Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Red Hot Chili Peppers in a 401(k)

I was in the mall last night when I got hungry and decided to stop at the food court. I was tempted by the Chick-fil-A stand but there was no way I was going to pay $10 for eight measly chicken nuggets. Instead, I stopped at McDonald’s on the way home and bought a dozen chicken nuggets for $2.50. The cashier asked what type of sauce I wanted to go with my order. “What are my choices?” I asked. She rattled off a list of names and I chose the last one, out of curiosity because I’d never heard of it. 

It turned out to be a good choice. It was made with cucumber and chili peppers, hot and tangy, just the way I like it. The next day, I tried to find the sauce in the supermarket but I couldn’t remember the name. Finally, I returned home and dug the plastic dipping sauce container out of the trash and learned I was hunting for sriracha sauce. Or more specifically, sriracha sauce added to McDonald’s Big Mac sauce, since sriracha was merely the main ingredient in the sauce I had tasted.

So I turned to the Internet, which led me to eBay where I found plastic dipping containers of McDonald’s Sriracha Mac Sauce™ for sale at surprisingly high prices: the first ad I stumbled upon offered a single container for $10,000. I carefully washed and pressed the lid of my previously discarded Sriracha Mac Sauce™ and compared it to the pictures on eBay. They were identical. I stared into the empty container realizing with dismay that my previous night’s $2.50 dinner may have been the most expensive meal I’ve ever eaten.

I had no idea why someone was offering a dipping sauce container for $10,000. I assumed the seller must have been a flake, but then I saw other listings from different sellers, albeit much more reasonably priced, ranging from $75 to $3,000. Something was going on here. So I went back to McDonald’s tonight and dug out the three dollars I had squirreled away to buy a lottery ticket (a.k.a. my retirement fund) and ordered the Chicken McNuggets. “Oh, and by the way, I’d like some of that Sriracha sauce.” The cashier brought me a brown bag of McNuggets. I gave him the friendliest smile I could muster without looking like I was coming on to him. “Could I have a few more Sriracha Mac Sauces™?” I asked, innocently.

So now I’m driving home with $60,000 of McDonald’s Sriracha Mac Sauce™ in a little brown bag, eager to log onto eBay and fund my retirement. Of course I’ll have to forgo the lottery ticket I was going to buy, but even if this doesn’t work out I can still eat my retirement dreams.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Order Your Copy of Issues in Internet Law!

Now available as an electronic download to your computer, laptop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Android devices, Chromebook, and other e-readers! Save up to $10! Download the 11th edition of Issues in Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law from VitalSource !

The 11th edition of Issues In Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law has been updated for 2017 with the latest cases and trends in Internet Law. Of particular note are major changes in the areas of online privacy, and the European Union.

Topics include:

Privacy: Invasion of Privacy, Public Records, Workplace Privacy, Employer & ISP Monitoring, Data Collection, Data Retention, Data Breaches, the Right to be Forgotten, E-Mail & Chat Room Privacy, Web Site Privacy Policies, Behavioral Marketing, Flash Cookies, Device Fingerprinting, Privacy & Children, Metadata, Border Searches, FISA & the USA PATRIOT Act, the NSA, FISA Court, PRISM, XKeyscore, EU Privacy Directives;

Free Speech: Defamation, SLAPPs, Gripe Sites, Revenge Porn Sites, Mugshot Sites, Blogs & Vlogs, Obscenity & Pornography, Harassment & Hate Speech, Prior Restraint, Repression, Student Speech, CDA, Anonymous Speech, Commercial Speech, Expressive Conduct; "Fake News";

Social Media: Misuse, Ownership, Coerced Access, the Courts;

Cybercrimes: Spam, Phishing, Identity Theft, Spyware & Malware, Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying, Computer Trespass, Wardriving, Virtual Crime;

Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademark, Patent, Trade Secrets, Creative Commons, Linking, Framing, File-Sharing, Fair Use, Public Domain, Work-Made-For-Hire, DMCA, VARA, Domain Name Disputes, Keyword Advertising, America Invents Act;

Business & the Internet: Internet Taxation, Internet Interstate Commerce, Web Contracts, e-Discovery, Corporate Securities, Crowdfunding, Reg A, Reg D;

European Union: Directives and Regulations; the General Data Protection Regulation; the Police and Criminal Justice Data Protection Directive; the Privacy Shield;

Also:Cloud Computing; Digital Currency; Right of Publicity; the Internet of Things; Web Accessibility; Net Neutrality; Online Reputation Management; Social Media Monitoring; Podcasts; Geofiltering; Digital Journalism; Hyper Local Web Sites, Digital Estate Planning; Sexting; Facial Recognition; E-Books and many more subjects.

Concisely written and covering a broad range of topics, this is the most current book of its kind!


“Concise overview of Internet-related legal issues.” (Law Library Journal)

“Although it deals with the complex legal issues surrounding the Internet, it is written in layman’s terms and illustrated with ‘ripped from the headlines’ court cases.” (Amazon)

“The concepts and issues are presented in a way that is sufficiently rigorous but very easy to read, making the book one I can recommend.” (Computing Reviews) * “A valuable resource, well-researched and well presented.”

“I want a copy on my bookshelf always within arm’s reach.”

“The anecdotal nature made it easy to understand the underlying legal concepts.”

“It is imperative that schools adopt this book in a way which would help young students gain knowledge about the various issues involving the Internet.” (Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law)

“Issues in Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law will be a welcome addition in both academic and public law libraries… It should be acquired by libraries for its concise overview of Internet-related legal issues.” (Law Library Journal)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Voyage of Discovery

With a new school year approaching, this is an appropriate excerpt from my book, Collected Essays of a Reluctant Blogger:

When we gaze into a classroom, we see the faces of 30 young students endowed with differing innate abilities and skills. They were not all designed to work the same way. Our educational system teaches them as if they were monolithic, or at least fungible entities. But they are not. One might be good with his hands, capable of creating fine pottery or crafts; a second might be a thinker; a third, a strategic planner; yet another, an artist or poet. One might be good with numbers, while another able to conceptualize complex theories.

It is distressing to see our leaders place their entire educational emphasis on science and math, ignoring the importance of history, writing (communication and expression), philosophy, and the arts (art, music, and literature). A society needs citizens grounded in a sense of history, for those ignorant of the past are doomed to repeat its errors. Those citizens need the ability to communicate and express their thoughts and ideas in an articulate, cogent manner, free from emotional argument ad hominem. And as we have learned from the relics of all great civilizations -- from Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome forward -- societies need beauty. From the Great Pyramids, to Michelangelo’s “The David”, to William Shakespeare’s oeuvre, a civilization is inspired by, and defined by, its art.

Science and math have their place. Societies have always needed ship builders and navigators, be it the Greeks to design and pilot their penteconters; the Spanish, their galleons; or the Chinese, their junks. From galleys to spacecrafts, math and science have played an integral role in man’s ability to free himself from landlocked constraints and set forth on voyages of exploration. But while important, science and math are not the only disciplines our children must be taught.

Civilizations need thinkers. Philosophers. Individuals who contemplate, as well as those who plan. The de-emphasis of the disciplines of philosophy, history, and the arts, in both our schools and our culture, explains the sorry state of our society today and the Weltschmerz that permeates us. We live in a culture of corporate greed, where individualistic selfishness has replaced altruism, idealism, and principles. But now more than ever, we need thinkers and philosophers to express their thoughts and communicate their ideas, as much or more than we need a nation of scientists and mathematicians, because while it’s important to build the ships that will take us across vast oceans or galaxies, it's more important to know where we're going and why.