Report: Aaron Swartz Didn’t Face Prison Until Feds Took Over Case

Report: Aaron Swartz Didn’t Face Prison Until Feds Took Over Case:

Declan McCullagh, writing for CNet:

State prosecutors who investigated the late Aaron Swartz had planned to let him off with a stern warning, but federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz took over and chose to make an example of the Internet activist, according to a report in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Middlesex County’s district attorney had planned no jail time, “with Swartz duly admonished and then returned to civil society to continue his pioneering electronic work in a less legally questionable manner,” the report (alternate link) said. “Tragedy intervened when Ortiz’s office took over the case to send ‘a message.’”

We all know Ortiz isn’t the only prosecutor to act like this. But a prosecutor “sending a message” is an outrage. It is a plain violation of the accused’s rights for their punishment to be increased because of people unrelated to their case. The more I learn about this case, the more heartbroken and furious I get.

[I’ve nothing to add. On point!]

Source: Daring Fireball

Let’s build a massive meta McDonald’s in Times Square

Let’s build a massive meta McDonald’s in Times Square:

“It is a cornmeal quenelle, extruded at a high speed, and so the extrusion heats the cornmeal ‘polenta’ and flash-cooks it, trapping air and giving it a crispy texture with a striking lightness. It is then dusted with an ‘umami powder’ glutamate and evaporated-dairy-solids blend.”

[The cause of this is the Food Network atmo. Call a chip a chip :)]

Another theory on Apple’s stock price

→ Another theory on Apple’s stock price:

I’ve managed not to lose money, but I probably haven’t made enough to be worth the time and stress of managing these stock positions myself. I’m considering getting myself out of the individual-stock business. It’s more apparent over time that this is a huge game run by an oligarchy with infinite resources, little oversight, and no consequences, and I’m gambling blindly, hoping to piggyback coincidentally on a giant’s massive wins.

I can’t help but think that individuals like me are better off not playing the game, and that my actual work is more worthy of the attention I give those stocks.

[I’d have to agree overall]


The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime” « Unhandled Exception

The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime” « Unhandled Exception:

If I had taken the stand as planned and had been asked by the prosecutor whether Aaron’s actions were “wrong”, I would probably have replied that what Aaron did would better be described as “inconsiderate”. In the same way it is inconsiderate to write a check at the supermarket while a dozen people queue up behind you or to check out every book at the library needed for a History 101 paper. It is inconsiderate to download lots of files on shared wifi or to spider Wikipedia too quickly, but none of these actions should lead to a young person being hounded for years and haunted by the possibility of a 35 year sentence.


Lawrence Lessig on Aaron Swartz

Lawrence Lessig on Aaron Swartz:

What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.

[Worth reading. But I’ve become far more sensitive to the topic of bullying, despite how much of it I shrugged off as a recipient when I was little.]

Source: Daring Fireball

The death of greatness

Aaron Swartz, a web technologist and internet activist who worked on RSS, reddit and fought against SOPA/PIPA, committed suicide the other day in Brooklyn. Metafilter has a collection of some of his accomplishments.

[II was in the right place, at the right time to meet many amazing folks. Aaron was one of them. I met the 14 year version of Aaron and his talent was obvious, as was his compassion.]

The Days When We Had Rest, O Soul, for They Were Long « Blogarach:

…even as we’re dimly aware that poorer, less connected, less important people are hounded to their lives’ ends by the dirty machinery of our penal system, which is powered by punishment wholly out of scale to any wrong, punishment which is itself quite often the only wrong ever committed, the sheer, tawdry, grotesquely ill-proportioned persecution of the young man for acts whose criminal taxonomy is something out of a Lewis Carroll poem is the sort of spectacle that really does make you wonder how long, actually, a society intent on destroying its genius in order to preserve the inbred rights of its rentier class to extract filthy lucre from the margins of genuine intellect can endure.

[It’s easy to wail when greatness dies. But as Bacharach points out, there is a shame to it as well since we don’t cry enough about the loss of “poorer, less connected, less important people”. We all contain the same divinity. No one is given more or less of that. We need to do more and by that action provide ourselves the peace of knowing we did all we could.]

The Improbable is the New Normal

The Improbable is the New Normal:

Every minute a new impossible thing is uploaded to the internet and that improbable event becomes just one of hundreds of extraordinary events that we’ll see or hear about today. The internet is like a lens which focuses the extraordinary into a beam, and that beam has become our illumination. It compresses the unlikely into a small viewable band of everyday-ness. As long as we are online – which is almost all day many days — we are illuminated by this compressed extraordinariness. It is the new normal.

That light of super-ness changes us. We no longer want mere presentations, we want the best, greatest, the most extraordinary presenters alive, as in TED. We don’t want to watch people playing games, we want to watch the highlights of the highlights, the most amazing moves, catches, runs, shots, and kicks, each one more remarkable and improbable than the other.

[Worrisome on some level. But maybe it’s the start of a new growth spurt?]

Source: The Technium

America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead

America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead | Mother Jones:

Put all this together and you have an astonishing body of evidence. We now have studies at the international level, the national level, the state level, the city level, and even the individual level. Groups of children have been followed from the womb to adulthood, and higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes. All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century.


Pain of the New

Pain of the New:

I predict that on each step towards increased realism new media take, there will be those who find the step physically painful. It will hurt their eyes, ears, nose, touch,and peace of mind. It will seem unnecessarily raw, ruining the art behind the work. This disturbance is not entirely in our heads, because we train our bodies to react to media, and when it changes, it FEELS different. There may be moments of uncomfort.

But in the end we tend to crave the realism — when it has been mastered — and will make our home in it.

The scratchy sound of vinyl, the soft focus of a Kodak Brownie, and the flickers of a 24 frame per second movie will all be used to time-stamp a work of nostalgia.

[Rings true to me.]

Source: The Technium