Epigenetics does in general not change or mutate genes(*).
At least the most common examples for epigenetics are cases where a gene's activity has been increased or decreased, which can be explained by molecules attaching to the DNA. The study is talking about evolution, hence mutation, and not about epigenetics.
(*)Of course, someday someone will find a rare example where epigenetics actually changes the mutation rates of genes.
I know the US patent office has given up on this, but they are supposed to not grant obvious patents, and doing anything on pc/internet/touchpad that has been done on paper/pc/touchscreen(yes, they existed before Apple) before most of the time sounds pretty obvious, especially when you consider that patents are usually formulated in legal language designed to stake a claim as broad as possible and as devoid of technical information as legal.
As you can read in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patentability
the US patent office pretends that one of the conditions for granting a US patent is non-obviousness.
Considering that it is very unlikely that someone swiping a finger across a touchscreen achieves a movement that is 100% horizontal and 0% vertical, it is obvious that any solution of the problem would tolerate a certain amount of vertical movement, and this is what that patent claim is about.
US american companies are promoting politicians with a kindergarten understanding of science, so that they can profit from that bullshit:
Also, the invention of input gestures is not as novel as you seem to believe, because the patent was filed 2008, while for example the video game Black and White had gestures in 2001. Okay, it was mouse gestures, but there is no big difference to a touch screen regarding movement.
Sorry, was meant as a reply to:
"My (48-year old Thai) girlfriend starts work at 6am and gets off at 6pm. She insists that means she works thirteen hours a day. It is amazing how incredibly dumb the average person is. "
Evidently I'm too dumb to follow a thread on slashdot.
Come on, it is just a off-by-one error, which is common even in software written by above-average-smarts-persons.
And it is definitely smarter to write a bill for one hour of work when you worked from 6am to 6am than to go for no compensation.
In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982