This week, we were all appalled by the astonishing move by the Oregon government to fine a man who criticized the traffic camera system for practicing engineering without a license. One anonymous commenter won most insightful comment of the week by pointing out what this teaches about similar notions:
And people wonder why allowing the government to decide who is and is not a journalist is a bad thing.
Next, we heard about the latest moral panic in the UK, where the National Crime Agency claimed that modding videogames could be a gateway to criminal hacking for kids. That One Guy joined them in their absurd handwringing:
While they’ve got the attention of hysterical parents, they should take the time to highlight other potential ‘criminal gateways’.
Let a kid fiddle with taking stuff apart and putting it back together, and they might end up trashing houses for laughs. Or get a job designing and/or repairing stuff.
Let a kid play around in the dirt and try their hand at gardening and the next thing you know they’ve got a dozen-acre weed farm. Or go into more legitimate farming.
Let a kid watch shows about automobiles and how they’re put together and before you know it they’re out stealing cars and stripping them for parts. Or I suppose get a job in the field of automobile repair.
Let a kid get away with blatant lies and misrepresentations of the facts and the next thing you know they go into politics, lying through their teeth in order to further their own careers, or fearmongering for the same reason.
Truly, the threats to the minds and morals of tomorrow’s youth are legion.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out on our post about a new survey showing that most millennials pay for streaming services but also use pirate streams when the content they want isn’t legally available or convenient. Thad highlighted how natural an instinct this is when faced with restrictive media:
I spent a good big chunk of yesterday going through my collection of legally-purchased Blu-Rays to see which ones will play under VLC for Linux.
It has not escaped my notice that it would have been much, much easier just to pirate the fucking movies.
Next, we’ve got a short comment from Dan J. highlighting an extremely important point about innovation (that we make often around here) in response to the idea that Google entered the search engine market with “a better idea”:
Largely agree with you but have to pick one nit: Google didn’t have a better idea. They had a better implementation of the same idea. Ideas are cheap and worthless. Implementation is the difference between success and failure.
Over on the funny side, we start out with our post about an excellent example of the ridiculous overreach of those who want to eliminate “non-tariff barriers” in trade policy — a claim that promoting breastfeeding is an unfair barrier to manufacturers of formula milk. Roger Strong won first place for funny with some new propaganda slogans:
Home breastfeeding is killing trade!
If you’re not feeding on formula milk, you’re feeding on communism.
For second place, we return to our story about Oregon’s “engineering license” fiasco where Dave explored all the way to the bottom of the slippery slope:
Coming up next:
People getting sued for stating “I am Spartacus” without being registered as a slave.
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we’ve got a pair of comments from our post about Paul Hansmeier’s attempt to dig himself out from under a legal landslide with a hefty court filing full of many interesting if flawed and misleading ideas. Given its length and scope, one anonymous commenter searched for a kitchen sink:
surprised he didn’t mention plate tectonics.
Page 55, “Global defects with this prosecution”
That’s all for this week, folks!