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Submission + - U.S. Senate targets patent trolls 1 1

jeffkoch writes: Last year, the United States Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation to combat patent trolls when it was killed by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Congressional-insider newspaper Roll Call reports today that, “Knowing Reid would no longer control the Senate's legislative schedule in 2015, staff for John Cornyn, (a Republican from Texas), and Charles E. Schumer, (a Democrat from New York)”, began work in February to assemble a new bill and to build support among fellow members of the Senate. Patent law is usually not a partisan issue, and President Barack Obama has called for getting an overhaul to his desk on several occasions including in his 2014 State of the Union speech.
The last overhaul of United States patent law, the America Invents Act, took several years to be developed. The U.S. Congress is likely to act on the proposed legislation before they recess in August.
“Patent trolls are taking a system meant to drive innovation and instead using it to stifle job-creating businesses around the country. Main Street stores, tech startups and more are being smothered by the abuse that is all too common in our patent system, and it’s time for that to end,” Schumer said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill shifts the legal burden back onto those who would abuse the patent system in order to make a quick buck at the expense of businesses that are playing by the rules.”

Comment 6 degrees of separation? (Score 1) 149 149

I fondly remember this - it was way better than Doom, and the only game I really ever played a lot and mastered, thanks to my own customized keyboard layout that let me move in several combinations of those "6 degrees" at once.

I assume by 6 degrees they mean the 3 ways of sliding/strafing (forward-backward, up/down, and left-right), + the 3 ways of rotating (pitch, yaw, roll).

It just sounds funny to hear "6 degrees" - it makes me think of 1/60th of a circle - not exactly freedom.

(Loved using the University's networks to play with a few friends late at night.)

Submission + - The last panoramas from the lunar surface

StartsWithABang writes: It's been nearly 43 years since humans walked on the lunar surface, and while we've mapped the full sphere of the Moon in unprecedented detail since, nothing compares to the final views that astronauts on the surface experienced. Go relive the panoramic magic here, including the final one ever taken from the Moon.

Comment Re:The majority? (Score 1) 277 277

I second this [citation needed].

I for one welcome our semi-annual time-changing overlords.

Except when it's "spring forward" on the weekend of the Niagara Falls Ringette Tournament, which is a bad time for the kids you coach to lose an extra hour of sleep before an early morning Sunday game.

Comment This is way too lilttle too late (Score 1) 285 285

China plans to keep INCREASING emissions for the next 16 years?

Aren't we already pretty much past the point of no return for dramatic climate change now? So when we're all in 2030, with far more noticeable effects of global warming than we have seen yet today, we're all going to dance and cheer because now China's emissions will start going down, which might mean benefits a few decades out from there? And they're going to say "Thanks so much, people of 2014" for making sure that our current suffering due to sea level rise and breathing in air pollution is going to start reversing around 2045!

Comment Re:That works fine if you manage to nip it in the (Score 2, Interesting) 381 381

> It isn't that strange. Because if you did listen to the news or watch television, then no, you didn't know about the 'threat', because what has been repeated time after time is 'there is no threat, relax, we can deal with this, we're prepared'.

No, it is strange. The "there is no threat, relax" message is not actually said in those words, (but close enough), is addressed to the non-medical public, and the motive to reduce panic in the populace is a correct one. The "we're prepared" part means that "we" medical staff, supposedly INCLUDING nurses in Texas, have an ounce of intelligence and training, and are in fact prepared. If the first nurse in Texas had bothered to be aware, training or not, of the outbreak in Africa, and made sure the Doctor was informed of the patient self-reporting that he had been to Liberia, none of this would have happened on US soil. What kind of idiot doesn't realize that it's CRITICAL to pass on this information repeatedly until it is acknowledged? I could see that, with no nurse training whatsoever.

Now we are one or two steps perilously closer to that critical mass where you can't track down everyone that all the people had contact with, as mentioned by in earlier comment.

Comment Are you joking? (Score 1) 579 579

First of all, anyone who didn't realize that drivers will make use of this information, is not worthy to be working on, or studying, this project.

Secondly, this information is USEFUL to drivers and should be INTENTIONALLY given to them. I personally slow down for a lot more intersections than I used to because I can see in advance that I won't be able to make it. Yes, in a minority of situations, I speed up , so that I get through the intersection rather than miss it by a second or two, but I don't do this at the expense of safety, why would I? Oh right, I forgot, many drivers do not have a clue as to how to pay attention to all aspects of their on-road environment, but we let them drive anyway because driving is important to North American society on the whole.

The solution is not to remove information from competent drivers. Remove the incompetent drivers!

P.S. It also wouldn't kill cities to have better light timing (I'm looking at you, @citywaterloo) so that drivers don't feel so frustrated at being constantly robbed of time and momentum for poor reasons, and then maybe you'd have fewer people making bad judgement calls and choosing to race a light counter when they are too far back to safely do so.

"It's the best thing since professional golfers on 'ludes." -- Rick Obidiah