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Comment: Designing models for 3D printers (Score 1) 733

by ciaran_o_riordan (#46739067) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Today's mass-scale manufacturing will collapse, and needs will change, so my bet is that it will be very useful to be the guy who can design models to be fed to 3D printers.

This is going to become a useful skill anyway in the next few decades, so it's not a bad investment for a hobby today.

Will lawyers be useful? (I know many slashdotters will laugh and say we'll be better off without them, but the new forms of society will need new rules and a new justice system - and programmers would do this as badly as lawyers would program.)

Comment: Re:The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (Score 1) 144

Last I checked (a few years ago), the pretty much universally accepted theory of muscle growth is that muscle fibres suffer micro-tears during exercise, and these heal back slightly stronger than before. Bodybuilders inflict more micro-tears on their muscle fibres than other exercisers and then try to maximise nutrition, rest, and hormones afterwards to maximise the healing.

The observations might be valid in some sense (e.g. not incorrect) but it looks to me like an insignificant finding that's been dressed up to get press attention. I mean, I don't think anyone was under the impression that all-nighters were somehow good for you, or even neutral. A good question would be how much damage they do, and more importantly, what nutrition or what should be done before or after an all-nighter to reduce the negative effects.

This researcher's next shocking discovery will be that crossing the road carries a risk of death.

Comment: The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (Score 1) 144

> anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable
> in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

The article itself (or at least the blurb) is sensationalist in its use of "brain damage".

If I never did any all nighters, ok, maybe I would have avoided some "measurable" but insignificantly small amount of damage, but I would have failed some important exams and missed some project deadlines.

Similarly, I won't be giving up drink just because some study says it's not good for the brain.

Comment: Re:both a misconception and irrelevant (Score 1) 105

> Narrowing what the Federal Circuit thinks is patentable, yes. Narrowing what the Supreme Court thinks is patentable, no.

The Supreme Court rarely narrows what it thinks. They look for ways to judge each case in a way that (they can claim) is consistent with prior rulings.

The Supreme Court had never ruled on the subject matter of Mayo or Myriad before. Until they rule on something, the patents are "valid" if the PTO grants them and if the courts uphold them. In those two cases, the Supreme Court's ruling means the PTO has to stop granting a certain category of patents, and the lower courts have to stop upholding them against product developers. That means patentable subject matter got narrowed.

Comment: Re:both a misconception and irrelevant (Score 1) 105

> we can see pretty well which way they're leaning, based on Bilski and other cases.

If you check, you'll find that the last three subject matter cases taken by the Supreme Court have resulted in *narrowing* what is patentable.

The Mayo and Myriad cases narrowed subject matter very explicitly, and while I originally read Bilski was neutral, it did actually cause the CAFC to start rejecting certain types of previously-accepted patents, and Bilski is also the reason we're seeing this case today.

Comment: Re:both a misconception and irrelevant (Score 3, Insightful) 105

> You can patent a new method for ranking relevant web pages in search results.

Well, no. That's only the patent office's point of view. We don't know what the Supreme Court thinks about this, and that's what this case is going to decide.

Comment: p.s. (Score 1) 921

by ciaran_o_riordan (#46357547) Attached to: Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

P.S. In that last sentence I meant "person" in the general sense, not specifically the person mentioned in this particular article. What I'm criticising is that the article portrays the behaviour of filming people without their consent as being perfectly fine, and that people who object just "don't understand". (Don't understand what??)

Comment: I don't want people wearing Google Glass in bars (Score 5, Insightful) 921

by ciaran_o_riordan (#46357455) Attached to: Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

I wouldn't be aggressive, but I also think it's unacceptable that people film me constantly when I'm trying to relax. Especially in bars and similar places where I have high expectations of being away from the scrutiny of everyone but the people I've chosen to socialise with.

Pointing cameras at people (and optionally saying "I swear it's not recording"), in the form of phones or Glass or whatever, is simply a really anti-social thing to do.

So is aggression and theft, but one wrong doesn't mean we should turn the other person into a white knight as this article tries to do.

Comment: How it happened: very encouraging for anti-swpat (Score 5, Insightful) 235

by ciaran_o_riordan (#46256773) Attached to: FLOSS Codecs Emerge Victorious In Wikimedia Vote

There was an initial surge of pro-mpeg votes by people connected to the WikiMedia Foundation and the technical team which would have been implementing it, then there were many days of mostly anti-mpeg voting when normal Wikipedia contributors heard about this idea.

As someone who has been campaigning for many years against software patents, it was very encouraging to see that the general Wikipedia populous (i.e. after the initial pro-mpeg surge from employees and pre-briefed technicians) was two-thirds against the use of patented formats.

Comment: Re:...but if you want free software to improve... (Score 1) 1098

by ciaran_o_riordan (#46086599) Attached to: FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

> Since the programmer is a subset of the end-user and the
> programmer gets less freedom

Programmers get the same freedoms as normal users. Private modification isn't restricted by any free software licence.

The GPL puts extra requirements on distributors, and in particular distributors of modified versions. Someone who modifies and redistributes is not a mere end-user.

As I said, the users - the people who download and run the program - get the same freedoms. And this is also true for programmers who make private modifications.

Comment: Re:FSF are working on it; Scans accepted for US + (Score 1) 1098

by ciaran_o_riordan (#46072431) Attached to: FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

> 20 years of GPL and legal advice is still coming in;

This has nothing to do with the GPL. You were talking about copyright assignment.

> therefor do not wonder that big non-profit academic organizations
> still consider GPL varieties "non-green" licenses:
> http://geant3.archive.geant.ne...

I've never heard of GEANT's software licence list. Since I've been working in the field for ten years, I can assure you it's not a reference. And if you read their document, you'll see it's based on an error. They classify just BSD, MIT, and Apache as "green" because they think that with every other licence "further authorisation is required". Nonsense. Somebody should contact them.

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