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Comment Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (Score 1) 104

The ATLAS system's funding is a step in the right direction but as the article mentions the southern pole would remain a blind spot. Still, having one to two day's notice for an affected area would go a long way. We seem to have most of the >150m asteroids located through current efforts but that still leaves thousands or millions of undetected objects capable of wiping out a city and causing further catastrophe for nuclear facilities. The cost vs. benefit seems evident, better late than never.

Further catastrophe for nuclear facilities?

Come on, playing the nuclear card when the chances of a nuclear plant being hit by a meteor is vanishingly small seems to be a bit over the top, don't you think?. Maybe throw in your local school, so we can "think of the children" while you are at it...

Also, meteors are far less likely to approach us from the poles. Like most things, their orbits tend to generally align with the plane of the major planets. Slightly tilted with regard to our orbit, but polar approach seem very unlikely.

Right off the top, you can write off 3/4 of meteors as they will statistically land in the ocean. (And no they won't cause a tsunami).
Then you can write off another large percentage that will hit farm land or forests.
Finally you get down to about 1% of the earths surface that is occupied by people.

Then lets measure the damage? 1908 = nill. 2013, several million to replace broken glass, and patch up cuts and scrapes. (Lesson: Don't watch meteors thru windows).

Seriously, this is statistically a huge waste of money.

Comment Re:Of course it protects the small investor (Score 4, Insightful) 267

He had already licensed the technology. He wasn't holding out. It was a simple bill of materials problem as you surmised.

He failed to notice the electronics age obviated the need for a spring as an energy storage method.

Since all he actually held a patent on was the clockwork for releasing spring tension, when that method became un-necessary, he lost out.

John Hutchinson, chief technology officer at Freeplay, said Mr Baylis had voluntarily sold his shares in the company and that technology had moved on, leaving his original patent outdated.
He said: “Freeplay developed its own technology and by 2000 no more clockwork radios were made. The method was to use human power to recharge a battery.

I fail to see what his complaint in here. Competitors aren't using the ONLY thing his 40 year old patent covered.
He had stock in the company that was making radios with his invention, and sold it. Had he held on to that
he would still be making some money, or at least have a nest egg.

I see nothing to complain about here.

Comment Re:Dumb patents (Score 1) 134

You do not get patents for statements like "A system for printing spreadsheets over wifi".
You get patents for specific claims made in your patent which describe specific things.

You've fallen for the Slashdot Summary Title Patent Definition.

Yet when you trace down and SSTPD, and actually, Read the Fine Patent, you will find an actual METHOD and perhaps an APPARATUS for doing what the patent claims.

Comment Re:Dumb patents (Score 1) 134

I have qualms about letting any living thing be patented because if it escapes into the biosphere it becomes impossible to commercially control.

Being patented might well be the least of all worries if a "living thing" escapes into the biosphere. Patents have no bearing on such an event, or the potential harm (or good) that might result.

Comment Re:I don't see patent trolls as the real issue (Score 1) 134

Clear out the super obvious and overly wide "because it's on the internet" and "because it's over wifi" type patents and there would be a lot less patent mines to avoid while developing a product.

Easily said, but just how would you propose to do such a thing?
In fact, how do you propose to even DEFINE such a thing?

People always dug in the ground for food.
Then a caveman picked up a handy stick and used that to dig with.
Does that forever block patents on digging machines of all types, even when new technology comes along?

So when we invent tractor beams, digging with a tractor beam instead of a shovel is not patentable?
(after all, its still just digging with a tool).

1) You need to provide clear an concise guidance on exactly what you consider patentable,
2) you need to define what is too broad, and what is too obvious.
3) Then you have to get everyone to agree with you, or at least a majority.

If any part of 1, 2,or 3 were easy, whores would do it. This is a sticky problem, and blithely suggesting clearing out the super obvious and overly wide patents, without defining "super obvious" or :overly wide" isn't going to cut it. Hindsight makes a lot of things "super obvious".

Comment Re:Translates to (Score 5, Interesting) 113

IIPA having childish temper tantrums again, can't we just ignore them? or at least get the US government to ignore them?

Wouldn't putting THEM on a watch list be more effective?

Publishing the home address, email, phone numbers, street view links of the CEO of each company that is a member, as well as each representative they send to these meetings? Maybe outing the meeting locations, and times?

If these bozos think its fair game to try to intimidate entire countries, why is turn-about not fair play?

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 252

The Emacs operating system has always had a great text editor.

It just now has a horrible painful torture device to make you want to take a sledge hammer to your computer.

Sledge hammer. Spot on.

Emacs = The computing world's proof that, when the only tool you know is a hammer, you tend to look at every problem as if it were a nail.

Comment Re:Just the beginning... (Score 2) 123

no no no you got it all wrong. this is the lead fragments of a super massive sized meteor heading our way. You see when it passed through the asteroid belt it pushed a few rocks out in front of it. those are the rocks that are near missing us right now. And since we can't actually see that far into space we can't get together a group of drilling roughnecks and wannabe actors to save us all.

Although you are clearly trying a humor, you are probably more correct than you know.

Not about the Massive sized meteor bit, but about the prevalence of smaller "fellow travelers" following (or preceding) the Asteroid that missed earth on Feb 15. In addition to debris from impacts the asteroid may have suffered in the past, you can add possible small moonlets that might accompany the asteroid, or other random rocks that might have been influenced by the Asteroid over decades.

Much as some astronomers have rushed to say these are not related, (having never actually seen these meteors themselves) the likelihood is there that they accompanied or preceded the asteroid, or had a related origin. None of these meteors were even detected on radar in advance, and no-one knows their orbits. It may be possible to extract their orbits from pre-recorded observations from the past several weeks, but I doubt its anyone's priority.

Comment Re:Don't do it all yourself. (Score 4, Insightful) 212

I went through this same thing with my first start up.
You should be worried about how the app or product actually works. Don't do the marketing yourself. If you know how you want to market it, that's fine. If that's the case, hire someone to just take orders from you. If you don't know how you want to market it, hire someone that can utilize personal connections in the field you are in.

On the other hand, putting up a web page and selling it from there for a while won't hurt a thing.
You get the time to find all the bugs, address all the end-users issues of understanding, ease of use, desired features, all while dealing with a small user base that you can handle. Most developers vastly over estimate the completeness of their product.

There is such a thing as succeeding yourself to death. Taking in more business than you can possibly handle because some "marketing droids" push too hard, ensnare too many marginal customers, and end up giving a product a bad reputation for poor support.

A year of lower sales volume allows you to build in the quality. As you find yourself answering the same tech support questions over and over again you will find its easier to program around these issues. But none of that will happen when the phone rings non-stop with irate customers
because of an over-aggressive marketing campaign by some marking company working on commission.

Learn to walk before you try to run.

Comment Re:Still overdue (Score 3, Informative) 196

They say to expect a Tunguska sized one once a century and this one wasn't that big. They mostly ocean explode or strike so there's few signs of them but an ocean strike can be worse than a land one given the water they displace. They've got to wake up and start properly funding the near Earth program. It still won't protect against rouges but at least they can map ones that cross our orbit.

Really?

Just detecting these things can cost billions. Doing anything about them can cost trillions.

And most of these are air-burst, like yesterday's, (and like Tunguska). Since statistically, 3/4 of all are likely to hit ocean, the return on investment is going to be un-measurably small.

Air bursts over water are not likely to generate any significant amount of water displacement, and therefore no ocean wave damage.
In fact, if you take the Tunguska event, you learn from wiki "To the explorers' surprise, no crater was to be found. There was instead around ground zero a vast zone (8 kilometres [5.0 mi] across) of trees scorched and devoid of branches, but standing upright.". A similar event over water might generate some local surface waves, but nothing of significance because there would be nothing offering any resistance to the blast wave.

Take something the size of the object that created Meteor Crater (50 meters in diameter), about 3 1/2 times as big as yesterday's object, didn't air-burst, but a substantial portion of it burned up on entry. The crater (3/4 miles in diameter) could have killed at most several million people if it hit down town London or New York city. But the biggest cities on earth are a tiny target.

But its likely it would have never been spotted, not by any technology today, and not by any technology proposed. I suspect the cost of developing the technology and maintaining it year in and year out, upgrading it every so often, shutting it down in periods of austerity, firing it back up when fears are rekindled are simply not worth the effort, especially when you consider the chance of success is minuscule at best. Its most beneficial effect would be as a jobs program, for people who believe the government should be the source of all jobs.

Comment Re:You underestimate the usefulness of this. (Score 1) 350

I'm not sure its necessary to postulate melodramatic scenarios involving killing other people and millions of dollars.
If there was a point there, is was at best a stretch.

This isn't the first drug that does this very same thing on the market. Look up Antabuse (Disulfiram). It has not been terribly successful. Even among those volunteering for the treatment.

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