Supreme Court takes up Facebook threats

Does this message from an estranged husband to his wife after she filed a restraining order against him sound like a threat to you?

“Fold up your PFA [protection-from-abuse order] and put it in your pocket.  Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?”

Does it matter that it was posted on his Facebook page?  The poster is claiming that rants posted on social media should not be taken seriously and should have free speech protection.  The poster argues that his violent fantasies about killing his wife are no different from what his hero, Eminem, raps about and so deserve protection as artistic expressions.

The Supreme Court has taken up the case.  Oral arguments begin December 1.  What do you think about this?

[Read more...]

The future of sports

In Europe and Asia, thousands of spectators are rooting for their favorite well-paid players, listening to color commentary, and filling arenas to watch people playing video games.

The time may come when, instead of watching professionals play in the NFL, we will watch professionals play Madden NFL. [Read more...]

Intrusive corporations

An executive with Uber, the app-based cab service, said how he wants to spend $1 million to dig up dirt on its critics, wanting to get at “your personal lives, your families.”  This from the same company that blogged about the data it has on its riders’ “brief overnight weekend stays”; that is, sexual rendezvous.

But Uber is not the only company that is amassing vast stores of personal data on its customers and that is not afraid to use it.  We worry about an intrusive government invading our privacy and taking away our liberties.  But we have constitutional protection against that, for whatever that is worth.  But what about intrusive companies invading our privacy and taking away our liberties? [Read more...]

Two ways towards Net Neutrality

President Obama has embraced the principle of “net neutrality,” meaning that internet providers shouldn’t charge some big-content providers more than others.  Towards that end, the President wants to regulate the internet like any other utility.  As opposed to just tailoring a specific and limited regulation dealing with the issue.  He wants to take over the whole online universe, using a public-utility law written in 1934. [Read more...]

Landing on a comet

A probe from the European Space Agency landed on a comet, an object just two and half miles wide, 300 million miles away.  That’s quite a feat of engineering.

The Philae lander beamed back images showing one of its three feet on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko . This photo is compiled from two images; a wider version will be released later Thursday.

[Read more...]

Tappett brother dies

I have a thesis that anything can be made interesting, if it is just presented in the right way.  I’m not all that interested in cars, but I love Car Talk, NPR’s auto repair call in show, in which “Click and Clack, the Tappett Brothers” solve mechanical mysteries in a most hilarious and interesting way.

One of the brothers, Tom Magliozzi, died on Monday of Alzheimer’s disease.  Car Talk stopped its live programming in 2012, but the re-runs may go on forever, or at least until the internal combustion engine fades away. [Read more...]


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