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Comment Re:I hate to be that guy, but... (Score 4, Insightful) 186

I have a bad feeling that something worse is waiting for us down the line...

Exactly. That something worse will be the persistent steady erosion of rights and the criminalization of activities with extreme penalties. Bit by bit they will get what they want. Their mistake was grabbing at the powers they wanted too fast.

In the U.S. they've won on the constitutionality of statutory damages that bear no relation to actual harm. Essentially that is a private criminalization of a commercial tort.
They're winning on extradition more than they are loosing.
Megaupload is gone. Everyone else is scared.
In Japan, downloading a song is now a criminal act that can get you two years in jail.
And on, and on . . .

So, do they really need SOPA or PIPA?

Comment Re:The sky is falling...not. (Score 1) 255

It's on the gene itself.

That's what makes this so mind-blowingly stupid. And to have the judge say that this is not a naturally occurring molecule (wait, people *manufacture* cancer genes?) sets bag of shit on the steps of the courthouse alight.

Actually, the patent claims cover an isolated chemical reagent comprised of nucleic acids having a sequence that corresponds to a sequence found in the gene, not the gene itself. The claim only covers molecules that have been either isolated or made. Perhaps you have heard of PCR. The product of PCR generally does not occur in that form in nature. It is a manufactured nucleic acid. It is not a naturally occurring gene. The claim does not cover any gene as it naturally occurs in a person.

Comment Jefferson's Opinion of Patents Changed (Score 5, Informative) 220

Jefferson's position on the granting of patents [1]changed through the years. In his article "Godfather of American Invention," Silvio Bedini notes that in 1787 Jefferson's opposition to monopoly in any form led him to oppose patents.[2] But by 1789, Jefferson's firm opposition had weakened. Writing to James Madison, Jefferson said he approved the Bill of Rights as far as it went, but would like to see the addition of an article specifying that "Monopolies may be allowed to person for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding --- years, but for no longer term and for no other purpose."[3] Also in 1789, while Jefferson was still in Paris, the first patent act was introduced during the first session of Congress and enacted into law April 10, 1790. Under the new law, the Secretaries of War and State and the Attorney General constituted a three-man review board, with the Secretary of State (Jefferson), playing the leading role. Two months after the law was passed, Jefferson remarked it had "given a spring to invention beyond his conception."[4]

Thomas Jefferson was the first patent examiner and granted quite a few patents.

Comment Re:They're on their way out anyways (Score 1) 503

Every interaction I've had with Best Buy has been more agravation than it was worth. I once ordered a camera from them online for store pickup. They rang it up and then handed me the box, which I opened at the counter. What they tried to give me was a scratched and abused display model. So, I had to go through a return before even leaving the store. Only after complaining to a manager did they find, surprise, they did have some new unopened boxes under the counter. Then they rang up a new sale. I guess I'm on their "returns expensive items" list.

Best Buy deserves to be out of business.

Comment Re:Sweet 16 vs MMSE (Score 1) 116

According to the article, an alternative test called Sweet 16 was produced and was subsequently killed by the MMSE copyright owners' legal action. It sounded like the Sweet 16 used completely new copy but similar logic. Can you copyright logic if all the words are completely different? I'd love to see a comparison of those two tests.

On a side note, I hope no one owns the copyright on the eye chart. I like getting my eyes checked every year or two.

If the logic is germane to the item in question, yes you can copyright logic. Think of it as music and the logic is the step changes from note to note. Changing all the notes to a different key isn't unique enough to say it is a different work.

Sorry, that analogy is wrong. A change of key, or simply swapping all the variable names, is simply not a deemed a meaningful difference for copyright purposes. That does not mean one can copyright facts or logic.

Copyright protects only unique novel expression. Copyright will not protect a generic question requiring the subject to remember three items. One cannot copyright the fact that a person who cannot remember three items is probably impaired. But, copyright might protect the manner in which the question is phrased, or the manner in which the significance of various responses is explained. Still, it should be possible for someone to produce a copyright free replacement test based on the underlying facts of nature.

However, the limits of copyright protection do not prevent an aggressive copyright troll from asserting broader protection than they are entitled to. It can be expensive for a person who produces a free replacement test to defend their rights.

Submission + - Openleaks Founder Sabotaged Wikileaks (

SETIGuy writes: Former Wikileaks programmer Daniel Domscheit-Berg admits in his book that he sabotaged Wikileaks in a manner that threatens the anonymity of leakers. Since leaving Wikileaks, Domschiet-Berg has become one of the cofounders of Openleaks. This raises the question, if you had material to leak, would you trust it to someone who has already jeopardized the anonymity of leakers at a site where he worked?

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

Old Apple 1 Up For Auction, Expected To Go For $160,000+ 156

vanstinator was one of several readers to point out that Christie's is holding an auction for one of the original Apple 1 machines, complete with a manual, the original shipping box, and the letter from Steve Jobs to the owner. The invoice says the computer was purchased on December 7th, 1976, with an Apple cassette interface card, for a total price of $741.66. The auction house expects it to sell for over $160,000.

Comment Site Broken, Moving On (Score 2, Insightful) 450

Since I won't even see the ad in the first place, it will appear to me that the site is broken and I will just move on to a site that isn't broken. These people have already lost me. For the people that do see the ad, I expect that the reaction of many people will be to immediately start seeking a circumvention. So, this escalation is just going to result in higher market share for ad blocking equipped browsers.

When pop-up ads got to be so obnoxious that people were abandoning IE for pop-up blocking browsers, even Microsoft put in a pop-up blocker. This proposal is so obnoxious that if it becomes widespread, you might even see Captcha circumvention built into the next version of Windows.

PlayStation (Games)

Best Buy Unapologetic About Charging For PS3 Firmware Updates 454

donniebaseball23 writes "After discovering that electronics retailer Best Buy was charging ignorant customers $30 for the 'service' of installing updated firmware on PS3s, IndustryGamers got word from the company on its policy. Best Buy sees no problem with charging for this convenience, even though it's something Sony provides to PS3 owners completely free. 'While many gamers can handle firmware upgrades easily on their own, those customers who do want help can get it from Geek Squad, and we continue to evaluate this offering to ensure it meets their needs. The service goes beyond a firmware updates, and includes user account setup, parental control setup and other components,' a representative said."

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Yet magic and hierarchy arise from the same source, and this source has a null pointer.