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Comment Solution for patent reform - knowledgable judges (Score 5, Interesting) 153

The judge in question has learned a lot about patent law (he's only been a district judge for 4 years). He threw out the cases, and invited the defendants to file for attorney fees.
The threat of having to pay attorney fees if they lose will stop patent trolls dead. Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute will take on a new meaning when you can get the millions back.

Comment Cry me a river (Score 4, Interesting) 457

Sun destroyed the market for Java.
Sun wanted to sell hardware, and they designed Java to run well with their hardware. Sun's ideal was the network is the computer. Java is/was a client language that could run on a lot of platforms, with in Sun's mind a Sun server at the other end. Didn't quite work out that way. Sun was going belly up, Oracle bought the carcass. Sun gave Java away. You can't put the jinni back in the bottle.
Java was worthless when Oracle bought Sun. They're engaged in revisionist history trying to milk a dead cow.

Submission + - Why Are There Still So Many Jobs?

Paul Fernhout writes: MIT economist David H Autor has written an article entitled "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation". His article is a good read to understand the best of emerging mainstream economics thinking on technology and employment.

I feel his article leaves out some fundamental political aspects of the situation like I brought together in "Beyond a Jobless Recovery: A heterodox perspective on 21st century economics"). His article of course assumes consumer demand is infinite (despite Maslow's hierarchy of needs suggesting people more to more low-cost self-actualization activities over time). It assumes that the business benefits of employing a human will always outweigh the costs for many jobs (despite strikes, lawsuits, quality, illness, turnover). It assumes humans will always have special advantages over AIs and robots. It ignores whether some aspects of the economy (like long pipelines to become a professor) are really needed or are just protectionism. It ignores the social impact of rich/poor divides on working conditions and the operation of a capitalist economy itself. It ignores the value to the worker of the intrinsic nature of the work (i.e. some people may just be less happy in service jobs compared to agriculture or manufacturing). It ignores deeper issues of rethinking work as play (like Bob Black wrote about). It also ignores (incidentally, in relation to humans vs. robots) that "comparative advantage" only applies theoretically when you have "full employment". The article jumps between proving some points with numbers and then making other points as "strong hunches" or by quoting suggestions about technological unemployment from fifty years ago (quoting Herbert Simon). His prescription is of course mostly just more "education" — which is nice job security for a professor. :-) But, within those sorts of limits, it's an excellent article which makes many good points, especially about the dynamics of economic networks as different parts of them are automated. The article has many interesting facts and figures. His points on how jobs are a mix of tasks which different near-term prospects for automation is excellent. And his point about human jobs changing as people work together with automation is well made. So, his article provides a good base for further study and/or rebuttal of the mainstream position. His article could be a good starting point for anyone writing an economic simulation, to see what really happens to economic networks based on distributing the right to consume based on perceived contribution to production as such networks undergo severe stress from automation.

Comment Interesting mod of a waterproof tablet (Score 1) 50

At least one version of the Sony Xperia tablet is waterproof. They also make a waterproof phone.
The issue is chlorine breaks down the the seals. All Google had to do is replace the seals with a chlorine resistant compound.
Xperia have a "glove" mode, so that takes care of that problem.
The result is probably much cheaper than an industrial tablet, or computer.

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