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Old 01-12-2013, 02:32 PM   #1
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RIP Thread

I thought perhaps we could have an RIP thread since there are usually only a few responses (or some times many contentious responses) for an individual thread.

If Moderators would rather or if community thinks individual RIP threads are more appropriate, perhaps the moderator could change the title of this thread to RIP Aaron Shwartz and just let the article stand.

So young.

New York Times

January 12, 2013
Aaron Swartz, Precocious Programmer and Internet Activist, Dies at 26

Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped develop code that delivered ever-changing Web content to users and later became a steadfast crusader to make that information freely available, was found dead on Friday in his New York apartment.

He was 26.

An uncle, Michael Wolf, said that Mr. Swartz had apparently hanged himself, and that Mr. Swartz’s girlfriend had discovered the body.

At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He later became an Internet folk hero, pushing to make many Web files free and open to the public. But in July 2011, he was indicted on federal charges of gaining illegal access to JSTOR, a subscription-only service for distributing scientific and literary journals, and downloading 4.8 million articles and documents, nearly the entire library.

Charges in the case, including wire fraud and computer fraud, were pending at the time of Mr. Swartz’s death, carrying potential penalties of up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

“Aaron built surprising new things that changed the flow of information around the world,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York who served in the Obama administration as a technology adviser. She called Mr. Swartz “a complicated prodigy” and said “graybeards approached him with awe.”

Mr. Wolf said he would remember his nephew as a young man who “looked at the world, and had a certain logic in his brain, and the world didn’t necessarily fit in with that logic, and that was sometimes difficult.”

The Tech, a newspaper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reported Mr. Swartz’s death early Saturday.

Mr. Swartz led an often itinerant life that included dropping out of Stanford, forming companies and organizations, and becoming a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

He formed a company that merged with Reddit, the popular news and information site. He also co-founded Demand Progress, a group that promotes online campaigns on social justice issues — including a successful effort, with other groups, to oppose a Hollywood-backed Internet piracy bill.

But he also found trouble when he took part in efforts to release information to the public that he felt should be freely available. In 2008, he took on PACER, or Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the repository for federal judicial documents.

The database charges 10 cents a page for documents; activists like Carl Malamud, the founder of, have long argued that such documents should be free because they are produced at public expense. Joining Mr. Malamud’s efforts to make the documents public by posting legally obtained files to the Internet for free access, Mr. Swartz wrote an elegant little program to download 20 million pages of documents from free library accounts, or roughly 20 percent of the enormous database.

The government abruptly shut down the free library program, and Mr. Malamud feared that legal trouble might follow even though he felt they had violated no laws. As he recalled in a newspaper account of the events, “I immediately saw the potential for overreaction by the courts.” He recalled telling Mr. Swartz: “You need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk to a lawyer.”

Mr. Swartz recalled in a 2009 interview, “I had this vision of the feds crashing down the door, taking everything away.” He said he locked the deadbolt on his door, lay down on the bed for a while and then called his mother.

When an article about his Pacer exploit was published in The New York Times, Mr. Swartz responded in a blog post in a typically puckish manner, announcing the story in the form of a personal ad: “Attention attractive people: Are you looking for someone respectable enough that they’ve been personally vetted by The New York Times, but has enough of a bad-boy streak that the vetting was because they ‘liberated’ millions of dollars of government documents? If so, look no further than page A14 of today’s New York Times.

The federal government investigated but decided not to prosecute.

In 2011, however, Mr. Swartz went beyond that, according to a federal indictment. In an effort to provide free public access to JSTOR, he broke into computer networks at M.I.T. by means that included gaining entry to a utility closet on campus and leaving a laptop that signed into the university network under a false account, federal officials said.

Mr. Swartz turned over his hard drives with 4.8 million documents, and JSTOR declined to pursue the case. But Carmen M. Ortiz, a United States attorney, pressed on, saying that “stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars.”

Mr. Malamud said that while he did not approve of Mr. Swartz’s actions at M.I.T., “access to knowledge and access to justice have become all about access to money, and Aaron tried to change that. That should never have been considered a criminal activity.”

Cory Doctorow, a science fiction author and online activist, posted a tribute to Mr. Swartz on, a blog he co-edits. In an e-mail, he called Mr. Swartz “uncompromising, principled, smart, flawed, loving, caring, and brilliant.”

“The world was a better place with him in it,” he said.

Of the indictment, he said, “The fact that the U.S. legal apparatus decided he belonged behind bars for downloading scholarly articles without permission is as neat an indictment of our age — and validation of his struggle — as you could ask for.”

Mr. Swartz, he noted, had a habit of turning on those closest to him, saying that “Aaron held the world, his friends, and his mentors to an impossibly high standard — the same standard he set for himself.” He added, however, “It’s a testament to his friendship that no one ever seemed to hold it against him (except, maybe, himself).”

In 2007, Mr. Swartz wrote about his struggle with depression, distinguishing it from the emotion of sadness. “Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness.” When the condition gets worse, he wrote, “you feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none. And this is one of the more moderate forms.” Earlier that year, he gave a talk in which he described having had suicidal thoughts during a low period in his career.

On Wednesday JSTOR announced that it would open its archives for 1,200 journals to free reading by the public on a limited basis.

Lawrence Lessig, who heads the Safra Center at Harvard and had worked for a time on behalf of Mr. Swartz’s legal defense, noted in an interview that Mr. Swartz had been arrested by the M.I.T. campus police two years to the day before his suicide. That arrest led to the eventual federal indictment and financial ruin for Mr. Swartz, who had made money on the sale of Reddit to Condé Nast but had never tried to turn his intellect to making money. “I can just imagine him thinking it was going to be a million-dollar defense,” Mr. Lessig said. “He didn’t have a million dollars.”

In an online broadside directed at prosecutors, Mr. Lessig denounced what he called the federal “bullying,” and wrote, “this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.”

Still, Mr. Lessig said, he had seen Mr. Swartz just weeks before, at a Christmas party at his home, and before that, at Thanksgiving. “He seemed fine,” he said.

Ravi Somaiya contributed reporting.

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Old 01-12-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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Yeah, just saw that on the Yahoo! page. Ugh, man, I feel for his poor girlfriend-I can't even imagine what it'd be like to discover someone like that.

Tragic story all around.

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Old 01-12-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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I look forward to reading everybody's name in here one day.
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by deep View Post
I look forward to reading everybody's name in here one day.
You mean everyone who posts here? So you intend to be the last one standing?

Or you're like my mother and you love reading obits-aka the Irish sports pages.
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:25 PM   #5
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I've sold my soul, I'll live forever

I expect to see all 7 billion names in here, eventually
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:01 PM   #6
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For a while actually, I was thinking about creating an RIP thread in Zoo Station because we have threads for when people get married or divorced or when they have a kid. Might as well have one for when a celebrity dies like Mr . Drummond (Conrad Bain) or Jack Klugman. I think this thread is good for, obviously, non celebrity types.

RIP Mr. Schwartz.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:07 AM   #7
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I hope this thread can be used for beloved pets as well.

This is a tribute to Mike Huckabee's dog JET who died yesterday. I'm reposting this off of his Facebook page because it actually made me cry and I'm sure that every pet owner can relate to his feelings of loss.

Tribute to Jet Huckabee, April 19, 1998-January 15, 2013

Inconsolable. That’s pretty much how I felt as Janet and I held our Black Labrador Retriever, Jet, in our arms as his life slipped from us. It was a heart-wrenching ending of the life of a dog that has been my inseparable companion and confidante for almost 15 years. His wonderful disposition won the heart of all who met him. No one or nothing could make him angry or cause him to lose his temper. His life had one purpose—to please me and to be with me. If I could be as good a Christian as Jet was a dog, it would be as close to perfect as a human could achieve. I got Jet as an anniversary gift in 1998 when he was not quite 7 weeks old. I held him in my arms nonstop for the first 5 hours we were together, and we bonded as surely as man and dog can unite. It was only fitting that in his last hour on this earth, he was again in my arms. He lived his first 8 ½ years in the Governor’s Mansion of Arkansas which was about as great a life as a dog could have. When I wasn’t there, he was pampered 24 hours a day by the rest of the family and the staff of the mansion, all of whom knew that “nothing better happen to that dog!” He was my fishing buddy and my hunting dog. Some of the best days of my life were spent in the flooded timber duck woods in Arkansas during duck season when Jet would show his speed, focus, energy, and sheer tenacity to retrieve. In my boat, Jet had his very own place riding at my feet as we ran full speed across Lake Greeson or down the Arkansas River. Once the boat slowed to idle or a trolling speed, Jet immediately took his place on the bow, always with his face joyfully positioned as far forward as was possible. News stories were written about him, he graced the cover of magazines and a campaign billboard, and he even had his own trading card. His life as “First Dog” was one to be envied. My staff used to joke that in another life they wanted to come back as Jet, meaning that my devotion and unconditional love for that dog was exceeded only by his even greater devotion to me and his unconditional love. He taught me patience because it never irritated him if I was late, or had “one more thing to do.” He taught me forgiveness for he never withheld his affections or love even when I broke a promise to throw things for him to retrieve or to reward him with a treat. He taught me to relax—so much so that in campaigns, the staff actually plotted for ways to keep him with me because his ability to lower my blood pressure and keep me tranquil was visible and palpable.
Jet asked for nothing except for basic necessities and a little bit of attention. For that, I enjoyed his unflinching loyalty, fidelity, and his calming presence. I loved that dog and always will. There was never a day that Jet didn’t make me laugh in the almost 15 years we were together. Only on his last day with me did he make me cry. Please don’t tell me “He was just a dog.” You might be “just a person, “ but Jet was my best friend and was there for me when everyone else had given up on me, or simply had gone to bed. It was never too early in the morning or too late at night for Jet to be with me. He fathered some great dogs who are spectacular in their own right, but as far as I’m concerned, there will never be another like him. Some people doubt that dogs go to heaven, but I don’t have any doubts. If heaven is a place of the best, then Jet will be there. When I make it, I won’t be surprised to see him there. I just hope he isn’t surprised to see me there.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:17 AM   #8
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What thread died?
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:33 AM   #9
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Tee hee
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:41 AM   #10
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Haha, GAF!

Please don’t tell me “He was just a dog.” You might be “just a person, “ but Jet was my best friend
Can't argue with this part of Huckabee's comments (I'd say more a "member of the family" than "best friend", but still...). They're comforting, they make you feel better after a rough day by being all excited to see you and everything, they're cute and cuddly and sweet... When they die it just flat out sucks.

That was a nice eulogy of sorts for his dog. Sorry for his loss.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:37 AM   #11
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RIP, Ed Koch

He was a character.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post
Oh definitely.

Rest in peace, Ed.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:50 PM   #13
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A self-described "liberal with sanity".

Talk about a dying breed.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:03 PM   #14
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it's too bad that the brutality of the closet prevented a gay man like Ed Koch from doing more about AIDS sooner.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:17 PM   #15
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Memorial Held for Sniper Chris Kyle | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Chris Kyle was an American hero, all-around badass. For those who don't know, he was a Navy SEAL sniper with the most confirmed kills in US military history. But he was also an all-around great guy who did a lot for vets suffering with PTSD and other disabilities. Very tragic. If any of you are interested, you should read his book. Its really good.

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Military leaders, law enforcement officials and thousands of others gathered at Cowboys Stadium here on Monday to remember Chris Kyle, the retired Navy SEAL sniper and author who was killed with another man, investigators say, by a troubled veteran he was trying to help.

In a tribute filled with prayers, eulogies and country tunes sung by Randy Travis, friends and fellow SEAL members remembered Mr. Kyle, 38, as the military’s deadliest sniper, a Navy man who hated the water and a devoted father who walked away from his military career to spend more time with his wife and two children, ages 8 and 6.

“God knew it would take the toughest and softest-hearted man on earth to get a hardheaded, cynical, hard-loving woman like me to see what God needed me to see, and he chose you for the job,” Mr. Kyle’s wife, Taya Kyle, told the audience. “He chose well.”

On Feb. 2, Mr. Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield took the veteran, Eddie Ray Routh, 25, to a remote shooting range in Erath County. According to the authorities, Mr. Routh turned his weapon on the two men, shooting and killing them before fleeing in Mr. Kyle’s truck.

Investigators believe that Mr. Kyle, an expert marksman who survived four tours of duty in Iraq and became known for spotting enemy targets at extraordinary distances, was gunned down at point-blank range by a mentally ill young man he had tried to befriend and help, as he had many other veterans struggling to adjust to life at home.

In the hours before and after his arrest, Mr. Routh told relatives and investigators that he killed Mr. Kyle and Mr. Littlefield. Court documents suggest he may have done so because he believed the two men were trying to kill him. Mr. Routh remains at the Erath County Jail and faces capital murder charges. He and his relatives had told the police in recent weeks and months that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

On Monday, Mr. Routh’s name was never spoken during the two-hour service, which a Cowboys spokesman said was attended by roughly 7,000 people. Relatives and friends sat at the 50-yard line as pictures of Mr. Kyle were displayed on a giant screen. Many of the mourners were Texans who had never met Mr. Kyle. On the stage, a helmet and vest were draped on a cross behind a pair of boots and two rifles. His coffin rested at the center of the field. Motorcycle riders in leather jackets stood at attention at the sidelines holding American flags.

One Navy SEAL member, who spoke anonymously, described Mr. Kyle as the epitome of the team’s ethos. “Will every Frogman, past and present, please stand,” he said. After a number of men in suits and Naval uniforms rose, he recited the SEAL creed.

In a funeral procession planned for Tuesday, Mr. Kyle’s body will be carried 200 miles from Midlothian, the Dallas suburb where he attended high school and returned years later to live with his wife and children, to Austin. He will be buried there at the Texas State Cemetery.

In Iraq, Mr. Kyle was known for protecting American troops while perched on a rooftop with a bolt-action rifle, describing his use of deadly skill as payback for the 9/11 attacks.

Back at home, Mr. Kyle, the author of “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” continued to protect troops by other means. He helped create the nonprofit Fitco Cares Foundation to help veterans overcome post-traumatic stress disorder by providing exercise equipment and counseling. Though his book became a best seller, he never collected money from it, friends said, donating the proceeds to the families of two friends and fallen SEAL members, Ryan Job and Marc Lee.

“I was speechless, overwhelmed and in tears,” Mr. Lee’s mother, Debbie Lee, told the audience about the day she learned of the donation. “Chris didn’t publish that book for an income or to be famous. He hated the spotlight. Chris did that for his teammates.”

Mr. Kyle grew up raising cows for the National FFA Organization. In high school, he planned to become a county agricultural agent, but joined the Navy instead. He was still in training in San Diego in 2001 when he met his wife, Taya.

In a passage she wrote for his book, she recalled telling Mr. Kyle that she thought SEAL personnel were “arrogant, self-centered and glory-seeking.”

“I would lay down my life for my country,” she recalled him responding. “How is that self-centered?” They talked some more, and finally Mr. Kyle announced that he was going home. “Well, you were saying about how you never would date a SEAL or go out with one,” he told her. “Oh no,” she replied, “I said I would never marry one. I didn’t say I wouldn’t go out with one.”

They married not long after, and had a son and a daughter.

As Mrs. Kyle spoke Monday, a Marine in uniform stood by her, providing encouragement and, at one point when she needed a tissue, his white glove. She spoke to her children, her sobs echoing through the silent stadium. “So, my sweet angels, we will put one foot in front of the other,” she said.

At the end of the service, Mr. Kyle’s wife and children walked hand in hand behind the uniformed pallbearers as the sound of bagpipes filled the stadium.

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