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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2017 @ 9:52pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 May 2017 @ 10:36pm

      Re:

      If there were a need for “Blue Lives Matter” laws, maybe you would have a point.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 28 May 2017 @ 10:47pm

      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)

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 12:36am

        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.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 2:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If quantifying insults, non-life threatening physical assault and having to deal with unpleasant people in general gets lumped together with fatalities... well then, everybody has to deal with it. Yet they don't get a free pass to shoot unarmed people. Why does the police?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 5:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          All of these problems existed before, on the same scale if not worse.

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

          • identicon
            Michael, 29 May 2017 @ 7:07am

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

            • icon
              Roger Strong (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 7:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                My_Name_Here, 30 May 2017 @ 2:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 9:34am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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...

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 9:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Did you just seriously blame rap music? You do realise it's 2017 and not 1997???

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 5:21pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I don't see anyone blaming music just the attitudes in it.

                    Too many aspire ti be gangstas. Its sad.

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

                    • identicon
                      Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 5:51pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I don't see anyone blaming music

                      I'll bite. What do you believe the word "fueled" means?

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 9:56pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 11:09pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          So that's why people are angry about unarmed civilians getting shot and not because, maybe, shooting unarmed civilians is generally not considered a good thing?

                          Whatever helps you sleep at night I guess...

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

                        • identicon
                          Thad, 31 May 2017 @ 11:22am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          remember Cop Killer, by a guy who plays a cop on tv

                          You make a good point. Clearly the current tensions between police and communities of color wouldn't be nearly so bad if it weren't for a song released in 1992.

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

                • identicon
                  Michael, 30 May 2017 @ 10:23am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

                  • identicon
                    My_Name_Here, 30 May 2017 @ 1:24pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2017 @ 6:13pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Ah, the "but everybody makes mistakes, why should Techdirt care if some homeless bum gets shot" excuse.

                      It might surprise you to note that you can disagree and/or disrespect the police and not be a rapping, gangbanging looter.

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

        • identicon
          Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          assault, verbal

          AYFKM?

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2017 @ 11:52pm

      Re:

      Would it kill you copsuckers to not type on your mobile phones while furiously jacking off to your sadomasochistic fantasies?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 12:31am

        Re: Re:

        You first big boy.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 1:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          After you stop switching your IP addresses because some cops had their feelings hurt. You want to include those statistics too? Insults count as murder now?

          It's staggering that you think this somehow makes the police look better...

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 7:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 7:42pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: 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".

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 6:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You got anything other than your own fevered imagination back that up? No of course you don't. Cause if the stats aren't to your liking, blame the stats. Might want to try the next page in your playbook; claiming someone is racist for pointing out racism.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 12:59am

      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...

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

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 29 May 2017 @ 2:00am

      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?

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 7:14am

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 4:11pm

      Re:

      Oh look it's the "you get the government you deserve guy" Yawnorama, why don't you try just once in your life not to blame everything in. Everyone else?

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

      • identicon
        Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:28pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm pretty sure "government is always good" guy is different from "government is always bad" guy, but I guess I can't rule out the possibility that it's just one guy arguing opposite extremes for lulz.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2017 @ 11:38pm

      Re:

      My_Name_Here just hates it when due process is enforced.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:24pm

      Re:

      your app only run how you wrote it.

      I see you understand software development just as well as you understand civics, history, and grammar.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 12:07pm

    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!

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

    • icon
      Spaceman Spiff (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 12:12pm

      Re: Dangerous jobs

      And if you want to know what "dangerous" work is, just stand on a berm of trees almost 100 feet from the ground with an 18" chain saw to cut up the trees so they can feed the fire just below your feet! Suddenly "situational awareness" means something to you!

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

      • icon
        Spaceman Spiff (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 12:16pm

        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. :-)

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

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 12:21pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 30 May 2017 @ 1:35pm

    Wow, first time ever getting one.

    only took how many years??

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


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