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Comment Re:Making sure inventors are fairly paid (Score 2) 51

At IV the inventors get a profit share in patents they invent. Actually, in most universities that is true too. Typical university policy is that of the royalties the university gets, about 1/3 goes to the professor or grad students. In start ups the inventors typically have stock or options and thus have a stake in the company getting revenues. Independent inventors own their patents outright. I think that the more we can show that invention make money for the corporate or institutional owners the more pressure there will be share with the inventor. That is what happened with stock options - it becomes a competitive thing to get the best people.

Comment Re:food world and software patent world (Score 5, Insightful) 51

It turns out that copyright law covers code, but it does NOT cover a recipe! If you write a cookbook, the actual text is covered by copyright but the proportions of the ingredients and steps are not covered if you put them in different words. Patents do apply to food, but only for things that are really novel. Dippin' dots ice cream is covered by a patent. Kind of a sick story - the guy who invented it worked in a plant that froze bull semen in liquid nitrogen - it made little balls, so he tried ice cream. Turns out it tastes better....

Comment Re:update... (Score 5, Interesting) 51

We have several geoengineering ideas that we have invented and filed patents on. The patents are making their way through the system, and some have issued. However we only filed for the patents so that we *might* have some say in how this technology is used. THe big issue for geoengineering is that there is virtually no research funding. I would not want to deploy any system without doing lots of reseach, but so far this is not an area that has been funded by the government. Menawhile essentially zero progress has been made toward making sufficient cuts in CO2 emission. So current course and speed we will have a climate problem. Climate scientists differ as to whether that problem will be serious in 5 years, 20 or 100 years but it will occur. I think that society will procrastinate until things get bad, and at that point geoengineering will be the only way to prevent serious enviornmental damage. But we'll see...

Comment Re:Court education? (Score 5, Insightful) 51

THis is a problem for our justice system in general, inculding patents. Even in criminal matters things like DNA testimony and other scientific evidence can be hard to understand. Patents is even worse because iti s about high tech areas. The way this is handled at present is via expert witnesses that try to explain the techology in terms that he judge and jury can relate to. It does not always work. Here is a odd but true thing - you cannot be a patent attorney without having an engineering or science degree, but that isn't applied to the judge or jury. So, I agree that this is a challenge. In some other areas of the law where things are complex - like taxes or bankruptcy there are special courts with judges that do have expertise in the area. That was disucssed during the recent patent reform debate in congress - but it did not make it in the bill.

Comment Re:What should everyone know about cooking? (Score 5, Interesting) 51

This isn't an easy question to answre quickly, but here goes... First, there are a lot of cool new books on scientifically inspired cooking besides my books. Science of Cooking (by cook's illustrated), and Cooknig for Geeks are two examples. Ideas in Food is acool blog and they also have books that are relevant. Second, buy a digital thermometer - they are like $20 for a cheap one and $70 for the best ones. You need to understand tempertaures. A digital scale is the second thing I recomment - it is much easier to weigh ingredients than using cups and spoons.

Comment Re:Let's get down to the core of the issues... (Score 4, Interesting) 51

Well, it turns out that there were horse sized birds at many points in the past - particularly the elephant bird of madagascar, the moa of new zealand and the "terror birds" which lived in ancient south america. Also, ancient (several millions years ago) horses were pretty small - some probably did have goose-sized ponies.... They were mean, so I would much rather face duck sized horses.

Comment Re:Dinosaur Project (Score 5, Interesting) 51

I think what you mean is that I wrote a paper many years ago (1997?) that showed through computer modeling that sauropod dinosaurs (i.e. apatosaurus) could whip their tails and crack them like bullwhips. The crack is actually a sonic boom! So they were the first creatures to break the sound barrier (not Chuck Yeager). The paper has been pretty widely accepted in the paleontology community. I have been meaning to build a physical model (not full scale) to test it empirically, but have been busy with other tihngs, including other dinosaur projects.

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