Squashed

Apr 21

A woman at the Boston Marathon was offering spoonfuls of vasoline to runners.

As you might imagine, some of the more pained runners were extremely appreciative. Other runners took the spoon, uncertain what was on it. Some tried to eat it.

Overall, more good than harm.

Apr 20

“We are announcing today that we have reverted back to our prior legal terms, which contain no mention of arbitration.” —

A statement from General Mills • Walking back a much-criticized policy that would have essentially replaced the consumer’s right to sue the company with an online arbitration process. The move drew much heat after The New York Times wrote an article on the practice last week.

By the way, they’re not the only ones that do this.

(via shortformblog)

Most people pay no attention to terms of service. Maybe they heard somewhere that they probably weren’t enforceable. Or something. Most of us aren’t worth suing anyway, even if they were. And frankly, you can’t even exist if you read every one of the click-throughs that pops up. If you use a Windows Surface 2 for the purpose it is advertised, you violate the EULA. I saw an agreement earlier today that said that the terms could change without notice so you should review it every time you visit the site. Nobody does this.

If you want to unleash a bit of chaos on the world, try pulling this sort of stunt yourself. Send a letter to General Mills saying that by accepting a coupon tendered by you they agree to donate $50 to your favorite nonprofit. Or make it a bit different. Or maybe your IP address in it and say that by sending data from their website to that IP address they agree that any future contracts of adhesion between you and the company must be negotiated in Klingon. Or perhaps that by continuing to send data to your IP address will replace the obligations of both parties with those used in standard industry practice.

(Or maybe don’t. There’s a very real chance you’d end up with some sort of blacklisted IP address and a letter from an anxious lawyer.)

The existence of “contracts” that nobody reads, nobody understands, and nobody expects to be enforceable does a real violence to contract law.

Apr 19

nicodemus-blog answered my previous question with another question:

Depends, do you wish to hold yourself to a higher standard or internet bahavior?

First, there is no higher standard of internet behavior than misattributing quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to the founding fathers.

Second, whether or not that “or” was supposed to be an “of” I’m going to roll with it as an “or.” It’s better that way. It forces a choice between a higher standard and internet behavior. Because from Monday through Friday I choose that higher standard. But on the weekends when nobody is reading anyway? It’s time for some internet bahavior.

Little known fact: A few news sites have pioneered the e-mullet. It’s a form of site design where the top of the page is all business and higher standard. But once you scroll down to the paid links and comments it’s all internet bahavior.

Two important questions:

  1. Should I go back and either take down or put some kind of disclaimer on that April 1st post where I attributed a Monty Python quote to Benjamin Franklin?
  2. I probably sat on that idea for seven months. Does anybody else appreciate the lengths I go to to amuse myself on the Internet?

There’s a lot of great stuff on the unfiltered Politics tag. Like this.

"We The People" are coming. At least, we will be once we’re done posting this stuff on the Internet. And obviously not all people. But there’s totally a lot of us.

And we’re pissed! And we mean pissed like extremely angry, not pissed like drunk. Okay, technically pissed both ways. The point is that you’re part of the problem. You keep looking out for the interests of, what’s the PC word now days? How about “special interests.” You’re supposed to be looking out for us. You know, “we the people.” You know the ones I mean.

There’s a lot of great stuff on the unfiltered Politics tag. Like this.

"We The People" are coming. At least, we will be once we’re done posting this stuff on the Internet. And obviously not all people. But there’s totally a lot of us.

And we’re pissed! And we mean pissed like extremely angry, not pissed like drunk. Okay, technically pissed both ways. The point is that you’re part of the problem. You keep looking out for the interests of, what’s the PC word now days? How about “special interests.” You’re supposed to be looking out for us. You know, “we the people.” You know the ones I mean.

(Source: thelogicofstupid)

shortformblog:

Ironic incident of the week: During a press conference on commuter train safety, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) got thisclose to getting hit by a Metro North train. Oops.

Maybe we should paint a thick yellow line next to the track to make sure that anybody who’s not completely dim knows where it’s safe to stand and/or set up an easel.

shortformblog:

Ironic incident of the week: During a press conference on commuter train safety, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) got thisclose to getting hit by a Metro North train. Oops.

Maybe we should paint a thick yellow line next to the track to make sure that anybody who’s not completely dim knows where it’s safe to stand and/or set up an easel.

GOP as the “iPhone party” – CNN.com Blogs -

It looks like Lamar Alexander just got his first smartphone. He wants the GOP to appeal to kids these days with their iPhones and participation trophies and Twitterverses.

I’m not entirely clear on how the metaphor works. If your goal is a minimally regulated market, iPhone Apps are a terrible analogy. “We insist that businesses to go through a prolonged and opaque approval process before they have access to the market in order to ensure quality services for all citizens.” “We at Apple.gov believe we know how you want to use your device better than you do. We’re willing to sacrifice consumer choice for a sleek and streamlined design.”

I’m not hating on Apple with this. Their products do, after all, have a sleek and streamlined design. It works for them. It’s just … I’m pretty sure those aren’t the Republican’s goals.

Apr 18

“I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” — Cliven Bundy, rightwing militia hero for refusing to pay grazing fees for his cattle in Nevada. (via politicalprof)

I’m not terribly sympathetic to the sort of tax cheat who offers grand explanations for why he shouldn’t have to pay taxes like everybody else. If you’re going to be a dick about paying taxes, own it like an honest crook. Or deny it like a rationally self-interested crook.

But this is even sillier. It’s one thing to want to be left alone. It’s another level of dickery to insist that you have a right to exploit public resources without following any rules.

Apr 17

(via Uninsured Rate Drops More in States Embracing Health Law)

One more thing worth remembering. About half the country fought this thing tooth and nail. The result is that the good results have varied regionally.

It’s a bit like when your dad decided the family was going to go Disneyland but your brother Johnny was like, “Disneyland is for babies. This trip is going to suck.” And Johnny lights a fire in It’s a Small World and then punches Mickey in the groin and gets you all kicked out. And he’s like, “I told you it would suck.” Except even then it didn’t suck. It’s just that it could have been more awesome if he’d hadn’t been such a twerp.

(via Uninsured Rate Drops More in States Embracing Health Law)

One more thing worth remembering. About half the country fought this thing tooth and nail. The result is that the good results have varied regionally.

It’s a bit like when your dad decided the family was going to go Disneyland but your brother Johnny was like, “Disneyland is for babies. This trip is going to suck.” And Johnny lights a fire in It’s a Small World and then punches Mickey in the groin and gets you all kicked out. And he’s like, “I told you it would suck.” Except even then it didn’t suck. It’s just that it could have been more awesome if he’d hadn’t been such a twerp.

Newly Insured in 2014 Represent About 4% of U.S. Adults