Are the USPTO that incompetent?
It's been explained to me that this is standard MO for the USPTO. They never check patents before a cursory glance, and only when it is challenged do they actually look into the merits of it. Apparently this is because they just don't have (anywhere near) the amount of manpower they would need to keep up with the vast number of incoming patent applications.
Anyone know how true this is?
Savage and his colleagues assume
Well there's your problem...
With the landmark Net Neutrality ruling this week will larger providers try to move to similar price models?
Why would they? The one has nothing to do with the other. If anything, since providers can now be payed at the back end as well, they could in theory lower prices at the front end. In theory.
... decent monetary policy is a necessary though not sufficient condition for good economic performance.
Exactly. In other words, without a lot of scientific research you can't conclude from the fact that the Eurozone did worse than the US for the last few years economically that the ECB therefore did a worse job of making monetary policy. They could have just been dealt a much worse hand. Ultimately I don't think you can make comparisons like this between the Eurozone and the US anyway. The Eurozone is not one country, which makes a huge difference in practice and invalidates all kinds of comparisons.
It is designed to maintain its value against other currencies,
I have to disagree again. It can't maintain its value against other currencies if it is to be a success. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins. If it ever becomes a large and stable economy then the bitcoin will have to be worth much more than it is worth today against other currencies. That's what I'm banking on anyway...