Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-grapevine dept

This week (or last week, I suppose — this post was moved for the long weekend!) our first place comment on the insightful side comes in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions using Hurricane Harvey as an argument for increased police militarization. An anonymous commenter set things straight:

Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer…


What’s needed instead are exactly the kinds of resources that this administration wants to strip out of FEMA: simple, basic essentials that are relatively inexpensive and save lots of lives.

Let me give you a timely example. The Cajun Navy, bless their hearts, showed up in force in Houston to do whatever they could to supplement the hopelessly-overwhelmed local, state, and federal personnel. And now some of them are dead, because they didn’t have lifejackets (PFDs). A minimal PFD for this kind of work costs about $100, a good one is about $250, a bulk order for several thousand would no doubt drive the price down.

No, it’s not very cool and sexy and oh-gosh-look-at-the-pretend-soldiers, but it’s a basic tool that keeps people alive in situations where they’d otherwise die. A quarter-million dollars worth of PFDs is chump change in comparison with the overall expense — flying helicopters is REALLY expensive — but it would yield value far beyond its price.

That’s just one example. There are a lot of others, including swiftwater rescue training — something that almost none of the Houston city personnel have had because there’s no money for it. But SWR is essential for anyone trying to perform rescues in fast water, particularly in urban areas where there are all kinds of hazards under the surface. Two days of quality SWR instruction costs $250/student and is probably enough to keep them from dying while trying to keep other people from dying.

Harvey. Sandy. Katrina. This is the new normal. There will be another one. Soon. And money needs to be spent on basic gear and basic training before one of these turns into a multi-thousand person casualty event. So don’t buy the cops AR-15’s: buy them PFDs and SWR training. Those are FAR more likely to keep them alive.

Meanwhile, a Deputy AG was trotting out a fable to make an absurd point about intellectual property, leading Ninja to win second place on the insightful side by making some critical modifications:

Good Lord they’re still at these flimsy bullshit claims?

I’ll fix the little story for him:

As a child, I learned a fable about a hen that finds some wheat grains and asks other animals for help in planting them. Nobody is willing to help but some will give it money via crowdfunding campaign, so the hen does the work itself hiring some people to help. At every stage of the process ? harvesting the wheat, threshing it, milling it into flour, and baking the flour into bread ? it keeps building and people keep financing it as they are interested in the results. But when the work is finished, everyone wants to eat the bread. So the hen makes infinite copies of that bread and everybody is happy, some even pay for some copies! Seeing how successful the bread is, hen decides to go for Bread 2.0 with new pepperoni fillings. The end.

Yes, I would download a bread.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ve got a pair of comments from the same pair of posts. First, in response to the post about Sessions, one commenter left some thoughts that included an easy-to-make but unfortunate error in the conflation of two homophones, inspiring TechDescartes to coin a rather good phrase:

Spelling matters. Which makes me think of a TLDR for the post:

We don’t want the military enforcing any ordinance and we don’t want the police touching any ordnance.

Next, on the post about the Deputy AG’s copyright analogy, one commenter tiresomely accused us of just being a bunch of pirates who won’t acknowledge creators’ rights, leading Stephen T. Stone to spell things out in more detail:

Their “intellectual property” rights are given to them by a set of laws that never foresaw modern technology. If copyright could be updated in a way that aligns with the Internet Age, the ease of copying data, and the original intent of copyright, I would likely support it. But it cannot?at least, not while corporations control the writing of such laws?so I cannot.

I will stand against black-box code that cedes partial control of my device to someone who does not own it?DRM. I will stand against instant takedowns content if even a small part of it uses someone else?s content under Fair Use guidelines?the DMCA. I will stand against a corporate welfare system that locks up the cultural commons behind a gated wall?the current length of copyright terms. I will stand against any part of copyright law that forgets the law?s original purpose: To strike a bargain between the artist and the general public such that they both benefit from the creation of any given work of art.

I will also support, in any way that I can, artists whose work I enjoy. I will ask others to support artists in any way they can. I will ask people to pay the often underpaid and overworked freelance artists more than those artists think they deserve for their time and skill. And I will support an individual artist’s right to monetize their work as they see fit.

You may judge me by these principles. Doing anything less will show a distinct lack of your own.

Over on the funny side, guess what? We’ve got the same pair of posts again! This time, first place goes to an anonymous commenter with some more thoughts for Jeff Sessions:

Hurricane Harvey was a surprise attack by nature

Meteorologists predicted that the hurricane would strike farther south and west. Nature staged a sneak attack by hitting Houston instead. The police must be adequately militarized to meet these attacks in kind, and to retaliate against Nature with the full surplus might of the United States military.

And in second place, we’ve got a comment from TechDescartes about our admittedly inconsistent use of typographical emphasis when people like say stupid things about copyright like comparing it to a fable about physical goods:

Excellent post…

…but someone needs to go check on Mike. I think he broke the Ctrl+B and Ctrl+I key combos on his computer pressing them so hard.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous response to a bizarre complaint that we aren’t showing enough “journalistic balance” by reporting all the good things about killing net neutrality:

Mhm. I also wonder where is journalistic balance in weather reporting? They say tomorrow’s gonna be hot and humid in Florida, but what about balance – they need to report about Floridian summer snow and blizzards as well.

And finally, we’ve got a comment from Bruce C. proposing an idea for solving the Facebook moderation problem:

Do what NPR did…

Maybe Facebook should shut down its comments section. After all, multiple organizations claim it improves their interaction with their users.

That’s all for this week folks!

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