Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Double standards... (Score 2) 710

And evolutionists do not want students to think critically when it comes to evolution.
Cuts both ways, that knife does.

It's the creationist side wielding the knife to cut Critical Thinking skills from education, and the science side fighting to defend and promote critical thinking in education.
A Google on oppose teaching " critical thinking skills" returns the following page of links:

Texas GOP's 2012 Platform Opposes Teaching Of 'Critical Thinking ...
Jun 29, 2012 ... The Republican Party of Texas' recently adopted 2012 platform contains a plank
that opposes the teaching of "critical thinking skills" in schools.
talkingpointsmemo.com/.../texas-gop-s-2012-platform-opposes-teaching-of- critical-thinking-skills - 50k - Cached - Similar pages

Texas GOP rejects 'critical thinking' skills. Really. - The Answer ...
Jul 9, 2012 ... Knowledge-Based Education â" We oppose the teaching of Higher Order
Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and ...
www.washingtonpost.com/...critical-thinking-skills.../gJQAHNpFXW_blog. html - Similar pages

Texas GOP Declares: "No More Teaching of 'Critical Thinking Skills ...
Jul 7, 2012 ... The Texas GOP's hidden curriculum against critical thinking and other ... Texas
GOP Declares: "No More Teaching of 'Critical Thinking Skills' in ...
truth-out.org/.../10144-texas-gop-declares-no-more-teaching-of-critical- thinking-skills-in-texas-public-schools - 62k - Cached - Similar pages

Texas GOP chair explains controversial "critical thinking" platform ...
Knowledge-Based Education â" We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS ...

The Terrifying Texas GOP Platform - Forbes
Jul 1, 2012... with the portion that opposes the âoeteaching of Higher Order Thinking Skillsâ and
âoecritical thinking skills.â Although a partial retraction followed, ...
www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/07/.../texas-gop-platform/ - 115k - Cached - Similar pages

Texas GOP Platform opposes teaching "Critical Thinking Skills"
Jun 27, 2012 ... This kind of stuff I expect from know-nothing Republicans, but opposing the
teaching of critical thinking skills in schools? Who needs critical ...
www.dailykos.com/.../-Texas-GOP-Platform-to-ban-teaching-Critical- Thinking-Skills-in-schools-The-stupid-IT-BURNS - 158k - Cached - Similar pages

Gail Collins says Texas GOP platform calls for schools to ... - PolitiFact
Aug 11, 2012 ... We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values
clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply ...
www.politifact.com/.../gail-collins-says-texas-gop-platform-calls-schools/ - 40k - Cached - Similar pages

No Comment Necessary: Texas GOP's 2012 Platform Opposes ...
Jun 29, 2012 ... We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values
clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply ...
takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/.../no-comment-necessary-texas-gops-2012- platform-opposes-teaching-critical-thinking-skills/ - 61k - Cached - Similar pages

Half True: What Politifact Got Wrong About the GOP and Critical ...
Aug 18, 2012 ... Knowledge-Based Education â" We oppose the teaching of Higher Order
Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and ...
www.austinchronicle.com/.../half-true-what-politifact-got-wrong-about-the- gop-and-critical-thinking/ - 129k - Cached - Similar pages

GOP Opposes Critical Thinking - The Austin Chronicle
        Jun 27, 2012 ... "Knowledge-Based Education â" We oppose the teaching of Higher Order
        Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and ...
        www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/.../gop-opposes-critical-thinking/ - 127k - Cached - Similar pages


Comment Re:So I have to disable my audo hardware now? (Score 1) 107

You haven't been in my lab, it's pretty loud in there... Earplugs are standard and in fact are issued for free just inside the door. So, I might or might not hear a PSK conversation over the din. However, in such an environment would not be very hospitable to acoustic communications in the first place. But I don't think that trying to be covert is going to do anything but lower your though put to near useless... I say this is either easily heard, not that useful, prone to interference or low bandwidth.

And since we're talking about transferring small pieces of data, such as user names, passwords, account numbers, etc., you're talking about maybe 10-12 bytes at a time, tops. It could take a minute and you'd never hear it.

Comment Re:So I have to disable my audo hardware now? (Score 1) 107

This is new how? We have been sending data using audio cards between computers for decades. I remember cranking up the cassette tape drive to load programs into my TRS-80 in high school and hooking up to an acoustic modem to get on dial up AOL. Recently I've used my computer to talk to another computer halfway around the world though an RF link provided by my ham radio. Hams routinely transfer "data" over packet, PSK and other modes over audio links using their audio cards in their computers.

Oh, wait, so the ad-hock links are the new thing? Um, not so fast there either. Mesh networks have been around long enough to fall in and out of favor once or twice. Ham radio operators might know about HSMM Mesh http://www.broadband-hamnet.org/ has been doing mesh networks for nearly a decade, and the protocol it uses internally wasn't the first. So this is not new..

I conclude that NOTHING here is new, except perhaps combining an audio network link with a mesh networking protocol.... But I don't see that as ground breaking..

Maybe you missed the "covert" part. If your computer was hissing and whining away like a 56kbps modem to talk to the computer in the room next door, you'd probably notice.

... Although, maybe not, since it's the third word in the /. headline and second word in the article headline, and yet you still missed even this rudimentary visual communication.

Comment Re:Sweet sweet copyright justice (Score 1) 242

>With lack of copyright, there would be major non-disclosure agreements and contractual restrictions against reverse engineering and modifying the programs.

There are major non-disclosure agreements and contractual restrictions against reverse engineering and modifying the programs.

There, fixed that for you.

Customers aren't generally required to sign NDAs, because copyright law provides protection without requiring them. Sorry that point went so far over your head.

Comment Re:Why did the other companies settle? (Score 4, Interesting) 242

I would assume they concluded that settling would be less costly than fighting it. The fact that it was settled for an undisclosed amount probably suggests that the original author was asking something more reasonable then what was awarded in court.

The problem with copyright is that dissemination or distribution in and of itself is a violation so even if I swore to you that I owned the copyright and you could distribute it, you are not entirely off the hook if I was not truthful. Of course any sane court would likely keep any penalties as low as possible if you could prove that. Some juries might even toss it out because of the mens rea involved but it would require going to court and risking losing the case.

No, if I can prove you swore to me that you owned the copyright and I could distribute it, I'm entirely off the hook... Or technically I am off the hook, and you're the one who's boned.
The rule is Rule 14, which states that if I'm sued, I can bring you in as a third-party defendant if you're liable for all or part of the claim against me: I infringed the copyright, but because of your fraud, you're responsible for my actions. The best part is, if I can prove that tiny piece of it - show my contract with you, for example - I can walk away from the copyright infringement case and never have to show up in court. If "I" lose that one, then even if I owe the plaintiff a million dollars, you're 100% liable to me, so really, it's you who loses. Hence why I could take a default judgement and not care.

This also comes up in insurance proceedings. If you sue me and I'm fully covered by insurance, I'll just bring in my insurance company and let them defend the suit if they want. I don't care because, win or lose, I don't pay anything.

Comment Re:Sweet sweet copyright justice (Score 2) 242

However, it is also based on cultural relevance. It's enough time for the original work to be commercially exhausted

Mix stations, broadcasting "the greatest hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today!" frown at your shenanigans.

but for further adaptations (eg. for music, samples or covers) to remain relevant. This is the approximate amount of time it takes for a series reboot to occur, or for a movie to be remade, if we want to keep it relevant to your particular field instead of mine.

But you have a point here, but your solution isn't tailored to your point. Copyright involves a bundle of rights - the right to copy and distribute, as well as the right to make derivative works. There's a huge argument to be made that the exclusive period for making derivative works should be less, as you point out - there are series reboots, remixes, sampling, etc. and if the original author isn't going to do it, then we shouldn't have to wait a century. Where would electronica or hip hop be without sampling?
But that's sampling and reboots and the like... Copying and distribution of the original work? That doesn't have the same moral argument for the creation of new works... If you want to copy and redistribute Star Wars - and mind you, the original Star Wars, not your Minecraft-based recreation that replaces stormtroopers with zombies- then why should you get to do so for free, merely because a decade has passed? The original is certainly still in publication, and there's a market for it.

Basically, it's the difference between an homage and parody, and plagiarism. We do want to protect people who make something new based on the bones of something that existed before. But simply copying something and presenting it as your own? Why should we give you any protection, and why should we harm the original author when you're just a copycat?

That's why I'd advocate a split copyright term. Life+70 if you want for the copying and distribution of the original work, or whatever other term makes sense. 5-10 years for derivative works. It even fits with many of your justifications that aren't based on just a "why should people make money from their creations for years" complaint:

Imagine film students learning their craft by re-editing classics. Imagine films being translated and dubbed into any language with a speaker who cares enough to translate it.

Comment Re:Sweet sweet copyright justice (Score 1) 242

with lack of copyright there would be nothing from stopping reverse engineering and modifying the programs. that field would be far more advanced by today if we didn't have copyright(and already, despite copyrights, we're seeing hobby projects which disassemble amiga code and turn it into x86 binaries with added functionality like opengl graphics).

With lack of copyright, there would be major non-disclosure agreements and contractual restrictions against reverse engineering and modifying the programs. Sure, you could reverse engineer something without running afoul of copyright law, and they'd take your house and garnish your wages for the next hundred years since it may not necessarily be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Comment Re:CBM is not the answer. (Score 1) 239

Wheels is a new concept. Inflatable tires on the wheels is a new concept. Springs on the axle is a new concept. Steerable wheels is a new concept. That just about covers it. Most of the rest of the improvements around the wheel and axle are derivative, unworthy of a patent. They don't advance the state of the art enough to merit giving their creators exclusive control.

The differential drive weeps at you.

That's what patents are about, right? They're supposed to encourage leaps of brilliance by making it practical for their inventors to profit off them. If there's no genius, just plodding iterative improvement, there shouldn't be a patent.

Not at all. You want a reward for a leap of brilliance, go get a Nobel. Patents are - to use Jefferson's term - an "embarrassment". And bear in mind that he was not only the drafter of the first patent act, but the first patent examiner. Patents are a monopoly, grudgingly granted by society, in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. They aren't a reward - they're a payment offered to the inventor to encourage them to destroy trade secrets. Absent patents, inventors would keep their ideas as quiet as possible (this is business, not academia, after all). There would be (and have been in the past, and are in non-patent regimes) major non-disclosure agreements, intense security against corporate espionage, etc. Instead of all of that inter-corporate fighting, society has said "we'll give you a time-limited monopoly in exchange for destroying your trade secret". But it's certainly not a reward. You can make the greatest invention ever known to man, and if you don't disclose it, you deserve nothing.

With that in mind, plodding improvement is exactly what the patent system is about. Say a flash of genius comes about once every hundred years... we don't need to encourage public disclosure, because it's so rare and major that you'll get your damned Nobel prize and publish papers for the fame of it. But what about the invention that takes a mere hundred man-hours to make? Well, if you keep that secret, and you have a thousand competitors in your field, they have to spend a combined hundred-thousand man-hours duplicating what you've already done. That's a huge waste for society. If instead you reveal your invention and they pick up a simple license, then those 99,900 hours may be spent on new inventions, encouraging innovation.

Basically, if you're the only person who could ever come up with an idea, then giving you a patent is useless to society. On the other hand, if you're the first person to come up with an idea by a non-negligible time period, then giving you a patent in exchange for you telling everyone else how to make and use the invention is very beneficial to society. The value of the patent to society can almost be calculated in terms of hours-to-produce/rarity: the more hours something takes, the better, but only if it's not so rare that you're the only person who will ever spend those hours.

Comment Re:CBM is not the answer. (Score 1) 239

JPEG was based on the notion that digital photographs were not pixel perfect to begin with, so why maintain that non-perfection perfectly if not doing so would make high compression rates possible. Acceptably lossy compression. This was a fresh, novel concept. The invention based on it deserved patent protection.

MPEG and MP3 took the then-well-known concept of lossy compression and ground on it until they came up with something that worked well for video and audio. After all, if the concept works for one media type, it should work for others, right? No unexpected originality, no unforeseen change to the state of the art, just grinding. Should not have been patentable.

I disagree completely. JPEG didn't patent the notion of lossy compression, nor were the MPEG and MP3 patents trying to claim "JPEG, but for video/audio" or a similarly broad notion of lossy compression. MP3, for example, exploits psychoacoustic masking across both frequency and temporal windows. It has nothing to do with JPEG wavelet-based compression.

Under your definition, a cart with wheels would be a new concept, worthy of a patent, but every vehicle since then, from the Model T to the Tesla Roadster to the Space Shuttle would simply be "the same concept, but at different speeds/altitudes" and unworthy. That's simply not true at all.

I think you're confused about what patents claim. The section at the end of each patent, with individual numbered sentences, are the claims. Patents don't claim "notions", but specific inventions, bounded by limitations in those claims.

Comment Re:CBM is not the answer. (Score 1) 239

That's why I used the word "justify" and not the word "prove."

Right now the presumption is that if a half-hearted and formulaic search turns up no prior art then the invention is novel. I want to turn that on its head: the invention is presumed obvious until you explain why it isn't in terms folks in your field agree with. Who are the people in your field and why aren't they half a step behind you?

Most applications will have something like that in the background and summary - the background says "here's what most folks in the field think, and here's a problem they've run into" and the summary is "here's how we solved it and why we're so cool".

Now, you can (and rightfully should) be skeptical of such an explanation, since the applicant is going to be biased in their own favor, but if you're not just going to plug your ears and say "I'm not going to believe you", you have to have some sort of objective standard for when they've overcome that presumption and it falls to the Examiner to rebut them.

There's an additional wrinkle - you say "in terms folks in your field agree with"... Folks now? Or folks at the time of writing the application. If something sits in a backlog at the USPTO for 3 years, during which time, the applicant has been marketing and selling their invention to everyone, all the folks in the field will now say "yeah, that's obvious, we've seen it for the past three years." How do you determine what "folks in the field" think back at the time of filing? Currently, they use prior art, since it represents all published knowledge in existence at the time, without any danger of accidentally using hindsight.

Comment Re:CBM is not the answer. (Score 2) 239

Real patent reform has three key parts:

1. Fix "obviousness." The courts didn't like the examiner affirmatively finding that something was obvious so turn it around and require the applicant to justify why anyone of average skill seeking the same result would not have found the same method. Require the examiner to affirmatively find that it isn't obvious. No justification = no patent.

Unfortunately, I think you're asking someone to prove a logical negative: the applicant has to prove that something isn't obvious by showing... what, exactly? Definitive proof that no one has ever thought of the something?

2. A person of average skill in the art should be able to implement the technology from the contents in the patent. Start rejecting packets where that isn't true. Vague or stilted language in the application = no patent.

3. Patent duration should be from application, not from the grant. Effective protection starts with the application. You can't sue anybody until after the grant, but no one dares use the tech unless they're sure the patent won't be granted. That's been abused by delaying the final grant for years or even a decade.

These are both good suggestions, and, of course, they're already in the statutes. 35 USC 112 requires that the patent have a written description that enables one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention. And patent term is calculated as 20 years from filing (or 20 years from the earliest priority date, if the application claims priority to an application before its filing date).

Slashdot Top Deals

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard