This week, we covered the disturbing story of a cop whose huge number of impaired driving arrests turned out to stem from his arbitrary decisions about who was impaired as though it was some sort of magical ability. Roger Strong took a firm line on responding to this, and enough people agreed to make it the first place winner for insightful:
Officer T.T. Carroll is a known serial liar.
The Cobb County police department supports and encourages serial liars.
Cobb County police department arrest records are not credible.
These points should be raised in ANY trial where Cobb County police testimony is presented, or any background check using police records.
Topical jokes shouldn’t be eligible for copyright
Seriously, I heard that same joke about the MVP truck from a dozen people before it made it online or TV. It was the most obvious joke in the world, and therefore not all that funny. Given how much humans value humor and how many people at least TRY to be funny, I expect that EVERY topical joke is reinvented thousands of times independently. As such, they don’t deserve any sort of protection.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we head to our post about Microsoft’s angry response to the NSA following the WannaCry ransomware debacle, which made use of a leaked NSA exploit. First, mcinsand did a good job of summing up the most important lesson for the government to learn here:
Senators Feinstein and Burr Need to Pay Attention
For the slow class, there is an important lesson here. An unintentional weakness created havoc this week, and the NSA’s knowledge hurt national and global security by not working with Microsoft to fix the problem. If an accidental flaw can cause trouble, then a designed-in backdoor has at least the same potential for damaging our security. We will only make our nation less secure by hiding vulnerabilities or, especially, if we actually deliberately create them; we will make our nation more secure, however, if we work to secure our software.
However, PaulT also made a good point that sparked a conversation about Microsoft that is worth checking out in full:
I appreciate MS here, but they have to accept a lot of responsibility for the situation. It’s not just about their historically shoddy record of security (although that’s undoubtedly improved), it’s about how they’ve run their ecosystem for so long.
Many people have had major issues installing Windows updates in the past, so they make sure they’re turned off. Lots of people killed Windows 7/8 updates because they wanted to avoid being forced to install Windows 10 without their permission.
MS has been really bad at separating actual critical updates from other types of changes, so there’s no middle ground in a lot of areas – especially businesses where their updates have been known to kill mission critical production systems if not properly vetted. So, they don’t rush to install new patches unless they’re made aware of an urgent reason to do so.
Part of the reason why some places were still running XP has to do with compatibility issues for certain software and drivers. I can understand why Microsoft wants to get away from supporting such things. But, if they have introduced problems in getting legacy products to run on a new OS, then they’re the reason people didn’t upgrade to an OS that was protected against this attack.
All kudos due to Microsoft for coming out and saying what they have here, and taking a stance against the NSA (although a large part of that is probably self-preservation rather than altruism). But, they have to recognise that their own actions, not just recently but over most peoples’ experience with their products, has led to everyone being less secure. Saying they released a patch a couple of months ago is no good when the reason why the patches weren’t applied on so many machines is because of their own historical behaviour.
If you’re abusive AND insightful, they let you host Top Gear.
For second place, we head to our post about the Japanese music collection society that wants music schools to pay up for the performance rights to songs they teach to students. My_Name_Here provided a case study in Poe’s Law with a comment that racked up a lot of funny votes despite nobody being quite sure if it was actually a joke:
I know this will be hidden, but
If composers aren’t paid when students are being taught to play songs they’ve already written, why would they write more songs that will simply be performed for free? Masnick doesn’t like thinking about these unfortunate truths, because they don’t mesh with his piratey worldview.
If I were ever lost alone in the woods, I’d just sing a happy tune.
Because then I could get directions from the collection society representative demanding payment for the public performance.
(And yes, it’s a public performance if animals hear it.)
Finally, we’ve got a different kind of survival tip from Jigsy — a creative response to immigrations officers requesting account passwords:
“Why yes, officer. My password is the last 21 digits of Pi.”
That’s all for this week, folks!