Archive for April, 2011

Other-worldy Agreements (part II)

Posted by on Saturday, 23 April, 2011

Returning to this planet, our readers didn’t seem to like “Click Here” agreements of the previous blog post any better than Mister ScienceAintSoBad:


From TechWheat:
Perhaps, as but one frequent example of the last 35 years, click ahead EULA’s aren’t enforceable or cost effective to enforce. So the companies pushing them at us (before we even get to see if what we’re getting is worth what we paid for it) know this and don’t care as long as we’re not violating their terms in a way that really or measurably hurts them (like public sharing or sale of reproductions of their IP).

A friend of mine was a camp ranger and as a young adult I’d help him open & lockdown the camp between weekends or seasons. There weren’t terribly big latches or locks to secure and it’s not like the buildings had alarms or bars on windows. He always use to say “the locks only keep the “honest people” honest” which may seem a little cynical but really is the way a lot of things work – including things like user agreements for soft-wares. The real pirates won’t care and the mildly tempted are dissuaded……unfortunately we who consider ourselves real honest people & paying customers are treated like the former and have to shrug it off or be left out. What else ya gonna do?
SASB fan,

(Note from me: EULA means End User License Agreement; I looked it up.)


From Dick Pirozzolo :
Sounds like a good campaign issue… maybe a “Standard Software License Agreement” that every company uses. That way lawyers and DAs can pick over one doc and then the companies that make it available could say something like
Check here if you agree with Standard SW contract 47b12.

Same should go for car rentals… who knows what those documents say until your run over someone’s grandma on the Major Degan.

Whatever happened to the handshake?


I agree that these agreements stink but there’s nothing we can do about it as individuals. The government needs to get into the action here. Hopefully, congress will take a look.


Yes – I have a solution. Get your kid, or your neighbor’s kid to click the check box – or just say they did. Since they can’t enter into a contract legally being a minor, you’re off the hook |-)


Nope, ’cause when they try to eliminate all the legalese and escape clauses and explain in plain English what you have to agree to, it only makes the blah blah blah longer. Plus, what are we supposed to do? If we refuse to sign the blah blah blah then we can’t download or use whatever software, etc. that we need. OK, I guess there is always the typewriter. But try maintaining a blog on that.


Annalee Newitz (Electronic Frontier Foundation) says you gotta watch it. The courts DO enforce these dumb things. She says you may find you’ve agreed not  to share information, not to criticize the company,not to use certain OTHER products, and you may have waived your rights if there’s damage to your computer from the product you installed. You may even be agreeing to all changes in future agreements which are subject to change without notice. (Reminds me of when aspiring Scientologists were, supposedly, required to agree that they believe everything they’re about to be taught.)

Laws do need to be changed and consumers need to get their backs up about these agreements. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad agrees. ScienceAintSoBad Rating (Newitz/EFF article) = 10.

Image credits (once again): Comics at xkcd. SO good. :)


Posted by on Wednesday, 13 April, 2011




Remember when signing an agreement used to be a big deal?

You would read it.

And THINK about it.

Maybe pay a lawyer to look at it and scratch out the parts you didn’t like. Argue about the rest?

Try arguing with Sprint about a phone contract. Or with Microsoft about a software license.

The old fashioned contract has morphed into the new fashioned
just-click-this-box-since-you-don’t-have-time-to-read-all-this-drivel-anyway agreement.

Besides. Even if you did have time to read and understand, you couldn’t DO anything about it. So what’s the point?

Is this healthy? Does it make any sense? Would the courts actually enforce these gratuitous “contracts”?

This isn’t  a MISTER ScienceAintSoBad type of issue.

Except it is.

I’m no legal beagle. In fact, I specialize in just one thing. Being  an expert in every single possible aspect of science and technology.

A specialist.

You can see why I can’t add law school to my task list . When would I have time for book signings?

The science/technology angle is obvious here since every new gadget and every software upgrade comes with its own set of incomprehensible documents that we are expected to mindlessly check off before buying or using the product.

Isn’t that silly?

I understand the need to protect  entrepreneurs.

I do.

I even have an agreement (that you’ve never read) at the top of this page. It describes how I get to have your car if you access my blog.

This is getting out of control.

You’re waiting, right? You think I know the answer. Or I’m gonna send you a link.

Fraid not.

I don’t have the answer and I don’t know who does. A plethora of agreements that nobody reads seems to just be a reality of modern life.

I am, however, hoping you have some ideas that’ll help.  Hence, my (very short) questionnaire below.

Please. I’m completely serious. If you, dear reader, can come up with a good solution to the Creeping Agreement Menace, I PROMISE to do everything in my power to pass it to where it’ll do some good.

Your turn:

(I will discuss any responses next time.)


Posted by on Saturday, 2 April, 2011

Image credits: Comics at xkcd.


Just about everything that makes us human comes in small, medium, large, and extra large doses so it shouldn’t surprise you if I tell you we’re not all the same in the sex drive department.

Some people are a little over and some are under, there too.

Lots of people don’t have sex, of course.

Few of the readers of this blog do.

But are there people with no sex DRIVE? None at all? I am NOT asking (not interested, actually) in whether you are straight or gay or transwhatever. I’m asking whether ANYTHING  gets you interested, sexually speaking.


I did some research.

No not THAT kind of research. I looked for studies. Data, and such. And, well doggone! It’s true. Lots of people don’t GIVE A RAT’S BUTT ABOUT SEX AND  NEVER WILL!

Funny huh?

Anthony Bogaert (Brock University) started describing the phenomenon a few years ago.  Asexuals  constitute about 1% of the population. About 3,000,000 people in the United states. Naturally, they have an organization,the Asexual Visibility And Education Network, which is trying to increase awareness.

No reality show so far.

Media hyped groups do come in and out of fashion with regularity, of course. I guess we’re about finished Don’tAskDon’tTelling gay people, so we may have spare time for something new.  Would YOU be comfortable serving with them in the marines? Would asexuals  GET the  lusty humor? Would it be possible to behave honorably under fire without a sex drive?

Although asexuals aren’t attracted to either sex, many get married and dutifully try to satisfy their partners. No more complaints than you might expect, all things considered.

(Is this important science? You decide. I just keep the stories coming. )

More detail from Dan Childs (ABC News).