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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:26 AM

Reddit Cofounder, Digital Activist Aaron Swartz Dead from Suicide at 26

Source: Gawker

Aaron Swartz, a programmer and Internet activist who co-founded a company that would eventually grow into Reddit, committed suicide Friday in New York City, according to The Tech and Boing Boing. Swartz's attorney confirmed the news to The Tech early Saturday morning.

... At 14, Swartz co-authored an early version of RSS. Later he started Infogami, a company that would eventually merge with Reddit. He also co-founded Demand Progress, an online activist group whose mission statement was "win progressive policy changes for ordinary people through organizing, and grassroots lobbying."

Swartz was arrested in July 2011 for allegedly downloading approximately 4 million academic journals from JSTOR with the intent to distribute them for free over P2p file-sharing sites. He was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. In September 2012, Swartz appeared in court and plead not guilty to those charges. Just two days before Swartz's suicide, JSTOR — perhaps because of Swartz's actions — began offering free but limited access to its archives.

Swartz had hinted at depression in the past. In a 2007 speech, he discussed his time at Reddit, including the first weeks after its purchase by Conde Nast.

Read more: http://gawker.com/5975410/reddit-cofounder-digital-activist-aaron-swartz-dead-from-suicide-at-26

83 replies, 13102 views

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Reply Reddit Cofounder, Digital Activist Aaron Swartz Dead from Suicide at 26 (Original post)
Newsjock Jan 2013 OP
loudsue Jan 2013 #1
valerief Jan 2013 #2
longship Jan 2013 #3
valerief Jan 2013 #4
longship Jan 2013 #5
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #10
valerief Jan 2013 #32
Bernardo de La Paz Jan 2013 #13
grantcart Jan 2013 #17
AgingAmerican Jan 2013 #20
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #36
AgingAmerican Jan 2013 #38
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 #42
Raksha Jan 2013 #71
JVS Jan 2013 #48
DeltaLitProf Jan 2013 #49
Shivering Jemmy Jan 2013 #55
freedom fighter jh Jan 2013 #58
Bernardo de La Paz Jan 2013 #12
Ter Jan 2013 #16
grantcart Jan 2013 #18
Bernardo de La Paz Jan 2013 #23
BootinUp Jan 2013 #50
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #39
Codeine Jan 2013 #52
Frank Cannon Jan 2013 #65
WilliamPitt Jan 2013 #19
valerief Jan 2013 #33
starroute Jan 2013 #28
Pachamama Jan 2013 #30
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 #44
msanthrope Jan 2013 #6
OneGrassRoot Jan 2013 #7
Agschmid Jan 2013 #9
Earth_First Jan 2013 #45
Agschmid Jan 2013 #46
blueclown Jan 2013 #15
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #53
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #8
antiquie Jan 2013 #11
snot Jan 2013 #31
antiquie Jan 2013 #40
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #14
MonkeeRench Jan 2013 #25
dkf Jan 2013 #26
UpInArms Jan 2013 #21
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #22
reorg Jan 2013 #24
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 #43
Sunlei Jan 2013 #27
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #35
Sunlei Jan 2013 #37
virgogal Jan 2013 #56
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #57
randome Jan 2013 #68
reorg Jan 2013 #73
jgyjadsgf Jan 2013 #29
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #34
randome Jan 2013 #67
reorg Jan 2013 #74
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #41
onehandle Jan 2013 #47
coffeenap Jan 2013 #51
Fire Walk With Me Jan 2013 #54
closeupready Jan 2013 #59
reorg Jan 2013 #60
reorg Jan 2013 #61
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #70
didact Jan 2013 #62
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #63
reorg Jan 2013 #64
randome Jan 2013 #69
reorg Jan 2013 #75
randome Jan 2013 #77
reorg Jan 2013 #78
randome Jan 2013 #79
reorg Jan 2013 #80
randome Jan 2013 #81
reorg Jan 2013 #82
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #66
Quantess Jan 2013 #72
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #76
proverbialwisdom Jan 2013 #83

Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:31 AM

1. Horribly tragic. So young and so talented.

My deepest sympathy to his family.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:32 AM

2. Looks like he was whacked to me. Whenever you do something the world owners don't

like, you get whacked.

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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:45 AM

3. With all due respect...

I am not a big fan of ad hoc conspiracy theories.

1. He did something illegal which would effect some commercial venture.

2. He died.

3. Therefore, he was wacked.

There is so much wrong with that logic. Most prominently is the unstated premise that he was depressed and evidence is that he committed suicide. Also, there's the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Sorry, I cannot go along with you on this.

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Response to longship (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:47 AM

4. With all due respect, why should I believe he was suicidally depressed? Because the MSM

says so?

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:01 AM

5. The media?

So now the media is in on the conspiracy? This is what happens with many conspiracy theories and why they spiral out of control. One has to instill in the conspirators near omnipotent power to keep the conspiracy secret.

Wouldn't the wacking of a brilliant guy be a bigger story for the media? Why would the media, if they had evidence to the contrary, tell such a lie? This is presuming that the news media is a single, monolithic entity, which it is clearly not.

I think I'm done here.

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:22 AM

10. Did you read the article?

In a separate blog post from that year, Swartz discussed his depression in more detail, writing:

Your face falls. Perhaps you cry. You feel worthless. You wonder whether it's worth going on. Everything you think about seems bleak - the things you've done, the things you hope to do, the people around you. You want to lie in bed and keep the lights off. Depressed mood is like that, only it doesn't come for any reason and it doesn't go for any either. 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.

At best, you tell yourself that your thinking is irrational, that it is simply a mood disorder, that you should get on with your life. But sometimes that is worse. You feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:37 PM

32. Was this before or after his arrest?

BTW, I tried clicking the link, but it doesn't connect.

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:37 PM

13. With all due respect to you (not much), ... believe you because you say so? Nope.

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:01 PM

17. lol you didn't even click on the article did you.

http://gawker.com/5975410/reddit-cofounder-digital-activist-aaron-swartz-dead-from-suicide-at-26

He had discussed both struggling with depression and suicide publicly before.

You don't talk about it publicly at the drop of a hat. He must have have suffered from a terrible depression.

But then why even listen to his own words when we can throw baseless rumors around instead?

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:27 PM

20. Seriously doubt that JSTOR had him whacked

Thus implies that librarians put out a contract on him. Hard to imagine that.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:19 PM

36. In fact, JSTOR was backing off on the charges.

It was the prosecutor that was insisting on destroying Aaron's life with a 30 year prison sentence...even though his crime was essentially victimless, if it was a crime at all.

This is why I have an issue with some prosecutors...they don't know when to do the decent thing and stop going after people.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:54 PM

38. True that

N/T

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:11 PM

42. More than a few prosecutors are sociopaths.

 

I've heard more than one case where people were proved innocent and the prosecutor kept them in jail anyway.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #36)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:51 AM

71. According to one article I read, the U.S. Attorney handling the case had political ambitions.

IIRC her name is Carmen Ortiz, but I could be wrong. I haven't checked the links I looked at earlier.

I didn't know who Aaron Swartz was until after his death on Friday, but the more I learn about him, the more I realize what an extraordinary person he was. If any single individual was responsible for defeating SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), it was Aaron Swartz.

It looks to me like extraordinary vindictiveness on the part of the Obama "Justice" Department. He refused to plead guilty to the 10 (or was it 13?) felony charges and was looking at up to 35 years in prison. That's enough to send someone prone to depression over the edge.

What makes me a bit suspicious is that he didn't leave a note--at least we haven't heard about one.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #20)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:17 AM

48. JStor is bushleague. It's the EBSCO people who are dangerous.

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Response to JVS (Reply #48)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:49 AM

49. EBSCO's incompetent and provide a shitty product

Dangerous? Possibly.

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:16 PM

55. His friend Cory Doctorow says he suffered from depression.

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Response to longship (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:09 AM

58. He was wacked even if it was suicide.

He was wacked by disproportionate charges and proposed punishment. A man who stood up to the system, protecting free expression -- successfully and against all odds -- from suppression under the guise of copyright protection, was threatened with life-altering labeling as a felon and a long prison sentence for copyright violations that the supposed victims didn't really seem to care about.

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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:36 PM

12. You got nothing. But that won't stop you.

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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:00 PM

16. Agreed 100%

 

There was no reason for him to kill himself at 26 with all he had going for himself. The vast majority of these types of "suicides" are cover-ups.

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Response to Ter (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:03 PM

18. No reason?


He suffered from depression.

He talked about suicide before.

"The vast majority of these types of these 'suicides' are cover-ups."

You mean that the vast majority of people who struggle with depression, talk about it and suicide publicly turn out to be 'cover ups'.

Go on . . . .

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Response to Ter (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:20 PM

23. Nonsense.

So many people don't know much about depression and are willing to cover it up by inventing outlandish conspiracy theories.

If you had a clue about the topic you'd know that 26 is a prime age for such suicides. Depression most often manifests itself in late teens and early twenties.

But depression can strike at any age, even the mythical "27" barrier age some suppose rock stars are prone too.

Perhaps you think Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison were all "whacked". Their names all start with 'J'. Aha! Must be a conspiracy -- too much of a coincidence. :rolleyes:

The vast majority of these types of "suicides" are cover-ups.


You have no credible reference that would come close to showing that, let alone showing it, or even coming close to showing that a simple majority are coverups.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:31 AM

50. damn you!!!! lol

you prolly just started a new internet conspiracy meme!

We better think of a name for it...lol.

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Response to Ter (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:54 PM

39. Because thought processes that lead to suicide are always so rational. (nt)

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Response to Ter (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:20 PM

52. Suicide has little to do with "reason" or with what one has "going for" oneself.

Depression trumps success.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #52)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:48 PM

65. Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

--Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1896

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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:04 PM

19. A train that's never late.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:48 PM

33. Thank you. Don't forget to tip your waitress. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:21 PM

28. There are many ways of getting rid of people who are considered nuisances

Bradley Manning. Julian Assange. Paul Watson. There has been a concerted effort to lock up, marginalize, or render ineffective anyone who challenges the order of things as they are.

Lawrence Lessig says that Swartz was the victim of "bullying." (http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully)

For remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House — and where even those brought to “justice” never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled “felons.”

In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge.


And even if Swartz was known to suffer from depression, that raises an even more troubling possibility -- that he was the victim of a deliberate Cointelpro-style attempt to push him to the breaking point. Compare, for example, the case of Jean Seberg:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Seberg

During the late 1960s, Seberg provided financial support to various groups supporting civil rights, such as the NAACP and Native American school groups such as the Mesquaki Bucks at the Tama settlement near her home town of Marshalltown, for whom she purchased $500 worth of basketball uniforms. The FBI was upset about several gifts to the Black Panther Party, totalling $10,500 (estimated) in contributions; these were noted among a list of other celebrities in FBI internal documents later released under FOIA. This financial support, and her alleged interracial love affairs or friendships were evident triggers to a large-scale FBI program deployment in her direction.

The FBI operation against Seberg used COINTELPRO program techniques to harass, intimidate, defame and discredit Seberg. The FBI's stated goal was an unspecified "neutralization" of Seberg; all intended to be done while hiding FBI involvement. One stated FBI subsidiary objective was to "cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the public", while taking the "usual precautions to avoid identification of the Bureau". . . .

In late August 1979, Seberg disappeared. . . . Ten days later, her decomposing body was found wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of her Renault. Her car was parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. Police found a bottle of barbiturates, an empty bottle of mineral water and a note written in French from Seberg addressed to her son. It read, in part, "Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves." Her death was ruled a suicide.

Romain Gary, Seberg's second husband, called a press conference shortly after her death where he publicly blamed the F.B.I.'s campaign against Seberg for her deteriorating mental health. Gary claimed that Seberg "became psychotic" after the media reported a false story that the FBI planted about her becoming pregnant with a Black Panther's child in 1970. The child died two days after Seberg went into premature labor. Gary stated that Seberg had repeatedly attempted suicide on the anniversary of the child's death, August 25.


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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:37 PM

30. Sadly Valerief, some of the most brilliant minds are also some of the most tormented minds too...

I dont believe for a moment that he was "killed".... This is sadly the result of a troubled young man who was also brilliant and sadly the demons and pain just won out in the end....

And the age of 26 is also very common too developmentally where it hits the hardest....why, that I will leave to the Neurologists and experts who have been studying this for decades....but its a sad statistical fact and he had a history woth depression which he had talked about openly in public and private to friends and family.

Suicide is so sad...and hardest on all that are left behind who loved him....

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Response to valerief (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:24 PM

44. Send in the clowns...

 

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:12 AM

6. Child porn. I think in the days and weeks to come we are going to hear a lot more about Reddit

and child porn.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:15 AM

7. Can you elaborate?

I'm not active on reddit, and I didn't see anything about porn regarding this young man's suicide, but I probably missed something?

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:20 AM

9. See Jezebel article...



Even after officially banning posts tagged "jailbait," Reddit's seedy underbelly is still pretty much a cesspool of creepshots, suggestive photos of underage girls, and horrifying videos said to depict sexual abuse. Tale as old as time: something terrible is happening on Reddit! But, twist! This time, a community of insurgent users within the massive internet community are the ones trying to drive out the self-proclaimed creeps, pervs, and jailbait aficionados — until the gunk is gone, they're urging Reddit users themselves to encourage a boycott of the site. But without Reddit, how will I keep up with the adventures of Scumbag Steve?


http://jezebel.com/5943873/reddit-users-go-rogue-revolt-against-sick-child-porn-forums

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Response to Agschmid (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:45 PM

45. Yikes! I've just recently become a big fan of /pics on Reddit

I have yet to see anything illegal, I hope not to.

50% of it are cat photos and 25/25 landscape and funny photographs of day to day life.

Thanks for the link...I'll be sure not to stray too far off the beaten path on Reddit.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #45)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:02 PM

46. Well there is stuff like that everywhere on the internet so stay safe! n/t

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:44 PM

15. Disgusting smear accusations.

Just shameful, baseless accusations of a brilliant young mind who wasn't even connected with Reddit anymore.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:26 PM

53. Wow, that's a lot of innuendo. Here's what I've read over the past day regarding A.S. and Reddit.

A.S. starts Infogami (summer 2005), Infogami merges with Reddit (November 2005), Reddit is sold to CondeNet (late 2006), A.S. is forced out of Reddit (Jan 2007).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reddit

Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. It was acquired by Condé Nast Publications in October 2006. In September 2011, Reddit was split from Condé Nast, and now operates as a subsidiary of Condé Nast's parent company, Advance Publications.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz

Infogami and Reddit

He (A.S.) later attended Stanford University, but left after just one year. Instead he founded the software company Infogami, a startup that was funded by Y Combinator's first Summer Founders Program.

Through the Y Combinator program, Swartz started the wiki platform Infogami (later used to support the web.py and Open Library sites), but felt he needed co-founders to proceed. Y-Combinator organizers suggested that Infogami merge with Reddit, which it did in November 2005.

While Reddit initially found it difficult to make money from the project, the site later gained in popularity, with millions of users visiting it each month. In late 2006, after months of negotiations, Reddit was sold to CondéNet, owners of Wired magazine.

Swartz moved with his company to San Francisco to work on Wired, but grew unhappy with the set-up and in January, 2007, he was asked to resign from his position. Swartz described himself as being ill and suffering from a constant depressed mood throughout 2007.

In September, 2007, Swartz joined with Simon Carstensen and launched Jottit. In 2010–2011 he was a fellow at Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Swartz was also the creator of the web.py Web application framework, and co-founded Demand Progress, a progressive advocacy group that organizes people via email and other media for "contacting Congress and other leaders, funding pressure tactics, and spreading the word" about targeted issues.



This offers insight, IMO, via recent comment on utterly gratuitous reference by M.Yglesias, Harvard grad and Slate's business and economics correspondent.

http://qblog.aaronsw.com/

Raw Meat is a quoteblog by Aaron Swartz.

Nov 21, 2012
Y files: On The Age Of The Planet Earth

Matt Yglesias writes:
Blah, blah, toddlers.
(Really, with a hyphen, no less? Subtext much?)

AS writes: This is just wrong...

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:17 AM

8. I thought he died yesterday

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:31 PM

11. RIP, Aaron Swartz by Cory Doctorow

I met Aaron when he was 14 or 15. He was working on XML stuff (he co-wrote the RSS specification when he was 14) and came to San Francisco often, and would stay with Lisa Rein, a friend of mine who was also an XML person and who took care of him and assured his parents he had adult supervision. In so many ways, he was an adult, even then, with a kind of intense, fast intellect that really made me feel like he was part and parcel of the Internet society, like he belonged in the place where your thoughts are what matter, and not who you are or how old you are.

http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html#more-205376

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Response to antiquie (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:47 PM

31. Thanks for that article; very helpful. A terrible loss for humanity;

and we should consider his persecution by our government a very bad sign.

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Response to snot (Reply #31)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:59 PM

40. So right.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:40 PM

14. Was he on medication or ssri's?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:37 PM

25. Re: 14. Was he on medication or ssri's?

Because of physician-patient privacy law, this may never be known to the public. It seems possible that he was being treated under therapy including psychoactive prescription drugs, as he had discussed his bouts with depression. He doesn't seem to have much respect for talk therapy with professionals, as he thinks that talking with friends is as effective. Also he was very conscious of what he ingested into his body, but his suffering could be severe and multifaceted.

If he was on psychoactive medication, such as SSRIs, these powerful chemicals can have, on a small but significant percentage of patients, severe side-effects, including suicidal responses. He obviously was of a fragile disposition in some senses, so he could well have been a candidate for these rare but finite side-effects.

If there is some kind of legal investigation or lawsuit following up his death, the court records, as often happens, could finally break the confidentiality requirement - unless the judge orders some kind of gag order, often for the protection of big pharma profits.

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Response to MonkeeRench (Reply #25)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:44 PM

26. I think you are right...this is more about protecting the drugs.

 

We need real and thorough studies on these drugs. They are popping up in the news too often.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:33 PM

21. tragically sad

rest well, brilliant warrior

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:40 PM

22. Oh no!

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:24 PM

24. Aaron Swartz keynote - "How we stopped SOPA"

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Response to reorg (Reply #24)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:23 PM

43. Thanks for posting that.

 

A tragic loss for all of us.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:52 PM

27. That is so very sad. He must have been so very depressed about the pending court case.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #27)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:17 PM

35. You mean, the pending persecution.

Last edited Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:24 PM - Edit history (1)

They were trying to give him a 30 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE for a victimless crime, a crime the company that had originally wanted him prosecuted over no longer wished to see him prosecuted for.

The prosecutor should have just backed off...but she didn't.

My conclusion is that Aaron was really being prosecuted for stopping SOPA.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #35)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:23 PM

37. Thats why he killed himself, hate to say it but if I was persecuted towards 30 years in F prison

for pixel downloading/file sharing..I probably would off myself aswell.

Just the costs and time to try to defend yourself against these kind of charges would crush the life out of anyone.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #35)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:10 PM

56. The "prosecutor" is a woman,Carmen Ortiz.

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Response to virgogal (Reply #56)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:24 PM

57. OK...gender corrected...still doesn't mean the demand for a 30 year sentence wasn't an injustice.

A lot of rapists and killers don't get sentences like that.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #57)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 04:19 PM

68. There was no demand for a 30 year sentence.

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Response to randome (Reply #68)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:06 AM

73. He was threatened with a 30 (-50) year sentence

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:33 PM

29. Spam deleted by Behind the Aegis (MIR Team)

 

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:57 PM

34. The prosecutor was insisting that Aaron accept being labeled a felon

That was a cruel and unnecessary thing to insist on. Aaron did nothing to deserve being legally "marked for life".

And there is NO EXCUSE for a thirty-year prison sentence for a nonviolent, essentially victimless crime.

No one should have their life destroyed in the name of copyright protection.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #34)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 04:17 PM

67. It sounds like they did not want a 30 year sentence.

DUer frazzled posted this link elsewhere: http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/01/14/mit-hacking-case-lawyer-says-aaron-swartz-was-offered-plea-deal-six-months-behind-bars/l8Cq70KJXNWwdKlF1V0yoJ/story.html

Apparently, Swartz was offered a 3-6 month plea sentence. It's a tragedy that the guy died and that MIT and the DOJ were so intransigent, but I think it's incorrect to say that anyone wanted him to serve a 30 year sentence.

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Response to randome (Reply #67)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:10 AM

74. They wanted him to admit his "guilt"

for 13 "felonies" which he didn't commit and in addition insisted he go to jail.

In order to achieve this, they threatened him with a sentence of up to 50 years, which, as every observer of the insane plea "bargain" systems knows, was indeed what they wanted him to serve in case he didn't cave in, fight the accusations and go to trial.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:00 AM

47. Tumblr Remember Aaron Site:

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:17 PM

51. Compassion, thy name is DU.

This young man stood for everything we fight for here. He was an amazing, profoundly gifted person with a wonderful family who supported him from the time he was a tiny kid. I am a parent who knows how hard it is to have helped develop a truly brilliant kid and get him safely to adulthood. Imagine how incredibly proud his family is to have raised such an amazing leader in the name of all things decent. He was a gift to our country and to our world. Let's celebrate his life, mourn the loss of such a human being, and have compassion for the family left bereft. Thank you.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:07 PM

54. Anonymous: Reports indicate the Westboro Baptist Church will picket the funeral of Aaron Swartz.

 

Anonymous ‏@YourAnonNews

Reports indicate the Westboro Baptist Church will picket the funeral of #AaronSwartz. Dear Shirley, #ExpectUs. #OpFuckWBC
Retweeted by SOLE

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:23 AM

59. Nobody involved here is sympathetic.

Prosecutors could have made deal. But I'm finding it hard to feel totally sad for Swartz.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #59)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:52 AM

60. deleted

sorry, replied to the wrong post

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:01 PM

61. Interesting interview with Aaron Swartz

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:12 PM

62. Aaron Swartz Died Innocent — Here Is the Evidence

I did not know Aaron Swartz, unless you count having copies of a person's entire digital life on your forensics server as knowing him. I did once meet his father, an intelligent and dedicated man who was clearly pouring his life into defending his son. My deepest condolences go out to him and the rest of Aaron's family during what must be the hardest time of their lives.

http://io9.com/5975592/aaron-swartz-died-innocent-++-here-is-the-evidence

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:33 PM

63. Tribute today on DemocracyNow.org.

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/14/an_incredible_soul_lawrence_lessig_remembers

"An Incredible Soul": Larry Lessig Remembers Aaron Swartz; Parents Blame Prosecutor

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/14/freedom_to_connect_aaron_swartz_1986

Freedom to Connect Keynote: Aaron Swartz (1986-2013) on Victory to Save Open Internet, Fight Online Censors

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #63)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:18 PM

64. "the government thought it was really important to make an example"

Well, let's petition the government to make one:

Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

It is too late to do anything for Aaron Swartz, but the who used the powers granted to them by their office to hound him into a position where he was facing a ruinous trial, life in prison and the ignominy and shame of being a convicted felon; for an alleged crime that the supposed victims did not wish to prosecute.

A prosecutor who does not understand proportionality and who regularly uses the threat of unjust and overreaching charges to extort plea bargains from defendants regardless of their guilt is a danger to the life and liberty of anyone who might cross her path.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-states-district-attorney-carmen-ortiz-office-overreach-case-aaron-swartz/RQNrG1Ck

Created: Jan 12, 2013, signatures as of Jan 14, 22:18 ET: 22,073

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Response to reorg (Reply #64)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 04:22 PM

69. I thought so at first, too. But it was Ortiz who pushed for a 4-6 month plea bargain.

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Response to randome (Reply #69)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:23 AM

75. you sound like the prosecutor's husband

Carmen Ortiz's husband took to Twitter to condemn the statement by the bereaved family of the "justice system"'s latest casualty.

QUOTE:

"@thinkprogress Completely false. Aaron Swartz was offered a plea deal of 6 months. 6 months is not 35 years.

@dangillmor Ah, not really. That article says he was offered a 6-month deal. 6 months is not 35 years or a lifetime.

@mkapor Truly incredible that in their own son's obit they blame others for his death and make no mention of the 6-month offer.


(Shortly thereafter, probably after seeing the reactions, he deleted his Twitter account ...)

I must say I completely agree with this reply:

In any legal system worthy of respect, people are not convicted because they were coerced and threatened into confessing in order to avoid an even worse fate. Prosecutors are not given incentives to bring repressively onerous charges as a bully tactic in order to bypass the court room. It was "only six months" and life as a felon. Compared to decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Rather than despairing and taking his life, Swartz ought to have been thankful for this clemency? Whether or not he was actually a criminal apparently doesn't matter. The contrast between the maximum possible sentence, and the sentence he was being offered for convicting himself is lifted out of context, and brandished as a mitigating factor.

It mitigates nothing. Against the context of an absurdly unjust prosecution, it actually makes things worse.

http://pastebin.com/PjqxaHn1


and would recommend reading this interesting scholarly article:

Torture and Plea Bargaining by John H. Langbein

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Response to reorg (Reply #75)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 08:28 PM

77. Hopefully I sound like someone who simply wants to know the truth no matter where it leads.

MIT should never have pursued this but Swartz did use false credentials to gain access, thereby tying up the entire JSTOR system. I remember my daughters telling me the system was 'hacked' when their class wanted to use it for something.

It wasn't a big deal and it certainly didn't warrant pursuing Swartz for a 4-6 month sentence -which might very well have meant probation to a judge willing to listen to reason.

Whatever demons drove Swartz, it was not the government nor MIT who 'pulled the trigger', so to speak.

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Response to randome (Reply #77)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:12 PM

78. no, you don't

Your theory that MIT is behind it all may be creative but isn't supported by the facts, as others have already told you.

The prosecutor herself came out at last and pronounced what her husband, and you, have told us yesterday: they never meant for Aaron to suffer! They didn't mean to ask for those outrageous sentences, they only pretended! Remaining sceptical, I wonder if this commentator may be on to something here:

The statement is complete hogwash, frankly. If what she claims is true -- that they recognized "his conduct – while a violation of the law – did not warrant the severe punishments authorized by Congress and called for by the Sentencing Guidelines in appropriate cases" then they would not have piled on more charges in the indictment in September. The original indictment, which had four charges against Swartz, had a maximum potential jail time of 35 years. And, Ortiz's own press release trumpeted that fact:

AARON SWARTZ, 24, was charged in an indictment with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. If convicted on these charges, SWARTZ faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million.

And, then in September, nine more charges were added, which brought the total possible time up to 50 years.

If Ortiz truly believed that his conduct did not warrant such "severe punishment" then she would not have trumpeted the 35 years in the first place, nor would she have piled on more charges. That would serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever if her claim here was true.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130117/02090421710/carmen-ortiz-releases-totally-bogus-statement-concerning-aaron-swartz-prosecution.shtml



But who "pulled the trigger"? According to Matt Stoller:

"What killed him was corruption. Corruption isn't just people profiting from betraying the public interest. It's also people being punished for upholding the public interest. In our institutions of power, when you do the right thing and challenge abusive power, you end up destroying a job prospect, an economic opportunity, a political or social connection, or an opportunity for media. Or if you are truly dangerous and brilliantly subversive, as Aaron was, you are bankrupted and destroyed. There's a reason whistleblowers get fired. There's a reason Bradley Manning is in jail. There's a reason the only CIA official who has gone to jail for torture is the person – John Kiriakou - who told the world it was going on. There's a reason those who destroyed the financial system 'dine at the White House', as Lawrence Lessig put it.

"There's a reason former Senator Russ Feingold is a college professor whereas former Senator Chris Dodd is now a multi-millionaire. There's a reason DOJ officials do not go after bankers who illegally foreclose, and then get jobs as partners in white collar criminal defense. There's a reason no one has been held accountable for decisions leading to the financial crisis, or the war in Iraq.

"This reason is the modern ethic in American society that defines success as climbing up the ladder, consequences be damned. Corrupt self-interest, when it goes systemwide, demands that it protect rentiers from people like Aaron, that it intimidate, co-opt, humiliate, fire, destroy, and/or bankrupt those who stand for justice."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/ortiz-heymann-swartz-accountability-abuse


For those who haven't signed the petition yet, with 42,213 signatures to date, here it is:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-states-district-attorney-carmen-ortiz-office-overreach-case-aaron-swartz/RQNrG1Ck

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Response to reorg (Reply #78)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:14 PM

79. You keep talking about the maximum 'possible' sentence but 4-6 months was the plea bargain.

I'm sure it's standard to pile on charges in an effort to get a defendant to accept the plea bargain.

Swartz spoke about being suicidal back in 2007. Is the contention now that political ambitions to get this insignificant case closed with a relatively minor sentence something that started back then?

I'm sorry, I don't see anyone as responsible for Swartz' suicide other than Swartz. It's a shame that the DOJ didn't let this go. It's a shame that MIT didn't let it go. And it's a shame that Swartz killed himself. Those three things don't HAVE to be related.

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Response to randome (Reply #79)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:20 PM

80. when it has become "standard" to bully defendants with outrageous sentences

until they cave or kill themselves, then the time has come to think about what you do, at last.

If you still don't get it, you might want to read the study I recommended upthread:

Torture and Plea Bargaining by John H. Langbein

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Response to reorg (Reply #80)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:26 PM

81. No one bullied him to the point of suicide. That's ridiculous.

A prosecutor's job is to get the defendant to cave. The attorneys were doing their jobs.

MIT has launched an internal investigation to determine what they did wrong in this case. I'd say someone there feels more guilty than a couple of attorneys doing their jobs.

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Response to randome (Reply #81)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:47 PM

82. well, apparently you don't know what a prosecutor's job is

--perhaps you should read what I proposed to you.

When the federal government went after him – and MIT sheepishly played along – they weren’t treating him as a person who may or may not have done something stupid. He was an example. And the reason they threw the book at him wasn’t to teach him a lesson, but to make a point to the entire Cambridge hacker community that they were p0wned. It was a threat that had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with a broader battle over systemic power. In recent years, hackers have challenged the status quo and called into question the legitimacy of countless political actions. Their means may have been questionable, but their intentions have been valiant. The whole point of a functioning democracy is to always question the uses and abuses of power in order to prevent tyranny from emerging. Over the last few years, we’ve seen hackers demonized as anti-democratic even though so many of them see themselves as contemporary freedom fighters. And those in power used Aaron, reframing his information liberation project as a story of vicious hackers whose terroristic acts are meant to destroy democracy.

http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2013/01/13/aaron-swartz.html

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 04:05 PM

66. Excellent related thread.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:48 AM

72. Tragic.

Very sad whenever a young person ends their own life.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 08:08 PM

76. Esquire: Still More About The Death Of Aaron Swartz

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/aaron-swartz-case-011713

Jan 17, 2013

Still More About The Death Of Aaron Swartz

By Charles P. Pierce at 11:45AM

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 04:19 PM

83. EAT AND CODE (Raw Thought by Aaron Swartz) dated August 2, 2005.

http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/eatandcode

Eat and Code

Dear Diary: Sorry I haven’t written so long. Running a startup is hard! That and finally having people to talk to sort of takes some of the time and desire out of writing. I’m thinking maybe instead of a full blow-by-blow account of what happened, I’ll write posts about different topics, that will recap the story so far. My first attempt follows. -ASw

Life seems so incredibly overworked and overcomplicated that you pare it down to the bare essentials: eat and code. Surely you should be able to handle this without distraction. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy.

Let’s take eating.

To be honest, I’ve always had a problematic relationship with food. I always liked plain things — the year before college I lived mostly off of eating plain, microwaved bagels. At oriental restaurants I would always just order steamed white rice. Wes Felter, noting I would apparently only eat white food joked, referencing a Science Fiction novel, that I would eat light bulbs, but “only the white ones”. This reached its extremes at a World Wide Web conference where all the food was white, even the plate it was on. Tim Berners-Lee later pulled my mother aside to share his concerns about this diet.

Finally, one day at an oriental restaurant by Stanford (years before I went to school there), we had the typical discussion except this time Cory Doctorow spoke up: ‘are you sure you’re not a supertaster?’ he asked. I had heard the They Might Be Giants song but never considered the possibility. I thought about it as the conversation continued and it seemed to make sense to me. I did some research on the Internet and did the test (which formally consists of putting blue food coloring on your tongue, taking a piece of paper with a three-hole punch, placing it over the tongue and counting the number of taste buds in it) and indeed, I am a supertaster. This hasn’t eliminated the discussions about my eating habits, but it does shift the blame.

In any event, I’m not one for the fine arts of cooking. So it’s always seemed attractive to me to have a simple food that tastes decent that I can just pull out and eat whenever I want. And, lo, it appeared that I had found it: Cheerios. Cheerios claimed on the box to be healthy, they had little in the way of taste, I could eat them whenever I want, they had big boxes of them at the corner grocery store — everything seemed great. Cheerio boxes piled up in the corner. (Photo to follow.)

There were some problems, though. I didn’t eat them with water or milk, which meant that a fine Cheerio dust went everywhere. This dust was so fine that it got into invisible cracks in my laptop’s surface and apparently bonded with the metal and had to be scraped out each time I ate. And then I begun to discover that the Cheerio dust was also into my system, possibly even my lungs and giving me some Cheerio form of silicosis; they made it difficult to breathe deeply. ‘Wouldn’t it be ironic if I died of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?’ I asked Simon. (I chose pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis as a spelling word in 6th grade.)

At the same time, I was suffering from bouts of acid reflux which continued to grow in frequency and severity. First just some acid. Then, one night walking back from a Noam Chomsky lecture, I began to cough of what felt like my stomach lining. I gave up the Cheerios but it didn’t help. Last night I threw up my entire dinner.

And then what do I eat instead? We go for regular meals at 12 and 6 but I’m only sporadically hungry and the food is getting boring. In Science Fiction stories, we imagine small packets of food that are healthy but taste like whatever we enjoy. Forget that, I’d be happy with just packets of food that are healthy. I’m sick of having to worry about food.

And then there’s programming. When I’m feeling good, I’ll have bouts of just amazing productivity, doing everything that needs to be done in hours. The only problem is that these good days are followed by a week of bad ones, where I feel tired or depressed or scared and can’t quite force myself to sit and face the code.

I used to think this was just cowardice, that I just needed to sit down and program and I’d get the same level of productivity again. But what if this is some serious limit in my brain? What if programming takes so much out of me that it takes days to recharge? I’ve never seriously considered this possibility before, but it’s not just fatalism — it has real implications for how I should structure my days.

The last time I was fighting procrastination I was watching a bunch of good television shows. And as part of this, I would read Tim Goodman, the Roger Ebert of television critics. I was struck to learn one day that even Tim Goodman, whose job was to literally sit down and watch TV, could not bring himself to accomplish this task. I mean, I knew all about Structured Procrastination but surely it had its limits. How could someone procrastinate sitting down and watching TV? And yet, here it was before my eyes — my favorite television critic, a hardworking and thoughtful man who had even spent a column answering a question I sent him, even though I lived in Chicago at the time.

The lesson I drew from this is that the human mind is such that whatever you do, it will try to avoid it. So you might as well aim high. Now the question is: what do you do with the rest of time?

You should follow me on twitter here.

August 2, 2005


http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/1octb/reddit_cofounder_aaron_swartz_discusses_how_he/c1oe1d

Reddit cofounder Aaron Swartz discusses how he was fired from Reddit (blog.outer-court.com)
submitted 5 years ago by raldi

286 comments

Excerpt:

AaronSw 90 points 5 years ago
I think this is a bit unfair, but in spez's defense he may not know the whole story.

I was deathly ill when I came back from Europe; I spent a week basically lying in bed clutching my stomach. I wrote a morose blog post in an attempt to cheer myself up about a guy who died. (Writing cheers me up and the only thing I could write in that frame of mind was going to be morose.) People got freaked out and misinterpreted it as a suicide note (perhaps understandably; I wasn't exactly in my right mind when I wrote it). Alexis even had the cops break into my apartment. I took it down to avoid further trouble for a while; it's back up now with some minor edits ("Alex" used to be "Aaron").
permalink

run4yourlives 53 points 5 years ago
Dude, word of advice: When you're "deathly ill" and "gushing blood" go to the damn hospital, that's why they build the things.
permalink

AaronSw 30 points 5 years ago
Yeah, I certainly learned my lesson.
permalink

millions 14 points 5 years ago
Staying away from German sausages?



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