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Comment: How's the interplanetary travel? (Score 1) 161

by node636 (#42923621) Attached to: California Professors Unveil Proposal To Attack Asteroids With Lasers
I wholly support this discussion because it is a logical stepping stone and a small segway from the question, "What happens when the object is too large to protect ourselves". By that time I hope we haven't squandered the resources required to get off this planet and are well on our way to achieving such a feat.

Comment: blast from the past (Score 1) 228

by node636 (#40638331) Attached to: Rethinking How Congress Pushes Copyright Laws
Can anyone else recall similar practices, albeit in different venues? The U.S. (and everyone else) wants to do for intellectual property what Britain did for Earth during the 16th - 19th centuries, control it. (Britain ruled roughly 1/5 of the Earth's population) The recent moves by US, UN, Britain, and (speculation) China are power grabs for the newest financial tool, intellectual property. The best part is IP, as a concept, is not a tool of financial gain, it is a tool of creation and a safe guard of innovation. Meanwhile, the common man is kept in the dark intellectually and financially. Ironically and paradoxically, the largest potential capital of a nation is simultaneously the biggest threat to the established regime. The people of every nation have the ability to act collectively and pursue any goal. The government has the task of incentivising cooperation while minimizing criticism and collaboration. These become increasingly difficult the further divergent a government is from the governed. TLDR: Business as usual, governments making power grabs.

Comment: accountability (Score 1) 429

by node636 (#39327385) Attached to: Have Online Comment Sections Become Specious?
Flame wars, trolls, and other santorum ooze up everywhere because there is nothing dissuading commenters from posting. Most mechanisms that attempt to enforce accountability are also open to abuse or require too much effort. possible solution: Forum Mod AI and either track 'anonymous' posts or not allow them at all. You make too many comments that are deemed useless, your account is suspended and eventually deleted. Since user data is already being tracked, cross-referencing new user applications with old user data, would be a viable option. Perhaps even logging last known IP addresses of banned accounts only, to add another field for cross reference. The computation required to achieve this would be offset somewhat by the decrease in comment volume.

Comment: What we can do about it? (Score 1) 630

by node636 (#38844645) Attached to: America's Future Is In Software, Not Hardware
go read Patent Failure by James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer. the state of software patents is abysmal. Why would anyone want to get into an industry dominated by the best lawyers not the best ideas and implementations? Serious software patent reform is needed if the software industry is going to lift the U.S. out of this manufacturing mire.

Comment: the elephant in the room (Score 1) 68

by node636 (#38373398) Attached to: Amazon Granted Location Tracking Patent
I'm going to point out the pink elephant in the corner - software patents. I'm ignoring the distinction between various patents used to protect software, as this argument holds to all patents that are applied to software. Patents were meant to protect an invention. What is invented? A machine (machine, in the broadest sense) that produces a new composition of matter and/or the new composition itself. Both of which have value of greater or longitudinal quality when compared with similar compositions and are subject to patent protection on the grounds they are non-obvious and inventive. I think software patents like the above are not inventive. In the virtual world data is the commodity and software operates on data. In the same way inventions often operate on physical mediums like matter or organizations of people. To invent something in the virtual world (in code) is not the same as in physical medium. On that note, Beauregard claims should have never been allowed. Patents like the above do not describe anything new or non-obvious; they translate, aggregate, or display data. At no point do they produce new valuable data, and thus do not qualify for patent protection. While they do produce something of value in the physical world. If we accept the argument that to invent in the physical or virtual world means fundamentally different things, then how can a patent of the virtual be justified by the physical. In addition, they are non-obvious because they do not produce new data, they dress up the data gathered. If someone were to change what a machine looked like, but not how the machine worked or what it accomplished, it wouldn't be patentable. Unfortunately, analogous software patents are granted frequently .The patent system can't figure out how to define software patents and in their wake poor patents and predatory practices have abounded.

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