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(io9)   Pull up your fainting couch, apparently the U.S. Supreme Court is not comprised of scientists, as is evident in these hilarious useless comments as they've handed down tech decisions over the years   (io9.com ) divider line
    More: Amusing, genetic sequence, peer-to-peer networks, DNA profiling, Justice Antonin Scalia, Betamax, computer files, genetic markers, Bell Telephone  
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13080 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Jul 2014 at 8:01 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-18 06:27:37 PM  
Part of a standard judicial opinion is a basic outline of the case and the particulars of how it worked through the courts. Would subby understand SCOTUS opinions from the 1800's without these sorts of descriptions? Likely not
 
2014-07-18 06:45:30 PM  
I don't even know where to start with this little twit. "Everybody knows that" ceases to be a legal principle around fourth grade. If she doesn't understand why certain terms are defined and certain others assumed, she could spend a little time trying to understand that; she doesn't have to go to law school, because it ain't that much. If she wants to understand why certain terms are vaguely defined in decisions, she'll have to work a little harder, but still it ain't that much.
I've got some advice for you kids out there. You aren't the first people on this planet, and you're not the first people who were smart. You wanna laugh at us, go ahead. Not everything is right in this world. But you'll change more and get further if instead you shut your mouths and learn why things are the way they are before you just go off into a corner and snicker. That's a lecture no one over the age of ten should have to hear, but this idiot girl who wrote that is surely in need of hearing it.
 
2014-07-18 06:47:39 PM  
I fail to see anything laughable.  The writer was just fishing for humor and didn't get a bite.

Kind of a prick too.
 
2014-07-18 07:32:41 PM  
If you think that's layghable, you should try reading some of the constitutional law analysis in some of the Supreme Court threads around here.
 
2014-07-18 07:59:43 PM  
A better article would examine all the times they directly contradict themselves. Looking at you, Scalia.
 
2014-07-18 08:04:48 PM  
I pulled up my fainting couch, but didn't faint. Maybe because I'm not a scientist.
 
2014-07-18 08:08:02 PM  
In 1994, the number of websites grew from 623 at the beginning of the year, to over 10,000 by the end. So, the Court gets a pass on being Luddites before then.
 
2014-07-18 08:09:22 PM  
I call bullshiat. That's obviously Stephen Hawking on the far right in the pic.
 
2014-07-18 08:10:53 PM  
That's just lame. Every now and then, I read the articles before reading comments here. That's almost always a mistake.
 
2014-07-18 08:11:35 PM  
I've started to think maybe we'd be better off organizing society as a true technocracy. Questions of science and technology would be settled by a court chosen specifically for its expertise in science, etc.

I know the court can call on advisors to explain advanced concepts and so on, but I'd be much more comfortable if the people making decisions about the internet actually had some firsthand familiarity with how it works.
 
2014-07-18 08:13:13 PM  
Dude's a snot.
 
2014-07-18 08:14:53 PM  
Can I clutch my pearls? It's just not the same if I can't clutch my pearls.
 
2014-07-18 08:15:50 PM  
I don't get it, the comments shown are those made by laypeople like my parents and not computer experts.  Any stupidity that they have is really the fault of the people bringing the case as their testimony is what the justices use in making their decision.  Make an incoherent argument and get a stupid result.  Use a lot of jargon and feel you don't have to "dumb it down" to actually educate the justices and suffer the consequences.  How are the justices supposed to be experts in everything that reaches them, they have to rely on the testimony.
 
2014-07-18 08:19:42 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: I've started to think maybe we'd be better off organizing society as a true technocracy. Questions of science and technology would be settled by a court chosen specifically for its expertise in science, etc.

I know the court can call on advisors to explain advanced concepts and so on, but I'd be much more comfortable if the people making decisions about the internet actually had some firsthand familiarity with how it works.


There has been a call lately for professional jurors in complex cases (tax law, patents, tech law).
 
2014-07-18 08:19:46 PM  
So sometimes they use overly simple descriptions of new technology.  So what?  For the most part, they got it right (the definition, not necessarily the ruling).   For example, "The Internet is an international network of interconnected computers."  For the average person, that's a good enough definition.
 
2014-07-18 08:20:12 PM  
You want to something even sadder. Go visit the reddit TIL and ELI5 threads. These people are the future, and they know less at 20-something with the internet than most tweens did a decade ago.
 
2014-07-18 08:21:12 PM  

ArkAngel: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: I've started to think maybe we'd be better off organizing society as a true technocracy. Questions of science and technology would be settled by a court chosen specifically for its expertise in science, etc.

I know the court can call on advisors to explain advanced concepts and so on, but I'd be much more comfortable if the people making decisions about the internet actually had some firsthand familiarity with how it works.

There has been a call lately for professional jurors in complex cases (tax law, patents, tech law).


Almost the only people who get to be judges in federal tax courts were former tax court prosecutors, who were former IRS agents.  There is a huge conflict of interest in this.
 
2014-07-18 08:21:12 PM  
The Internet is an international network of interconnected computers.

Yes, that is indeed laughable because everyone knows the internet is a series of tubes which were constructed and personally connected by Al Gore.
 
2014-07-18 08:24:33 PM  
i2.photobucket.com
 
2014-07-18 08:26:37 PM  

Badmoodman: In 1994, the number of websites grew from 623 at the beginning of the year, to over 10,000 by the end. So, the Court gets a pass on being Luddites before then.


As much as the misquoted "I invented the internet" thing has been thrown about; Al Gore was indeed a major force in the early internet.
He helped make the laws that supported opening up the goverment and education private 'internet' to commercial use..and made those sites 'tax free' for sales taxes...and US gov sites like the weather service where available to the PUBLIC not just university and research and news orgs. One we had the roads open to public use in 94 that's when things really started to explode. We wouldn't have that if it was a research/higher ed only highway.

/the correct quote was "I helped made the laws that created the internet as we know it" (Sic) and that was and is true.
 
2014-07-18 08:29:28 PM  

optikeye: Badmoodman: In 1994, the number of websites grew from 623 at the beginning of the year, to over 10,000 by the end. So, the Court gets a pass on being Luddites before then.

As much as the misquoted "I invented the internet" thing has been thrown about; Al Gore was indeed a major force in the early internet.
He helped make the laws that supported opening up the goverment and education private 'internet' to commercial use..and made those sites 'tax free' for sales taxes...and US gov sites like the weather service where available to the PUBLIC not just university and research and news orgs. One we had the roads open to public use in 94 that's when things really started to explode. We wouldn't have that if it was a research/higher ed only highway.

/the correct quote was "I helped made the laws that created the internet as we know it" (Sic) and that was and is true.


If you're going to keep interrupting our long running insults and jokes by introducing fact, we're going to have to ask you to leave, damn it.
 
2014-07-18 08:30:08 PM  
I've wondered about SCOTUS. Yes, they are appointed for life. But congress still controls their budget.

Do they have a budget for hiring consultants? Or do they rely on amicus briefs for experts?

Or just subpoena experts for $5 a day?
 
2014-07-18 08:32:21 PM  
Boooo subby that was terrible, and not amusing.
 
2014-07-18 08:33:09 PM  
Pull up your fainting couch, apparently the U.S. Supreme Court is not comprised of scientists, as is evident in these hilarious useless comments as they've handed down tech decisions over the years

inigomontoya.jpg
 
2014-07-18 08:34:54 PM  

GDubDub: I've wondered about SCOTUS. Yes, they are appointed for life. But congress still controls their budget.

Do they have a budget for hiring consultants? Or do they rely on amicus briefs for experts?

Or just subpoena experts for $5 a day?


Yes, Congress controls their budget, but would you do something stupid and annoy a group of grumpy old men (and women) who have the power, with the stroke of a pen, to make your official title "mister poopy head" and it would take a Constitutional Amendment to undo that?

Also, it's up to the parties involved in the case to provide expert witnesses.  Though I don't believe that normally happens in a Supreme Court case.  Generally, it's a whole lot of papers filed, then each side gets a few minutes to summarize.
 
2014-07-18 08:36:03 PM  

interstellar_tedium: I don't get it, the comments shown are those made by laypeople like my parents and not computer experts.  Any stupidity that they have is really the fault of the people bringing the case as their testimony is what the justices use in making their decision.  Make an incoherent argument and get a stupid result.  Use a lot of jargon and feel you don't have to "dumb it down" to actually educate the justices and suffer the consequences.  How are the justices supposed to be experts in everything that reaches them, they have to rely on the testimony.


And even then, a lot of these comments are perfectly reasonable.  The author fails to see how anybody could know what a computer is without knowing what the internet is, but that opinion was written in 1997 when computers were relatively common (if not yet a standard household item), but the internet still looked like this:

farm4.static.flickr.com

That thought process also assumes that the internet will be around forever in its current form, when it very likely will not be.

Likewise, the criticism of the peer-to-peer definition is completely baseless.  In fact, the distinction of Grokster as a peer-to-peer network that allows "users' computers [to] communicate directly with each other, not through central servers" is incredibly important because it distinguishes Grokster's peer-to-peer definition from Napster's, which was also a peer-to-peer network but which used a central server to index users and files.  Without that definition - if they only called Grokster a peer-to-peer network - that decision could have inadvertently affected other peer-to-peer systems that were operating legal.  It was actually really important.

In other words, the author should stick to science and stay out of the law.
 
2014-07-18 08:37:04 PM  
I don't know, I found the quote from Scalia saying that while he's not an expert in molecular biology, he finds himself unable to believe what the experts told him about it rather amusing.
 
2014-07-18 08:37:18 PM  
it's true!  the ex-vice president DID invent the internet!  for proof... click on view page source on your browser... there you will find an Al Gore-ithm.
 
2014-07-18 08:42:27 PM  
I kept reading, hoping I just hadn't gotten to the funny part(s) yet. Then it was over. Warning: if you haven't read this "article" yet, just pass, man, just pass.
 
2014-07-18 08:44:12 PM  
Well, that was terrible and pointless.
 
2014-07-18 08:46:09 PM  
Um ok.. so a person that uses the internet daily thinks that the SCOTUS should just use her current vernacular when trying to explain something, even if it was done in 1883. While the "high tech" sector of America may be quite large, I assure you there is another large percent that have no idea what any of that stuff means. If I told my mom right now that I was about to download an mp3 over a peer-to-peer network, she'd stare at me blankly and ask, "Is that something on the computer?". I kind of equate this article to someone writing a review of a Shakespeare play with phrases like "LOL, wtf? This dude writes funny. I mean, L2write dude. 'The lady doth protest too much, methinks'? Lol, what does that even mean?"
 
2014-07-18 08:52:03 PM  
Wow, the author of that article really really needs to realize what he's saying. So, what, the internet ISN'T a bunch of computers connected internationally?? What are they then, telephones? Gerbils? Cups on strings? Yaks?

You're an idiot.
 
2014-07-18 08:53:03 PM  

WraithSama: I don't know, I found the quote from Scalia saying that while he's not an expert in molecular biology, he finds himself unable to believe what the experts told him about it rather amusing.


And by amusing you mean depressed and frustrated, right?
/Scalia's got to go
 
2014-07-18 08:54:02 PM  
Someone told Katharine Trendacosta that USSC opinions are full of laughable confusion about science and technology, and she did her level best to dig up some examples. This is what she came up with.

Says more about her stupidity than it does about theirs.
 
2014-07-18 08:55:48 PM  
Quick bring me my smelling turds!!!
 
2014-07-18 08:56:02 PM  
This is a dumb article. Halfway through, the author realizes how dumb it is.

<i>Yes, it is hypocritical to complain when the Court is too technical and complain when they're overly simplistic.</I>

Yet she continues writing it nonetheless.
 
2014-07-18 08:56:21 PM  
Changes in the genetic sequence are called mutations. ... Some mutations are harmless, but others can cause disease or increase the risk of disease. As a result, the study of genetics can lead to valuable medical breakthroughs.

encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
 
2014-07-18 08:59:51 PM  

WraithSama: I don't know, I found the quote from Scalia saying that while he's not an expert in molecular biology, he finds himself unable to believe what the experts told him about it rather amusing.


Except the author of TFA has absolutely no idea what Scalia is actually saying. He's really saying that the problem is so far outside of his area of knowledge that he doesn't even have any ideas or beliefs about it, therefore he has to trust the technical expertise of the experts who testified. It's a completely reasonable statement.
 
2014-07-18 09:08:09 PM  
To be fair I wouldn't want a Physicist as a lawyer.
 
kth
2014-07-18 09:10:23 PM  

Trocadero: WraithSama: I don't know, I found the quote from Scalia saying that while he's not an expert in molecular biology, he finds himself unable to believe what the experts told him about it rather amusing.

And by amusing you mean depressed and frustrated, right?
/Scalia's got to go


My law school roommate got me a pocket etch a sketch to play with in Con law because it was so boring. I think that "Scalia sucks" was permanently etched into the screen by the end of the semester.


/tax lawyer
//my idea of boring vs. fun may be a bit skewed
///css: my brother in law argued that case.
 
2014-07-18 09:13:16 PM  

tbrake: it's true!  the ex-vice president DID invent the internet!  for proof... click on view page source on your browser... there you will find an Al Gore-ithm.


*groan*.........
 
2014-07-18 09:19:39 PM  
I'm embarrassed for the author.
 
2014-07-18 09:24:16 PM  
This i09 article infuriates me, because of how it is leading down the road to end net neutrality. It has to do with definitions of the internet, and what constitutes a telecommunications device. "Not scientists" whatever the fark that means, is insidious. The author needs to be slapped, hard for being definitely "not legal scholar" enough to know when he's shooting himself in the foot.

Fore example, people most definitely do use the internet as a platform for telecommunications between computers. Absolutely. But when the author talks about laughing at the stupidity of this definition, they are taken seriously by judges because of their status in the "industry." So right there, add the author to the many voices that are erasing the common purpose, networking computers, that the internet serves common people. And that erodes the protections of data and privacy and telecommunications regulations.
 
2014-07-18 09:24:50 PM  
The article's comments are kind of awesome in their relentless and eloquent assault on the author's character, intelligence, knowledge, and self-awareness.  I hope she reads each and every one of them.
 
2014-07-18 09:28:28 PM  
God, what a pretentious farkbag this author is. "Here's some accurate descriptions in layman's terms, hrrk snrrrk, some minor detail was missed, hrrrk, I'm a farking genius."
 
2014-07-18 09:29:37 PM  
Apart from all the good criticism in these comments, this idiot author has zero understanding of how judicial opinions are constructed. The definitions used are often what decides the case. So if a justice defines the internet as an " international network of computers", it's likely because either the international aspect or the networking aspect is fundamental to the outcome of the case. It may seem goofy, but its purpose is to build a strong foundation to base the decision on.
 
2014-07-18 09:38:22 PM  

rumpelstiltskin: I don't even know where to start with this little twit. "Everybody knows that" ceases to be a legal principle around fourth grade. If shethey doesn'tdon't understand why certain terms are defined and certain others assumed, shethey could spend a little time trying to understand that; she doesn'tthey don't have to go to law school, because it ain't that much. If shethey wants to understand why certain terms are vaguely defined in decisions, shethey'll have to work a little harder, but still it ain't that much.
I've got some advice for you kids out there. You aren't the first people on this planet, and you're not the first people who were smart. You wanna laugh at us, go ahead. Not everything is right in this world. But you'll change more and get further if instead you shut your mouths and learn why things are the way they are before you just go off into a corner and snicker. That's a lecture no one over the age of ten should have to hear, but this idiot girlperson who wrote that is surely in need of hearing it.


FTFA:

sometimes waiting for the recipient to check her "mailbox" and sometimes making its receipt known through some type of prompt.

Fixed:
sometimes waiting for the recipient to check hertheir "mailbox" and sometimes making its receipt known through some type of prompt.

Wimmins are not the only ones out here. HELLO!

/what prompt are they speaking of?
//mine just shows up
 
2014-07-18 09:41:47 PM  

PainInTheASP: I fail to see anything laughable.  The writer was just fishing for humor and didn't get a bite.

Kind of a prick too.


She may not have one.
 
2014-07-18 09:50:05 PM  

optikeye: and made those sites 'tax free' for sales taxes


No, the Supreme Court did that with a 1967 case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bellas_Hess_v._Illinois

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quill_Corp._v._North_Dakota
 
2014-07-18 09:52:30 PM  

Colin O'Scopy: Wow, the author of that article really really needs to realize what he's saying. So, what, the internet ISN'T a bunch of computers connected internationally?? What are they then, telephones? Gerbils? Cups on strings? Yaks?

You're an idiot.


Uh, watch your words. It was written by a woman.

/not to call names here but...
 
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