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Submission + - Japanese Nobel laureate blasts his country's treatment of inventors (sciencemag.org)

schwit1 writes: The Japanese Nobel winner who helped invent blue LEDs, then abandoned Japan for the U.S. because his country's culture and patent law did not favor him as an inventor, has blasted Japan in an interview for considering further legislation that would do more harm to inventors.

In the early 2000s, Nakamura had a falling out with his employer and, it seemed, all of Japan. Relying on a clause in Japan's patent law, article 35, that assigns patents to individual inventors, he took the unprecedented step of suing his former employer for a share of the profits his invention was generating. He eventually agreed to a court-mediated $8 million settlement, moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and became an American citizen. During this period he bitterly complained about Japan's treatment of inventors, the country's educational system and its legal procedures.

..."Before my lawsuit, [Nakamura said] the typical compensation fee [to inventors for assigning patents rights] was a special bonus of about $10,000. But after my litigation, all companies changed [their approach]. The best companies pay a few percent of the royalties or licensing fee [to the inventors]. One big pharmaceutical company pays $10 million or $20 million. The problem is now the Japanese government wants to eliminate patent law article 35 and give all patent rights to the company. If the Japanese government changes the patent law it means basically there would no compensation [for inventors]. In that case I recommend that Japanese employees go abroad."

There is a similar problem with copyright law in the U.S., where changes in the law in the 1970s and 1990s has made it almost impossible for copyrights to ever expire. The changes favor the corporations rather than the individual who might actually create the work.

Submission + - China opens door for full foreign ownership of e-commerce companies (cnet.com)

hackingbear writes: Shanghai's Free Trade Zone entered a new dimension of economic reform on 14 January, allowing foreign investors to fully own e-commerce companies, according to Chinese state-owned media Xinhua News Agency. Previously, foreign investors originally needed a Chinese partner to break into the online shopping market, and were only allowed to have a maximum of 55 percent stake. Currently, the zone, set to be replicated in three other cities, is home to more than 12,000 companies, including 1,677 foreign-funded firms. The Chinese e-retail market is lucrative, with 330 million online shoppers and a trade volume of 5.66 trillion yuan ($910 billion) in the first half of 2014.

Submission + - Samsung "Conroes" the APS-C sensor market (slrlounge.com)

GhostX9 writes: SLR Lounge just posted a first look at the Samsung NX1 28.1 MP interchangeable lens camera. They compare it to Canon and Sony full-frame sensors. Spoiler: The Samsung sensor seems to beat the Sony A7R sensor up to ISO 3200. They attribute this to Samsung's chip foundry. While Sony is using 180nm manufacturing (Intel Pentium III era) and Canon is still using 500nm process (AMD DX4 era), Samsung has gone with 65nm with copper interconnects (Intel Core 2 Duo — Conroe era). Furthermore, Samsung's premium lenses appear to be as sharp or sharper than Canon's L line and Sony's Zeiss line in the center, although the Canon 24-70/2.8L II is sharper at the edge of the frame.

Submission + - Rebranding the nuclear weapons complex won't reform it (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Robert Alvarez has been all over attempts to pull a rug over the serious issues with safety and security within the US nuclear weapons research and production complex. Here he details how the most recent Congressional Advisory Panel to make recommendations was stacked with people with serious conflicts of interest: 'Given that the panel was dominated by members with ties to weapons contractors, it comes as no surprise that the panel's report advocates a reduction in federal oversight of contractors that run the complex, in effect doubling-down on the least-interference policy that is at the heart of so many weapons complex problems.' Alvarez goes on to name some of those panel members, and to describe escalating costs: 'Since 2006, when management of the weapons labs was transferred from the nonprofit University of California to for-profit entities, administrative fees have jumped by 650 percent at Los Alamos. The bloat in the weapons complex is hardly limited to the national labs; the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee has excess capacity that is comparable, in size, to two auto assembly plants.' There is an appalling struggle to bring the nuclear weapons complex under control, which is being fought tooth-and-nail by the private contractors who are making a fortune off 'a Cold War urgency that does not reflect the actual relevance of nuclear weaponry in the 21st century.'

Submission + - House and Senate Science Committees in Creationists Hands. (dallasnews.com) 3

willy everlearn writes: Does anyone else find it scary that we have put creationists on both the House and Senate's science committies? The very core of a creationist's argument is"No matter what evidence you show me my belief will continue." Extend this to Climate Change, Vaccinations or any other of myriad topices these right wing hold as sacred. What can we do about it?

Submission + - Verizon Grateful To Researcher Who Spotted Flaw In MyFiOS App (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: When Randy Westergren, acting out of curiosity, investigated Verizon's Android MyFiOS app for security vulnerabilities, he spotted some big ones, and let the telecom giant know about them. Somewhat amazingly, Verizon didn't react by punishing the messenger, but rather fixed the problems right away and gave him a free year of FiOS for his trouble.

Submission + - GCHQ intercepted emails from The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, and others (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: GCHQ's bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK's largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency's intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

Comment Curious licensing (Score 1) 9

The report claims it's BSD licensed, but the site talks about downloading a 15-day evaluation, and buying a perpetual license for $8, linked to a specific e-mail address.
Poking around in the download, I found a file (i4j_extf_7_en4o59.html) in the distribution containing
  • o Apache License, Version 2.0
  • o [various phrasings of the MIT license]
  • o UBUNTU FONT LICENCE Version 1.0

So what's the deal? I'm not up for searching the various .jars to find a time bomb, but if there's one there, the licensing says you can remove it and go your merry way. (Of course, if you find the product useful, sending $8 would be a reasonable thing to do.)

Submission + - Shanghai Company 3D Prints 6-Story Apartment Building and an Incredible Home (3dprint.com)

ErnieKey writes: Last year, a Shanghai based company made news by 3d printing a bunch of houses. Now that same company, WinSun has accomplished something never seen before. They have successfully 3d printed a 6-story apartment building as well as a very incredibly detailed home. These structures were unveiled at the Suzhou Industrial Park.

Submission + - Climate Change, the Fermi Paradox, and the Fate Of Our Planet

HughPickens.com writes: Astrophysicist Adam Frank has an interesting article in the NYT postulating one answer to the Fermi paradox — that human evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of a sustainability crisis and that climate change is fate and nothing we do today matters because civilization inevitably leads to catastrophic planetary changes. According to Frank, our current sustainability crisis may be neither politically contingent nor unique, but a natural consequence of laws governing how planets and life of any kind, anywhere, must interact. Some excerpts:

The defining feature of a technological civilization is the capacity to intensively “harvest” energy. But the basic physics of energy, heat and work known as thermodynamics tell us that waste, or what we physicists call entropy, must be generated and dumped back into the environment in the process. Human civilization currently harvests around 100 billion megawatt hours of energy each year and dumps 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the planetary system, which is why the atmosphere is holding more heat and the oceans are acidifying.

All forms of intensive energy-harvesting will have feedbacks, even if some are more powerful than others. A study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, found that extracting energy from wind power on a huge scale can cause its own global climate consequences. When it comes to building world-girdling civilizations, there are no planetary free lunches.

By studying these nearby planets, we’ve discovered general rules for both climate and climate change (PDF). These rules, based in physics and chemistry, must apply to any species, anywhere, taking up energy-harvesting and civilization-building in a big way. For example, any species climbing up the technological ladder by harvesting energy through combustion must alter the chemical makeup of its atmosphere to some degree. Combustion always produces chemical byproducts, and those byproducts can’t just disappear.

As we describe in a recent paper, using what’s already known about planets and life, it is now possible to create a broad program for modeling co-evolving “trajectories” for technological species and their planets. Depending on initial conditions and choices made by the species (such as the mode of energy harvesting), some trajectories will lead to an unrecoverable sustainability crisis and eventual population collapse. Others, however, may lead to long-lived, sustainable civilizations.

Submission + - This Temporary Tattoo Measures Glucose Levels In Blood (thescienceworld.com)

Diggester writes: The wretched plague of diabetes has wrought death upon this earth for many decades now and patients wrestle with the disease every day of their lives. It may sound funny to many that someone can’t eat cake or pizza or chocolate for the rest of their lives without worrying about the immediate consequences but it is hell when you can’t enjoy the bounties laid out before you. Thus endeth the sermon; on to the story. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego have invented a temporary tattoo that can read glucose levels in the blood.

Submission + - Laser that is powered by one electron at a time (princeton.edu) 1

Taco Cowboy writes: Princeton University researchers have built a rice grain-sized laser powered by single electrons tunneling through artificial atoms known as quantum dots. The tiny microwave laser, or "maser," is a demonstration of the fundamental interactions between light and moving electrons

The researchers built the device — which uses about one-billionth the electric current needed to power a hair dryer — while exploring how to use quantum dots, which are bits of semiconductor material that act like single atoms, as components for quantum computers

The device demonstrates a major step forward for efforts to build quantum-computing systems out of semiconductor materials, according to co-author and collaborator Jacob Taylor, an adjunct assistant professor at the Joint Quantum Institute, University of Maryland-National Institute of Standards and Technology. "I consider this to be a really important result for our long-term goal, which is entanglement between quantum bits in semiconductor-based devices" Taylor said

The researchers fabricated the double quantum dots from extremely thin nanowires (about 50 nanometers, or a billionth of a meter, in diameter) made of a semiconductor material called indium arsenide. They patterned the indium arsenide wires over other even smaller metal wires that act as gate electrodes, which control the energy levels in the dots

To construct the maser, they placed the two double dots about 6 millimeters apart in a cavity made of a superconducting material, niobium "This is the first time that the team at Princeton has demonstrated that there is a connection between two double quantum dots separated by nearly a centimeter, a substantial distance" Taylor said

When the device was switched on, electrons flowed single-file through each double quantum dot, causing them to emit photons in the microwave region of the spectrum. These photons then bounced off mirrors at each end of the cavity to build into a coherent beam of microwave light

One advantage of the new maser is that the energy levels inside the dots can be fine-tuned to produce light at other frequencies, which cannot be done with other semiconductor lasers in which the frequency is fixed during manufacturing, Petta said. The larger the energy difference between the two levels, the higher the frequency of light emitted

"In this paper the researchers dig down deep into the fundamental interaction between light and the moving electron" Gmachl said. "The double quantum dot allows them full control over the motion of even a single electron, and in return they show how the coherent microwave field is created and amplified. Learning to control these fundamental light-matter interaction processes will help in the future development of light sources"

Submission + - Putin intervenes in price of vodka (but not oil) (independent.co.uk)

monkeyzoo writes: "He stayed strong as the price of oil cratered, but Russian president Vladimir Putin has finally been forced to intervene on an even more critical commodity: vodka. Russia's economy has been rocked by international sanctions and the lowest oil price since 2009, but Putin's announcement, that high vodka prices encourage the production of potentially harmful bootleg spirits and should be capped by the government, is possibly the first sign that economic pressures are getting to him."

It also helps that the price of vodka inversely correlated with Putin's popularity.

Submission + - Amazing reduction in privacy (govtech.com)

AtWorkInChicago writes: An Atlanta-based company, AirSage, collects real-time data (15 billion data points every day) from cell phone tower interactions — whenever a person sends a text, makes a phone call or when a phone is searching for the next cell phone tower.... ...Because AirSage knows the home (or where the device seems to call home and sleeps on a daily basis) and its Census Block Group, it can infer demographic information (such as average household income) about the devices’ owners.
I'm surprised carriers are allowed to send this data to a commercial aggregator and more surprised that the company is allowed to sell details of my daily activity to any who will pay — am I being naive?

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