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Comment Re:Wait a minute (Score 2) 986

I read the statement, and I can't figure out why Groklaw is shutting down.

Discourse about FOSS should not have to be encrypted.

This is stupid.

Precisely. This whole thing seems a bit dramatic. Groklaw was not political. Its work was based as far as I can tell on discussion of public events, and wasn't collecting or leaking or discussing anything that wasn't already in the open. So, while I'm as outraged as the next guy about the constant ubiquitous surveillance state, I don't see how it prevents the work that Groklaw was doing. We can't just stop having public discourse about public issues.

There are still ways to keep private conversations private, so do that as necessary.

Comment Re:I don't understand all the anger over Google (Score 5, Interesting) 164

There was no contractual obligation in play. What responsibility does Google have to spend time and money on infrastructure on products that are used by the minority of people?

It's not hate, its disgust at the stupidity of it all. Google created these ancillary products to draw people into the Googlesphere, and it worked. As someone from Google has said "The lifetime value of a Chrome user is enormous." Google's ancillary projects drew in people and Google prospered.

In the short term, Google can kill the products that are marginally effective in drawing in new eyeballs, but that sound you hear as they cancel projects that drew people in is the sound of people heading for the exits. That smoke is from the burning of bridges.

Google's near sighted cancelation of today's well liked projects is erecting barriers to acceptance of its future offereings. Google's real product is people, and Google is polluting its product stream with disapointed people who are tiring of learning to use a tool only to have it taken away. Not a good long term strategy.

I won't be using Google+, or Google Docs, or or Google Drive, or Keep, or Google's NIK software, or Chrome, and definitely not a Chromebook, since any of these can disapear or be rendered unusable on a whim.


Pope To Resign Citing Advanced Age 542

Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month in an unexpected development, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85. In a statement, the pontiff said: 'After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.' Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office."

Comment I-64 has had something like this for years (Score 5, Informative) 174

In the U.S. state of Virginia, Interstate 64 runs east–west through the middle of the state from West Virginia to the Hampton Roads region, a total of 298 miles (480 km). It is notable for crossing the mouth of the harbor of Hampton Roads on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the first bridge-tunnel to incorporate man-made islands. Also noteworthy is a section through Rockfish Gap, a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which was equipped with an innovative system of airport-style runway lighting embedded into the pavement to aid motorists during periods of poor visibility due to fog or other conditions.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_64_in_Virginia

A lighting system within the pavement to help designate lanes automatically activated by fog sensors was installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to improve safety during such weather conditions.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockfish_Gap

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.


Suggesting Innovative Uses For Retired Space Shuttles 127

coondoggie writes "It was a sad event when the iconic NASA Space Shuttle program ended last week with the landing of Atlantis. After the last mission the flying shuttles will all be assigned to museums where millions will admire them as static displays. But wouldn't it be cool if they were put to use in places where you might not expect?" (Best viewed with the slide-show consolidating software of your choice.)

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