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Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide 589

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
maijc writes "Computer activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide yesterday in New York City. He was 26 years old. Swartz was 'indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them.' He is best known for co-authoring the widely-used RSS 1.0 specification when he was 14, and as one of the early co-owners of Reddit."
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Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide

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  • Copyright kills (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:34AM (#42566753)

    This is the lesson - copyright kills. High time for a copyright reform.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:34AM (#42566757)

    No he's not. He's dead, and you're a terrible person for implying otherwise.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:35AM (#42566759)

    Actually, he's dead. There's a difference.

  • Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:39AM (#42566785)

    A young man took his own life. And so far, I'm only reading sick jokes and flamebait. This isn't Digg.

    The first posters to this discussion should take a long, hard look at themselves.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:42AM (#42566793)
    I don't know him personally, but many people who are successful that early in life are rather high strung. The feeling of helplessness in dealing with a court case may have pushed him over the edge.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:43AM (#42566797)

    I am astounded at the response to this.

    This is major news over at Hacker News. The top 12 items on the first page are related to this.

    Currently, it's the top item here at Slashdot.

    But at this very moment, there is not even a single mention of it on the front page of Reddit!

    What a rotten, rotten community Reddit has become. The hipsters and social outcasts there do not show even the slightest remorse nor any sign of sadness over the death of one of the core founders of their community. There is not even A SINGLE SUBMISSION relating to this on the front page! There are numerous stupid "meme" pictures, and much other asinine content, but nothing about this event! Astounding! It's astounding!

  • by sketchbag (1946222) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:48AM (#42566837)
    sad to see a statistic so tragic. among the age group 25-34, suicide is the second highest cause of death (cdc, 2010 [ http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a.pdf [cdc.gov] ]). All i can say is this is a tragedy in the specific, and its a tragedy in the general. Build communities where you can, and if you stand up for your beliefs try and make bonds that will help you through troubled times when the shit hits the fan as a result. our best and brightest should be here to fix the problems left behind by the poor choices of others, because if the best and brightest arent...who is going to? please stand by activists if you agree with them, and if you have suicidal thoughts (related to, or unrelated to activism), seek better bonds with others or medical help if necessary
  • The smoking gun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:48AM (#42566839)

    "So I hope you’ll forgive me for not doing more. And hey, it could be worse. At least I have decent health insurance."

    - http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/verysick

  • Re:I understand (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:54AM (#42566883)
    Reddit serves a purpose, it keeps a lot of imps & trolls off of slashdot, i dont use reddit either because i dont like the content but it serves a purpose (it provides a place imps & trolls to vent)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:56AM (#42566899)
    • Spread knowledge: 30+ years in prison.
    • Kill a person: 10 years in prison.
    • Rape a woman: I don't even know how much.
    • Be a banker and fuck people's lives by investing their well-earned money into bad assets: Earn a bonus.

    If this doesn't get you enraged about the larger problem at hand, I don't know what will.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:57AM (#42566907)

    He chose to take his own life. It was his decision. I don't agree with it, and I don't endorse it as a reasonable choice, but it was his decision.

    There is an endless supply of "we want everything to be free and open! don't lock us in! what if I want to ABC? who's to say I can't XYZ?" Are we not hypocrites to say he cannot be free with his own life?

    The world lost something of value with his passing. It was his choice to deprive the world of what he gave it. It is sad, and it is hard, but it is done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:08AM (#42566993)

    Maybe so - but no matter how magnificent the peaks we rise to (of our intelligence specifically) - we can always fall. And no-one can ever stay at those heights for all contexts.

    The default state of all matter is unintelligent - so that we achieve any at all at any time is marvellous. And there's quite a strong correlation between personal "intelligence" and suicide. The extra mental flexibility comes with attendant weakness - otherwise we'd long ago have continued to evolve towards higher and higher intellectual capability - and yet there is actually no historical evidence of this at all. Go read the earliest scientific papers you can find - probably ancient chinese. Marvel that the assumed steady increase in intellect doesn't exist - and then ask why this is so?

    With so many deaths of suicide, I would have to consider that greater intelligence and a clearer view of the world leads inevitably towards fatal depression. eg: Boltzman. Figured out the thermodynamics we engineer upon today, and became so depressed at reality - that everything dead in the universe steadily gets only worse - including all our possible resources - that he committed suicide too. And then so did the next person to study his work.

    Us useful engineers - we decide as a practical matter to hold an unreasonable belief in our own future achievements - a belief that the order of life grows with time, despite the fact that the universe as a whole must be decaying. If we lose this religious conviction because of a mistaken belief that all religion is to be abhorred - we commit suicide as the only rational course of action. The only way to win at a game this crooked, it seems, is not to play.

    All of us surviving these tragic losses ought to be sad - for these are the very people capable of changing our plight the most, and we've lost them. Poor us.

  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marcion (876801) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:16AM (#42567029) Homepage Journal

    "The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly." (Bladerunner)

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer@hotmailBOHR.com minus physicist> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:19AM (#42567043)

    Imagine yourself stuck in a case where you are facing 30+ years for...

    Lots of people have been faced with worse time than this and don't kill themselves; some even face the death penalty. Most people who try and succeed in committing suicide have pretty much in some form or other harbored daemons their entire life. It would not surprise me that he has often throughout his life pondered suicide and maybe even tried and failed.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:26AM (#42567075) Homepage
    Do you know why it's so high in that age group? Because you're healthy and likely won't die unless you take your life. It's not that hard to figure out.
  • Re:Wish I knew why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenh (9056) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:30AM (#42567087) Homepage Journal

    I read a bit of the indictment [archive.org] and I find it hard to believe the charges are 'trumped up' because they are so easy to disprove.

    Did he or did he not buy the laptop?

    Did he or did he not access an MIT wiring closet?

    Did he or did he not program the above purchased laptop to retrieve a massive number of documents in a manner inconsistent with their terms of use?

    Personally I think his passion for his political/legal positions drove him to commit crimes, crimes for which the penalty was so great it may have driven him to suicide, but as the previous poster mentioned - we don't know why he did it. (was there a note?)

    Suicide is the second leading cause of death among his age group (after accidental death), there are likely causes outside his achievements that drove him to take his own life, like the other 5-6,000 suicide victims in his age group each year.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay&gmail,com> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:38AM (#42567143) Homepage Journal

    He purportedly committed several crimes...

    He purportely stole some information created with public money, but granted to privated a privated party, with the objective of returning it to the public. And was in line to get 35 years of prision for that. How much can you get if you murder someone in the US, by the way?

    When he killed himself, he had still not yet been prosecuted. I seem to be missing the part where the "(in)justice system" did something they shouldn't have been doing?

    The (in)justice system did still not prosecute him, years after he was marked as a felon and had his life destroyed. That's what it shouldn't have been doing. If you intend to destroy the life of somebody while he awaits judment, that judgment must be quick.

    But yeah, you are just trolling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:39AM (#42567149)

    The old world order resists change. RIP

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by atomican (2799855) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:42AM (#42567175)

    You post basically confuses the fuck out of anyone who wants to know how they *should* be responding to news of a suicide. Instinctively they feel they shouldn't make any jokes out of respect, and yet you basically say "bring it on" since humour is a copying method (which may very well be true). But you try that in the flesh with real people in front of you, and it's very likely few will see the funny side, and you'll be ostracised and treated as an uncaring bastard.

    So unfortunately I can't agree, sorry. It's just too delicate a subject to just say that making light of a sad situation is an alright thing to do. It's only suitable if you're really, really clever and smart about it, which most people aren't, hence it's best just not to joke in the first place.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:54AM (#42567231) Homepage Journal

    " Most people who try and succeed in committing suicide have pretty much in some form or other harbored daemons their entire life."

    There's an unspoken assertion in your comment that there are people who exist who harbor no demons.

    I'm pushing 50 and have known many people and I've yet to see one.

    Or evidence of one.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xiph1980 (944189) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:54AM (#42567233)
    You assume death represents zero freedom, which is incorrect. Death doesn't represent zero freedom, it represents am empty collection of freedoms. It's not zero, it's not one, it's not infinite, it's nothing.

    I know nothing about the lawsuit or the whole scientific paper stuff, but it's a shame that such a bright mind is lost to the world now. All we can do now, and all I'll do is wish his family and friends all the best in the coming difficult time.
  • Re:Have some shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:04AM (#42567309)

    > He purportedly committed several crimes

    Is that the same argument by which the treatment of Alan Turing by the judicial/penal system was fine? You just care whether something is a "crime" as opposed as to whether it should be or not?

  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:10AM (#42567355) Journal

    Depression is an illness. An illness is not selfish. You cannot even decide to have or not have an illness.

    Of course it doesn't help that people often call a normal sadness a depression. But that's just a misnomer, just like calling the common cold a flu is.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado (2569351) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:10AM (#42567363)
    The idea of freedom or choice is irrelevant when there is not someone to choose then nothing to choose from. If the person is dead he is neither free or restrained, he simply isn't.
  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:14AM (#42567385) Journal

    As others have rightly pointed out "the flame that burns brightest also burns the quickest" and when they are writing specs at 14 years old you can expect a burn out. Some go nuts, some end up junkies, but when you are THAT driven THAT young you can pretty much count on a major flameout, just a shame his flameout was fatal.

    As for copyrights, i have an ironclad argument that pretty much obliterates any pro copyright trolls and I think the more people point this out to the average folks the quicker we can get this scam taken out...Do you realize that many of Walt Disney's FIRST works, made when cars were started with a crank, airplanes were made out of cloth, and antibiotics were but a dream are STILL under copyright? The man has been dead for longer than most of us have been alive and they will STAY under copyright until most of us are dead, now how does that in ANY way shape or form promote sciences and the arts as the founding fathers intended?

    All our insane copyrights and patents are doing is making sure that Asia becomes the next superpower as you won't be able to get anything done here without getting screwed by all the tollbooths. Most of the games I grew up with are now in copyright limbo, so many of the 80s companies went under yet you can't do anything with the games because the copyrights, that won't expire for over a century, are just hanging there like a sword of Damocles over them, and any cool idea you can possibly think of will have a dozen bullshit vague patents that will break you if you aren't a megacorp.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:25AM (#42567481)

    Don't forget that he caused MIT to be denied access to JSTOR for several days while he repeatedly attempted to get around the blocks setup by MIT admins. Thousands of scholars rely on that access every day. Plus all of the heartburn he caused the admins at JSTOR. Real people had their lives interrupted by his little stunt. Had he been smarter he would have done it undetectably.

    I'm sorry, but what he did was astoundingly foolish and stupid. Especially for someone who was an "ethics scholar" or whatever at Harvard. With his position, credibility, and leadership he could have done so much more to free up access to research without breaking the law. Nobody but Aaron Swartz bears responsibility for cocking up his incredible streak of good fortune.

    Furthermore, without prior violent felony convictions he was facing 1-2 years at the most. Hardly life destroying when you are 26 years old. Go look up the federal sentencing guidelines if you don't believe me.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:26AM (#42567491) Homepage Journal

    yes, but there are other ways to relieve pain. plus, the pain is temporary. of course, it can feel endless, but that doesn't mean it is endless

    i used to suffer from excruciating back pain. it lasted a long time, months. i completely understand the feeling a hopeless state of permanent pain. except: i don't have back pain anymore. i could have killed myself. but that means i would not be here typing these words, and enjoying a pain free life

    if i had killed myself, i would have permanently destroyed the freedom i have now. suicide is a freedom destroying choice. opposing the choice of suicide, even externally from the individual, is a freedom preserving act

  • Re:I understand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:32AM (#42567523)

    I'd rather have the old slashdot with its trolls than the current bleh. For instance, it used to be that you could occasionally read insightful comments even on science topics.

  • Re:Wish I knew why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kenh (9056) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:41AM (#42567573) Homepage Journal

    "Intent to piracy" is not in the indictment, his intentions aren't at issue, it was his actions.

  • by waterbear (190559) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:50AM (#42567619)

    If Aaron Swartz had not committed suicide, his case would still look like oppressive overreaction by proprietary interests and by the justice system which too often seems to act as if it were their private proxy.

    This question of disproportion survives whatever may be said technically about the legalities and moralities of unauthorized downloading of the information he handled or mishandled. In its parts that was essentially long-published and public. Any prison term at all, let alone up to 35 years, looks to me totally disproportionate to the seriousness of what was done with this kind of material. It also compares unfairly to the lenient treatment or official conniving with those who do things that are at least equally serious or much more so. For example it deserves to be compared with false claims (made knowingly or recklessly) to copyright in cases where there is none -- that is such an everyday occurrence that no-one seems to give it a second look, but those who perpetrate such frauds generally get off scot-free. It also deserves to be compared with the corrupt or fraudulent procurement of legislation to remove parts of the public domain and reduce them to private ownership, arguably much more serious, and when was anybody last pursued for that kind of misdemeanor?

    It may be that Swartz was tipped over the edge into suicide by a feeling that the only other course for him would be a lifetime turning on the spit as a legal victim. If so, he may have been right, there may not have been any third option. And if so, there is more than one tragedy there: not only his death, but also the continuing injustice that more serious offenders are routinely condoned.

    -wb-

  • Re:Wish I knew why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:23AM (#42567809)

    1. His attempts were not misguided.
    2. There is nothing wrong with breaking the law. The law is arbitrary and stupid. Particularly in this case. It's the folks behind JSTOR that should be in jail.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gomiam (587421) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:33AM (#42567871)

    Unless you can invent a way for everything to be free (as in beer), which is another way of saying you think things should appear out of thin air, Swartz's actions amount to reducing the collection of freedoms available of everyone in the entire scientific journal ecosystem.

    We have many intellectual works that predate copyright, as probably already know. And you can't conflate ideas with physical objects because there is no shortage of "idea copies": they don't disappear from my mind when you make a copy, so yes, they basically appear out of thin air. Even the originals often do because they appear when you are working on something else.

    Hence we are more free under the current copyright system than we would be if people had no way of earning a living under current copyright law.

    Non sequitur, sorry. The current copyright system restricts the freedom of the majority for no proven reason in order to provide monetary gain to a minority, and authors are not part of that minority in most cases either. So we have a system that doesn't benefit the general public and benefits very few of the producers. That looks like a net loss of freedom to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:47AM (#42567981)

    Remember when Nelson Mandela killed himself before serving his near life sentence...? Oh wait...

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @12:43PM (#42568377) Homepage

    He committed a crime, and knew full well he was doing it. Comparing him to what happened to Turing...

    ...sounds pretty reasonable to me at first glance, since Turing also committed what he knew to be a crime.

  • Re:I understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:04PM (#42568523)

    > I'd rather have the old slashdot with its trolls than the current bleh.

    I would rather NOT go back to Ogg, Natalie Portman with hot gritz, and goatse Thank-You-Very-Much.

    IF the /. community jumped the shark years ago we have no one but ourselves to blame.

    A community is what you put into it. Not only what you get out of it.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:06PM (#42568551)

    No, it is apt, and appropriate.

    At the time, homosexual relationships were illegal, classified as a sex act on par with raping dogs or children, and carried harsh penalties which Turring endured.

    There was a sharp disconnect between what is ethically sound, and what is legally necessitated.

    Likewise here: the voting public paid to have that research conducted, were being double dipped, (actually more than that..) and denied access unless they were themselves subsidised scholars of some sort. A morally offensive situation is being maintained (people are compelled through threat of violence and or incarceration to hand money to the government who then gives that money to private firms and researchers, presumably for the public's benefit, but are then strictly denied access to the results of that research which they financed.) For the benefit of rentseekers (JSTOR, Eslevier, and all those other publishing house whores.), at the detriment of public knowledge and education. (Really, far larger databases of information are maintained by community organized efforts than these clowns maintain, and those community orgs provide their services for free. The main reasons why these for prfit orgs can't do that, is because they aren't in it for science or knowedge, but instead are only in it for money, which quite bluntly, they are not entitled to.)

    This man sought to move that data out of the rentseeker's filing cabinets, and into the public's waiting hands, since the public has already paid for that information through funding the godamn research to begin with. (Imagine: megacorp funds a lab to answer some scientific question: the lab then double dips on printed copies (per copy) of results, and asserts ownership of the works. Does this really happen to big corps? Fuck no it doesn't. "Works for hire", and all that. But it does to normal people and universities, because magically, once taxpayer money goes through the ravenous maw of the government debt machine, it isn't a work for hire!)

    The renteekers go all pedant on him, and ruin his life sufficently that he is finally motivated enough to actually end his own life to get away from his problems.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:21PM (#42568657) Journal

    landed a crazy gig making 60K in a different state by meeting someone at a conference when I was 18.

    I hope you know that this is all that separates you from all your minimum-wage friends, this is where your fates diverged. A stroke of luck, a "networking" connection.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @02:14PM (#42569033) Journal

    The whole system is broken, and this is just another symptom in a sea of them. The entire system has been co-opted and subverted to protect the monetary interests of the few. Whenever anyone steps up to threaten those interests, the DoJ and various other law enforcement entities step in to wreak havoc on those who dare to step out of line.

    Anyone who has been in the computer underground, or who has had a single thought of wanting freedom or a life free from a government that grows more and more oppressive with each new law that they pass, completely understands this. The system is not setup to do the best for the most. It is setup to protect the few from the many.

    Computer security is the perfect example. Rather than invest the money in education and technical training to go out and fix the flaws, the system decides to divert that money into lawyers and laws. A murderer is a threat to a single person. A hacker on the other hand can bring down the entire system, and "must be punished appropriately, so that others who might consider doing the same are given cause to think twice and decide against doing so". Unfortunately Aaron learned that the hard way. He probably thought that what he was doing was good, and right. And it probably was. Information that was paid for by tax dollars should not be locked up behind pay walls. But that is not the way the system works. The system maintains order with punishment and fear. It crushes lives by placing insane debt burdens upon those who stray from the rules, no matter how inane or obtuse those rules might be. For those too poor to be fined, there are prisons.

    Aaron Swartz gets chalked up in the column of bright minds crushed by the system. The system does not want visionaries. It does not want bright minds who can conceive of better ways to live. It wants sheep, who will consume and die to protect their way of life. It wants a population that fears the rest of the world, because it sustains policies that anger the rest of the world... that steal from that world, to maintain the system. The system that sacrifices the many, for the benefit of the few.

    I wonder how differently this tragic situation might have turned out if Jury Nullification were a part of the popular discourse. If Aaron had known that there would be people in front of the court during his trial, urging the jury to do the right thing and aquit him. That is where change really has to start. The system only continues to work because people who should know better, do not and they continue to convict. It only requires 2 people to change the system... 1 to challenge the law, and 1 to refuse to convict.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottothecow (600101) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @03:10PM (#42569463) Homepage
    To be fair, it's not really a stroke of luck or the sleazy "networking" you referred to. He was doing real networking (without sleaze-quotes). When everybody else was either a senior in high school, playing video games and riding easy after being accepted to college, or a college freshman finding their path and drinking a lot, this guy was out at a conference meeting people and talking about the coding he had been doing for years.

    A lot of college kids have never been to a conference and have never talked with a prospective employer without being at a recruiting fair where everybody is trying to get a job. What they should have been doing was having lunch with people who work in the types of jobs they might want--not lunch to ask them for a job or hand them a resume, lunch to talk to them and find out if the job sounds like a good fit. They should be meeting people at conferences where people are there to talk about ideas and skills (not recruiting events where everybody just jabs at the recruiters with their resumes). All that separates this guy from his minimum wage friends, is that he actually did *something* where as they did nothing.

    I should note, that I was one of those people...I went to recruiting events on campus, had some internships that came from similar recruiting events, and had full-time interviews from people who did on campus recruiting. None of that worked well--what worked was when I finally realized that talking with people (without explicitly trying to get a job...just trying to find out more info) was leagues ahead.

  • Re:RIP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @03:13PM (#42569485) Homepage Journal
    The world rewarded Aaron for his talent, and punished him for his genius. He would not have committed suicide but for, in a very legal sense, the persecution that came from doing the right thing. Journals pay nothing for their content, nothing for peer reviewers, and get paid for preventing people from gaining knowledge that other people, who were paid for by public money, accumulated for the public good.

    Rents kill, and Aaron was one of the victims. All of us are the losers, except for the people with the corrupt rent stream.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @03:22PM (#42569523) Journal
    Your instinct is to be a jerk, based on your sig. So yeah, in your case, stop following your instincts, they're stupid.
  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @03:27PM (#42569539) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who claims that they themselves don't have any problem are people who have done no introspection and therefore force others to have to deal with the effects of their own issues.

    Nobody reaches adulthood without something they need to work on.

  • by waterbear (190559) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @06:04PM (#42570585)

    [Q]. . .how does that in ANY way shape or form promote sciences and the arts [?]

    [A] It inspires other people to be creative,. . .

    Many of the classic works now still under extended copyright were created when the term used to be much shorter (e.g. 28 years renewable on fee for another 28), and they just got a longer ride at the expense of all of us when the proprietary interests (not usually the authors) procured changes in the law to extend the terms and increase the range of restricted acts & crimes. The current range of criminalized activities to do with copyright has been _heavily_ extended since those days. So, no, the current penal legislation was _not_ needed to inspire or incentivize those works.

    . . .protections for your work - which you can waive any time you want. . .

    I had the interesting experience of trying to access online a paper that I actually wrote, and found myself invited to pay a copyright fee to access it. (No, I didn't assign the copyright to anybody.)

    So I wonder how, exactly, could I or any other author in a similar position 'waive the protections' for our work? -- it turns out we don't even control them, as it is.

    -wb-

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @07:04PM (#42570929) Journal

    And if you're the type of personality that refuses to plea bargain then you face 30 years and a prosecutor that'll demand it.

    Very likely a system that'll give it too, just to punish you for not taking a plea bargain.

    Fuck that system, and its suicidal outcome.

  • Re:Have some shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:53PM (#42571591) Homepage Journal

    Can there be a person who reaches adulthood and has only minor issues?

    No. Not unless they live in a society that has no issues.

    In a society with rampant racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, unequally applied justice, massive wealth disparity, and which exalts militarism, nobody grows up without the need for some deep grappling with indoctrinated toxic values, even if they have largely escaped their effects.

    In such a society it is perfectly possible to harbor prejudices resulting from that indoctrination without knowing it - even if you are aware of the larger implications and are fighting against them.

    Even devoted civil rights activists need to check themselves, check their assumptions and reactions regularly.

    You cannot live in a flawed society and be the product of a flawed society and completely escape internalizing some of those flaws.

    And every society is flawed.

  • Re:He Is Free Now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sigg3.net (886486) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @05:55AM (#42573463) Homepage

    The discussion doesn't make sense after the fact. The deed is done. And we should have helped him choose otherwise.

    However, most ethical frameworks regards the choice to end your own freedom as an unfree choice. Kant goes as far as saying that it is immoral; it is an attack on his humanity and ours as well (thus, we should not kill ourselves with regards to others, like others have a moral responsibility to help us not commit suicide).

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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