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Programming

Slashdot Asks: Is the App Boom Over? 278

Quartz did a story in 2014 in which, citing comScore's data, it noted that most smartphones users download zero apps per month. Two years later, the data from Nomura reveals that the top 15 app publishers saw downloads drop an average of 20% in the United States. While there are exceptions -- Uber and Snapchat continue to attract new users worldwide -- it appears that developers are finding it increasingly difficult to get new people to download and try their apps. Recode reports: But now even the very biggest app publishers are seeing their growth slow down or stop altogether. Most people have all the apps they want and/or need. They're not looking for new ones.What's your take on this?
Businesses

A Majority Of Millennials Now Reject Capitalism, Poll Shows (washingtonpost.com) 1080

A new poll shows that a majority of young people do not support capitalism. The study was conducted by Harvard University, which polled young adults ages 18-29. It found that 51 percent of those polled rejected capitalism, that is to say, they did not support it. Only 42 percent said they support capitalism -- there was a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. When asked what alternative system they would prefer, there wasn't a clear winner. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. When talking about politics or economics, it can get complicated and the poll does little to shed light on what parts of capitalism young people dislike or what parts of socialism young people like. It does appear to suggest young people are frustrated with the status quo and are more focused on the flaws of free markets.
Your Rights Online

In a First, Judge Throws Out Evidence Obtained from FBI Malware (vice.com) 158

An anonymous reader cites an article on Motherboard: For the first time, a judge has thrown out evidence obtained via a piece of FBI malware. The move comes from a cased affected by the FBI's seizure of a dark web child pornography site in February 2015, and the subsequent deployment of a network investigative technique (NIT) -- the agency's term for a hacking tool -- in order to identify the site's visitors. "Based on the foregoing analysis, the Court concludes that the NIT warrant was issued without jurisdiction and thus was void ab initio," Judge William G. Young of the District of Massachusetts writes in an order. "It follows that the resulting search was conducted as though there were no warrant at all. Since warrantless searches are presumptively unreasonable, and the good-faith exception is inapplicable, the evidence must be excluded," it continues. Young's order came in response to a motion to suppress from the lawyers of Alex Levin, who was arrested as part of the investigation into the child pornography site Playpen. After seizing the site, the FBI ran Playpen from a government facility from February 20 to March 4, 2015, and used a NIT to obtain over a thousand IP addresses for US-based users of the site, and at least 3000 for users abroad, according to Motherboard's investigations.
Medicine

Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75" 478

HughPickens.com writes Ezekiel J. Emanuel, director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the US National Institutes of Health, writes at The Atlantic that there is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. "It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic." Emanuel says that he is isn't asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening his life but is talking about the kind and amount of health care he will consent to after 75. "Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won't actively end my life. But I won't try to prolong it, either." Emanuel says that Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. "I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop."
Patents

(Highly Divided) Federal Circuit Opinion Finds Many Software Patents Ineligible 116

ais523 writes "The Federal Circuit has divided CLS Bank vs. Alice Corp., a case about various sorts of patents, including software patents. Although the judges disagreed, to a lesser or greater extent, on the individual parts of the ruling, more than half decided that the patents in question — algorithms for hedging risk — were ineligible patent matter, and that merely adding an 'on a computer'-like clause to an abstract algorithm does not make it patentable. Further coverage is available at Groklaw, or you can read the opinion itself (PDF)."
Patents

Another Call For Abolishing Patents, This One From the St. Louis Fed 315

New submitter WOOFYGOOFY writes "The most recent call for curtailing patents comes not just from an unexpected source, the St. Louis Fed, but also in its most basic form: total abolition of all patents. Via the Atlantic Monthly: a new working paper (PDF) from two members of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Michele Boldrin and David Levine, in which they argue that while a weak patent system may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, such a system can never be contained and will inevitably lead to a stifling patent system such as that presently found in the U.S. They argue: '...strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. ... the political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking.' They acknowledge that some industries could suffer under a such a system. They single out pharma, and suggest other legislative measures be found to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it."

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