Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon




Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the laughter-is-the-best-medicine.-also-the-polio-vaccine dept

It was hard not to laugh this week when the MPAA, during the act of banning Google Glass from movie theaters, claimed it had a long history of welcoming technological advances. But despite how funny that was, it actually gave rise to our most insightful comment of the week, from an anonymous commenter pointing out a whole other ridiculous inconsistency in the MPAA's position:

So an industry that thinks a blue ray is so much better than a DVD that people will pay money to replace their DVDs with blue rays, also thinks that a cam of a film with enough wobble to cause motions sickness will destroy their sales. Makes perfect sense to me.
/s

I'll be honest — some of the details of our second most insightful comment of the week flew a little over my head. But the message is clear and interesting: according to sigalrm, there's a significant chance that mobile ISP Cricket's blocking of encrypted emails was the result of a relatively common error, not a nefarious choice:

"inspect esmtp" is the default setting for Cisco ASA Firewalls across at least the 7.x, 8.x, and 9.x code trains, and causes exactly this behavior. It's a single line in what is generally a very large config file, buried near to the end of the config, trivial to overlook, and generally a pain in the ass.

To make things even better, "inspect esmtp"'s functionality is further obfuscated by the fact that most "inspect xyz" commands on the ASA actually allow for proper handling/operation of protocols that require special treatment - packet manipulation to deal with nat/pat, firewall pinholing, etc. Examples of protocols requiring inspection for proper operation on the ASA platform include, but are not limited to, netbios, sunrpc, sip, h323, etc.

Nothing about "inspect esmtp" _or_ it's location in the ASA configuration file implies "break critical esmtp functionality"

Unless/until you've been bitten by this, most people firewall administrators don't know to look for it, and the reaction I've seen from most people when they find the solution is along the lines of "damnit cisco..."

Frankly, having deployed a fair number of Cisco ASA's myself, this sounds more like a missed configuration setting followed by an "oh crap" moment on a new deployment than a malicious "let's break encrypted email" conspiracy.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from Rich Kulawiec, responding to Senator Burr's concerns that information in the CIA Torture Report could "potentially cause the losses of life to Americans":

Other things that potentially cause the losses [sic] of life to Americans:

Interstate highways
Cigarettes
Guns
Furniture [1]
Obesity
Swimming pools
Inadequate medical care
Motorcycles
Football
Flu
Police officers
and so on.

If the criteria for decision-making are that all outcomes which might possibly result in an American death are disallowed, then no possible decisions can be made. Ever.

[1] Americans Are as Likely to Be Killed by Their Own Furniture as by Terrorism - Micah Zenko - The Atlantic

Next, we've got a quick note from silverscarcat on one of this week's DailyDirt posts, reminding us of an important day in the histories of both medicine and intellectual property:

Just a FYI to everyone...

Today is the day, 100 years ago, Jonas Stalk was born.

In 1955, he discovered the cure to Polio, but chose to not patent it, allowing everyone easy access to the cure.

Had he patented it, he may have made over 7 billion dollars in his lifetime.

Over on the funny side, we start with a response to Eric Holder's apology about the not-so-funny act of lying to a judge, in which he claimed the law made him do it. Vidiot won first place by offering some sympathy for his plight:

Hey... it happens

I know a guy who was forced to lie to the court, saying he didn't rob that bank... all because of a stupid statute which says you can't rob banks. Totally sympathize with Holder.

For second place, we head to the news that the FTC has fined an online dating site for its fake profiles. BentFranklin latched on to the funniest phrase to emerge from the whole ordeal, "Virtual Cupid":

There once was a Virtual Cupid
Arousing our male members' group id,
With bosoms enticing
At premium pricing,
We truly can say "I'm With Stupid".

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one more response to the MPAA's hilarious claim about welcoming new technology. Chris-Mouse decided to frame it as a lie of omission:

They just forgot to mention that they have a history of welcoming technological advances with torches and pitchforks.

And finally, after the somewhat disturbing news that the White House didn't find out it was hacked until another country let them know, Blaine offered some security advice:

Maybe the White House should hire an outside expert?

I hear there's some Keith Alexander guy that's has some new magic security technology that he came up with all on his own.... but he doesn't come cheap.

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2014 @ 12:09pm

    Hooray, now I don’t have to be disappointed in all of you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JWW (profile), 2 Nov 2014 @ 1:12pm

    So true

    Yep one thing that Jonas Salk did by not patenting the vaccine was insure that everyone would remember his name as the man who took out polio.

    Everyone that is except for silerscarcat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    127.0.0.1 (profile), 2 Nov 2014 @ 1:45pm

    Death by furniture

    Beware: Falling ebookcases

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 1:52pm

    On Al Jazeera This Week ..

    ... I have been watching the first part of the documentary Fire In The Blood, about the campaign to make AIDS drugs cheap enough that patients in the third world can afford them.

    This should be of interest to Techdirt readers, since the one overriding factor making those drugs so expensive is—you guessed it—the patent monopolies of the drug companies.

    The doco confronts this fact head-on, which is pretty unusual for what one might consider “mainstream media”. It points out that Africa accounts for less than 1% of drug companies’ revenues, so it would cost them just about nothing to allow African nations to import cheap, high-quality unlicensed generics, from companies like Cipla in India. But would they agree to that? Not a chance in hell...

    What was the objection? It was that most of these Africans are illiterate, and therefore unable to read the instructions on the labels. Therefore they would misuse the drugs, allowing HIV to develop immunity, which would then go on to impact the effectiveness of those drugs among first-world customers.

    What surprised me was that AIDS groups in the first world were, at least initially, happy to go along with this argument. You’d think solidarity with fellow sufferers would come first, but apparently not.

    Anyway, go tune in!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2014 @ 3:21pm

    if Senator burr was worried about american s dying he should do something about the lousy american healthcare system
    .or the lack of gun control,
    a 15 year old kid shot 3 of his schoolmates,in the us this week,
    15 year old kids in europe don,t have easy acess to guns and rifles.
    There have been zero school shootings in ireland in the last 40 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2014 @ 3:39pm

      Re:

      If only issues were this black and white.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2014 @ 11:55pm

      Re:

      Over two-thirds of the 10,000 firearm-related deaths in the USA every year are suicides (according to a CDC report on the matter.) Less than 100 of them are part of a mass shooting (according to an FBI report on the matter.)

      While there isn't a legal definition of a "mass shooting," there is a legal definition of a serial murderer- two or more related murders. That means there is on average one "mass shooting" every 7.3 days in the USA. You know why you don't hear about it every time?

      Because it's a non-issue. People die of diarrhea more frequently than that.

      Re: "Healthcare System" and other buzzwords that have no meaning, I'm very happy with my tax-funded health insurance the the local small-town providers that accept it.

      Welcome to the non-mainstream media, where making up stuff to rile up the masses just gets you a wall of fact.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2014 @ 6:47pm

    It Used to be Illegal

    There used to be a law that said something like an employee must do their best for their employer or they can be sued. I couple of quick searches didn't turn up anything, and I think the courts have overturned the law as ridiculous. But if it's still in force, hasn't Keith Alexander just admitted that he violated that law.

    Furthermore, didn't Keith Alexander endanger national security by not using his great knowledge to defend the white house. Don't all of his buddies think this is treason? So why isn't Keith Alexander in jail awaiting his "fair" trial?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:10pm

    On Al Jazeera This Week...

    ... I have been watching the first part of the documentary Fire In The Blood,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:13pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      about the campaign to make

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:13pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      AIDS drugs cheap enough that patients in the third world can afford them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:13pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      This should be of interest to Techdirt readers, since the one overriding factor making those drugs so expensive is—you guessed it—the patent monopolies of the drug companies.

      The doco confronts this fact head-on, which is pretty unusual for what one might consider “mainstream media”. It points out that Africa accounts for less than 1% of drug companies’ revenues, so it would cost them just about nothing to allow African nations to import cheap, high-quality unlicensed generics, from companies like Cipla in India. But would they agree to that? Not a chance in hell...

      What was the objection? It was that most of these Africans are illiterate, and therefore unable to read the instructions on the labels. Therefore they would misuse the drugs, allowing HIV to develop immunity, which would then go on to impact the effectiveness of those drugs among first-world customers.

      What surprised me was that AIDS groups in the first world were, at least initially, happy to go along with this argument. You’d think solidarity with fellow sufferers would come first, but apparently not.

      Anyway, go tune in!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:14pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      This should be of interest to Techdirt readers, since the one overriding factor making those drugs so expensive is—you guessed it—the patent monopolies of the drug companies.

      The doco confronts this fact head-on, which is pretty unusual for what one might consider “mainstream media”. It points out that Africa accounts for less than 1% of drug companies’ revenues, so it would cost them just about nothing to allow African nations to import cheap, high-quality unlicensed generics, from companies like Cipla in India. But would they agree to that? Not a chance in hell...

      What was the objection? It was that most of these Africans are illiterate, and therefore unable to read the instructions on the labels. Therefore they would misuse the drugs, allowing HIV to develop immunity, which would then go on to impact the effectiveness of those drugs among first-world customers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:14pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      What surprised me was that AIDS groups in the first world were, at least initially, happy to go along with this argument. You’d think solidarity with fellow sufferers would come first, but apparently not.

      Anyway, go tune in!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:15pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      What surprised me was that

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2014 @ 10:15pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      AIDS groups in the first world were, at least initially, happy to go along with this argument. You’d think solidarity with fellow sufferers would come first, but apparently not.

      Anyway, go tune in!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rikuo (profile), 2 Nov 2014 @ 11:33pm

      Re: On Al Jazeera This Week...

      I'm compelled to ask why you separated your piece into several comments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 2 Nov 2014 @ 11:57pm

    Potential for causing loss of life should include video games with a note that it may require further study.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 3 Nov 2014 @ 12:03am

    Bank Robbery

    Bank robbery shall henceforth be known as an Aggressive long term insurance subsidized loan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zoleen (profile), 3 Nov 2014 @ 12:04am

    That was witty comment, indeed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2014 @ 6:05am

    Another week passes by, and yet the insight of antidirt has not been featured here. This is most troubling and disappointing of a site that seems to have chosen to harbor pirates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2014 @ 11:57pm

    Aww... I had two insightful comments on one article. I thought I had this week in the bag.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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