Last week, we kicked off a new experiment with one of our community members highlight their favorite posts of the week, having Dark Helmet compile the inaugural list. The feature was quite well received, so we’re going to keep it going. This week, we’ve asked prolific commenter Rose M. Welch for her favorite posts.
I decided to focus on examples of what I love most about Techdirt, namely, the abundance of posts that employ critical thinking.
The bastions of critical thinking — which include logic, clarity, and context — are generally absent from mainstream news sources, which tend to strive for outrage, scorn, or whatever they think is going to get the most page views. Techdirt moves in the opposite direction, providing a thoughtful analysis of each topic, without regard for popular opinion.
With that being said, here are my favorite stories of the week, one from each day, plus an extra so I’d have at least one more blurb than Dark Helmet. 🙂
- Monday: Congressional Research Service Notes That There Are Serious Challenges To Charging Assange
In 1791, our leaders introduced a series of limitations on the power of our government to restrict our natural rights. First and foremost among these rights were freedom of speech and a free press. Almost immediately, the battle for these rights began with the likes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison arguing unsuccessfully against limits on our limits. We gained traction in the 1970s, spurring 40 years of free speech and free press triumphs. People like me, who have only seen victory, sometimes need a kick in the pants to see how quickly those natural rights could disappear under a cloud of outrage. This post thoughtfully provides at least a nudge in that direction.
- Tuesday: Author Slams ‘Piracy,’ Then Admits To A Huge ‘Pirated’ Music Collection And Counterfeit Purses
The focus of this post is a Norwegian author, who protests piracy while owning a large collection of counterfeit handbags and infringing mp3s. The author states that the “genuine Prada bags have… an inflated price,” but fails to understand that her feelings and actions are the exact feelings and actions of the ‘pirates’ that she disdains.
I’ve seen this double standard so often that it’s become easy to dismiss the people who make them. Unfortunately, each of these cases highlights the fact that this kind of cloudy thinking is normal and is something that we should respond to with education, rather than with cynical dismissal.
- Wednesday: Battling Wikileaks And The Art Of War
This post is the epitome of critical thinking. When a sci-fi author and a guy who died over two thousand years ago can out-think our government, there’s a problem. The trouble is obviously a lack of logic, clarity, and context, which our representatives have replaced with outrage, obfuscation, and a downright lack of understanding. Also, I ♥ The Art of War.
- Thursday: Congressional Hearing On Wikileaks Surprisingly Focuses More On Gov’t Overly Secretive Actions
I was heartened to hear many of our representatives espouse a principle near and dear to my heart: Transparency. As many speakers noted, much of the classified information should not have been classified which led to a healthy discussion of what should be secret.
Of course, the post also noted that many of our representatives want to have their cake and eat it, too. In this case, many of the speakers advocated for transparency and then argued for the prosecution of a single person, Julian Assange, with a single entity, Wikileaks, that published classified information, out of the multiple entities, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, that published the same information.
If you only read one post about these leaks, this should be it.
- Friday: Homeland Security Presents ‘Evidence’ For Domain Seizures; Proves It Knows Little About The Internet – Or The Law
This post outlines some of the more glaring issues with the affidavit and warrants used to seize several domains during Thanksgiving. The affidavit confirmed Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s earlier admission that they just seized what Hollywood told them to seize, with no thought or consideration. Hollywood’s least likely dream had magically come true and even linking to possibly infringing content is criminal infringement. Yikes.
The most horrifying thing isn’t that our immigration officials are wasting time on an issue that they clearly don’t understand, but that a federal judge, a person presumably well-educated in the law whose purpose is to weed out bad warrants, literally rubber-stamped this one.
- Extra Blurb: Comic Artist Dylan Horrocks Explains How Copyright Is Too Often Used To Kill Culture
This post begins with Techdirt complimenting an essay by a cartoonist who recently criticized Techdirt, which warms my logical heart. The post and essay note some of the more significant issues with the copyright system in the U.S. and manages to do so with comic book references. This post was chock-full of intellectual mana for my geeky soul.
^^That’s it. 🙂