Should TechCrunch Publish Twitter Secrets

Yesterday, a hacker named Hacker Croll sent 310 confidential documents that he or she stole from Twitter to various web sites.

Since it happened, TechCrunch founder and editor Mike Arrington has written two posts discussing the documents that he will publish – financial projections, product plans and notes from executive strategy meetings – and what he won’t publish – information that’s embarrassing but not really newsworthy. The blog Mashable said it will not publish any of the documents.

It raises an interesting ethical dilemma, should these documents be published?

Now, for sure, this is not always a dilemma. News organizations often post documents often post documents and information that have been leaked by employees, interested parties or people in government. And Arrington is arguing that what he’s doing is no different.

But a number of commenters on TechCrunch are saying that it is different for mostly two reasons – all three of those entities (employees, interested parties, government) presumably had legitimate access to that info in the first place and then decided to leak it, and that information about a small company, albeit an ultra-popular one, isn’t newsworthy enough to warrant this disclosure, unlike something like the Pentagon Papers.

It’s hard to argue that Twitter isn’t newsworthy, even though it’s a tiny company. It’s growing exponentially and has changed social networking and the web. Plus, it’s impossible to know whether the disclosure was newsworthy or not until it’s published. But publishing these documents also gives the hacker the validation that he or she set out for when the documents were sent to TechCrunch and will probably spur other hackers to do the same for other companies.

Iranian Protest Video

This is a crazy amount of supporters. Stay Strong!

The American People Own GM?

Every now and then some monstrous stupidity comes along: unfortunately it’s more and more frequent these days. At times like these, I feel it’s necessary for us to stop what we’re doing and pay attention to what just happened. Or at least to point it out and ask others to look at what’s happening.

The citizen’s of the United States just became co-owners of a formerly multi-billion dollar automaker, in the company of General Motors.

Now stop and think about the implications of this.

This country, a country famed for free enterprise, just bought a huge chunk of the national automaking infrastructure.

The president, regardless of whether you voted for him or not, just gave tens of billions of dollars to private industry.

Are you getting the picture?

Let me put a finer point on it… the president made tens of billions of dollars appear out of thin air, because you know we don’t have that kind of money sitting around, not to mention the multi-trillion deficit. He gave this money to parts of an industry that mismanaged itself right down the toilet.

The U.S as a country has rewarded the flushing of an industry caused by anything from financial stupidity to downright stupidity.

Those of us with short memories need to think back to the bank handout, where billions of dollars was has handed over to the financial sector and very little of it was ever accounted for. It was shoehorned through the thoroughly impotent branch of stupidity known as Congress with the cry of EMERGENCY- WE HAVE TO DO THIS NOW!!!! There is still very little in the way of accounting. This is because the money was given away. To the bankers. We just wind up borrowing more from the federal reserve, which isn’t federal or a reserve. It’s a private banking system.

Both industries allowed themselves to fail. when they were allegedly circling the bowl, they cried poor and their buddy, the president, stepped right up to print up more money out of nowhere and rescue them – whether we like it or not.

When you go bankrupt, you can’t simply print money in a deficit. You cannot cry to a president to bail you out – you’re what’s known as ‘screwed’. When, then, is it perfectly ok to send ten or sixty billion to Corporate America? If I were to open a restaurant and go out of business, I would get nothing but an eviction notice and bills. Why should industry be different?

Doctor Defends Canada Over Richardson

I didn’t write about the noise following the death of Natasha Richardson, but have noticed that it breaks down into two camps: helmet law fans, and critics of Quebec for not having helicopters on call. Canada’s socialized medical system has been slammed by some. An ER doctor in Lachine refutes the idea that the actress’s death is our fault, pointing out that a patient’s refusal of care can seal their fate, and that, where there are medical helicopters, crews are not exactly standing by to scramble; its unlikely that a chopper could’ve brought Ms. Richardson to Sacre-Coeur faster than the ambulance did. But if Tremblant arranges for a medicopter service for its elite clients in future, it would not surprise me.

Computer Labs in Colleges are Becoming Unnecessary

In an interesting twist, some colleges may be dumping their computer labs. It seems that since so many new college students are coming to school with their own laptops, that the traditional computer labs may become extinct. In one survey at the University of Virginia only 4 freshman students showed up without a laptop. In this economic downturn, and with colleges trying to tighten their belts, are computer labs nearing extinction.

According to an article at ARS it states the following information:

What’s the point of running a university computer lab when all the students bring laptops anyway? That’s a question that schools have been asking themselves as computer ownership rates among incoming freshmen routinely top 90 percent. Schools like the University of Virginia have concluded that the time has come to dismantle the community computer labs and put that money to more productive uses.

According to the school’s Information Technology & Communication department, 3,117 freshmen enrolled in 2007, and 3,113 of them owned their own computer. Nearly all of the machines were laptops, with 72 percent running Windows and 26 percent running Mac OS X (six hardy souls ran Linux).

Compared to a decade ago, the increase in student computing hardware is little short of amazing. In 1997, 74 percent of incoming freshmen owned computers, but only 16 percent of these machines were laptops. The Windows chokehold on operating systems looked complete, appearing on 93.4 percent of all machines and leaving only 6.6 percent for the Mac.

But what about colleges where the students can’t afford to buy a new laptop? What are they going to do? Is closing down computer labs a good choice in these circumstances?

ShamWow Guy Gets Arrested

ShamWow pitchman Vince Shlomi was arrested on felony battery charges in Miami last month following a violent encounter with a hooker, according to The Smoking Gun:

Shlomi told cops he paid [Sasha] Harris about $1000 in cash after she “propositioned him for straight sex.” Shlomi said that when he kissed Harris, she suddenly “bit his tongue and would not let go.” Shlomi then punched Harris several times until she released his tongue. The affidavit…notes that during the 4 AM fight Harris sustained facial fractures and lacerations all over her face…. After freeing his tongue, a bleeding Shlomi ran to the [hotel] lobby, where security summoned cops. Harris refused to cooperate with officers, who recovered $930 from her purse.

Harris is reportedly considering a lawsuit against Shlomi, though prosecutors “declined to file formal charges” against him.

Here he is doing the ShamWow commercials:

Dog May Help Cancer Research

One day, Oscar may be a famous dog – a pioneer in cancer research. Oscar was a very sick dog and researchers are calling him ‘a miracle dog’. Dr. Joseph Bauer has presented remarkable findings:

“…Bauer’s team’s success story begins with a “miracle dog” named Oscar, a 10-year-old male Bichon Frise stricken with an extremely aggressive form of cancer called anal sac adenocarcinoma. Chemotherapy and radiation failed to treat the dog’s disease, which left him unable to walk. Oscar had about 3 months left to live.

That’s when Bauer and colleagues gave him an innovative cancer-killing drug called nitrosylcobalamin. Within two weeks, Oscar’s cancer significantly improved and he was back on his feet.”
The obvious question is whether the results found with dogs will be replicated with humans. The treatment gives medical options for dogs. The implications of this finding for humans will require additional research – and the funding to move forward and reliable medical investigations. It would be a disgrace if further studies were thwarted because of a poor economy.