Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the double-champ dept

We've got a double first-place champion this week. An anonymous commenter pulled a quote from one of our posts, and took the top spot for both insightful and funny by noting its general applicability of late:

The phrase which best describes 2016 as a whole:

"This feels like a parody, but unfortunately, it appears to be real."

In second place on the insightful side, we've got a comment from Thad in response to the invocation of Ann Coulter and the general argument that North Dakota arresting bad journalists isn't worth worrying about:

And if the police tried to arrest Ann Coulter for reporting a story they didn't like, that would be outrageous too.

You don't have to like a person to support their First Amendment rights. If the First Amendment only applied to people we like, there'd be no need for a First Amendment at all.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start off with a response from Ninja to the question of whether cabbies are wrong to be annoyed about Uber moving in without buying traditional medallions:

No. But you should be angry at your own cabbie associations that created a monopoly that benefits nobody but themselves through years of writing regulation and eventually put you in this situation. And possibly at the legislators too.

Next, we head to our post about the regulation of self-driving cars, where one fervently anti-regulation commenter demanded examples of industries where safety regulations helped innovation, and Mason Wheeler offered an obvious and immediately relevant answer:

Just off the top of my head... how about the automotive industry?

Time and time again, setting higher standards for safety, for fuel efficiency, and for low emissions has spurred innovation in developing ways to safer, more efficient, less polluting cars less expensive and more available to the mass market.

Over on the funny side, we've already had our first place comment above, so we head straight to second place. On our post about the fact that the Washington Post was the one to publish the infamous 2005 Trump video only because other agencies were worried about being sued, one angry commenter showed up to accuse the newspaper of journalistic malpractice and lump them in with Gawker. I.T. Guy was suitably surprised:

Who knew... Donald Trump reads TechDirt.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of responses to our post about the US Chamber of Commerce's whining about people pirating the presidential debate, which also included the bizarre neologism of "nano-pirates" that some anti-piracy group is trying to coin. First, I.T. Guy gets another nod for his visual imagination:

"Nano-Pirates" I keep picturing really small eye patches, hats, swords... and ships in bottles.
Arrrrrrrrrgh!!!!

Finally, we've got Michael Avery who crunched the numbers on the situation:

Isn't 9 million nano-pirates really equal to only 0.009 pirates?

Tell them to come back when they've found at least 1 pirate, then we'll talk.

That's all for this week, folks!

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 16 Oct 2016 @ 12:59pm

    Comment

    "Just off the top of my head... how about the automotive industry?

    Time and time again, setting higher standards for safety, for fuel efficiency, and for low emissions has spurred innovation in developing ways to safer, more efficient, less polluting cars less expensive and more available to the mass market."

    AND??
    During the 1970's fuel crisis AFTER the Gov demanded better Fuel economy..we went upto 30mpg, and then the States and Gov said HOLD IT...we aint getting any tax money.. twice the MPG, 1/2 the taxes.
    Car safety?? Who drives SAFER?? the person with no insurance/no license or the person that has the BEST insurance on the road, thats Speeding at 100mph down the road?? going from cars we had to FIX/modify/Adjust to something you cant touch without it FAILING.. from people who HAD to know how a car WORKED to computers on wheels..

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 1:19pm

      Re: Comment

      Not only has that regulation placed a cap on the MPGs that cars must meet, because of the falling mileage, states look for more ways to tax drivers BECAUSE cars are more efficient and we use less gas.

      In the end we will end up paying more tax.

      And those of you who believe that we should, don't forget to put the check for the extra tax you feel you should be paying in the mail. You always have the option to pay more than the government requires.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 16 Oct 2016 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Comment

      And yet despite your denial, automobiles do FAR better in crash tests than they used to. Even if crashes were to happen at the same rate, they're far more survivable now.

      Passenger vehicle mileage has continued to rise. At a lower rate than in the '70s, but they still rise.

      When people got fed up with drunk drivers, the government cracked down and strengthened related laws. And it worked: Drunk driving deaths are a third of what they were.

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

      • identicon
        Quiet Lurcker, 16 Oct 2016 @ 5:37pm

        Re: Re: Comment

        "When people got fed up with drunk drivers, the government cracked down and strengthened related laws."

        But at what cost? And I don't necessarily mean dollars and cents. How many false arrests because of one or more of: prescription drugs showing up as drugs/alcohol; cops using drunk driving as a pretense to invoke civil forfeiture; increases in the costs of mandatory insurance because STATISTICS; increased prison populations; decreased job opportunities because of mandatory alcohol/drug tests which turned out either false positive or were so sensitive they caught alcohol use the night before and the subject was actually sober at the time of the test; illegal search/seizure of vehicles at road-side sobriety check points; confrontations between drivers invoking their rights and cops at those same check points?

        "And it worked: Drunk driving deaths are a third of what they were."

        Yes, but, you yourself said, cars are safer now and consequently, the number of traffic deaths has declined. How much of that decline is down to drunk driving laws and how much is down to safer vehicles?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 12:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Comment

          Well, you are comparing different concepts.

          - Drunk driving laws are to PREVENT accidents.
          - Increasing safety in cars are to PROTECT from accidents, that is, mitigating their effects.

          Both work to reduce the rate of deaths, but of course, preventing them is usually the best way.

          Also, remember that even if people don't die, some injuries can get really bad.

          I'm not sure about the US, but in Spain, that have stricter drunk driving laws, deaths have gone down to 20% since 1989ish. These laws have been gradual (mixed with speeding laws), so it's not easy to put a date to them.

          Also, the injury severity has been reduced. (Light/Serious/Death)

          - In 1962, the rate was 68/25/7%.
          - In 1998, the rate was 72/24/4%.
          - In 2013, the rate was 91/8/1%.

          Still, isolating the factors is hard, because different measures have been applied at the same time. Cars are safer, but there are also stricter laws now and furthermore, stronger enforcement of those laws (particularly with speeding radars). Also, drivers have started to realize that they don't want to die on the road.


          I'm not sure if you guys are suicidal, but for sure I wouldn't want to drive with someone drunk (you can do the test, a few times, of course).

          And the main problem isn't when the driver in your car is drunk, but when another fucktard is drunk and you end up getting the big prize in the lottery. You, or your family.

          So yeah, I want a motherfucker that will get himself drunk out of the lanes I'm driving, because I want to increase my chances of getting safely to home.

          And yes, no matter what they tell you, even that "little bit of alcohol" can reduce your reflexes enough so that you can't react properly to the changes in traffic.

          And remember that you're driving a 1 ton (or more) killing machine. Just saying.


          And what you mention about consequences... I think that you're misdirecting the problem.

          What you have there is a cop problem, not a drunk driving law problem. Maybe it's time for you guys to educate your cops, you know.

          Techdirt is full of stories about stupid cops. You're not telling us anything new.

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

          • identicon
            Quiet Lurcker, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Comment

            Speaking of apples and oranges (and please pardon the unintended geographical/botanic pun here)

            "I'm not sure about the US, but in Spain, that have stricter drunk driving laws, deaths have gone down to 20% since 1989ish. These laws have been gradual (mixed with speeding laws), so it's not easy to put a date to them."

            Yes, Spain has much stricter laws about drunken driving. If memory serves though (and it's going on mumble years ago now, I'll admit), a friend of mine who spent quite a great deal of time there for both personal and professional reasons indicated to me that there are a fair number of cultural influences on that kind of thing. The factors he cited include a different approach to responsible drinking, taught to youngsters by their elders; better, safer, more widely available public transportation; in certain circles lack of private vehicles; and a few other things as well.

            I don't know how much of that holds up today - as I said, that was years ago - but I do wonder if that sort of thing does have some kind of influence on arrest numbers and on accident numbers owing to alcohol even today.

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

            • icon
              Richard (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 7:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Comment

              Actually, whilst all traffic deaths are down, they have not gone down as far as airline deaths and motorsport deaths. The big difference is that in these two fields the culture is not to blame the driver/pilot because there will always be mistakes (or in the case of regualr road traffic, idiots) but rather for the authorities to change the things that they can change.

              Obvious examples of that are road layout/furniture and vehicle design.

              Speed limits and drink drive laws have a role - but their downside is that they encourage a blame culture that can actually get in the way of real improvements.

              Take the death of Princess Diana.

              People blamed the paparazzi for creating a chase.
              People blamed the driver for drugs/drink and speeding.
              People blamed Princess Diana herself for not wearing a seatbelt.

              However the authorities could do precisely zero to affect any of these - without serious civil liberties implications.

              What the French authorities could have done is to install a crash barrier to prevent a head on collision with one of the pillars.

              AFAIK THEY STILL HAVEN'T DONE THIS! yet it would have saved the lives of everyone in the car regardless of their bad behaviour and that of the press.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 10:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Comment

              Nah, that doesn't apply anymore.

              In fact, in 1989, the death toll was 9344 people, while in 2014 1600+ people.

              But you know, the vehicle fleet was around 15 million in 1989, while today it's 31 million. The population is almost the same.

              And regarding cultural responsible drinking and that, it doesn't apply as it did before (nowadays parents don't teach kids to drink as they used to do 50 years ago). People get drunk every weekend and for a lot of years, the "2 cups won't kill me" culture had set on.

              The public transportation part, well, not sure how it is in the US, in Spain we do have our infrastructure and I think it's decent enough.

              As I've said, there are a lot of measures that have been applied, but not having idiots driving drunk for sure helps to reduce the deaths on the roads.

              Still, nowadays deaths by alcohol aren't one of the main causes of accidents. 40% are taken by distractions (particularly idiots using their mobile phones), 10-11% by speed limit. Another 15-16% are traffic violations, not sure if they include alcohol there.

              Roads? Only amount for the 1% of the causes of death; and that also answers Richard's question.

              And not sure in France, I know that Spain has crash barriers on their bridges. At least I've seen them, maybe some are missing (can't say for sure), but in every major highway you see them at least.


              Answering Richard too. I'm not sure how it would be in the US, but we don't tackle the death issues only blaming it on alcohol.

              Now we are also tackling usage of mobile phones, plus the use of kid's seats is mandatory, to avoid deaths from that. Safety barriers are improving every day, we are even banning the metallic ones because they can kill bike riders. Cars get safer every day, we do put a lot of effort trying to get the driver and passengers alive.

              In fact, 10 years ago my brother had a car accident and he got with a minor injury (broken nose), even if the car was completely messed up. The inside had held up (it was an Opel) while the rest of the car had absorbed the shock.


              So summing up, we reduced the death toll to 1600, but we aren't happy with it. We want to go further. In some areas, like kids without seatbelts, the EU has the mandate of "zero deaths".

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

              • icon
                Richard (profile), 21 Oct 2016 @ 8:19am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Comment

                Roads? Only amount for the 1% of the causes of death; and that also answers Richard's question.

                Actually it doesn't.

                The statistics don't tell you the cause. They tell you what people at the scene thought the cause was. It is folly to rely ion statistics in these cases.

                To blame the road you have to be aware of the road issues that can cause problems - and most people filling in post accident forms aren't aware. Plus the forms themselves don't have clear categories for blaming the road - so it isn't a surprise that the statistics don't reflect reality on that point.

                In formula 1 the drivers are all highly skilled and so it is natural to blame road or car design for deaths, which is why fatalities have fallen even more in that domain.

                Plus - if you classify death statistics by type of road then you find some types to be safer than others - which more or less proves that the road is, to some extent, to blame all of the time.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 3:07pm

    Statements like these from the chamber of commerce are proof that the trolls and shills that come here are legitimate and they are legitimately stupid. It's not some anti-IP person pretending to be pro-IP, it's an actual idiot that's coming here and making retarded statements expecting to actually be taken seriously.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 12:32am

    The phrase which best describes Whatever as a whole:

    "This feels like a parody, but unfortunately, it appears to be real."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 2:51am

    I think by the end of this year we should get a "sad but true" option.

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


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