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Comment Re:In Other Words (Score 1) 389

The simulated universe conjecture doesn't lend anything new to the believers of the supernatural that they don't already have.

Oh but it does. One of the greatest victories for the fundamental set would be if they could manage to get their religious beliefs taught as science in the classroom. Angered by biology and evolution, they have been trying every ten years or so to re-introduce their belief into science classrooms. Creation science was rejected by science first, then the creationists turned to Intelligent design, which ostensibly suggests the possibility of their god or aliens - though of course, wink wink, you know who we really mean. Fortunately that was shown to be lying for god.

So now, here we have people claiming that our universe is a simulation. Any Intelligent design advocates will hop on that like crocodiles on a wildebeest.

What does God need with a starship (or simulation)?

If existing, it could do all that without a simulation. So any evidence for a simulation would be evidence against it being a supreme being.

Of course. But how well will your logic play with people who believe things like the Noah's Ark myth being literally true? People who believe that the entire world was covered with water to overtop the earth's highest mountains in a rain event lasting 960 hours raising sea level by 8,850 meters today's Everest height, less at that time due to plate tectonics. I did BOE calculations and it was essentially a solid wall of falling water - the ark would need to be a submarine or else be swamped. Not to mention, all of the animals from Australia would have to swim to the middle east, covering thousands of miles - so they wouldn't drown.

People who believe that would have no problem with a spaceship god, and it's computer simulation.

And it would go against the tenets of free will. Granted, some flavors of godbothering believe in predestination, but most claim there's free will, including creationists.

Free will is another one of those philosophical brouhahas that I prefer to avoid, reminds me of angels dancing on the head of a pin discussions.

Regardless, the same folk who got wood over their incorrect application of the second law of thermodynamics will be really excited to talk about how Neil DeGrasse Tyson agrees with them about a single creator of the universe. Scientists will rue the day they came up with this admission of defeat.

Comment Re:Well I'm gonna break up the hate party (Score 1) 108

There is a perplexing amount of GNOME hate in the top comments. I'm a very happy user. I've been using Linux almost exclusively in all capacities since about 1999 and have sampled and/or used a lot of desktop environments. GNOME is the best, IMHO.

If its what you like, it's all you need. Too many slashdot users seem to think that something they don't like must suck.

Comment Re:sunset mode (Score 1) 108

Seriously, why is this a thing?

So someone held a gun to your head and forced you to use it? Go to distrowatch, and get one of the distros that doesn't cause you to blow your stack

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 1) 233

Thank you for affirming as much of my argument as you did and, also, for the corrections in the second half of that post. That's some good information, of which I was not aware. Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on shortening the term (of both, but primarily patents, as that's your focus)?

I think patents are probably about right as is. As you note, some industries develop faster than others... but if you start basing patent term off that, then do you create different term lengths for every industry? Like pharmaceuticals get 20 years, but software gets 3? Airplanes are 15, but cars are 5? Given the number of industries and the fine delineations we could make, you'd end up with more law than the tax code... 8-bit retro indie video games get 7 months; but 8-bit retro AAA video games get 9 months... two legged walking robots get 4 years and eight months, three legged wheeled robots get 3 years and 11 months, etc. Congress would spend all of its time passing new patent term laws. And what about the cross-over technologies? Software for developing pharmaceuticals? Biological computers? Simulated cars for video games?! And what about a revolutionary new technology, where the patent is the first in a whole new industry? Hundreds of years? Or none?
20 years seems like a pretty decent compromise, particularly with the maintenance fees. One thing that could help is additional maintenance windows... Right now, you pay your fees at 3.5 years from issue, 7.5 years, and 11.5 years (with the costs increasing each time). Many software patents are abandoned before hitting that 11.5 window. But what about 5.5, or 9.5? Or even annual fees, steadily increasing? That would help encourage shorter terms for patents that are obsoleted early.

As for copyright, there are multiple parts there (copyright is often compared to a bundle of rights, with exclusive rights to make copies, distribute works, perform the work publicly, make derivative works, etc.). I think piracy - direct copies, identical to the original - is less morally defensible than, say, sampling, which falls under the derivative work umbrella. Like, if you make and distribute a copy of someone's album because you're too cheap to pay or whatnot, that's just wrong. Heck, at best, it's plagiarism. But if you sample their bass line and make a new song over it, you've created something new, and the world of art is enriched due to your joint contribution.
With that in mind, I think that the term for a derivative work should be short - like 5 years. The original artist gets to do remixes, screenplays, etc. for that period, but if they don't, then it should be up for grabs - as source for further creative works. But pure copying? That term could stay as long as it is, frankly. Let the authors exploit their original work, but let others also improve upon it.

Comment Re: Finally, I can switch to Gnome! (Score 1) 108

Don't whinge about Gnome 3 and its applications, just use MATE

Exactly. I don't like Gnome, and I found this incredibly simple trick to avoid it. You won't believe what happens next!

I use Ubuntu Mate. Works a trick. If I didn't use Mate, I'd use Mint. Seems weird about people crying about an interface thy don't like, then there are so many alternatives, a few of them exemplary.

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 4, Informative) 233

They are written vague on purpose, because to be specific, would allow others to build upon your patent, and patent their improvements, locking you into a stale old way of building said invention, never able to improve it.

This is precisely the type of abuse, by a handful of unscrupulous assholes (patent holders being, relative to the entirety of the population, a handful of people), which I propose we amend patent laws to prevent.

And, by amend, I truly mean "actually enforce the laws as written", since they already require some degree of specificity.

I am a patent lawyer, and I completely agree. My patents, of course, are clear and informative; but yes, there are many terrible ones out there. Frankly, it's partly unscrupulous assholes, but mostly incompetent and lazy assholes: to write a good patent application, you have to understand the invention... too many patent lawyers skip that step, take whatever the inventor sent them and slap some boilerplate "in some embodiments" language on it, and file it. Heck, you can still charge the same amount as a well-written patent, but can crank it out in an afternoon! What a world!

Fortunately, the courts and the patent office are finally pushing back on this. Most of the "abstract idea" rejections under Bilski and Alice Corp and other related 35 USC 101 cases are really about badly written patents that claim "A method for doing something awesome, comprising: applying rules, by an expert computer system, to do something awesome." What rules? How does it achieve that awesome result? Fark if anyone knows... the person drafting the patent sure as hell didn't. The cases that are being upheld are the ones that go into detail about what calculations are being performed, how the thing works, the low-level specifics of what it does, etc.

That said, patent law and courts and such are glacial. It'll be another decade and change before patents drafted and granted, say, 5 years ago, expire. And patent litigation with terrible patents will keep popping up over that time. But maybe by the 2030s, things'll start looking better. \_()_/

It's debatable whether the term should be shortened; many would argue it should be extended, as was done with copyright. Personally, I believe that patents and copyright were given the terms they were originally given based on how long it took to produce and circulate a work at the time that those respective laws were written; as both now take considerably less time, yes, I agree that the terms should be shortened.

Patent term has only ever been extended twice, and the second one wasn't a real extension (the change from 17-years-from-issue to 20-years-from-filing was based on an average 3 year prosecution queue, so the result is the same). Copyright has big money publishers on one side like Sony, Disney, Columbia, etc. wanting longer term and, what, pirates? The public? No money on the other side. So your bought-and-sold Congresscritter happily votes for term extensions.
But in patents, Apple, say, wants longer terms for their own patents, but shorter terms for Google and Microsoft's. And vice versa. So you get this pressure on both sides, with no real imbalance in money and lobbyists.

Incidentally, there's a safety valve in patent term already - patent owners have to pay maintenance fees that increase over the life of the patent, or it goes abandoned. Most patents in the tech sector are abandoned long before that 20 year term expires, because, after 10 years, say, they're obsolete. It's the pharmaceutical people who try to keep them alive until the very end, because of how long R&D and FDA approval takes. Increasing those maintenance fees would have the same effect of shortening patent term in fast moving industries while keeping it long where it's needed.

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