When I read the Slate article, my thought was that he simply landed at the wrong university. He would have fit in well over at Berkeley when I was a student there in the late 90s & early 00s, and the focus of our classes matched what it sounds like he craved. That said, I ddin't feel like the Slate article was necessarily terribly accurate; among many other discrepancies, I've run across too many articles now (like Cory Doctorow's) that say he was well-liked, had quite a few friends that he collaborated with, and that his big problem was more that he had trouble dealing with the disappointment when his friends/mentors didn't live up to his expectations.
From everything I've read, he was already well-known & respected among the Internet elite (plus becoming close friends with many of them) as he'd been actively contributing to projects like the Semantic Web since he was 13-14 years old, and was easily mistaken for an adult online due to how well-spoken and bright he was.
He'd then ended up gaining the respect of people active in intellectual property reform by releasing a massive number of public/government law documents with others in the PACER/RECAP project, rallying people with his own activist org Demand Progress, and then by acquiring & intending to release a massive amount of scholarly articles that weren't available outside affluent libraries & universities.
The public didn't hear about him (and people like me aware of IP activism but not involved in it didn't know his name/identity) until his suicide, yes. However, just killing oneself or being made 'an example' by the government doesn't get that kind of attention -- in order to do that, a person has to do something to gain the respect of some fairly influential people first.
Severely depressed & even suicidal people often can hide it dangerously well, especially around others that aren't close enough to know little tell-tale signs. Also, at least 2-3 people that were extremely close to him wrote that he was known among friends to have been fighting repeated bouts with depression for years. He evidently was known among his close friends as the sort that hated to accept help, and that he believed it was crucial to appear to the world as if the prosecution wasn't getting to him.
Speaking as somebody that has been close to severely depressed people, there's also the huge problem that eventually the repeated mood crashes look normal & un-alarming -- so it's very common for loved ones to be caught off-guard by a suicide (or attempt). From the outside, we can only see a rough outline of just how bad the depression is, and a non-dangerous "very badly depressed" tends to look a hell of a lot like "suicidally depressed" unless the person wants us to know. If that person isn't the demonstrative sort, or the depression has convinced them (as often happens) that they're a horrible burden everyone would be better without, then we only see it in involuntary/unintentional actions, and that's if we know what to look for.
Aaron Swartz's behavior the day before & day of his death was a textbook example of red flags for looming suicide. He abruptly shifted from miserable to upbeat, and took one of the people closest to him out to a special meal and indulged in his absolute favorite foods... The next morning, he was visibly depressed and said that he was going to stay at home alone to "rest" and pretended to not notice when asked why he had (evidently out of character) gotten fully dressed as if going out in public. Somebody as depressed as he evidently was won't have the energy to get totally dressed for no reason at all.
Yes, it's possible that he was murdered, but there'd be little reason for anyone to bother: MIT & JSTOR had dropped charges, while the prosecution fully believed at that point that they were guaranteed to win, either in a court trial or by forcing him to accept a pretty vicious plea bargain. I don't believe that it's an act of freedom or anything other than a tragic loss, but depression is the emotional equivalent of profound hallucination -- and I don't think we do his memory or others fighting the disorder justice by favoring conspiracy theories over recognizing just how deadly it can be to even the brightest, strongest, most rational people.
First, only parents of minors, severely disabled people, and the elderly get those things -- in the case of the parents, they're only allowed to get it for at most 60 months. Those groups also are barely given enough money to sustain life (shitty section 8 housing, low-quality food, clothes from the dollar area, maybe a POS car that gets horrible gas mileage)... It's not enough to result in a decent quality of life: there's no dental coverage (which is expensive even if you're willing to rely on dental students' work), it's extremely difficult to find most medical specialists and most are low-quality (which disabled/elderly citizens tend to need), the nutritional quality of food tends to be subpar for disabled/elderly citizens as many physically/mentally can't cook full meals entirely from scratch, it takes YEARS of being on a waitlist in many states for a section 8 voucher and then the housing tends to be the places you'd lock your car doors...
That's just for starters. Trust me, it's pretty damn heartbreaking to watch one's own mother age 10 times faster than anyone else in the family, lose her teeth plus all of her energy/spunk & seem mentally 20 years older than she is because of the effects of chronic poverty -- and be unable to do anything about it because you're also far too disabled to hold any job. I can't imagine anyone remotely sane *wanting* to live this life that has actually experienced it.
If you're wondering, I'm able to be online because I have my 10-year-old college laptop and share a $20 Internet connection with my mother (she uses a computer that my brother got when his employer was about to toss it).
No, the conclusion would be that you don't need to use patents if you don't intend to profit from your creation.
more and more people are leeching off the few people who actually produce something tangible.
Or intangible -- well, that is, unless you dedicate yourself to a professional level of ability in every form of entertainment you use, producing every form of information you've relied on, and learned everything you know (including formal education) entirely on your own from the ground up. Otherwise, guess what: you've been "leeching" off the creative & academic professions as much as anyone "leeches" off the creators of the tangible items they have.
Of course, that's ignoring that a person only "leeches" if they fail to give the creator/owner something of similar value in return -- buying services or goods doesn't qualify.
I'm surprised more people here don't still use a dot matrix... Very low cost per page for general output...
Especially if you take the approach I did with the Imagewriter II I used in high school, and just use a black Sharpie marker to "re-ink" the black ribbon whenever it started to fade too much. It's also better than refilling an inkjet cartridge because if you do it wrong, it can't slowly 'redecorate' the bottom of the printer, desk, and floor. (Or at least, that's "better" if you aren't a kid hoping to convince their parents to replace the tired old inkjet... *whistles innocently*)
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir