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Comment: I don't understand Scalia's logic here. (Score 4, Insightful) 78

by Joe Gillian (#49779499) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Patent Troll

The logic the majority used in ruling on this case seems pretty simple (unless I'm totally off): the patent troll had a patent that was still legally valid because there had been no court challenge to declare it invalid. Because the patent was still legally valid, the infringement of the patent is still a valid cause of action in a lawsuit.

Scalia's logic is that you can bypass a legal challenge over a patent that might be ruled invalid in court because it was never valid in the first place. The question is, though, how would you know whether the patent is valid without the court saying so?

Comment: Should be banned in education (Score 1) 320

by Joe Gillian (#49778963) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned

I've seen plenty of college courses where the professor makes a powerpoint and teaches to the powerpoint, to the point where the person in front of the room could be any person off the street with zero knowledge in the subject they're teaching. The worst example of this I've seen was a physics class in which the professor was not only teaching to the powerpoint, he was teaching to a powerpoint made by the publisher of the textbook. That particular class got so bad that a bunch of the students dropped it because they realized they could just download the powerpoint themselves and get the same "education" for free.

Comment: Re:One web site. (Score 4, Interesting) 437

by Joe Gillian (#49778915) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results

I think the fear is more that kids will see this stuff while doing research for school (especially in earlier grades where they don't necessarily know better) and take it for granted. I had a professor in college who showed me a site that popped up when searching for information about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. that was actually run by a racist group, which contained blatantly false information. As I recall, it appeared near the top of Google results at the time, but this was five or six years ago.

I think this kind of stuff should remain up, though. There's the free speech issue, but I think it's a really good way to teach kids how to find proper sources of information.

Comment: Re: They're called trees. (Score 4, Interesting) 128

I don't know how viable these devices are for mass production or what it takes to keep them running, but you could potentially use them in places (building roofs, taller light fixtures in parking lots) where there isn't enough space or it isn't viable to plant trees.

I do recall, however, someone pointing out to me that industrial hemp is more efficient at removing co2 than even some trees.

Comment: Hasn't this been proven to be junk science? (Score 5, Interesting) 313

I can remember reading several articles which stated that cryonics doesn't work because the freezing process is not perfect - it does not stop decomposition, which older frozen specimens were starting to show. Why do people still spend money on this?

Comment: More jobs, not less? (Score 1) 442

So okay, here's what I don't get.

With illegal immigration, the argument is the immigrants are taking jobs no one here wants to do. I can buy that - they're not claiming that illegal immigrants create jobs.

With H1-B visas, Zuckerburg and Ballmer are claiming that more visas will somehow create more jobs. The only way I can see this happening is if companies start paying job applicants to go away so they can apply for more visas.

Can ANYONE make sense of this idea that H1-Bs create jobs?

Comment: Re: Overrated (Score 5, Informative) 200

by Joe Gillian (#49422789) Attached to: Snowden Demystified: Can the Government See My Junk?

I think the "dick pics" line actually really works well. If you think about it from the perspective of the average person, a lot of people buy the NSA's statements that they don't care about the communications of most Americans and that PRISM is necessary to maintain security. After all, a lot of people post everything they do on Facebook or Twitter where anyone can see it.

One of the articles I read on this mentioned that even people who support or don't care about the NSA suddenly cared when they realized that the NSA can see the things they don't post on Facebook (nude pics, sexting, etc).

If framing the NSA's data collection programs as "dick pics" makes more people understand, then I'm all for it.

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." -- Albert Einstein