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Comment Re:What makes someone a Troll? (Score 1) 151

Patents were conceived when 17-20 years was a reasonable time to protect something - things were slower to develop and market then.

In the world of software patents, 17-20 months would be a more reasonable time frame. After which point, I would suggest an escalating "patent protection tax." Say you've patented a profitable idea, and at 18 months you're starting to see revenues build. Is it worth $10,000 to continue patent protection? If yes, pay the tax and get your protection continued, if no, let the idea fall to public domain (never to be patentable again). Review again at 36 months, but raise the cost to $20,000, again at 72 months with a cost of $40,000, again at 9 years with a cost of $80,000, and keep doubling the cost of "renewing patent protection" every 3 years until it is more economical to allow the idea into the public domain. Truly valuable patents will be protected for "a nominal fee" while nuisance trolls won't have any way to finance the cost of a submarine long enough to make it pay.

I think the same should be done for copyright - if Mickey Mouse and Lord of the Rings are valuable enough to keep protecting, then pay a tax and keep your exclusive rights, but make sure that the tax increases at a rate substantially higher than inflation, so that, eventually, these things find their way into the public domain.

Comment Re:just a few companies. Pay defendants' legal cos (Score 1) 151

If the system had an escalating charge system like: first suit every month is free, second one you pay, third one you pay double, etc. it could make life more difficult for single entities... they'd have to fragment their identity to make the trolling cost-effective. Then you have to place a suitable cost on fragmenting of identities, which is another thing we've needed for a long time (the cost of creating a shell corporation is just too damn low.)

Comment Re:That may or may not be true... (Score 1) 403

I'm semi serious about Cowspiracy - some numbers thrown around in the movie are clearly off the wall, but they're making a valid case about a valid point: the meat we eat has a bigger impact on the environment than we, and all our factories and cars and planes and ships, do.

If you think clean energy is a hard sell, try convincing the majority of people to eat tofu when they can afford steak.

Comment Re:That may or may not be true... (Score 1) 403

You can't run a petroleum extraction and refinement operation without governments noticing. Governments have the power to levy taxes. It can be done, if enough governments have the political will to do so, and the ones that may not be eager to do so can be influenced to join in lots of ways. Political will comes from the people who put governments in power - in theory: the voters, in practice: the people who control the voters opinions via education, propaganda, and in some places extortion and bribery. There are also dictatorships and other forms of government - but, in the current global picture, democracies (including quasi-democratic oligarchies and representative republics) are the majority controlling force, if the "democracies" decide something, the dictators and others can be brought in line.

For a fun look at another angle of the problem, see "Cowspiracy" - but, just because kooky movies make the future sound all doom and gloom - doesn't mean the kooky movies aren't right.

Even if we get the political will to convert from fossil fuels to something cleaner, we're also going to need to fix other problems, ultimately including the population boom.

Comment Re:That may or may not be true... (Score 4, Insightful) 403

If the "externalized costs" were incorporated into the prices you use to make your decisions, then you would decide more wisely.

The cost of a pack of cigarettes isn't just the cost to grow, process and deliver the tobacco to you, it is also the cost of treating lung cancer - not to mention the social cost of pissing off everyone who doesn't want to die prematurely.

The cost of continuing to pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere isn't just the cost of extracting the fossil fuels and using them, it's the cost of relocating our cities to higher ground, and other very expensive consequences. We may pass this cost off to future generations and get away (dead) without paying for it, but it is a price that will be paid.

Comment We've always be slow... (Score 4, Interesting) 403


Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands.

Comment Re:Well, that was quick (Score 1) 181

Wow, yet another /. poster who assumes that everybody is arguing with them... just throwing some data out there - facts are impartial, they aren't always thrown out there to make people look bad - these are facts from my life, not some crap I looked up on Wikipedia.

I thought I was agreeing with you, but, if you'd rather, take it as an argument and vent some more.

Comment Re:Not the only factor? (Score 2) 324

It's the cloud, man - streaming from the cloud. We're all 4G here, we can install apps from the cloud at will, and who keeps copies of media anymore? That's so 2005...

Soon as you shoot that HD video in the jungles of Timbuktu, stream it out 4G to the cloud - they've got 4G in Timbuktu, don't they?

Newsflash Cupertino: we don't even have decent 4G coverage in the American mid-west. Your 16G phone will be a POS for anybody who ever leaves a city, even just for vacation.

Comment Re:The Nazis Could Have Won (Score 1) 295

The bomb would have changed that.

Holding mainland Europe (even without the bomb falling on your key strategic supplies) for a decade would have been a miserable siege exercise for all involved, but ultimately futile for the ones holding the tiny, war torn continent.

For Hitler to conquer, anything really, he would have had to win "hearts and minds" and convert lots of people to his cause... or at least not piss off the rest of the world enough to try to stop him. Doesn't seem likely that would have happened, unless he somehow altered his propaganda message to work for people without blonde hair and blue eyes.

Comment Re:I feel you... (Score 1) 283

So, they're keeping up with Apple then?

We had an iPad 1 (original, maybe 6 months post-launch) - the OS updates, etc. have left it worth less than when it was new - stuff that it used to do, it doesn't anymore.

IMHO, this behavior should be compensated with a refund of the purchase price. It's like your car dealer filling your gas tank with bricks every time you come in for (mandatory) service.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.