Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the that's-what-they-said dept

This week, both winning comments on the insightful side came in response to our post about more legislators jumping on the “blue lives matter” bandwagon. Since the top comment was actually further down the same thread as the runner up, this week we’ll present the winners in reverse order, starting with the second place winner from Anonymous Anonymous Coward who swooped in with the first comment on the post:

Another good take on this subject…

From Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice: Only The Pure Shall Prevail

They are paid to take risks, that’s the job description. Why more protections? It is simply a political ploy to ‘enhance’ ones ‘anti crime’ credentials leading up to the next election. This has nothing to do with the criminals (who might in fact not be criminals) and everything to do with politics.

That comment garnered one nonsensical, trollish response to which Rusty Eulberg offered a retort that won first place for insightful:

garbage collectors have more risk, with much less pay and respect:
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-dangerous-jobs/

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we head to our post about Disney hitting a record $7-billion in box office returns last year (despite the MPAA crowing about piracy). Jeffrey Nonken examined anti-piracy efforts through a more traditional retail lens:

Used to be that retail stores had clerks that would fetch your items for you, ring up the total and send you on your way.

That changed. http://mentalfloss.com/article/85551/market-disrupted-how-piggly-wiggly-revolutionized-grocery-shopp ing Now this revolutionary new idea is pretty much universal: you fetch your own items, bring them to the clerk, who then rings you up and send you on your way.

Are there problems with this model? Yep. It makes it easier for customers to shoplift; there’s a certain amount of loss as a result. But retail stores have discovered that the benefits of the new model FAR outweigh the drawbacks, and they were making more profit at a lower cost while making the customers happier.

How many gas stations offer full service these days?

And it’s not stopped there. Now — due in part to ubiquitous, inter-connected electronic forms of payment — stores are starting to have you check YOURSELF out, with one clerk supervising a handful of registers. I don’t know if shrinkage increases as a result, but obviously it’s worth it to them. (AND the extra cost of the new equipment, conversion of several checkout lanes, plus extra training for the clerks.) Gas stations have been doing this for a while; I never need to go inside or talk to a clerk unless the receipt printer is broken, or I need a snack. Swipe card, fill tank, drive off.

Obviously steps are taken to keep shrinkage to a minimum, but it’s otherwise treated as an inevitable cost of doing business. The most I ever see is a few particularly high-risk items being made a special case of.

Hollywood has gone the opposite direction: instead of treating a minor amount of shrinkage as inevitable, but worth the cost due to economies of scale, they’re pouring tremendous amounts of effort into reducing shrinkage at comparatively high costs. One of which is making their customers unhappy. Same with game companies, who toss tons of money at DRM that only inconveniences the people who actually buy their games.

It’s probably a form of Loss Aversion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion They’re so afraid of losing a little that they don’t see how much it’s costing to prevent the loss. And they’re losing anyway, which is why they keep doubling down.

“Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” – George Santayana

Learn from Piggly Wiggly, guys. It’s not too late.

Of course, there’s one critical point missing there, which orbitalinsertion provided in a reply reminding us that copying is not theft:

It isn’t much shrinkage either, when there is no actual loss. Not even distribution costs. Just someone potentially not making more money. Mostly it is just people who would never see something otherwise, so we are not even talking lost sales except for a small fraction of infringement. Which isn’t as all pervasive as they claim anyway. It would be like Piggly Wiggly claiming their shelves are constantly empty from theft while making 10,000% profits somehow.

Over on the funny side, we remain on that post for our first place winner — an anonymous comment suggesting Disney’s record might not invalidate piracy fears after all:

You do have to realize that without piracy, Disney would’ve made $7.1 billion in the global box office.

In second place, we’ve got a comment from Hugo S Cunningham in response to the critical Supreme Court ruling that shut down patent jurisdiction shopping and its associated havens:

Marshall TX can file for Federal Disaster relief…

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with one more comment on that post, this time from K’Tetch on the next steps forward:

I guess I should sue now, because the SCOTUS has violated my patent for ‘reducing jurisdiction shopping for patent infringement suits” – I’ll see them in East Texas.

And finally, we’ve got a sarcastic response from Chris ODonnell to the Boston Globe’s bizarre decision to block readers who are using their browser’s privacy mode:

Lucky for The Globe 100% of their news is proprietary and can’t be found on any other site.

That’s all for this week, folks! We’re off tomorrow for Memorial Day then back to our regular schedule on Tuesday.


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

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38 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

The need for blue lives matter laws is actually nothing more tgan a reflection of society breaking down.

We use to respect the law without having a policeman on every corner. Our first thoughts were not how to steal everything that isn’t locked down or guarded eitg a gun. We didn’t need to barb wire around a residential parking area.

Simply put, blue lives matter laws are your own fault. You reap what you sow. Or in modern terms your app only run how you wrote it.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Violent crime and robbery rates in the US have been dropping for decades. The same goes for police fatalities.

Even the great 1950s were a myth for most people. Society was just better at sweeping the problems under the rug.

Nice try though.

Let others praise ancient times; I for one am glad I was born in these. – Ovid (43BC – AD18)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Quantifying things only on the basis of fatalities is a misdirection. It ignores assault, verbal and physical, as well as the dangers that comes from dealing with mire drug addicts, more homeless, and more people with mental issues.

That ignores gang members, turf wars, and all that.

Only counting bodies is pointless.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No.

This is a totallynew scale. Police officers used to respect people and the law. “Serve and respect” meant something.

Today, the police force is filled with power hungry men looking to hurt people with no accountability.

Lets not say that nothing new is happening, but lets also be really clear that a once respected career has been turned into a group of people who do not respect the people they are charged with protecting.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I was referring to the “homeless, mental issues, gang members, turf wars” stuff. There’s nothing new there, no increase. I agree with you about the police problem.

I’m not surprised by it though. Decade+ hostile occupations of cities two war zones – where any civilian was a potential combatant and had to be treated as such – could have no other effect. Take those soldiers and their lessons learned and drop them in large numbers into police forces back home, and suddenly your police seem a whole lot less friendly.

Handing them mountains of military weaponry at the same time – leading to SWAT raids targeting NON-violent offenders becoming common – hasn’t helped.

My_Name_Here says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Always makes me chuckle when people act as if the population as a whole isn’t more hostile.

There are nearly 300 million guns in the US. Nearly 40% of Americans own a gun (registered). Another significant portion of the population have unregistered weapons. The police have to deal with the concept that well more than half the people they deal with either own a gun legally or illegally.

They also have to deal with a society where “snitches get stitches” and talking to the police is considered a bad thing:

http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/more-than-3-million-violent-crimes-in-us-go-unreported-every-year?news=844943

Worse yet, America’s cities are often the dumping ground for the mentally ill. The system that should protect these people instead ignores them, medicates them only when forced to, and then turns them back out onto the streets to start the cycle all over again. When you realize that many inner city police officers and forced to deal with the fall out of all of this, you can understand where they become defensive.

Defensiveness leads to aggression. Rather than taking a chance of any situation going off the rails, they start to act like it has in fact gone off the rails already. It’s self-preservation at it’s finest. The problem being that in some cases, it comes off as harsh and unjustified.

America’s ghetto tinged attitudes and rap fueled attitudes make it pretty much impossible. Most of you keyboard warrior types would run home to mommy if you had to deal with this stuff.

Why anyone would object to “blue lives matter” rules is beyond me. If everyone is respectful, would they matter?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Not everyone’s an authoritarisexual like you are, you realize that right?

Of course they protect the mentally ill people. They staff the police with visually impaired folks who can’t tell video game remotes from guns, spend money to protect them, and deploy mouthpieces like you to speak up…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Fueled as in created the belief that shooting cops is okay (remember Cop Killer, by a guy who plays a cop on tv). All the songs about not snitching, fuck the popo and all that stuff. It creates and re enforces an attitude towards cops as a whole.

Fueled. Not a direct cause, but a contributing part of the problems.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Why anyone would object to “blue lives matter” rules is beyond me.”

Ok, well, I will explain my position.

While I don’t agree with everything you have listed (particularly the “society is more aggressive”, even if I did, it is a list of reasons why police officers might want to take care in making the choice to become or remain police officers. These are not reasons why laws should be enacted to “protect” them.

It is dangerous work, but not more dangerous than working as an electrical lineman, commercial fisherman, or garbage man (yup, those took more lives than law enforcement last year).

Police officers should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one. Instead, they are given the benefit of the doubt when they do not know the law (arresting someone for filming them), given more weight when testifying (years of experience makes it possible to determine he was speeding…), and protected by police unions and prosecutors when then have been caught doing something illegal.

Blue lives do matter, but they are supposed to lay them down to protect citizens and instead have been beating mentally ill people to death and not only released, but allowed to go back to work.

My_Name_Here says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I don’t disagree with you, but I think you are missing a ciuple of key points.

Police, like judges, prosecutors, and so on are working in what is a very important part of any civilized society, that of applying the law. Without respect for the law, without respect for the processes of enforcing those laws, civilized society as a whole is lost.

We don’t shoot electrical linemen because there was a blackout. Yet some people feel free to shoot police for getting a traffic ticket or because they got busted for something.

When the cogs of the legal system are threatened, the system itself is threatened. All of those people from a meter maid writing a parking ticket to SCOTUS itself are all key parts of making the US system work. Without them, and without their full efforts, things are lost.

Many of the stories railing against police or the legal system here on Techdirt are about those who stray from their responsibilities (your “beating the homeless to death” scenario). It’s only because they are that important to what makes the US work that it matters. You don’t see much on Techdirt about electrical linemen who forgot to secure a fixture or who didn’t turn a breaker on quickly enough, do you?

It’s not about being authoritarian (as someone about you suggested) but rather about understanding that the US works because of the legal system that we should (even grudgingly) respect. That respect should apply equally to the jobs involved in doing it, even if we don’t agree with all they do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Changing IP addresses would only bother Techdirt staff. So want to use yiur teal name to post?

You go be a big city policeman for a while. Try to do your job well and protect the people while in fear if your life and random court rulings that make it almost impossible to deal with crime.

Crime isn’t down. Reported crime is. Most oeople don’t bother anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Point to a random court ruling that makes it impossible to police crime. The amount of protection given to police who shoot unarmed citizens from the courts and thin blue line is staggering. They could rape and publicly behead a baby and you’d still be here, screaming from multiple IP addresses about how the fact that turf wars exist means that it should be considered permissible behavior.

In your own words, “you first big boy”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Simply put, blue lives matter laws are your own fault.

There was a time, before cars and radios, when police lived in the communities that they policed. They relied on a whistle to summon aid. They also talked to people, and behaved in a fashion that gained their respect, possibly because they also relied on those same people to aid them if they got into trouble.

Now the live isolated from the communities that they police, and treat everybody ae criminals demanding instant submissive compliance with their orders. They use overwhelming forcc. they try and turn every interaction with an individual into a reason to search them and their property.In other words they treat people as criminals, which means they lose the trust and respect of the people.

Blue lives matter is the police trying to use the laws to deal with the consequences of their own chosen approach to policing, and will do nothing to improve their relationships with the people they are meant to police…

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: nothing more tgan a reflection of society breaking down.

Maybe society isn’t breaking down.

Case in point: Willie Godbolt killed 8 people, and he was black. In a rural part of a Southern state. And the cops didn’t shoot him dead–they took him alive, to face justice.

Don’t you think that’s worthy of comment, in this particular time?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Here’s a reason such laws are unnecessary:

http://blog.simplejustice.us/2017/05/28/three-men-in-portland-who-did-something/

No uniforms on them. They stepped up, and didn’t make it home for dinner. It doesn’t take a uniform to be brave. It doesn’t take a uniform to protect and serve. If you put the uniform on, though, you will be expected to perform like these three brave souls, and without extra protection, it’s the job.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

Dangerous jobs

That comment garnered one nonsensical, trollish response to which Rusty Eulberg offered a retort that won first place for insightful:

garbage collectors have more risk, with much less pay and respect:
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-dangerous-jobs/

Well, I was a logger in the Rocky Mountains in the 1960s. Pay wasn’t great, but the exercise was. One day, shortly after I got the job, my team foreman, a Swede, dropped a sapling on my head (hard hat kept me from getting too messed up) to get my attention! I never forgot that lesson! We worked together for another year. We cut a lot of trees, clearing roads, ski areas, and interstate highways. We would work through the winter, heading out to the work sites at 6am when it was below zero!

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dangerous jobs

FWIW, we never did lose any of our colleagues! My girlfriend wanted me to work with her father on a big tunneling job (he was chief engineer for the Straight Creek Tunnel under Loveland Pass) – better pay, but after some consideration I decided that being a logger was safer! He had lost a number of employees in rock falls. 🙂

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

I’m a detail-oriented guy, so sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees. I was so focussed on the parallels to the retail model that I wasn’t even thinking about the infinite resources difference.

OTOH, to be fair, the real point wasn’t actual costs so much as loss of control. Retailers have learned to let go some control to maximize profits; in their case, shrinkage is a real cost, but they’ve decided it’s worth the cost to increase their profits. They spend reasonable amounts on mitigation, and write the rest off.

Orbitalinsertion is correct that Hollywood et.al. don’t have that excuse. For them it’s ALL about the control.

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