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.
I just need enough to tide me over until I need more. -- Bill Hoest