Are... you kidding? Those people all fly on chartered planes (not least of which is Air Force One) with private security all at our tax expense. Do you think they EVER have to deal with the TSA? That's only for us low-lifes.
I've seriously done the exact same thing. When I had Facebook, I always preferred to delete my birthday about two weeks prior to make sure that particular "bell" didn't ring. I rarely got any birthday messages at all. (Usually whomever I was dating would say something and I'd get a few follow-ups after that post from confused people saying, "Oh, it's your birthday? I'm so sorry! Why wasn't I notified?")
I'd never done anything quite to this level (repeated "birthdays"), but I have set my birthday to a fake date once and laughed at all the people who posted.
US Government Invents New Kind of Legal Trolling: More Shakedowns Expected in Near Future
Of course, as usual, this comports with our Sacred Values -- presumption of guilt (guilty until proven innocent), due process (if you're making a lot of money, you're due to be processed through some expensive trial), the First Amendment freedom of expressing views the government likes, and all that.
This is interesting (at least for the time being, until other commenters are proven correct and the fake-review cottage industry learns how to "beat" this) for humans as well, because it provides some interesting human-applicable strategies for bumping up that 50% (i.e., look for first-person, weight spatial descriptions more heavily, etc.).
I've thought a lot about direct democracy, and I do not think it is possible right now. "[I]f you needed to poll the country about making your moves," that would simply increase the value (exponentially) of political advertising and obviously biased "news" networks like Fox for "controlling the message", to use Cheney's sickening term. People are too undereducated and too unskilled at critical thinking right now to handle direct democracy. The masses, as it were, are too easily controlled.
I also do not think rules will help. Something that's often forgotten in these debates is that these are just real people acting on (what they generally believe to be) someone's best interests, likely their own. Many politicians claim that lobbyists of various stripes are chosen simply because they are the best candidates for the jobs, since they have the most experience. Similarly, the private sector snatches up ex-government officials precisely because they know how the government works relative to their sector.
That may be an excuse, or it may not be. But it's perfectly plausible to believe that, at the very worst, this is how a lot of corrupt people (whether they know they are or not) are justifying the revolving door to themselves. If we made rules against this sort of thing, that is, if we made it illegal to appoint lobbyists to government positions they've lobbied and vice versa, we would do exactly nothing to address the underlying phenomenon. You'd still have Washington flooded with people (lobbyists) who are obviously really knowledgeable on certain issues, experts on them (they have to be), right in front of the government at all times. So when they start looking for experts, who are they most likely to think of? The people they see every day, of course. People who have cozied up to them. People they've worked with and have a rapport with. Same with the private sector: Do you actually think regulations like this will decrease the value of ex-government officials?
Accept it and start buying into the system already, would you?
/at least that's how I read it... :-)
Sorry, no. I don't see how that's a sound reading of what I said at all.
I don't see why an individual or even a company couldn't admit that the patent system is entirely broken -- basically concede every negative claim ever made about it on Techdirt -- and still [buy patents defensively]
What I'm suggesting is exactly the opposite of what you read. Companies aren't necessarily (though they may be) behaving badly just because they're buying shitty patents in order to avoid lawsuits. Just like they may not be behaving badly just because it's in their short-term interests to settle a lawsuit rather than enter a costly legal battle perhaps for the greater good.
Put another way, do we suppose that if Google or some other company didn't buy so-called "defensive" patents with the intent to keep them out of the hands of patent trolls that patent trolls would just disappear? That the system would just miraculously fix itself? I'm just not sure I understand the ire about this particular issue. I find that it's misdirected given the larger scheme of things, which we're all part of.
This write-up conflates, perhaps wrongly, the strategic value of a patent for defense and counterattack. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't see why an individual or even a company couldn't admit that the patent system is entirely broken -- basically concede every negative claim ever made about it on Techdirt -- and still go after a bunch of other patents just so other people don't buy them and misuse them.
Naturally, this behavior doesn't preclude the possibility that the patents may later change hands and be used against them or someone else. That's just the nature of the broken system, and it's by definition out of their control. (If their strategy is to hang onto the patents to prevent their misuse, then something has almost certainly changed if they relinquish them in this way, whether that's economic incentives, the company dissolving, a court order, whatever.)
By contrast, the incentives to go after particularly bad patents just because they're vague would be deplorable if the idea was to countersue (counterattack) any company that sued you on similar grounds. I think it's important, though, to remember that there are potentially honorable motives at work here. Just because someone buys a defensive patent (which is, yes, by definition, one that should not have been granted) doesn't mean they're supporting the broken system. Quite the opposite could be true.
Why blame companies for damage control when they had no say over the patent being issued and the legal reality of getting it overturned is so bleak? (And, as Techdirt has noted many, many times, it's sometimes easier to settle than to sue.)
Because when my office computer crashes, I can just reboot. When the computer running my car crashes, it just might crash the car too.
No officer, I wasn't texting, I was trying to reboot the self drive CPU!
I don't think this situation is as likely. Leaving aside the technological advancement that would necessarily precede self-driving cars becoming mainstream, there is already a lot of attention paid to making embedded systems far more stable than PCs precisely because they require less user interaction.
This is why you don't usually have to "reboot", say, your exercise equipment, or a parking meter, despite it likely having an embedded computer system. It is also more stable by virtue of the fact that users don't get to mess with it as much, by installing software, etc.
I was just reading an excellent article last night that, while on a totally different subject, may shine light on the problem and why your solution isn't accepted by most people here. The article is called "Forcing Functions and Mouse Pads", and it explores an issue created by technological enforcement of strong passwords. This creates what experts call a "rearrangement" problem, where users whose memories can't cope with the requirement simply rearrange the problem and write the password down, which is in practice much less safe than even using a very weak password (as their data shows).
In the case of the traffic light cameras, I think a similar pattern emerges, which you may have even hinted at in your scenario. Traffic light cameras are presumably intended to reduce (to use another commenter's phrase) "T-bone" style accidents by disincentivizing drivers attempting to "beat the yellow" and speed through the light. However, this may cause them to overreact to yellow lights (as other commenters, and moreover the above-mentioned studies) have pointed out, in effect rearranging the problem and causing another kind of accident.
The increase in accidents may simply be due to the fact that, as we all are used to this sort of "stupidity" while driving, we anticipate it, thus partially reducing the incidence of the first kind of accident. However, most of us do NOT follow safe prescriptions for following distance, making the latter type of accident more likely, particularly as unexpected behaviors in response to new incentives arise.
We can all agree that there is a lot of bad behavior from drivers, but forcing another kind of bad behavior doesn't make these problems go away.
It's not about Michael Jackson's rights. It's about the rights of his descendants to continue to make money off his success without contributing anything to society.
Reaganomics 101: the "trickle-down" effect. Michael Jackson made lots of money by successfully making lots of things people wanted to consume, and if we leave that money alone, it will trickle down and benefit everyone from his children to his grandchildren to maybe even his great-great-grand-nieces-and-nephews!