Mason Wheeler’s Techdirt Profile


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Mason Wheeler’s Comments comment rss

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 2:02pm

    Typo in the "from the" line


  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 11:04am

    Re: Unconstitutional?

    You mean the same Supreme Court that handed down the Citizens United and McCutcheon vs. FEC decisions? Why in the world would they nullify a corporate power grab?

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 10:23am


    Who, exactly, is not going to get re-elected because of this? President Obama? The US Trade Representative?

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    An owl got a bunch of horses to compete with a bunch of mature women who like younger men? I guess that really is noteworthy!

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 9:00am


    I haven't heard of it. What makes this owl so superb?

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So basically you're saying what JFK said? "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

  • Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:50am

    (untitled comment)

    Strange. The guy writes to him in English and he responds in Spanish? (And in pretty good Spanish, too; that doesn't look like it came out of Google Translate.)


    Abusing copyright to censor the Internet is not good business. Maybe you should do something else.

    It would also be a good idea to learn about sarcasm and what "copyfraud" means.

  • Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:49am


    Meh. Twitter is for Twits. Always has been.

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 11:26am

    (untitled comment)

    But... I'm hoping that people can still separate out the core idea that was there behind React World, and distance it from the fact that it was being put in place by people who had too much bad history to make it work.

    Don't get your hopes up too high. People always seem to have a hard time distinguishing between a bad idea and a bad implementation of a good idea. (Just look at how many people call Prohibition the former when it was clearly the latter, for example...)

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That's not a root cause.

    Not sure if trolling or serious, but just in case I was legitimately not clear in what I wrote, "the originator" that needs to be verified is the phone placing the call, not the person holding it. If Evulz McTrollington can place a call that the phone company thinks is coming from your phone at your house, then something's very wrong with the phone company's system, and that's the first thing that needs to be fixed.

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 8:33am

    Re: "contractual freedoms"

    Precisely. The entire point of a contract--any contract--is to limit the freedom of both parties in specifically enumerated ways. As such, it's entirely appropriate for a government tasked with upholding the freedom of its people to place reasonable restrictions on what can and cannot constitute a valid contract.

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Maybe a call back might help?

    And on the other hand, sometimes they handle things very dangerously wrong.

    My first experience with a 911 call was one such time. (There have been two; the other one involved reporting a house fire I saw, which it turned out they were already aware of.)

    Several years ago, I was working at the front desk at a local clinic, when one day some guy walked in. He was apparently drunk or high or something, less than completely coherent, and behaved very belligerently, to the point where we got worried enough that one of my coworkers called 911.

    The dispatcher answered with "911, can you please hold?" And proceeded to put her on hold without even ascertaining the details of the situation first. By the time the dispatcher got back around to us a few minutes later, we had managed to defuse the situation ourselves and get the guy to leave, but it could easily have gone a very different way!

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 7:16am

    (untitled comment)

    Well, maybe not in a science context, but of course such reciprocity lies at the heart of Richard Stallman's GNU General Public License. The GNU GPL is also something that is often called "viral", but a better name might be evangelical. Let's hope that MNI's project is as successful in spreading the word about open science as the GPL has been in propagating free software.

    ...and that's why this will fail. Genuine reciprocity is voluntary, not coerced. "Viral" is a very good term for the GPL: if you write a program that has 99 features yourself, but you need a GPL library to make the 100th feature work, it "infects" your entire codebase and forces you to GPL the entire thing, essentially claiming all your code for the GPL even though the writer of the code that infected it did nothing to earn it.

    What Stallman's zealotry has been most "effective in propagating" is backlash against Free Software. By the 90s it had already gotten so bad that a bunch of the best and brightest developers around got together and formed the Open Source Initiative that was basically dedicated to the idea that "we're really not all as bad as those weirdos in the FSF." And their more moderate, non-coercive principles have proceeded to make a huge difference in the world since then. Today everyone knows what "open source" means, while the FSF are still essentially ignored and unknown outside of a very specific niche in the programming community.

    And that's a real shame because they've done a lot of good work and come up with a lot of good ideas that deserve to be listened to. If only they hadn't gone with what's basically the worst possible way to implement their ideas, the world would probably be a noticeably better place today for it. I guess this is why we can't have nice things.

    If MNI is trying to consciously imitate them, all I can say is plus ca change...

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: That's not a root cause.

    The problem is, in the case of an actual active-shooter or hostage situation, restraint is really the last thing you want them to show. If I was being held hostage, I know I would want the cops to shoot the guy holding me hostage at the first opportunity, ideally before he even knew they were there, because that minimizes the risk that I end up dead.

    The real root cause is that it's somehow possible to place illegal calls, (to 911, telemarketing, and all sorts of other abuses,) where the telephone company can't verify the originator.

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 6:58am

    (untitled comment)

    Of course, in most cases, it's quite difficult for law enforcement to ever track down whoever called in the hoax report, and it's rare for the callers to ever be caught -- though it does sometimes happen.

    OK, that's kind of bizarre, considering the number of articles I've seen on here covering telephone tracking technologies. If police (or the phone company) can trace your phone when you're not even making a call, to try to find someone who may or may not be a criminal, how hard can it possibly be in the case of an actual call to go to the phone company with a warrant and say "this call came in to this 911 center at this time, and the caller committed a felony. Tell us where the phone is that that call came from"?

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 6:51am

    (untitled comment)

    Secrecy and subterfuge shouldn’t be tolerated

    I couldn't agree more, cable dudes. So why don't you set the example? In the field of hardware and software, there's another special word that means the same thing as "secret": proprietary. Give up your proprietary systems and switch to an open standard, and we'll believe you don't tolerate harmful secrets.

    Until then, just go away and let the adults talk in peace.

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nuke 'em

    No, actually the name came from Maximilien Robespierre, the leader of the revolutionaries. He quite literally instituted a Reign of Terror and boasted of it!

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 10:47am

    Re: *sigh* It's all Napoleon's fault.

    Wait, what?

    WWI was started by Serbia and Austria-Hungary being unable to find a peaceful resolution to a political crisis precipitated by an assassination of an Austrian nobleman by a Yugoslav nationalist. How does France have anything to do with that?

    Also, how does France (later) sending tons of soldiers to the killing fields reduce their population of smart people, when the best and brightest disproportionately tend to find ways to avoid serving on the front lines?

    Nothing you just wrote up there makes any sense.

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 10:30am

    (untitled comment)

    Because the government (in most cases) does not provide internet access, it has no basis to demand ongoing access to citizens' internet activities.

    I can't help but wonder about this statement in light of Techdirt's enthusiastic support for municipal broadband...

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 10:26am

    Re: Nuke 'em

    History shows that the French population is pretty good at revolutions - it may be time for another one.

    History shows the French population is horrible at revolutions. They don't call the aftermath of the last one "The Reign of Terror" for nothing; it was one of the darkest points in the country's history.

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