from the science! dept
It's common enough for comment threads to digress around here, but it's rare (perhaps unprecedented) for the top comment of the week to be largely unrelated to the topic, not only of the post it was submitted on but of all the posts that week and the general list of common Techdirt topics. So consider it a testament to how frustrated people are getting with climate change deniers that Mason Wheeler took first place for insightful with a simple and direct admonition:
If you think denying climate change isn't putting entire societies (including our own) at risk, you're not paying enough attention...
While first place is a topical outlier, second place for insightful brings us back to basics. Alien Rebel did not mince words in talking about our old friend the Copyright Alliance:
The Copyright Alliance is just another purely artificial astroturf organization, doing what it's paid to do by a select group of special interests. It therefore shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the words uttered by Sandra Aistars are just nonsensical crap thrown at a wall in the hope that some of them will stick, and have some political effect. Look no further than who the Alliance founders and staffers have been; either MPAA execs, Nickles Group LLC lobbyists, or alumni from the Progress & Freedom Foundation, which played a role in Newt Gingrich's ethics troubles back in the 90's. Copyright Alliance Staff, 2008. archive.org
I had the displeasure of spending quality time on the phone with Ms. Aistars; "hack attorney" is exactly right, IMO. Former Time-Warner VP, attorney from Weil, Gotshal, & Manges. Defender of "creative individuals"? Yah, sure.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from John Fenderson pointing out just how disturbing the LiveJournal of an NSA official was to read:
With the other documents, there was at least a pretense of professionalism. With this, there is none. This is just a pure expression of joy at being able to spy for the sake of spying. To see something like this written, with not one iota of the gravity of the actions, indicates a culture and mindset that the infamous "smiley face" only hinted at. A culture and mindset that is fundamentally at odds with the notions of freedom and liberty.
This document sends more chills up my spine than any of the others I've seen yet.
Heck, why stop with just the 4th amendment? By publishing our criminal statutes we're telling terrorists and criminals exactly what facts and circumstances the police and prosecutors are investigating. By publishing court rules, we're telling terrorists and criminals the inner machinations of our judicial system.
Clearly all laws should be hidden. And our judicial process should be kept entirely secret.
Over on the funny side, we start out on the post about Microsoft snooping in Hotmail accounts, where first place went to an anonymous commenter for expressing his decidedly unsurprised reaction:
I am shocked
Shocked, I say, that there is gambling going on in this casino!
Meanwhile, though we ridiculed prosecutors for suggesting that Andrew "weev" Auernheimer's hacking activities were akin to "blowing up a nuclear power plant in New Jersey", Michael won second place for funny by cutting them a bit more slack:
It could be a reasonable comparison.
Let's be realistic here. How bad would it be to blow up a nuclear power plant in New Jersey? I mean you can't even buy a Tesla there anymore.
For editor's choice for funny, we start out with another comment on the post about weev, this time from Rose M. Welch. The comment actually received more insightful votes than funny ones, but ultimately it's both:
...the definition of 'hacking' has been updated.
1. to cut and clear (a way, path, etc.), as through undergrowth
2. to cough in short dry spasmodic bursts
3. to manipulate a computer program skilfully, esp, to gain unauthorized access to another computer system
4. to use a computer in a way that observers do not fully understand or do not like
And finally, we've got a comment from Argonel, who has found the silver lining of much-maligned Ultraviolet movies:
I love Ultraviolet, at least when included with Blu-ray combo packs. This means I get a Blu-ray copy for myself, a DVD copy to give to someone I like, and an Ultraviolet code to give to someone I secretly loathe. It looks like I'm giving them a gift, but they have to deal with Ultraviolet digital copies. I will never use an Ultraviolet code myself.
A brilliant plan, if you ask me.
That's all for this week, folks!