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Who Helped Kill Patent Troll Reform In the Senate 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the whoever-has-the-most-money dept.
First time accepted submitter VT-802-Software (3663479) writes "A bipartisan proposal to curb patent trolls was shelved by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday. 'Supporters of the compromise accuse trial lawyers, universities, pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies for foiling the plan at the eleventh hour. As late as Tuesday, the University of Vermont and a biotech coalition each sent letters to Leahy opposing the legislation. "We believe the measures in the legislation go far beyond what is necessary or desirable to combat abusive patent litigation, and would do serious damage to the patent system," reads one of the letters. "Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll."'"

Oil Train Explosion Triggers Evacuation In North Dakota 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-put-it-on-amtrak dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The LA Times reports that the small town of Casselton, North Dakota dodged a bullet after being partially evacuated when a train carrying crude oil collided with another train, setting off a large fire and explosions. Officials received a report at 2:12 p.m. of a train derailing about a mile west of Casselton, a city of 2,432 people about 20 miles west of Fargo. At some point, another train collided with the derailed train, belonging to the BNSF Railway, carrying more than 100 cars loaded with crude oil. The explosions and fire erupted after cars from a grain train struck some of the oil tank cars. 'A fire ensued, and quickly a number of the cars became engulfed,' said Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff's Office, adding that firefighters had managed to detach 50 of the 104 cars but had to leave the rest. This was the fourth serious accident involving trains hauling crude in North America this year. In July, an unattended train with 72 tank cars carrying crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale fields rolled downhill and set off a major explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. The accidents have put a spotlight on the growing reliance on rail to move surging oil production from new fields in Texas, North Dakota and Colorado. U.S. railroads are moving 25 times more crude than they did in 2008, often in trains with more than 100 tank cars that each carry 30,000 gallons. Though railroads have sharply improved their safety in recent years, moving oil on tank cars is still only about half as safe as in pipelines, according to Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane University Energy Institute. 'You can make the argument that the pipeline fights have forced the industry to revert to rail that is less safe,' says Smith. One problem is that the trains go through small towns with volunteer fire departments, not well schooled in handling a derailment and explosion. Casselton Mayor Ed McConnell says it is time to 'have a conversation' with federal lawmakers about the dangers of transporting oil by rail. 'There have been numerous derailments in this area,' says McConnell. 'It's almost gotten to the point that it looks like not if we're going to have an accident, it's when.'"

Comment: This is such great news for son (Score 4, Interesting) 270

by Loundry (#45480517) Attached to: Airline Pilots Rely Too Much On Automation, Says Safety Panel

My son is 13 years old and has been training to be a pilot since he was 11. He has taken off and landed a small airplane (with the PIC in the airplane with him, of course) quite a few times. It just goes to show that landing an airplane isn't as difficult as some people think it is ... it just requires focus and passion. Both of which my son has in spades when he's flying an airplane.

This news story struck me as wonderful news. My son has wanted to be a pilot since he was three years old. If you are one of the lucky few (I am not) who knew what he wanted to be for his whole life, then I envy you as much as I envy my son for having a singular great dream. The notion of drones and computerized pilots scares me because it threatens that dream. Stories in which autopilots and drones are slandered make me happy.


How Elon Musk Approaches IT At Tesla 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-this dept.
onehitwonder writes "In short, they build it themselves. When Tesla Motors needed to improve the back-end software that runs its business, CEO Elon Musk decided not to upgrade the company's SAP system. Instead, he told his CIO, Jay Vijayan, to have the IT organization build a new back-end system, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company's team of 25 software engineers developed the new system in about four months, and it provided the company with speed and agility at a time when it was experiencing costly delivery delays on its all-electric Model S."

Comment: Re:Brazil has a lot of things going for it ... (Score 4, Insightful) 260

by ospirata (#44946879) Attached to: President of Brazil Lashes Out At NSA Espionage Programs In Speech To UN
What's the connection with Brazil's human right abuse with spying? This information has absolutely no connection with being subject of industrial spying. Moreover, the country has indeed managed to promote equality. It rescued more than 20 million people from above the poverty line in the last four years. If this isn't a big accomplishment to reduce inequality, I definitely can't know what it is.

Comment: The anger is justified (Score 4, Insightful) 260

by ospirata (#44946827) Attached to: President of Brazil Lashes Out At NSA Espionage Programs In Speech To UN
The policy of saying "If it was anyone else than USA it would be worse" is simply ridiculous. Or even to mention concerns about terrorism to justify such spying.
As many are forgetting, let's summarize the real reason for such anger: industrial spying (towards Petrobras, Brazil's biggest company) and spying over a government with more than a century of friendly relations.
The article points this as well: "As host to the UN headquarters, the US has been attacked from the general assembly many times in the past, but what made Rousseff's denunciation all the more painful diplomatically was the fact that it was delivered on behalf of large, increasingly powerful and historically friendly state."

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 1) 761

by Loundry (#43286645) Attached to: Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

Especially if your children are at the age where they instinctively put things in their mouths, you need to watch them at all times.

Spoken like a true non-parent.

There are NO parents who watch their children "at all times". How long does it take for a child to pick something up, put it in their mouth, and swallow it? About a second, perhaps. If you really "need" to watch a toddler "at all times", think about all the things that are difficult to do because you have to be hawk-like hovering over the child like a neurotic poltergeist without even one second of inattentiveness. Things like: cooking, watching the road (instead of the child) while driving, sex, and probably most importantly, watching your other children.

Comment: Re:This is insane (Score 1) 90

by IgnoramusMaximus (#42428349) Attached to: Ban on Certain Samsung Products Appears Likely ITC Ruling

This is not what the patent system was intended to do, this is madness.

On the contrary, this is precisely the intended effect i.e. elevation of power and profits of the only group that really matters in this: the lawyers. You will take note that irrespective of what comes out of this (Apple loses, Samsung loses, whatever) the lawyers (and bankers - all that money has to get deposited somewhere - also just think of the magnitude of "transaction fees") get their money. A huge pile of money.

In a society run by lawyers the only people who really count are lawyers. Every other activity (such as producing something actually useful) must somehow benefit the true power holders. Thus "rules" are made, which from your perspective might appear "insane", which advertise themselves as "justice" or "promotion of this or that noble goal" to make them defensible to and palatable by the plebs, but simply say "you shall suck a lawyer's dick" once you decipher all the implications of the lawyerly priesthood's "legalise" code in which these "rules" were written.

And since most Western societies are overrun with a whole pyramid of classes of parasites such as lawyers or "financial industry" creatures the pooch is pretty much screwed - at least until the next Great Fuckup (probably an economic collapse the way things are going but its anyone's guess really).

Comment: IOS6 means surrendering some rights to free speech (Score 1) 143

by Loundry (#42360577) Attached to: iOS 6 Adoption Rates Soar Following Google Maps Release

I jailbreak my IOS device for one very important reason: /etc/hosts. This is VERY important to me. If I access an internet resource, there's nothing stopping it from telling my device, "Hey, also get this other resource without asking the user for permission!" In other words, it speaks on my behalf. My right to free speech also means freedom from compulsory speech. /etc/hosts means that I can control which resources are accessed on my behalf.

Apple (and all other money-making enterprises) hate this notion because it interferes with their potential profit. This is why we have to rely on jailbreaking to restore these free speech rights. My IOS5 device is jailbroken, but I cannot get an untethered jailbreak for IOS6.

IANAL. Doesn't matter. This is a philosophical issue.

Comment: Users aren't that crazy about privacy (Score 1) 529

by Loundry (#42241413) Attached to: Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me

What a tragedy. Ubuntu's focus on ease of use was such a great leap forward for Linux usability. Now they've lost the plot and forgot about their constituency, instead trying to drive more and more revenue with things the user's don't actually want.

Does anyone want Facebook? How is it that Facebook is free?

When users want "privacy", they want to make sure that their location isn't tracked ... until they want to be able to share that with their friends and know where there is an available parking space. To say that by sacrificing our privacy we will have a much richer lifestyle is a tautology by this point. For example, it's happened more than once that I found someone on the Internet using a service that they didn't expressly consent to, and they were delighted that I found them because they had been looking for me and were unable to find me. What was more important -- that I respected their privacy, or that we have a newly-kindled friendship?

When RMS talks about "privacy", keep in mind the monk-like lifestyle he leads.

I'd be willing to accept an "apples and oranges" rejoinder.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn