It's Only A Miracle If You're Not In The Business Of Selling Loaves & Fishes

from the unauthorized-reproduction-of-food dept

Aaron DeOliveira was the first of a few of you to send over Kevin Carson's amusing re-imagining of a few Biblical stories if they were written in a world with similar laws to what we have today. Creating food and wine out of nothing? Infringement!
After reportedly feeding a crowd of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was recently served with formal legal notice from industry trade associations, demanding that he cease and desist from what they charge is an illegal food-sharing operation under the terms of the Miracle Millennium Anti-Replication Act (MMAA).

Miracle-working rabbis like Mr. Christ, and their alleged property rights infringements, have been the center of controversy in recent years. They’re the subject of a public education campaign by the Foodstuffs Producers Association of Galilee and Judea. Loaves and fishes producers argue that unauthorized replication of food, since it deprives them of revenues to which they are entitled, amounts to stealing. Sympathetic rabbis in synagogues throughout Palestine are reading FPAGJ public service announcements, aimed at countering public perceptions that “everybody does it” and “it’s just a little thing,” to their flocks: “Don’t bakers and fishermen deserve to be paid?” Many Torah schools have adopted FPAGJ “anti-foodlifting” curricula.
There are some more such examples, including concerns about turning water into wine and healing people without a physician's license. Good stuff. Of course, as was pointed out in the comments to that post, others have come up with similar ideas, including this Nerfnow comic, in which a bread seller complains that "bread piracy will kill the bread industry."

The thing is, there is a flipside to all of this. Just as people talk about the ability to create new things out of nothing or through some sort of magic replication as being "a miracle," it does seem worth noting that the digital era, and the fact that we've turned a ton of goods from scarce goods into abundant goods, is something of a miracle for society. It's really still quite stunning to think that so many people don't recognize how abundance is a good thing for the economy. The only people it hurts are those who continue to rely on business models that believe the abundant good is still scarce. Everyone else is better off.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

     

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    MrWilson, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    This reminds me of a particular post on Boing Boing...

    Found it: http://boingboing.net/2010/10/14/piracy-jesus-did-it.html

    "Jesus copied and distributed loaves and fishes, thus he violated the copyrights of the bakers and the fishermen. The disciples participated in this food-sharing network as well, so they're also liable for contributory infringement.

    He also format-shifted water into wine and thus engaged in unfair competition with the vintners.

    The crucifixion was one hell of a DMCA takedown notice. "

     

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      Mike42 (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:17pm

      Re:

      So I guess we should be happy just paying a fine?

       

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      Dave, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

      Re:

      Go easy on the diciples. They at least sugested using a legal alternative, by sending the people to 'them that sell' first. Jesus overrode them out of a misguided sense of concern that the people were so hungry, they might faint along the way!

      Civil rights like not being hungry don't overide food property rights!

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 3:00am

        Re: Re:

        Actually, this post is just another example of how no one can bring the 'fringe' when it comes to infringement better than Mike Masnick...

         

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          Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 10:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, this post is just another example of how no one can bring the 'fringe' when it comes to infringement better than Mike Masnick...

          Struck me that the author of the original piece was, like many others, seeking an analogy that might finally get through to maximalists just how insane the relatively recent explosion of claims of rent and "rights" over everything tangible or intangible is. I am unsurprised again to find that De Nile is not just a river in Africa....

           

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:18pm

    He made those loaves available....

    $750 to $100k per slice of bread, Jesus.

    The RIAA/MPAA are the moneychangers in our temple of culture. Let's go turn us over some tables, shall we?

     

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      A Dan (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:48pm

      Re: He made those loaves available....

      You've made a reference showing too much knowledge of biblical tales. Every argument you make is now suspect, because you obviously can't think rationally.

       

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        Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

        I can't quite tell if you're serious at the core of your joke, but if you are I would consider that it's far more irrational to ignore the world's most influential stories simply because you know they aren't literally true. I'm not a believer either, but all-out ignoring religion is a surefire way to guarantee you will never understand humanity.

         

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          G Thompson (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 9:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

          If anyone ever says that they understand humanity, they should be locked up in a nice padded room for their OWN protection.

          Being humans we will never fully understand ourselves, though somehow I doubt Aliens could either, though if they ever did it might not be a good thing.

           

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            Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 10:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

            If anyone ever says that they understand humanity, they should be locked up in a nice padded room for their OWN protection.

            Agreed. But I do think we all pursue that understanding for our whole lives (even if achieving it in full is impossible) and that avoiding knowledge of something as pivotal as religion will guarantee you never make any progress.

             

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              G Thompson (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 12:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

              Absolutely, and the more you know about the history of religions and the many faiths, creeds, etc out their (not just the Abrahamic ones) the more likely that you really understand why things like Last week's Gruen Transfer pitch topic (a show about Advertising and what makes it tick on ABC in Australia) which challenged Melbourne based agency Loud & Clear Creative and Sydney's Play Communications to sell the idea of 'banning all religion in Australia' should be not just be an innocuous 'tongue in cheek' pitch at selling the 'un-sellable' but a REAL campaign world wide.

               

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                Richard (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 5:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

                Look at Soviet Russia to see how well that worked...

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 5:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

                  Ummm...except that they substituted extreme nationalism and statism in the place of religion.

                  It's when you can break away from all those things that you will truly be free.

                   

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          A Dan (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

          No, I am not serious. Obviously I understood the reference, so I know the tale he's referring to, as well.

           

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        Richard (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

        Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

        You've made a reference showing too much knowledge of biblical tales. Every argument you make is now suspect, because you obviously can't think rationally.

        Actually you're argument (a pure ad hominem) displays a lack of rationality.

         

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          Richard (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

          "your argument"

           

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          A Dan (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 9:43am

          Re: Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

          Sorry Richard, I was not serious. It would be an extremely amusing ad hominem to attempt in the comments of an article directly referencing the biblical tale of the fish and bread.

           

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        Jimmy the Geek (profile), Sep 18th, 2011 @ 10:18pm

        Re: Re: He made those loaves available....

        Because, obviously, being able to quote from star wars movies means that someone can think. ;)

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    christ

    give up your spoiled entitlement, free-for-all, pro-piracy religion a rest for one day.

     

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    Jeff Rowberg (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Matter replication

    It's an interesting thought experiment: how would things change if/when somebody does create a way to transform raw molecular compounds into complex things like food or building materials? 3D printing is the beginning of this, and it's difficult to say how for it will actually go, and how long it will take to get to its technological peak. Obviously creation "ex nihilo" is impossible, but I wouldn't rule out matter transformation of this kind.

    The licensing wars will not be pretty.

     

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      Jay (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

      Re: Matter replication

      Let's not get started on how the train industry, the airline industry, Fedex and USPS would flip the shit if quantum teleportation ever became a reality...

       

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        Andrew, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

        Re: Re: Matter replication

        I heard that teleportation devices are really easy to make using aluminum foil, diamonds and other common stuff, but that the airline industry has bought up of all the prototypes.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

          acutally, the real recipe for a teleporter is: obsidian, diamonds, iron, and red dust. Just make sure a creeper doesn't enter the chamber while you transport

           

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        btr1701 (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re: Matter replication

        > Let's not get started on how the train industry,
        > the airline industry, Fedex and USPS would flip
        > the shit if quantum teleportation ever became a
        > reality

        Reminds me of a short story by Stephen King called "The Jaunt". A father in some indeterminate future entertains his family as they wait to to be teleported to Jupiter with the story of how the device was invented, and why people have to be sedated before being put through the machine.

        Inanimate object teleported just fine. However anything living/conscious kept coming out the other side dead or near dead. In order to find out more, they finally decided to offer death row inmates a deal if they volunteered to go through. If they survived, they'd get a pardon. The one guy who took them up on it, came through the other side nearly catatonic, and whispered four words before dying, "It's forever in there..."

        Turns out, while matter tranported instantaneously, the mind/consciousness took eons to make the trip, and the person's psyche was driven insane from the isolation and loneliness.

        Pretty cool story.

         

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      Someantimalwareguy (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

      Re: Matter replication

      It's an interesting thought experiment: how would things change if/when somebody does create a way to transform raw molecular compounds into complex things like food or building materials? ...
      "Not pretty" is an understatement and I suspect there will be aggressive attempts to outlaw and bury such technology as it could be potentially so disruptive that the mere introduction could cause devastating consequences across all economies world-wide.

      ..or it could unleash the true potential of the human species - both worthy of fear from those in power...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re: Matter replication

        http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/14/markets/thebuzz/index.htm

        More devastating than the current depression that turned the tables and now is the "emerging markets" that have to bail out the "industrialized world"?

         

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          Someantimalwareguy (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

          You missed the point of my post entirely and are basing your thinking on the current world. If there were a means for anyone to replicate anything they wanted or needed, what need would there be to make anything other than replicators?

          This would mean all companies other than replicator manufacturers (during the first production run) would go out of business and all the employees would loose their jobs as there was nothing for them to do...and no one would be paying taxes...and...and...

          Society could conceivably collapse...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

            "Society could conceivably change..."

            FTFY

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

              The question (and it's an open one) is whether society can change fast enough to avoid breaking.

              It's already the case that many of our social preconceptions are going to have to change as various kinds of job are automated out of existence, being replaced by maintenance tasks for software and robotics.

              The assumption at the core of our modern economic system is that there's something useful for everyone to do that someone else will pay them for. Reliance on social safety nets is meant to be the exception rather than the rule.

              As more and more "essential" tasks related to provision of food, water, shelter, power and other core infrastructure become heavily automated, however, the number of roles for humans will drop significantly while the nature of the roles that remain will be technical rather than manual. So there either needs to be a rise in the "non-essential" roles that are getting funded, or else some of our core assumptions about the nature of social safety nets are going to have to change.

              Nobody in 1911 could have predicted what society was going to look like in 2011. The multiplicative effect of pervasive communications technology is likely to drive even more profound shifts between now and 2111.

               

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                Nick Coghlan (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                Oops, forgot to log in before posting that...

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:24pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                funny. Those that always worry about a collapse in society do to advancement of technology, point that we are basing our thinking on the current world when they are the ones doing so.
                This is the main failure of many discussing the future development.
                You're still thinking about social safety nets in the same paragraph that you essentially eliminated the need for one.

                 

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                  Someantimalwareguy (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 7:31am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                  Actually, Nick's post above captures the essence of what I was saying. Certainly, should such technology be developed and made widely available, the long term consequence would most likely be closer to what the vision is of those who are looking at the Star Trek scenario: abundance means the human species can concentrate on "bettering" themselves and society in general.

                  The rub is when you look at the short to mid term scenarios where society is struggling to adapt. With great disruption comes a period of chaos; it's just human nature and would take time to clear itself up as society realigns itself to absorb said changes and then move forward. Change sometimes can be smooth, but when you have something that could be as destructive as this to the very order of society, you have a period of extreme turmoil and uncertainty.

                  I am far from being a Luddite, but I do recognize that when some things move too quickly, humans tend to lag behind the curve and thus introduce "turbulence" into the equation. Don't naively believe that a Utopia will suddenly appear and be universally embraced...

                   

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                  Nick Coghlan (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 9:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                  Currently, our primary mechanism for managing resource distribution is money. At the most basic level, the preferred mechanisms to gain money as an individual are:
                  1. Labour (you are given money for your time - employees and self-employed individuals rely on this mechanism)
                  2. Investment (you are given money now in return for providing money and/or labour in the past - investors and business owners rely on this mechanism)

                  The fallback mechanism, which has strong associated social stigma, at least for now, is relying on government benefits and charitable institutions. It is this fallback mechanism that I'm referring to as a social safety net. It supports those who do not gain sufficient income from labour and investment to provide for themselves and their families.

                  In a culture of abundance, the viability of many forms of labour as a means for gaining access to resources begins to fail, as more and more essential tasks are handled by robots.

                  Thus, the idea that people are entitled to a certain share of the available resources just for being alive will likely need to lose its social stigma and become part of the normal fabric of society. That's a fairly radical prospect when you contrast it with the abuse directed at "dole bludgers" and those on any kind of welfare benefits these days.

                  Personally, I *don't* think society will collapse. I figure we'll muddle through, just as we muddled through the transition from barter-based economies to currency-based ones. But it's going to be an interesting ride, and some closely held preconceptions aren't going to survive the trip.

                   

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                Can people start being nice to each other and start learning how to entice others to help to do some job?

                Because in the world of plenty you won't be able to count on money to force others to work for you.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:51pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                  This is already a reality. All you have to do is look at the Free Software foundation. Linux and thousands of programs are free and open source, developed by people for people.

                   

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 8:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                  Can people start being nice to each other and start learning how to entice others to help to do some job?

                  Last guy to suggest this and was taken seriousl found himself nailed to two pieces of wood next to two copyright infringers.

                   

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                Prisoner 201, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 12:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                Enter my personal political conviction:

                Hedonistic Robo-Communism

                In a nutshell:
                * All tasks that no human feels like doing are done by robots.
                * Humans do whatever they enjoy doing.

                The only currency would probably be "Kudos".

                 

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                  Nick Coghlan (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 9:01pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                  Yup, Iain M. Banks has done a great job of running with exactly this thesis in his "Culture" novels.

                  The Culture is so rich in resources that people work only because they want to, not because they need to in order to get what they need to survive.

                   

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

            ...it would also mean nobody would ever have to worry about food or goods anymore.

            So they be free to work on whatever they want to work is that terrible?

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

            Also I find that nature is resilient, ants, bees and other living creatures that live in group don't need markets or money to make their living, somehow they live and prosper with societies based on very, very simple rules that when applied to every individual result in complex behaviour as a group, maybe it is time to go back to the fundamentals.

             

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

              actually we have/still do live in a class society. With technological development however, that has started to change somewhat.

               

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              btr1701 (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 11:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

              > Also I find that nature is resilient, ants,
              > bees and other living creatures that live in
              > group don't need markets or money to make
              > their living, somehow they live and prosper

              Hive species aren't exactly something on which I'd like to base human society.

              Each individual in a hive is expendable and will be instantly sacrificed for the 'greater good' of the hive without hesitation, and all members of the hive are essentially mindless drones in subservience to the queen.

              Saying we should go back to fundamentals like that is like watching Star Trek and thinking that the Borg would be the goal to which huamnity should aspire.

               

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                Nick Coghlan (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 9:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

                There's a strong case to be made that an insect hive is more analagous to the human body than it is to human society.

                Each cell in a body is expendable and will be instantly sacrificed for the 'greater good' of the body without hesitation, and all cells in the body are essentially mindless drones in subservience to the path dependent emergent behaviour of the body as a whole.

                 

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Matter replication

            That is to say that your vision of society may collapse but human beings will find a way to keep living with or without replicators.

             

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re: Matter replication

        On another world there was a debate about "the age of abundance" I think it was called "Are We Ready For the Coming 'Age of Abundance?' - Dr. Michio Kaku".

         

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        btr1701 (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re: Matter replication

        > "Not pretty" is an understatement and I
        > suspect there will be aggressive attempts
        > to outlaw and bury such technology as it could
        > be potentially so disruptive that the mere
        > introduction could cause devastating consequences
        > across all economies world-wide.

        The security issues alone would be monumental. Can you imagine trying to secure the Pentagon or the White House or a presidential speech site if there were people out there with the ability to just appear wherever they liked?

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

      Re: Matter replication

      "ex nihilo" could be possible because if it wasn't you and I wouldn't be here, where did all the matter in the universe come from?

      It was always there?
      It had to come from somewhere right? was that somewhere full of nothing?

      Aside from that particles pop up into existence from nothing apparently according to physicists.

      So I wouldn't discard the possibility, it may be hard but not impossible.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:43pm

      Re: Matter replication

      View the time periods following the life of Mr. Guttenburg and you will find examples of upcoming behavior. Doesn't history repeat itself?

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Two fish sound about right. They should easily make about 5K of McDonalds' Filet-of-Fish, with enough left over for 5K more.

     

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    Kevin Carson, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:58pm

    Thanks, Mike

    Jay: Actually, a few years back a French taxicab company tried to get an injunction against carpoolers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:05pm

    What mp3s would jesus pirate?

     

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    Samuel Abram (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:14pm

    Jesus' Punishment for sharing

    Of course, the punishment for Bread/Fish-sharing at the time was...you guessed it, crucifixion. But on the cross, it wouldn't have said "INRI", it would have said "PPQM" for "PISCVM PANVMQVE MVLTIPLICATIO" (or "Multiplication of Fish and Bread").

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Oh look, stinky propaganda.

    Mike, you are a truly classic person.

     

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    identicon
    EngineerZ, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 6:20am

    I wonder if Mr. Christ tried video recording the ensuing interaction with the cops when the local market president tried shutting down his free food giveaway / protest. Was recording a peace officer legal in Galilee, or was that considered wiretapping?

     

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