from the double-winner dept
Out of almost 350 comments (at time of writing) on this week's most controversial post, only one made the list. Silverscarcat summed up what many people thought of the sentence handed down to Stacey Dean Rambold:
30 days for rape which led to suicide while some punk teenager makes a random comment on facebook that ends up with him facing 7-8 years in prison?!
What the holy fucking hell, Batman?!
In second place on the insightful side, we've got some anonymous perspective on the attacks directed at a firefighter responding to the Asiana Airlines crash:
Speaking as someone who trains first responders
I'm incredibly proud that Johnson documented his own actions and then turned them over -- even when they turned out to have dire consequences for one of the victims he was trying to rescue.
Accidents with mass casualties are messy: victims get left on the ground and forgotten, people administer the wrong meds, families get separated, all hell breaks loose. Yes, we train people over and over again to minimize all this, but as the saying goes, no plan survives contact with the enemy. It'd be great if every response was perfectly executed under time pressure, and we do work toward that goal, but it'll never happen.
So yes, it's tragic that rescuers ended up killing a victim, but that's just an extreme case of what happens every time there's a bus crash or plane crash or train wreck or anything similar. Until we can get 37 or 80 or 213 first responders to all think with one brain, it's going to keep happening.
And the first responders we want to keep are the ones who TELL US ABOUT IT. Because when they do, we can figure out what went wrong and train to avoid it. So Johnson probably just changed the response protocol for every FD in North America that rolls trucks into foam, because he had the integrity and guts to show us what happened. Yes, it's tragic, yes it's terrible, yes the FD will probably be sued, yes to all of that: but at least we have the opportunity to learn something instead of forever being in the dark and not knowing how or why Ye Meng Yuan died.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from James Burkhardt, explaining why the "use it or lose it" aspect of trademark law doesn't always serve as automatic justification for spurious lawsuits, as some people repeatedly contend:
Bullshit. People like to throw that line around, but there is no likelyhood of confusion between Pirate Joe's and Trader Joe's. The use it or lose it doctrine is about when you name become synonymous with a product. That will only happen if Trader Joes spends another decade before getting into a market that wants it and Pirate Joe's moves on to far more then going across the border with a truck.
There is a clear distiction between the two, and he is open about what is going on. The only way for Pirate Joe's to become synonymous with Trader Joe's is for Pirate Joe's to expand and then it is only a problem if and when Trader Joe's attempts to enter the Canadian market, because until then, no consumer confusion CAN exist. Remember, he is actively admitting that he is not a licenced branch of the Trader Joe's name. In fact, the name suggests it.
Finally, if they wanted to preserve their trademark, they should be suing in Canada. Because the "Pirate Joe's" name is in use in CANADA, a US-based court can not remedy the situation. They aren't looking to protect their mark, they are looking for a defaul judgement so they can claim they have the moral high ground, or try to push the decision on the Canadian courts, which have been far less supportive of Trademark and Patent Lawsuits.
Also, Several legal scholars have pointed out there is NO CASE. Suggesting the use it or lose it doctrine does not apply
And last on the insightful side, since it feels a bit odd having no NSA comments on the leaderboard, we've got Quinn Wilde summing up all the things we've learned so far, and just how significant they have been:
The last few weeks have shown that:
The NSA have the power, authority and ability to view data and perform searches that even the genuinely paranoid might recently have sneered at.
Where they don't have the technology to crack encryption they are bullying companies into supplying them backdoors, secretly according to secret interpretations, with huge penalties for even discussing it, no choice in the matter, and so far as I can tell no due process or ability to appeal.
There is a lack of oversight, because the supposed overseers aren't allowed to see much of the relevant information, and a lack of internal oversight because the systems that might be used for this are outdated or worthless.
There is a lack of audit because there are more people who can access any of this information without logs, or as another person, than there are members of congress.
There is a history of abuse, not just because there would have to be, because humans always abuse anything that can be abused eventually, but also because we now have evidence of this.
And now we're learning that this super sensitive top secret foreign intelligence information is being used for domestic police work, simply because it can.
The above is a list of things that might have been considered paranoid this time last year. But the truth is, there's no real conspiracy here.
This is just standard human nature at work, that regular combination of avowedly good intentions and poor judgement that the US constitution was originally and thoughtfully designed to highlight, explain, and condemn.
On the funny side, first place goes to Baldaur Regis, who had the best response to our post about the best response to a copyright threat:
This is the epistolary equivalent of appearing in court and saying "Your Honor, our opponent's case is so laughably weak we won't even address it, and instead show you some cool card tricks we learned at a poker game last night."
And in second place we've got... Baldaur Regis again! (It's been a while since we've had a double winner, so congratulations!) This time, he proposed an excellent potential revenue stream for the government:
Application For Patent Application
Product/Service Name: Adverdaction
Executive Summary: In addition to being aesthetically unattractive, the traditional 'black bars' used to obfuscate documents consume massive amounts of ink - in many cases, up to six times more than the unredacted document. Advercation replaces these black bars - deserts of non-information - with targeted advertising relevant to the document requester.
Example: An FOIA request is received from the EFF. Unredacted document:On 6 Jan 2009, 13,529 koala bears were mistaken for terrorists, and were inadvertently rendered inert by friendly fire.Traditional redacted document:On [REDACTED], 13,529 [REDACTED] were [REDACTED] for [REDACTED], and were [REDACTED] by [REDACTED].Adverdacted document - modified exclusively for the EFF:On [Viagra for lawyers!], 13,529 [Legal transcriptions by Vivian] were [Eat at Maury's - by the courthouse!] for [Boodles Gin], and were [Scripto Pens] by [Ribbed for HER pleasure!].Full Description: [REDACTED by Adverdaction!]
Contact Information: [Adverdaction is great!]
For editor's choice on the funny side, first up we've got HappyBlogFriend summing up the lesson learned from Cracked's excellent response to being copied:
People should hire humorists to handle copyright issues. They cost less and achieve more.
And, last but not least, we've got an anonymous commenter who had a
dream nightmare about a world without copyright on Martin Luther King's famous speech:
If we don't enforce this copyright and the ability to monetize it, no one would would ever speak eloquently and forcefully to bring about social change. Mike, why are you against social change?
That's all for this week, folks! We're off tomorrow for Labor Day, and back to business as usual on Tuesday.