America’s Supreme Court is about to issue a ruling which, by all accounts, will make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a patent for a business process. And because most business processes are, at bottom, computer algorithms, the Supreme Court’s judgment could also bar all sorts of software patents in the process. As a result, a lot of patents for online shopping, medical-diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street could be invalidated.
So why does every story about an animal figuring out something like this sound like a miracle has occurred? Animals, especially most mammals, learn how to do things to survive. Humans learn better than most other animals, but the animals still learn about a lot of different things. Yes, it's a news story when a bear opens a "bear-proof" canister. No, the engineers aren't stupid. No, the bear isn't a freak of nature. Yes, the bear is smarter than most.
Why can't there be smarter and stupider animals? All humans are equally smart? Yeesh.
"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley