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Comment: Re:Solution (Score 5, Informative) 19

Clearly, we currently have too many competent patent examiners. We should do everything possible to get them to quit.

I'm not so sure too few patent examiners is the only problem. According to a patents documentary I watched recently one of the big problems is a piece of legislation passed in the USA during the 80s or 90s in a panic over patent rates in Asia outstripping those in the USA. It caused the number of patents in the USA to rise sharply but it also allowed people to patent ridiculous crap because the patent office was now totally overworked and the restrictions on what could be patented had been relaxed. The Danes have a saying "He just tried to patent hot water" which is equivalent to the English proverb "He's not the sharpest knife in the kitchen", i.e. "he's stupid". The unfortunate thing is that these days you'd actually stand a good chance of patenting hot water if you tried, especially in the US where the rules are very lax. Come to think of it I'd actually like to see somebody try to patent hot water, just to see if they succeed. That being said I'm not generally against patents, I just think the system need major reform. This same documentary I cited above also included an interesting interview with James Dyson, the vaccuum cleaner guy. He described patents as a major pain because they are expensive to obtain and defend and don't really do much to help the small inventor anymore (which is what they were originally intend to do) and because patents have become weapons used by big players to stifle competition. But at the same time he also said he wouldn't want to live without some sort of patent system and took an example in his company's bladeless fan. It took them several years and tons of money to develop and they'd hardly released it when the market was flooded with cheap ass Chinese copies. The problem from Dyson's point of view is firstly that the copies are crappy and don't work very well which reflects badly on Dyson whose product actually works. Secondly the patent system (broken as it is) still helps companies like Dyson to crack down on copycats, even in China and even though the Chinese take significantly longer (years) to process foreign patent applications than they do Chinese patent applications (months) in violation of WTO regulations.

Comment: Re:Eisenhower tried to warn us. (Score 2) 207

by Savage-Rabbit (#47420661) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

Drawing comparisons to WWII is ironic, because the F-35 program is exactly the kind of program that the US did not invest in during the war. A program that consumed lots of resources on the promise of radical advances without delivering anything actually useful onto the battlefield now.

Germany in contrast, spent lots of time on such projects even into the final desperate days.

The Nazi leadership was blinded by the "grass is greener beyond the next hill" syndrome. If they had put the Heinkel 280 which first flew in 1941 into production and put some serious resources into making the HeS-8 and HeS-30 engines reliable enough for service they'd have had a workable jet fighter in 1943 with less of a performance advantage than the Me-262 but that would still have mopped the floor with most of the Allied opposition at the time. The Nazis failed to understand that fielding a mediocre jet fighter in time is better than fielding an outstanding one when it is too late. They were defeated by their aversion towards doing what Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond called "...the most un-German thing possible, a half-assed job".

Comment: Re:And Joe Schmoe wont care. (Score 4, Interesting) 207

by Savage-Rabbit (#47420301) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

Everybody with an IQ above that of a jellybean knows the main job of the congresscritters is to bring back the pork. The blue guys do it and the red guys do it.

The reason they can keep doing it and no one really gives a shit is because once you explain to Joe Schmoe that cutting program X or agency Y's budget means he or his cousin or his drinking buddy could lose their job, well Joe can rationalize keeping that program.

Americans all want pork cut everywhere except their home district. We are short sighted, have short memories, and aren't willing to endure short term discomfort in the pursuit of long term prosperity.

Anyone candidate that would be for cutting this kind of corporate welfare isn't viable on a national ticket. Eisenhower was right about this all by the way.

Eisenhower was also right to be suspicious of 'think tanks', 'intelligence experts' and 'analysts'. One of the reasons he first pushed the U-2 program and then Corona was because 'expert intelligence tanalysts' told him the Soviets had Over 800 Myasishchev M-4 'Bison' bombers. Reconnaissance later revealed that the grand total strenght of the Soviet B-4 bomber force at the time was 20 aircraft, in fact one U-2 actually managed to catch the entire B-4 fleet in a single photograph. By the time Eisenhowers insistance on hard reconnaissance finally won out the USA had built hundreds of bombers to bridge an imaginary 'bomber gap'.

Comment: Re:"To replace obsolete and aging aircraft platfor (Score 4, Insightful) 207

by Savage-Rabbit (#47420097) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

The F-35 replaced the A-10 Thunderbolt II's role as a tank buster, CAS bomber...

With the money we have spent on the F-35s to date, we could have repaired, retrofitted, and maintained our supply of A-10s for several decades. Hell, the A-10 is practically a flying tank. It has some of the best armament and is the most rugged fixed-wing aircraft which America has. It was a ridiculously short-sighted move to replace it with another overexpensive "multi role, joint" fighter.

Yeah, F-35s replacing the A-10 good luck with that. The idea of the F-35 flying into the operational environment of the A-10, i.e. 0-3000ft which in a real shooting war is likely to be saturated by scrap fire and dominated by Manpads, full blown SAMs and mobile Flak such as Shilkas and Tunguskas and having the same survial rates as the A-10 always struck me as funny. Stealth is pretty much useless down there most of the kills are done with heat seeking missiles and the good old Mk.1 eyeball. Experience has shown several times now that no matter how many smart weapons they cook up there is no replacement for getting in good and close and blasting the shit out of the target with a 30mm gun.

Comment: Re:Terrible article. (Score 1) 135

Still not enough. As other readers wrote, the quality of existing phone lines varies between questionable and mediocre, and most users will not live in a radius of 70 meters from the distribution point. It is already difficult to operate a 15Mbps ADSL, then imagine 1Gbps.

Comment: Re:fiber or bust (Score 1) 135

Note that many of the /. readers do not speak english, and the Google translator is very, very bad. Is even worse in my case as example, because many ideas in my native language (brazilian portuguese) are very difficult to express using english, even when you know how to write in english. So, unless you know that the commenter is from a country where english is the native language, take a break.

A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory 80

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the paging-dr-soong dept.
the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "People who have experienced traumatic brain injuries sometimes lose the ability to form new memories or recall old ones. Since many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffered TBIs, the U.S. military is funding research on an implantable device that could do the job of damaged brain cells." Lofty goals: "To start, DARPA will support the development of multi-scale computational models with high spatial and temporal resolution that describe how neurons code declarative memories — those well-defined parcels of knowledge that can be consciously recalled and described in words, such as events, times, and places. Researchers will also explore new methods for analysis and decoding of neural signals to understand how targeted stimulation might be applied to help the brain reestablish an ability to encode new memories following brain injury. ... Building on this foundational work, researchers will attempt to integrate the computational models ... into new, implantable, closed-loop systems able to deliver targeted neural stimulation that may ultimately help restore memory function."

Comment: Re:WTFis "as much energy as well-thrown baseballs" (Score 1) 137

by Minwee (#47416281) Attached to: Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles

How much is that in Volkswagens? And how fast is it travelling relative to imperial standard sheep? Can you measure the kinetic energy in terms of double-decker busses?

Comment: Re:I lament the degeneration of the English langua (Score 2) 137

by Minwee (#47416197) Attached to: Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles

Actual scientists... people with PhDs... are creating names like "Oh-My-God".

You need to meet more people with doctorates.

Many of them are actual people with senses of whimsy and humour. It's not like they joined some sort of academic cult and were turned into mindless zombies.

Not that that doesn't happen, but it's not part of the PhD process. Many people are able to survive academic life and still think that thagomizer is a perfectly fine name for the spikes on the end of a Stegosaurus's tail.


Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines 135

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the exhaust-your-uverse-cap-in-half-a-second dept.
Mark.JUK (1222360) writes The Bell Labs R&D division of telecoms giant Alcatel-Lucent has today claimed to set a new world record after they successfully pushed "ultra-broadband" speeds of 10,000 Megabits per second (Mbps) down a traditional copper telephone line using XG-FAST technology, which is an extension of (ITU G.9700). is a hybrid-fiber technology, which is designed to deliver Internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps over runs of copper cable (up to around 250 meters via 106MHz+ radio spectrum). The idea is that a fiber optic cable is taken closer to homes and then works to deliver the last few meters of service, which saves money because the operator doesn't have to dig up your garden to lay new cables. XG-FAST works in a similar way but via an even shorter run of copper and using frequencies of up to 500MHz. For example, XG-FAST delivered its top speed of 10,000Mbps by bonding two copper lines together over just 30 meters of cable.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel