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Comment Re:Spacelike vacuum? (Score 3, Informative) 75

I imagine what they mean is that they were using pressures down to the range seen in low Earth orbit.

I agree with that. In low Earth orbit the vacuum is about 10 * (-6) Torr.
This is also the pressure you can achieve here on earth by relatively simple means using a turbomolecular pump

OTOH, it is also possible to produce "interstellar" vacuum in a labratory, but i'm pretty sure they would have mentioned this extra effort.

Comment Re:Not a legal question (Score 2) 308

It is again a problem with the US patent law.

In Europe, if you have a valid patent for a genetically engineered product, this patent only covers the result of the genetical engineering (i.e. what comes out of the lab), not the yield that is the result of natural self replication.

So even if someone deliberately sells "Monsanto seed", it is not a patent violation, provided that the seed is not produced by the genetical engineering process wich is covered by the patent.

Comment Re:Units (Score 1) 173

Space itself can expand such that the objects (events?) within it are moving apart at faster than c.


Any two objects separating faster than c can't measure that -- they cannot pass any signal between them.

not correct

Let me explain: Suppose there are two points in space, A and B, which are in rest relative to eachother. The distance between A and B grows FTL as space expands.

It is paradoxical, but nevertheless true, that travelling from A to B takes only a finite amount of time, no matter how slow the travel is. This is because the distance already traveled is expanded as well.

Comment Re:Defining publication (Score 1) 167

I don't know who this "we" is to whom you are referring, but I do NOT want to encourage invention. Invention happens whether it's encouraged or not. There is no need to "encourage invention." This is the problem with the patent system: it solves a problem that doesn't exist, at extraordinary expense.

You are absolutely right, the patent system does not encourage invention. Well it maybe does, if one is forced to circumvent an existing patent.

What the patent law does is protection your investment that was needed for the invention. (Like the 100 millions spend to develop a new drug in the pharma industry)

Comment Re:Still sounds like he's missing the point (Score 1) 223

But should it be?

No, it should not patentable. And in fact, it would be very hard to get patent for that - outside the US.

Obviousness is not the only problem here. Pure display of information is not even considered as an invention, which is one of the key requirements (US patent law exluded)

Comment Re:Errors in the Article (Score 1) 223

Hell, you want something less subjective? Maybe you give them a specific enough description of the problem they need to solve, and see if they come up with the same solution on their own. If so, it's obvious.

That would not be very practicable and still quite subjective.

You are not the first one to think about a none subjective definition of obviousness. See One of the most popular definitions, the problem-solution approch, does not work without reference to prior art.

Note, that also many other terms in patent law, like 'invention', 'disclosure', and also 'prior art' do not have the same meaning as in common speech.

Comment Re:Huzzah! (Score 1) 221

Can you give an example of something that would pass this test?

LZW-Compression comes to my mind. When you tell the engineer to develop a lossless data compression with such specific properties, he probably would fail. On the other hand, the specific compression properties are part of the problem you want to solve, not part of the idea. The "idea" here would be a (de)compression algorithm, that builds up a suitable decompression code lookup table on the fly, rather than supplying it. With this information the engineer could come up with a solution.

It may mean they need to hire some software engineers to sit and look at the idea and try to come up with a way to implement it on their own before they look at the solution. If they come up with the same solution, then obviously it should not receive a patent.

That would be very difficult, and expensive too. Who checks, that the engineer is competent and unbiased? .

Comment Re:Huzzah! (Score 1) 221

You are probably right about the incompetence of the USPTO. On the other hand, it is like I said, they just patent everything which is new, i.e. no prior art is found by them within reasonable amoumt of time. That takes the least effort, you know...

You are also right, the US patent system desperately needs to be reformed, as it is incompatible in many aspects with the rest of the world. It leads to way to many lawauits too.

I was refering to the cituation in Europe. It is much better here, but the question of software patents is still unresolved.

To use your method of analogy between the software world and the physical world, allowing software patents on such simple ideas is akin to allowing a cabinet maker to patent the 90-degree angle

In Switzerland you would absolutely get a patent for the 90-degree angle! Provided it solves a technical problem, but I think this is the case here. (In Switzerland novelty is not checked by the patent examiner, but of course required by the patent law. In other European countries novelty is searched for by the examiner). But what would you do with such a patent? The chances to win a patent litigation over novelty is zero, as it is trivial to show prior art.

But for the 1-click patent it is obviously not so easy to find any documented prior art.

My common sense also tells me that this should not be patenable, but common sense is not a legal basis to revoke such an application.

I think to reject software patents alltogether is the best solution. Software "as such" isn't patentable in most parts of Europe. But there are of course ways arount that. For example, you can still patent a data carrier containing a specific software...

Comment Re:Huzzah! (Score 5, Insightful) 221

Apparently our patent clerks cannot tell the difference when it comes to software

I was working as such a patent clerk (with focus on software) in Europe.

While it is easy to accept every software patent application (as in US) or reject all of them (as apparently now in New Zealand), it is very hard to find objective criteria to separate obvious things from truly innovative stuff.

The basic problem is, that in Software, there are usually very little unforeseen obstacles to overcome, when a concept is turned into actual code.

Lets say, state of the art is, that software A can do X, and software B can do Y.

Now somebody invents a software C that can do both, X and Y. Is this innovative? Usually not.

If we apply this example to the physical world, the situation is entirely different. A submarine can dive, and an aircraft can fly. Inventing a "machine" that can do both, would require a lot of innovation.

Now, a patentable idea has to be technically feasible. In the case of software, there is not much justification required, as every expert in the field knows, that it is in principle possible to combine X and Y. On the other hand, in the physical world, it requires much more than just an "idea" of a flying submarine to have a patentable innovation.

Therefore, it is very easy to apply for a patent for a software, that is unknown in the state of the art, while technically and economically feasible. In the physical world, this is much harder to achieve.

The problem is not, that the patent offices only have incompetent examiners. Rather, the definition of "patentable innovation" is not suitable for software.

Comment Re:Quantum Bullshit (Score 1) 117

Quantum communication occurs how, by magic?

Yes, quantum mechanics has some implications that indeed appear magical with our classical understanding of the world.

Write down the measurements once, test against them forever.

You did not read the article about the non-cloning theorem, did you? If you are familiar with the Heisenberg principle and are willing to accept it as a fact, the informal proof is quite easy to understand.

You can't measure the signal without disrupting the legitimate people trying to communicate, but you have still measured the signal.

The point that you don't seem to understand is the fact, that in quantum cryptography, the measurement of the signal corresponds to a key guess in classical crypto. If in quantum crypto your guess is wrong, the measurement failed and there is no way you can measure again.

Alice and Bob measure the signals all the fucking time in order to communicate.

Yes, but they use the correct key.

5000 years for classical crypto to be brute forced? Massively parallel FPGAs (or GPUs if you're cheap) say a few weeks or months. And it's getting faster all the time.

5000 years was just an example. The time required for brute forcing depends on the key length. If the key is long enough, it takes 5000 years or more, no matter what hardware you use.

Please, learn something about ANYTHING.

No need to be rude here.

When I was saying that you should learn some basics about QM, it was because I really think it would be a benefit for you. The quantum mechanics lectures changed my view of the world completely and I'm very happy I can understand fascinating things like quantum cryptography now.

But well, you can still say it's all bullshit what I'm saying, and stick with your Newtonian view of the world. But believe me, you miss something.

Comment Re:Quantum Bullshit (Score 1) 117

You can copy a quantum signal and test against it forever.

No, you can't due to the no-cloning theorem, see

Please do yourself a favor and learn some basics about quantum mechanics. The no-cloning theorem is a vital ingredient in quantum cryptography. The eavesdropping detection is a nice bye-effect, but QC offers much more than that. You simply cannot decrypt a 'quantum message' unless you know the key, period. If you try a wrong key the message is lost, hence the eavesdropping detection.

Let me illustrate this with a simplified model. Suppose I send you photons that are polarized either parallel or perpendicularly to the z-axis. You could distinguish the two states by using a polarization filter, and we could use those photons to exchange information (parallel = 0, perpendicular = 1). Now if Eve wants to intercept our communication, she has to use a filter as well. She will see exactly the same thing as you see, as long as her filter is aligned the same way as ours. If her filter is rotated by 45 degrees (let's called it the z' axis), she would notice that there are photons that are either polarized parallel or perpendicularly to the z' axis, and after the filter the photons will in fact be polarized with respect to the z' axis. But she won't be able to extract any information content, since the polarization along the z' axis is not related to the polarization along the z axis.

Now, if we use different polarization orientations (say z and z') for every photon, Eve would have to use the same sequence of orientations in order to be able to read our data.
In this QC model, the sequences of orientations is our encryption key. If unknown to Eve, she won't be able to decrypt our communication. It would violate fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, if Eve would be able to make backup copies of the photons before she uses the polarization filter or otherwise obtain the complete quantum state of the photons.

That beeing said, I agree with most of your other statements:
1. The key-sharing problem still exists
2. Best we can do today is a dedicated connection between to partners, an entire network is not possible.
3. Quantum crypto, while very interesting in theory, does not offer much benefit in practice.*

If it takes 5000 years to decrypt a classical crypto message, this is has the same impact as with quantum crypto, where decryption isn't possible at all. From a practical point of view, the eavesdropping detection might be the only added value.
Things might change, when classical cryptography is defeated by quantum computing, but this is another topic...

Comment Re:Quantum Bullshit (Score 1) 117

The core idea of quantum communication security is that it is impossible to decipher a quantum message unless you destroy the quantum state nature of the communication media (photons, electron, ... whatever).
Unlike with classical communication you just have *one* try to decrypt the message. If the wrong key is used, the message is lost, forever. That even Bob (with the correct key) wont be able to decrypt/read the message afterward (and hence will notice the eavesdropping) is just a side effect.

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