You're right, totally different! Aaron actually did some hacking; Weev did about as much hacking as a kindergardener might do. Yet he now faces prison time for it.
The fact that thieves may (and do) steal legally held weapons is an argument for stricter gun control.
Indeed, but the key thing to recognize here is that the kind of guns that thieves steal are handguns, not rifles. Unfortunately, people keep talking about "military grade" rifles (which is a deliberately deceptive term to use) and the urgent need to keep those kinds of guns out of the hands of lunatics, while ignoring the fact that most gun murders involve low-caliber handguns. I am glad people are talking about gun control; now we just need them to stop making idiotic statements like, "We're not talking about taking away anyone's right to defend their homes with a handgun, we just want to restrict access to military rifles!"
I spend more time in the web browser of computing devices than anything else. I don't think I'm unusual
You are unusual if you are talking about a smartphone. If people have a choice between an app and a website, they choose the app -- at the very least, it involves one less tap. Remember when we used to talk about having fewer clicks, and complained about websites that required two or three more clicks to get to the things we wanted?
corporations are just a bunch of people
A bunch of people whose operations are done using money borrowed from other people who want to see a return on their investment. A corporation cannot let values or anything other than a nation's laws supersede its profit motive without the consent of its investors, and it is naive to think that Apple's investors care about anything other than the return on their investment.
Let's put it this way: Steve Jobs admitted that the tantalum used in iPhones probably could be traced to Congo, where teenage soldiers are being ordered to rape women as a military tactic in a conflict that is fueled by minerals. Did Apple take some grand moral stance and spend money on either ending the conflict or finding alternative materials? No, Apple simply said that tantalum is needed to make iPhones and that they could not do anything about the conflict (despite being a corporation with enough capital that it could buy the entire region).
the complex reality and explanatory power of other motivations and causes
I call BS on that one. The only complication is in how corporations choose and exploit their markets, not in the purpose of their existence or of their ultimate goal. Apple is not creating computers out the goodness of their hearts. Apple did not sue journalists out of some moral obligation. Apple did not go after hackintosh makers for any sort of greater good. When Apple gives to charity, do they do so quietly, or do them make sure lots of cameras are around so that everyone knows about their service to the world (when/if you give to charity, do you then go around telling everyone about it?)?
It is kind of like saying that there is a complex reality to an army at war. Sure, different armies do things differently, and they are fighting for different reasons, but at the end of the day an army has a goal when it fights and that goal takes priority. Corporations are not all that different from a military operation: the people who work for them are trained to think they are doing something important, they are trained to think that they have an ethical obligation to follow orders, and at the top level there are people who direct operations to achieve the goal.
Apple and other technology companies that have been hugely shaped by one person
Apple was led to an overwhelming success by one ruthless person. Steve Jobs was not on some moral or ethical quest; he wanted to lead Apple to a great business success, and was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen. He berated employees if they were not perfect. He directed the company to patent everything, so that they could never be sued without having some counter-suit ready. He directed the company to go after anyone who stood in the way of the company's profits. It is as if he read Ender's Game and thought, "I bet Apple would be the most successful company in human history if someone like Ender Wiggin were to run it..."
Which of Apple's or Jobs' actions leads you to think otherwise? Frankly, which of the technology companies that was driven to success by one person suggests a different story? Facebook has yet to work on any sort of interoperability with any other system, and is increasingly aggressive about profiting from its userbase. Google does not stop short of doing business in countries where they are required to be evil. Oracle is as typical of a corporation as possible. Do I even need to mention Microsoft?
There is a powerful platform that runs on every iOS device, and is not censored by Apple in any way: the web.
Except that mobile apps are much more likely to reach people than the web. Mobile apps require the user to do fewer things and can better take advantage of the client's hardware. Telling developers to just write web apps is telling them to wait in line while the VIPs get to just walk past.
What liberal values? Apple has no liberal values, they are just like any other large corporation: money first, values never.
Congress is not preventing the dissemination of the information
Really? Then, what happened here, when 2600 magazine was prosecuted for publishing links to deCSS:
If you are wondering why Fedora will provide information on its website about RPMFusion but not Livna (where libdvdcss packages are), you have your answer: it is illegal to even publish that information in the United States. So much for the first amendment, so much for freedom of speech.
the diagnosed rate of ADHD has been rising steeply
Yeah, but that is poorly controlled and does not really say much. It is equally possible that people have discovered that ADHD medications can give them a competitive edge in cognitive tasks, and are simply working harder to convince doctors to prescribe such medications for them or their children. For many doctors, coming into the office, staring out the window, and talking about how hard it is to focus on your schoolwork will be sufficient to get a prescription for Adderall or Ritalin.
It is still being debated amongst psychiatrists if the rise in ADHD diagnoses has to do with an actual rise in ADHD occurrence, or if it is because we are better at identifying the problem, or if it is just over-zealous prescription. I suspect that it is a combination of the latter two, but the data is still being collected.
On the other hand, it is hard to dispute measurements of the murder rate: regardless of whether or not murderers are being caught, either people are being murdered or people are not being murdered. Coupled with the fact that the murder rate not only follows the lead exposure curve nationally, but also follows it on a state by state basis (some states phased tetraethyl lead out more slowly than others), it is pretty hard to say that lead is not in some way related to violent crime, and is likely a causal factor.
Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!