow’s distopian novels, but another suggested that this was giving them far too much credit:

The assumption of literacy in TSA agents is a bold move…

In second place, we head to our post about the discovery of just how vulnerable Virginia’s voting machines were to hacking. The report noted that someone with a makeshift antenna made from a Pringles can could access the machines from anywhere within half a mile, leading Michael to wonder about the ever-shifting standards for technological liability:

So why isn’t the CEO of Pringles being arrested right now?

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on the story of a new bill in California that would require libraries with 3D printers to post scary anti-infringement signs. One anonymous commenter pointed out that this feels kind of familiar:

This will surely eliminating infringement forever, just like the FBI warnings before every motion picture did.

Finally, we head to the story of the chess grandmaster who was caught hiding in the bathroom to analyze ideal moves with an app on his phone, leading another anonymous commenter to toss a dry and glorious pun into the conversation:

Brings new meaning to stalling.

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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Anonymous Coward says:

That One Guy’s statement points to the same thing I think every time someone says that Google has a search monopoly – who cares (other than competitors who obviously can’t compete very well)?

People use Google. That’s the consumer equivalent of voting. There are other options. Google doesn’t try to hide the other options. You don’t have to use Google at all. You don’t have to buy an Android phone. You can even buy an Android phone without Google’s default apps on it (why you’d want this, I don’t know…).

Market domination is not the same as a monopoly. Google didn’t buy up all the other search engines to shut them down or make exclusive deals with third parties to make sure those other search engines don’t show up in the products and services of those third parties. Firefox switched to Yahoo! search. Microsoft pays people to use Bing. Google just has a good search engine (despite recently kowtowing to silly content industry complaints to give them what they claimed they wanted that will never be enough).

People who continue to rant about Google’s dominance in search seem to think that if people just knew of the alternatives, they’d switch immediately to something else. Maybe people use Google because they like it or it’s familiar or its comfortable and hasn’t become too annoying to use. Those that have gotten to that point have already stopped using Google. Consumer usage voting seems to have determined that Google search is the preferred one right now. Get over it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Market domination is not the same as a monopoly”

Stop talking like that or you might upset the EU gov (who no one voted for)! If they see that all the lobby money isn’t working to turn the point of view of the plebs they’ll just outlaw Google. You didn’t ask for an example but hey… hospitals kill 100’000+ people a year in the EU while weed kills less than 100ish people. First one has a lobby of various billion while the 2nd one has no lobby at all because why risk profits?

Giles Byles (profile) says:

Someone will supplant the incumbent

Ixquick user here.  Back in its earliest days, Google’s search was better.  It had a “show more like this” option.  Was a quick way of straining out all the superfluous results that didn’t address the intent of an inquiry.  One could immediately focus down on what one was looking for.  Why did that “functionality” have to go away?  Does anyone do it that way today?  I’d switch to them immediately.

Doesn’t anybody put a time stamp on anything any more?  Seems to me Google used to put a publish date on articles it found.  What became of that?  Now all the old crap is commingled with the new, with no way to distinguish.  Search engine FAIL.

Anonymous Coward says:

This got funnier after more looking.

Search for “copia institute” gets all of 23,400 hits. Only a few site names that I knew, and many clearly just automated copy. Past 4th page seems pretty tenuous. But easy to find a couple gems.
“a for-profit think tank qua network that will focus on understanding the world through the lens of abundance rather than scarcity. The institute is being backed by the MacArthur Foundation, Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Foundry Group, Spark Capital. Google, Automattic (WordPress), Yelp and Namecheap.”

Now, maybe Google directly funding Masnick has been stated, but I didn’t know it (would have caught my eye), and in any case should be in EVERY Google item because highly relevant: a journalist would, but as “blogger” Masnick makes up his own ethics.

Then I noticed PIRATES! What connects pirates with “Copia”? — This post by user named “Mike”!
Won’t let me see user details, but the many links to Techdirt makes clear that is indeed Mike “Pirate” Masnick. Doxed himself.

This “Mike” has Threads: 672 Posts: 821 Reputation: 6
Aren’t enough reps to be useful (“Mike” appears average among repliers this area), so let’s look at objective number, VIEWS:
Mike 0 replies 26 views Mar 26, 2015, 18:11 pm Last Post: Mike
Zero replies, twenty-six views, as of April 17! Paltry return on time even if nearly automated, for presumably receptive audience.

Going to full list of posts, here’s “Mike’s” big hit with 2766 reads shortly after joining in August 2014 (and oddly, is listed twice):
A whole 68 replies! — But wait. Who’s this “Mike” doing most of the replying? Yes, it’s “Original Poster” Mike! At least 40 “replies”! Talk about ASTRO-TURFING!

Finding Masnick posting (mostly to himself!) at “” and user details kept out of public view, what a HOOT!

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: This got funnier after more looking.

(look at the rest of the forum — it’s ALL rss autoposts, a bunch from TorrentFreak too. The mental image of you digging through the deep pages of Google and weaving wild conspiracy theories around the stupid automated sites that pop up down there is, I must admit, hilarious to me.)

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: This got funnier after more looking.

Insane Troll Logic

Entry pirated from:

Insane Troll Logic is the kind of logic that just can’t be argued with because it’s so demented, so lost in its own insanity, that any attempts to make it rational would make it more incomprehensible. It is logic failure that crosses over into parody or Poe’s Law. A character says something so blatantly illogical that it has to be deliberate on the part of the writer.

For examples of Insane Troll Logic by video game developers, see You Can’t Get Ye Flask, Moon Logic Puzzle, and [extreme examples of] Guide Dang It.

For examples of characters who engage in this, see The Ditz, Cloudcuckoolander, Strawmen, Moral Guardians, and of course trolls of both internet and mythological origin. A character will tend to use this when he thinks he is smarter than he really is. For when the Insane Troll Logic leads to a true conclusion, see Bat Deduction and Right for the Wrong Reasons. If this trope is exaggerated beyond the point that it even makes grammatical sense, it can become a Word Salad Philosophy. Irrational Hatred may have this as its basis, and Chewbacca Defense is literally built of it. And then, sometimes it’s just Obfuscating Stupidity or Obfuscating Insanity in action. No relation to Insane Clown Posse…for the most part.

Remember that not all bad or faulty logic is Insane Troll Logic. Insane Troll Logic is so badly screwed up that it isn’t even wrong – usually either the presenter or the audience have no grasp of even the concept where the “logic” should apply.

A character consumed by this trope tends to say things along the lines of “Because I say it is!” or “You’re a liar!”

Warning: trying to understand such trains of logic may make your brain hurt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This got funnier after more looking.

You have provided a very thoughtful and informative comment, but I fear that it will be ignored as persons skip by the message in their zest to attack the messenger. Mike refuses to believe my experience in aerospace trumps his, regardless of how plainly I insisted it to him.

You, sir, are a noble and shining light of intellectualism in a treacherous sea of pirates who believe that copyright lasting for seventy years after the death of the author is unreasonable. If it were biologically possible, I would wish to have your offspring.

Rikuo says:

Re: Re: This got funnier after more looking.

…I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic here. The troll whose cock you seem to love deepthroating only has the most tenuous of connections to base his conspiracy around (a site that hosts copies of Techdirt articles, a site with the word pirate in the name and the account posting those copies of articles having Mike in the name).
Why would you want the genes of a clearly deranged mind to be propagated? Why do you believe that life + 70 years is reasonable?
Or was all that you being sarcastic?

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