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Patents

Submission + - Bilski v. Kappos decision is out; SFLC reacts. (softwarefreedom.org) 1

kfogel writes: The Supreme Court of the U.S. has released its decision in Bilski v. Kappos — it's an affirmation, but still a messy decision that doesn't go as far as we'd like in striking down business method patents. The Software Freedom Law Center has a great response up. Says SFLC chairman Eben Moglen: "The confusion and uncertainty behind today's ruling guarantees that the issues involved in Bilski v. Kappos will have to return to the Supreme Court after much money has been wasted and much innovation obstructed."
Patents

Submission + - Supreme Court to Bilski: Your claims are invalid (supremecourt.gov)

reebmmm writes: The Supreme Court just decided the long-awaited case against Bernard Bilski: Federal Circuit Affirmed Unsurprisingly, the Court found Bilski's claims invalid because they were ineligible subject matter under Section 101 of the patent law. In a decision (with a concurrences by Breyer and Stevens), Justice Kennedy wrote of Bilski's claims: "petitioners' claims are not patentable processes because they are attempts to patent abstract ideas. Indeed, all members of the Court agree that the patent application at issue here falls out-side of 101 because it claims an abstract idea." The Court rejected the Federal Circuit's "machine or transformation test" as the sole test for patent eligibility. The Court made clear the while the machine or transformation test may be a useful tool, it is not the only test. The Court noted that the patent law does not exclude business methods. The Court declined to render all software patents invalid.

It is important to emphasize that the Court today is not commenting on the patentability of any particular invention, let alone holding that any of the above-mentioned technologies from the Information Age should or should not receive patent protection. This Age puts the possibility of innovation in the hands of more people and raises new difficulties for the patent law. With ever more people trying to innovate and thus seeking patent protections for their inventions, the patent law faces a great challenge in striking the balance between protecting inventors and not granting monopolies over procedures that others would discover by independent, creative application of general principles. Nothing in this opinion should be read to take a position on where that balance ought to be struck.

Slashdot take home: software patents may still be valid.

Submission + - Kagan against porn and "hate speech" (politico.com)

DesScorp writes: "SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan hasn't left much of a paper trail during her legal career, which may make gauging her ideas and opionions somewhat difficult. But there are some positions she has made clear statements on, among them, pornography and "hate speech". In a 1993 University of Chicago seminar on the subject, Kagan argued that the government wasn't doing enough about the spread of porn or hate speech. She argued that new approaches were needed to fight their spread, as well as taking a fresh look at old approaches, such as obscenity laws. Kagan included herself among"“those of us who favor some form of pornography and hate speech regulation” and told participants that “a great deal can be done very usefully” to crack down on such evils.
Kagan steadfastly argued that pornography was a threat to women as it contributed to sexual violence, and on that basis could be prosecuted to some degree. "“Statutes may be crafted in ways that prohibit the worst of hate speech and pornography, language that goes to sexual violence. Such statutes may still be constitutional,” Kagan assured the meeting. She pressed for “new and harsher penalties against the kinds of violence against women that takes place in producing pornography, the use of pandering statutes and pimp statutes against pornographersperhaps the initiation—the enactment of new statutes prohibiting the hiring of women for commercial purposes to engage in sexual activities.”"

Idle

Submission + - McDonalds Facing Lawsuit for Happy Meal Toys (latimes.com) 1

cosm writes: From the what-happened-to-personal-responsibility-department:
FTA:

A watchdog group says giving away toys with Happy Meals contributes to childhood obesity and threatens to sue. McDonald's cites healthful menu choices....The [watchdog] organization on Tuesday served the fast food giant with a letter expressing its intent to sue if toys are not removed. The letter is legally required in several states before lawsuits can be brought under consumer protection statutes..."McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children," Stephen Gardner, litigation director for the advocacy group said in a statement. "McDonald's use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children's developmental immaturity."


Submission + - Internet goes down in Miami

An anonymous reader writes: Today in Miami there was a internet outage that seemed to affect at least 2 different ISP and one of the largest data centers in the world. At 7:41 PM EST I got a SMS from a coworker that the office internet was down (Hotwire ISP). At the same time my home ISP was down but 5 minutes earlier it was working. Within a minute I started receiving alerts on my phone that our servers were down which were hosted at the NAP of the Americas. This lasted for about 10 minutes before service on all three ISP/locations were restored. I'm curious what other ISP were affected (was Comcast and AT&T) so please comment on that if they were.
Science

Submission + - In THIS house... FTL fields and currents. Really! (scientificamerican.com)

fyngyrz writes: So you think of electrons like dominoes in a wire. Push on the one in the end, the others react one after another. Pretty vanilla physics. Further, because the electrons are moving, you get magnetic effects, radio, etc. Good stuff. So. What if you move all the "dominos" at once? Put your virtual hand on all of them, and push them over. They're not moving sequentially any longer. They move together. At any speed you can make them go. Well, that's what these researchers are doing — "pushing" all along a conductor at once, able to make a signal go — ready? — FTL. Fascinating stuff. And it may explain pulsars.
Earth

Submission + - Airplanes Unexpectedly Modify Weather (discovery.com)

reillymj writes: Commercial airliners have a strange ability to create rain and snow when they fly through certain clouds. Scientists have known for some time that planes can make outlandish "hole-punch" and "canal" features in clouds. A new study has found that these odd formations are in fact evidence that planes are seeding clouds and changing local weather patterns as they fly through. In one case, researchers noted that a plane triggered several inches of snowfall directly beneath its flight path.
Idle

Submission + - Working shotgun built from Lego by 15-year-old (wired.co.uk) 2

Lanxon writes: A mildly terrifying young Brit named Jack Streat has managed to build a series of working guns, including a Lee Enfield bolt-action sniper rifle, entirely out of Lego and rubber bands, reports Wired. Streat, who lists himself as 15 years old on his profile, has constructed an enormous and diverse armoury of weaponry that fire either rubber bands or Lego bricks. Most are based on real-life guns, including a Steyr AUG, a Tommygun, an AK-47, a belt-fed M429 PARA, an Arctic Warfare sniper rifle, a Glock 17, a pair of semi-automatic TEC-9s, a SPAS 12 pump-action shotgun and a minigun that he calls the Obliterator.
Government

Submission + - Wikileaks Founder being Hunted by Pentagon (thedailybeast.com) 2

linzeal writes: The US government has been giving signs in the past 48 hours that it is increasingly worried that Wikileaks may be on the verge of publishing a batch of 250,000 secret State Department cables, investigators are searching the last known whereabouts of founder Julian Assange to no avail. Early this morning the Wikileaks twitter page posted the following;

" Any signs of unacceptable behavior by the Pentagon or its agents towards this press will be viewed dimly. "

Submission + - iPad Bait and Switch: No more Unlimited Data Plan (gizmodo.com) 1

_KiTA_ writes: AT&T announced today that the iPhone will gain tethering, finally, at an extra $20 a month, but only for people on a new 2gb a month plan. They also quietly announced at the same time the real news — that the $30 Unlimited Data plan on the iPad 3G will be axed in lieu of the same data plan. Yes, this would be the same "revolutionary data plan" that Steve Jobs was so proud of during the iPad unveiling — it lasted exactly 1 month after the 3G model was delayed to May 7th. People feeling vibes of previous Apple iDevice releases are not alone. Existing accounts will be allowed to grandfather in, although Apple has removed the ability to purchase the iPad from the online store at this time, and AT&T has a history of changing their plans without warning. Finally, there is no word on what happens if you ever let your Unlimited plan lapse for a month at this time.
Businesses

Submission + - 7 government IT chiefs paid more than PM (computerworlduk.com)

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes: Joe Harley, IT director general and CIO of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) earns almost double the salary of the prime minister, a list published by the Cabinet Office shows. As part of the new government's efforts to be more transparent, the Cabinet Office released a list of the senior civil servants across government who earned salaries of more than £150,000. A total 172 civil servants were revealed in the list to earn more than the prime minister.
Censorship

Submission + - New Jersey Mayor Attempts to Censor Website (centraljersey.com) 1

FutureDomain writes: The mayor of Bordentown, NJ is attempting to silence the website bordentownmayorreallysucks.com which has been criticizing his performance. The City Commission passed a resolution that would send a letter to the site's host requesting the site be taken down and lets the city appoint a special council to investigate. Mayor James Lynch claims that the site is illegal because an early version of the site, which is no longer available "wrongfully implies" an association with the city and the current site has "very, very derogatory" content.

Comment Re:wait... (Score 1) 2

It's more like the old CD keys, where you had to register it with Blizzard to get single player. The exception here is that when you're playing single player, you also tie the game to your bnet account for achievement tracking purposes. DRM? Yea, I suppose. But it's not a rootkit, or mandatory connection with garbage servers, or anything that's really crippling to a legitimate player.

Games

Submission + - Blizzard Boss Says DRM Is A Waste Of Time (thinq.co.uk) 2

Stoobalou writes: Blizzard founder, Frank Pearce reckons that fighting piracy with DRM is a losing battle.

His company — which is responsible for the biggest videogame of all time, the worryingly-addictive online fantasy role player World of Warcraft — is to release Starcraft 2 on July 27th and Pearce has told Videogamer that the title won't be hobbled with the kind of crazy copy protection schemes which have made Ubisoft very unpopular in gaming circles of late.

Starcraft 2 will require a single online activation using the company's Battle.net servers, after which players will be allowed to play the single-player game to their hearts' content, without being forced to have a persistent Internet connection.

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