Most of the remaining MPEG LA patents that matter run out in Q1 2014. They have others, but most of them are on features added to MPEG-4 late, ones that aren't needed in a browser's decoder, such as interlace support and decoding of images with errors.
Ok, I need to expand a bit on my excessively long post on education some time back.
The first thing I am going to clarify is streaming. This is not merely distinction by speed, which is the normal (and therefore wrong) approach. You have to distinguish by the nature of the flows. In practice, this means distinguishing by creativity (since creative people learn differently than uncreative people).
While I am all for automation, Kiva is about as dehumanizing a system as I could imagine possible.
Agreed. Kiva is one of the most blatant examples of "Machines should think, people should work". The intelligence in the system is in computers. All the humans do is reach into the bin the laser pointer points to, take out an item, wave it under a bar code scanner, and put it in the output bin which has a light on. It takes 15 minutes to learn the job (really, about 90 seconds, but you get a little faster with practice). There's no hope of promotion, and it's only a temporary job until the picking robots are developed.
Welcome to the future.
US: Patent trolling is legal, but it ought to be harder and less profitable. runs off to legislate
EU: Patent trolling is legal, but we urge companies not to do anything we might interpret as anti-trustish. wags finger at Nokia
I'd say that the US is trying to do something about trolls, and the EU is just talking, judging from the article.
Innovation != Invention.
Wiz invents. Jobs innovated. When combined, that can be a powerful combination. You will find that the majority of the best work done has come from pairing inventors with innovators, in the arts as well as the sciences. (See John Lennon and Paul McCartney for details.) There have been successful solo acts (the guy who invented the clockwork radio, that Dyson fellow, Brunell, Thomas Telford, etc) but they are rarer and tend to be known for one or two key ideas, with everything else being variants. Successful variants, as a rule, but not genius ones. Just one Great, Original Idea. (The movie A Beautiful Mind broke with John Nash's actual history with that theme, but it is core to the solo creative genius.)
If you want an ideas farm (schedule: unknown, product: unknown), you need two minds, three at most, that can feed off each other constructively. Actually, it tends to be more a tornado than a farm. You do not want a think-tank, just two or three visionaries where the methods are rational and the madness quarternary (complex is old-hat).
This should be very effective if it works. Which it should. Automated manufacturing usually takes a lot of startup time. Production lines have to be designed, fabricated, and carefully installed with everything aligned properly.
There's already a big success in this area - Kiva Systems. They make those little mobile robots used for order processing. Kiva already is handling about 20% of online orders, and Amazon bought the company recently. Setting up a warehouse for Kiva is simple - all you really need is a big flat floor. You put down markers for robot guidance, bring in the shelving units, the charging stations, and the human order-picking stations, which are all standard components, hook everything up to the servers, and go. No need to fabricate and install complex conveyor systems. No need for on-site robot repair techs - all the Kiva robots are interchangeable, so you have spares, and you can just send them back to Kiva HQ (which is small) for repairs.
Agreed. Most of my thinking has been directed towards different topologies of society. People aren't either creative or not, brilliant artists don't necessarily make brilliant civil engineers (as demonstrated by architects on a regular basis). Brilliant programmers aren't necessarily brilliant writers (as demonstrated by documentation). So the problem becomes one of encouraging creativity where it is real and encouraging standardization where, like Nero with his poetry and music, attempted creativity is the worst of all possible worlds.
Ok, how to deal with the inevitable flaws that creep in? Scientific method. Ideas should be tested, scrutinized, bugfixed, using known methods that work with creative ideas. If the idea survives, it is good. If the idea breaks irreparably, time for a new idea.
Schools? Dealt with that elsewhere. Recap, though: Stream, both above and below average, per subject. If you are not convinced ability in a subject is adequate differentiation, stream in two dimensions, with creativity being the second. Yes, this costs more money. Raid the bloody spy agency's orc division or something. They have far too much money and time on their hands, pump it into schools. All of it, if possible. But even a 9x increase in budget for education will allow enough flexibility to give you 5x the number of truly brilliant people in the workplace, and double the number of creative supergeniuses.
Having once written for HyperCard, I'm glad it's gone. It had some syntax in common with COBOL. ADD 1 TO N is valid COBOL and valid HyperTalk. The data access in Hypercard (put the second word of name into last_names) was worse than COBOL.
If you used card names instead of card numbers, the program ran much slower.
The cited article is interesting, but he never gets into Bitcoin's "contract" capabiilty. There have been proposals to add mechanisms to Bitcoin so that you could send Bitcoins to someone, but they couldn't spend them until the sender committed the transaction. This provides a way to insure you get the goods when you order something.
So far, that's a future feature, not a usable one. This is why Bitcoin remains the scammer's paradise - anonymous, irrevocable remote money transfer. There's little risk of annoying lawsuits, cops, or armies of angry customers with pitchforks coming after you.
As a result, more than half of Bitcoin "exchanges" have gone under, usually taking customer funds with them.
Most alternative reactor designs have some major flaw. Sodium reactors have sodium fires. Pebble-bed reactors have pebble jams. (An experimental one in Germany is such a mess there's no way to fully decommission it.) Helium gas-cooled reactors leak helium. (Fort St. Vrain was converted from nuclear to natural gas because of that.) One of the painful lessons of long-life nuclear power plants is that what goes on inside the reactor vessel has to be really, really simple. Anything complex in there will break. It's being shot full of holes at the atomic level, after all. (See "hydrogen embrittlement").
Pressurized water reactors and boiling water reactors at least have only water to deal with. The fuel rods are solid rods. The thing is basically simple, although the plumbing gets insanely complex. Even then, big accidents have happened.
Some of the fancier reactor designs require an associated chemical plant to reprocess the materials. This is a pain if you're in the power generation business, and a source of leaks and risks.
Show me someone building an airplane. Oh sorry, you need an FAA license for that...
Check out the Experimental Aircraft Association. Visit the Oshkosh Fly-In. FAA regulations on experimental aircraft are quite lenient. You can't carry passengers or fly over heavily populated areas, which is reasonable enough. For flight test, there's the Mojave Air and Space Port. "My job is to give people permission. Every day in the skies over Mojave and on the ground at Mojave Air & Space Port, people take enormous risks, which someday will yield great things for all humanity." -- Stuart Witt, CEO, Mojave Air & Space Port.
How about a rocket?
"You want to test a rocket engine? This is a place where you can do that." -- Board of Directors, Mojave Air and Space Port. SpaceShip One and various X-Prize trials have launched from Mojave. Rotary Rocket flew from there, although not very far. I know people at TechShop building upper stage engines for orbital insertion.
Flying car? Forget it...
There are several ultralight helicopter kits. Quadrotors seem to get bigger each year. Thrust-type VTOLs need a lot of power, which usually means jet engines, which means a flying car will cost about as much as a small bizjet, which limits the market. Paul Moller built a flying car; it doesn't work, but that's Moller's problem, for which he's been making excuses for 40 years. I had some hopes for Urban Aeronautics out of Israel, which was showing a non-flying mockup in 2010, but they never made it fly.
Government is not preventing you from doing any of these things.
The outer limits of knowledge will always be filled with low-hanging fruit. It is only perceived as difficult because it's at the outer limits. Maybe if they'd called it the Twilight Zone instead it would have helped. The diminishing returns is only true if you scour the same patch of ground time and time again, working towards completeness within some minute specific topic. You will never reach 100% completion and some problems are so specific that they are better solved "just in time" rather than in advance then forgotten.
Don't people need to understand all the details before they can get to the outer edges? No, not really. The number line is a special case of an infinite group, but it can be mastered by any five year old. By age six, in Britain, most kids will have plotted graphs, worked on Venn diagrams and set theory, and learned that you can transform one operation into one or more others (eg: multiply = multiple adds). By seven, they'll probably have done mappings from one group into another.
If you can comprehend an "add one machine" that takes an input and adds one, then you can comprehend a machine where you pass in the value and a mapping. it's exactly the same, except you don't have to remember what adding is, or even what one is.
So you can jump a decade, by skipping specific transforms and jumping straight to the abstract and a bunch of lookup table.
The field goes on forever. The local bits are well-mapped, sure, but the outer edges are mostly blank spaces. And beyond? Just "Here be dragons" on the charts.
This is true for every discipline, be it science, the humanities or anything else. Schools teach kids to stay in the safe zones, where it is boring. I wouldn't call it safe, mistakes can and do kill people, but it is well-understood danger. There is no incentive amongst the beancounters to remove the dangers (it's costly, and besides, most of those killed are worryingly smart and might find New Stuff to think of) and there is no incentive within schools to push people out into the fringes (textbooks contain errors, especially creationist ones, so it has nothing to do with accurate information).
By the time a child is 16, they aught to have contributed one original idea in something. It is perfectly doable and would take away the fear of New Stuff.
If you looked, they would show that for each indicator, one or two SNPs were involved. These would be identified, along with the standard values and your values.
To determine actual probability, you must multiply (not add) the probability for each indicator, remembering that not all indicators are known.
In the case of Alzheimer's, where external chemicals (aluminium being one) are involved, the indicators mean nothing until you exceed toxic levels of the chemicals. There is nothing to trigger. 100% probability with no neurotoxin is the same as 0% with no neurotoxin. Don't blame me for poor schooling given to people.
23&Me could have done a lot better, I don't consider it faultless, but when PEBKAC, there's nothing they can do.
23&Me are very slow on updating ancestry information and weren't lightning fast on health data. Nonetheless, their data was clearly presented and had clearly stated confidence levels.
Promethease are less well-known to me. I've used their service but I know nothing about the quality of their results, frequency of updates, reaction times when new studies are published, etc. If anyone could fill me in on that, that would be great.
In fact, if 23&Me just moved their health system to an external website with import facility, you'd have the same configuration as with 23&Me + Promethease but with a data set that could evolve through self-reporting. Result - no change from b before, but legal because the DNA company just provides data.