The Wall Street Journal stands firm against the tendency toward simple, readable URLs. Here’s an example, the URL to an article on the apparent Japanese obsession for appropriating, transforming, and then perfecting products from other locations (bomber jackets, sweatshirts, espresso):
It’s not just an article issue, though. Here’s how WSJ handles sections, in this case US Business News:
For comparison, here’s the URL to a post from my weblog, a picture of a creek near Fort Jackson, NY titled, unsurprisingly, “creek, fort jackson“:
And here’s a link to articles tagged “design“:
I guess it’s arguable whether URLs need to make sense to users. I think there’s not a good argument for not making them cleaner and simpler given that the process of creating them can be automated. Maybe that’s just me.