DNY’s Techdirt Profile


About DNY

DNY’s Comments comment rss

  • Oct 2nd, 2015 @ 1:42pm

    Stick to Go

    If computers besting top-ranked humans at games is a problem for you, stick to go.

    They're not even close.

  • Sep 30th, 2015 @ 6:41am


    Cyberthreat, cyberinsults, cyberslander (when the online communication is substituting for speech) and cyberlibel against women and girls might conceivably be real, but threats, insults, slander and libel are not violence.

    Until an abusive boyfriend gets a robot to beat his girlfriend, someone hacks a woman's car to disable the breaks, or otherwise uses the internet-of-things to commit assault or murder against a human female, I think the issue of "cyberviolence" against women and girls is non-existent. And should things like that occur, I'm not sure how interesting the qualifier "against women and girls" will be in addressing the problem of actual violent crime committed via the internet.

  • Sep 29th, 2015 @ 7:34am

    Political Correctness run amok

    I think most of the posters are missing what's really going on here. Australia, despite having recently elected a right-of-center government, is about as politically correct as an American college campus -- or at least that's the impression I had from living there for three months in the '90's -- an impression confirmed on a subsequent shorter visit and by the very fact that Julia Gillard could ever become PM.

    The lame stupid examples like radical extremist alt rockers are there as a cloak for the one relevant example in the middle of the booklet, a fellow who published al Qaeda approved propaganda, so that mentioning it won't be regarded as "profiling" or "racist".

    Last I checked, the only really notable example of violent extremism (itself a PC euphemism) on Australian soil was committed by a(n older than teenage) loon who for years had fraudulently passed himself off as a moderate Shi'ite cleric, had a sudden conversion experience to Sunni Islam, declared himself a supporter of IS, and took hostages in a chocolate shop in Sydney. I don't think alt rock was involved at all.

  • Aug 12th, 2015 @ 9:47am

    Good ideas in the leader, but...

    The "leader" as The Economist calls their editorials is good, but doesn't go far enough, since it ignores the analogous deleterious effects of copyright on the arts (and sciences). However, despite the stated position of the editors in the leader, the corresponding article on patents in the body of the magazine still shows signs of drinking the maximalist kool-aid: the feature is labeled "intellectual property".

  • Aug 11th, 2015 @ 8:25am


    There is something a little odd about concerns for privacy in the context of interactions with an agent of the government on a public street. If one is interacting with the police officer, one is by definition under government surveillance -- by the police officer -- and if one is out in public, one has no expectation of privacy. The main point of body cameras is to make sure the officer is under surveillance, though providing a record of interactions to prevent specious accusations of police misconduct (oddly ignored by police unions) is another benefit of their use.

  • Jul 26th, 2015 @ 11:30am

    Crime free?

    So assault under color of law committed against an innocent toddler is a feature of a crime free environment? Really?

    It seems to me that current police procedures guarantee both violations of privacy and the perpetration of crime.

  • Apr 21st, 2015 @ 12:46pm

    A pet peeve

    Does anyone else feel that the use of the phrase "reached out to" to mean "e-mailed" or "sent a letter to" is like fingernails on a blackboard?

    I have never seen it used so often in succession as in this article. I can't stand it! It makes every relationship, even that of plaintiff and defendant, sound like something out of Rogerian psychotherapy!

  • Apr 2nd, 2015 @ 8:09am

    Random thoughts

    To Rekrul: no, drifting was never called "skidding" -- when drifting, only the rear wheels lose traction, the front wheels are still have full traction, when skidding all four wheels lose traction. I like drifting in a front-wheel drive car as a way of taking corners in snowy conditions ever so slightly faster than one could while keeping traction with all four tires. It's fun, safe once you have the skill, and gets you to your destination a little faster.

    To go with the NPR story about autonomous vehicles exhibiting road rage, the New Yorker has a great cartoon of two cabbies, one praising to the other the virtues of "self-honking cars" which really let you concentrate on driving.

  • Mar 14th, 2015 @ 9:54am

    Trademarking the name of a figure from history?

    The charity should have fought. It strikes me that In-Bev is on shaky ground trying to claim as a trademark the folkloric name of an historical figure. They can surely hold a trademark on Johnny Appleseed in a distinctive font or font-color combination, but the name itself?

  • Mar 7th, 2015 @ 9:40am


    Alas a lot of voices on the American right confuse the interests of incumbents in the market with the good of the free market. And no, they usually aren't shills for the industries involved, just confused about what is actually good for the free market.

  • Mar 6th, 2015 @ 8:02am


    Really? The Zionist cabal you are fretting about must not be very successful considering the number of universities that have vibrant and sometimes successful divestment movements calling for the withdrawal of university investments from companies doing business in Israel, not to mention lively Muslim and Palestinian student organizations. At UCLA they even openly worry about letting Jews serve on the highest student judicial body in terms that sound an awful lot like the Dreyfus affair.

    I'm afraid your post sounds an awful lot like an updated version of the railing against the "evil Joooooos!" that hood-wearing folks used to engage in when not maltreating people of African ancestry.

  • Mar 6th, 2015 @ 7:52am

    Re: Who was heckled here?

    Alas, most institutions of higher education are quite willing to abandon their dignity to grovel to as you put it "people lacking the mental capacity for recognizing the not really subtle statement the art is conveying," provided said people are members of any group which is the beneficiary of any affirmative action program or non-discrimination law or ordinance anywhere in the United States, excluding clauses about non-discrimination on the basis of religion when the religion involved is any variety of Christianity or Judaism.

  • Feb 27th, 2015 @ 7:41am

    Pro-market vs. pro-business regulation

    I really wish people more people would understand Luigi Zingales's distinction between pro-market and pro-business regulations and the concept of regulatory capture.

    While the devil is in the details, and the issued regulations seem to be long enough to hide several hells worth of devils, as excerpted in the media, they seem to do something very useful to the preservation of free markets: prevent combined ISP/content-providing companies or cabals formed by ISPs and content-providing companies from using their position as what used to be called a "vertical trust" to kill competition.

    To my fellow free-market-loving rightists: THIS IS A GOOD THING. Regulations to establish net neutrality, per se, are pro-market (which is why incumbents in the market who want a regulatory environment that supports predatory pricing, leveraging current market position against not only existing competitors, but new start-ups and even new disruptive technologies, are howling about it). Whether there are any actual freedom-killing "devils" in the details we have yet to see.

  • Feb 13th, 2015 @ 8:15am

    They also serve who only stand and wait.

    The line from Milton's sonnet describes not only the attitude of piety to which his poem applied it, but a great many jobs in which one needs to be present in case work arises, but often for long stretches have nothing to do. (A similar observation is made by the old military saying "Hurry up and wait.")

    Now, one might hope that Federal employees waiting for work to arise would occupy themselves with something more edifying than pornography (perhaps reading sonnets), but so long as porn is legal, it seems a bit out of line to deny those idle because of the intermittent nature of the work they are engaged to perform access to their favored pastime as a way of whiling away the hours.

    Of course, it is also possible that there are entirely too many Federal employees for the amount of work that must be done. But that should be solved by restructuring the Federal bureaucracy to decrease the number of Federal employees. Of course, maybe there is some virtue in that case to making work conditions for Federal employees less pleasant -- it might increase the number of voluntary separations from Federal employment -- but this would only be useful in the context of restructuring the bureaucracy to decrease the number of positions.

  • Feb 13th, 2015 @ 7:26am

    Metonymy is lost on some

    The article is pretty much spot on, except for the harping on the phrase "die over the flag" (I think the usual phrase is "die for the flag").

    Have you really never heard of the rhetorical device of metonymy? To die for the flag is to die for what the flag represents. Now you may be a pacifist and find the notion morally objectionable, or an anti-militarist and hold the notion in contempt, but don't feign stupidity and act as if you don't understand a classical rhetorical device.

  • Nov 17th, 2014 @ 4:32pm

    Cruz'n for a bruis'n

    At best, Cruz is trying polish up his bona fides with the Chamber of Commerce wing of the party. At worst, he's an idiot.

    I'm inclined toward the latter view, despite agreeing the Cruz on perhaps 70% of issues facing the country: besides this stance, which as many have noted can be explained only by stupidity or having been suborned by telecom interests, there was Cruz's ill-fated appearance at an event sponsored by Arab Christians, at which he put his foot in his mouth with an assertion that to the effect that Christians have no better friend than Israel -- deeply offensive to Arab Christians, who in the Middle East have faired quite well under Ba'athist governments with their ideology of secular pan-Arab nationalism, and for which he was rightly heckled.

    As in this instance, he doubled down on his gaffe.

    I have a feeling that if GOP nominates Cruz in 2016, as the subject says, they'll be Cruz'n for a bruis'n.

  • Nov 11th, 2014 @ 6:06am

    What's in a name?

    Plainly some posters don't like defining the phrase "sharing economy" to mean "platforms that make it easy for anyone to become an entrepreneur by offering up an unused resource for sale or rent".

    Would "microentreprenurial economy" make them happier? It's more accurate, but long and cumbersome. There are precious few examples of actual economic activity in the form of actual sharing, yes there are car/truck owning collectives, the carpooling example -- though is that sharing if the extra rider chips in for gas? -- and neighbors still borrow tools from each other rather than hitting the rental yard, but none of this actual sharing makes a big enough splash in the economic pond to merit a grand phrase like "sharing economy".

    The phenomenon of "platforms that make it easy for anyone to become an entrepreneur by offering up an unused resource for sale or rent" is sufficiently new (arguably eBay was the first, though it wasn't easy enough for me: I waited for Amazon Marketplace, which is easy, to be up and running before setting up an online bookstore) that it will take a while for a name to be fixed. Maybe it will be "sharing economy", with pith and brevity winning out over lack of accuracy, maybe someone with cultural, societal and academic clout will read this post and really like "microentrepreneurial economy", start using it, and it will stick, accuracy winning out over length, maybe someone with better wit than either I or Mr. Shapiro will come up with a coinage the combines pith and accuracy and that's what we'll all be calling the phenomenon three years hence.

    Whatever you call it, it's a plainly a very good thing: Shumpeter's "creative destruction" operating in a mode that fairly directly brings benefits to lots people, rather than just the few with the disruptive idea or their initial investors.

  • Sep 2nd, 2014 @ 7:25am

    On duty = camera on, excecptions for undercover work by warrant only

    I've thought about this a bit since the Ferguson incident, and without having read the Techdirt article on the subject came to the conclusion that we finally have a solution to Plato's problem of who guards the guardians -- we all do.

    All LEOs should have body cameras with sound which are on whenever the officer is on duty, the sole exception being undercover operatives whose lack of a camera and recording device has been approved by a judge. All the niceties about on/off switches can be left aside -- let the cops turn them on and off whenever, but...

    Put the on-off switch somewhere where suspects cannot access it in the course of an arrest and implement a few of the suggestions up thread for procedural reforms to give the camera requirement teeth:

    I'd thought of scott13's suggestion of camera/sound recorder off -- citizen's word trumps the cop's word in testimony about police conduct -- but I also like his docking the office a day's pay for leaving the camera off while on duty, and I also like the suggestion posted by Anonymous Coward at #9 (though with my exception for court-authorized undercover work): a police officer without his or her camera/sound recorder loses police powers.

    And, have an always-on GPS tracker as part of every non-undercover cop's kit.

    I'm not sure where the recordings and GPS records should be stored. Maybe each of the several states can create an Office of Good Police Conduct, attached to whatever agency deals with civil rights, rather than any police agency, to run servers for the purpose and handle FOIA requests for footage and GPS records relevant to particular incidents -- the Feds can do likewise for the records generated by Federal LEOs.

  • Apr 15th, 2014 @ 5:51am

    First Amendment or whole Constitution?

    King seems to have as much or more trouble with upholding the Fourth Amendment as he does with the First. Maybe it's the whole Bill of Rights he has trouble with. Or maybe it's the whole Constitution with the idea of the Federal Government having limited powers.

  • Mar 28th, 2014 @ 8:19am

    Variant renderings of Cyrillic

    Misspelling or simply a different rendering of a name that's actually spelled in Cyrillic into the Latin alphabet? I have a colleague whose names can be Englished as Rojkovskaya or Rozhkovskaia (or two other variants) none of which are misspellings. One would think our government would have the wit to list all possible Englishings of foreign names written in other alphabets in important databases like terrorist watchlists, but I guess not.

    The fact that they don't and that American reporters attribute this to "misspelling", rather than the real cause -- variant renderings of Cyrillic -- is just more American insularity on display.

More comments from DNY >>