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Submission + - Patent Failure

mjh writes: "Tim Lee is subbing for Atlantic blogger Megan McArdle while the latter is on vacation. Tim has done a 3 part review (part 1, part 2, part 3) of a book called Patent Failure. The review does a pretty good job of laying out the groundwork for how patents can be successful, where patents meet that criteria and where they fail. It also makes (IMHO) sensible suggestions on how to reform the patent system to get better results. Tim's conclusion (wikipedia links added by me):

I hope it's clear why I'm uncomfortable with the analogy between patents and traditional property rights. Outside the pharmaceutical industry — and especially in the software industry — the patent system is more like a rent-seeking operation for the benefit of the patent bar than it is a functioning system of property rights. It's possible that the reforms I suggest above (and others Bessen and Meurer propose in their book) could improve things sufficiently that patents will work as property. But until that happens, I think it's a category error to regard patents as a type of property right.

Feed Engadget: SunRocket postpones service shutoff until August 5 (engadget.com)

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Customers of failed VoIP provider SunRocket finally got some answers today after the service suddenly shut down ten days ago -- a message posted on the company's website officially broke the news that service is being discontinued and apologized to customers. SunRocket has brokered a deal to sell off some assets and keep things going until August 5th, and TeleBlend and 8x8 have apparently committed to providing former SunRocket customers with special rate plans. This pretty much kills those rumors that SunRocket had been acquired, so anyone feeling the burn had better port their numbers right quick -- after August 5th they'll just be a memory.

[Via PC World]

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Submission + - News Helicopters Crash

wombatmobile writes: Where I live, the law prohibits the use of a hand held mobile phone while driving a car.

In Phoenix, AZ, apparently some people are allowed to fly a helicopter, broadcast news competitively, and control their own airspace simultaneously whilst presenting a story to an audience in real time.

Which got me wondering, what are the neurophysiological limits of multitasking?

Might these limits ever be measured and quantified?