A headline caught my eye on Friday—26 year old commits suicide. His photo showed a good-looking, dark-eyed man with a warm smile. Aaron Swartz. I didn’t know who he was, but I found myself wondering why in the world such a young, handsome man would take his own life—which was a stupid thought, because it implied pretty people would have less of an urge to kill themselves.
I read the article on him, discovered he was a child prodigy, a genius, who at 14 co-created RSS. He was one of the early builders of the social-news site, Reddit (later sold to Conde Nast), and a hacker extrodinaire who simply believed information should be able to be shared on the internet without a price.
He was scheduled to go on trial in a few weeks for stealing millions of scholarly documents from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of…
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