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Comment This leaves the little guy just as vulnerable (Score 2) 205

In your world the big guys are even more free to abuse the little guy; now the big guys are instead free to infringe on the little guy's patents without compunction, because the little guy dare not sue for infringement. God knows the big guy will spend a lot to defeat your infringement claim...and now not only is your case hard to win, if you lose, you are completely screwed. Almost everything I see on slashdot about fixing the patent system would actually make it worse, particularly for the little guy people here so love to defend. There are certainly problems, but they take a hell of a lot more thought than you're putting in to fix them.

Submission + - Should US science funding be protected from coming (standwithscience.org)

sbrinton writes: " New York Times and Scientific American blogs have picked up on a grassroots effort by graduate students to rally the public behind a petition in support of science funding. In the face of potential science funding cuts at the hands of the debt supercommittee, they point out that federal R&D spending is 5% of the budget, while innovation produces 60% of US economic growth.

They also say that no matter what career path--academia, industry, business, government--grad students take, they represent an important investment in human capital. With 60% of university research paid for by the feds, a cut to federal funding is a cut to the education of the nation's talent.

Should this absolve science funding from the budget ax, as congress attempts to get the federal budget under control?"


Submission + - Rallying to Protect Science Funding and the Talent (standwithscience.org)

TheObruniSpeaks writes: A growing group of graduate students* and other friends of science are rallying to point out an often-overlooked fact: federal science funding doesn't just produce new discoveries, it is also essential for training the science and engineering talent that end up working for industry, business, government, and academia. 60% of university research is paid for by federal funds, and universities are the dominant way to get advanced degrees. Our country does not have any other mechanism for developing that human capital.

With the US Congress and the debt supercommittee looking everywhere for ways to reduce the deficit, these grad students are spearheading a letter writing campaign to Congress, asking the government protect science and engineering research from cuts. After all, they don't want to destroy our future in an attempt to save it.

*I am one


Submission + - MIT finds cure for fear (pressesc.com)

Doom con runs away writes: "MIT biochemists have identified a molecular mechanism behind fear, and successfully cured it in mice, according to an article in the journal Nature Neuroscience. They did this by inhibiting a kinase, an enzyme that change proteins, called Cdk5, which facilitates the extinction of fear learned in a particular context."

Submission + - Moebius strip riddle solved at last (abc.net.au) 2

BigLug writes: "In a study to appear in Nature Materials, two experts in non-linear dynamics, Gert van der Heijden and Eugene Starostin of University College London, resolve the Moebius Strip algebraically.

From the ABC (Australia):

What determines the strip's shape is its differing areas of "energy density," they say.

"Energy density" means the stored, elastic energy that is contained in the strip as a result of the folding. Places where the strip is most bent have the highest energy density; conversely, places that are flat and unstressed by a fold have the least energy density.


Submission + - Magic inside: Intel's new Penryn chip

Z80xxc! writes: The Oregonian has an interesting story regarding Intel's new Penryn chip, currently the fastest one out there, and totally redesigned. Although they aren't yet being sold, Intel expects them to be available by the end of the year.

They worked in secret, 600 of Intel's top engineers, forbidden even from telling their families what they were doing.

Their task was nothing less than the reinvention of the microprocessor, "open-heart surgery" on the electronic brain that will do the thinking in several generations of computers to come.

Although this chip itself is not news, this is the first time that Intel has really opened up on the details of what they did to build it. Original story | Print version (no ads)

Patents Don't Pay 210

tarball_tinkerbell sends us to the NY Times for word on a book due out next year that claims that beginning in the late 1990s, on average patents cost companies more than they earned them. A big exception was pharmaceuticals, which accounted for 2/3 of the revenues attributable to patents. The authors of the book Do Patents Work? (synopsis and sample chapters), James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer of the Boston University School of Law, have crunched the numbers and say that, especially in the IT industry, patents no longer make economic sense. Their views are less radical than those of a pair of Washington University at St. Louis economists who argue that the patent system should be abolished outright.

Submission + - The Computer Virus Turns 25 in July 1

bl8n8r writes: In July of 1982, an infected Apple II propogated the first computer virus onto a 5-1/4" floppy. The virus, which did little more than annoy the user, Elk Cloner, was authored in Pittsburgh by a 15-year-old high school student, Rich Skrenta. The virus replicated by monitoring floppy disk activity and writing itself to the floppy when it was accessed. Skrenta describes the virus as "It was a practical joke combined with a hack. A wonderful hack." Remember, he was a 9th grader when he did this.

Fructose As Culprit In the Obesity Epidemic 821

drewtheman writes "According to an interview with Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology from the University of California, San Francisco, fructose, once touted as diabetic-friendly because it doesn't raise insulin levels directly, could be a major culprit for the obesity epidemic, high blood pressure, and elevated blood levels of LDL in Americans and others worldwide as they adopt American-style diets. Fructose comprises 50% of table sugar and up to 90% of high-fructose corn syrup, both ingredients found in copious quantity in most American prepared foods."

Dark Energy May Lurk In Hidden Dimensions 164

Magdalene writes in to let us know about a sketch of an idea, that might one day become a theory, to explain the dark energy that is making the universe flee faster and faster apart. It posits that dark energy may be the result of a new kind of neutrino wandering in tiny extra dimensions above our familiar three. She adds, "There is no word yet on whether Sphere or Square are available for comment." From the article: "The mysterious cosmic presence called dark energy, which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, might be lurking in hidden dimensions of space. This idea would explain how the dimensions of space remain stable — one of the biggest problems for the unified scheme of physics called 'string theory'... To get the same amount of acceleration seen by astronomers, Greene and Levin calculate that the extra dimensions should have a scale of about 0.01 millimeter."

Submission + - Ice Block Air Conditioning (yahoo.com)

JumperCable writes: The AP has an interesting article on the use of ice blocks as air conditioning in New York high rises. The concept is pretty basic. Overnight during off peak energy pricing hours & during the coolest part of the 24 hour day, the system freezes water in storage tanks into giant blocks of ice. These storage tanks are located in the basement (coolest location). They are frozen with ethylene glycol.

Given that most of the brown outs occur during the summer months due to high electric demand for air conditioning, I wonder how much of an effect this system would have in reducing brownouts if it's use was more wide spread. The article mentions it is only cost efficient for large companies. But how much of this is profit padding? Couldn't a smaller system be worked out for home use? CALMAC is one of the producers of these systems.


Interstellar Ark 703

xantox writes "There are three strategies to travel 10.5 light-years from Earth to Epsilon Eridani and bring humanity into a new stellar system : 1) Wait for future discovery of Star Trek physics and go there almost instantaneously, 2) Build a relativistic rocket powered by antimatter and go there in 22 years by accelerating constantly at 1g, provided that you master stellar amounts of energy (so, nothing realistic until now), but what about 3): go there by classical means, by building a gigantic Ark of several miles in radius, propulsed by nuclear fusion and featuring artificial gravity, oceans and cities, for a travel of seven centuries — where many generations of men and women would live ? This new speculation uses some actual physics and math to figure out how far are our fantasies of space travel from their actual implementation."

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