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Comment Re:Losing plaintiffs should ALWAYS pay (Score 1) 138

Well, as I understand it, a losing plaintiff pays only up to their own legal costs. Sort of a double or nothing. Say an individual plaintiff spends $15k to prosecute, and the corp defendant spends $XX million. If the individual plaintiff loses, the plaintiff will have to cough up the lesser of the two costs, $15k, to partially compensate the corp defendent legal costs.

How To Make a Good Gaming Sequel 150

Kantor48 writes "In today's world of unimproved gaming sequels and saturated franchises, Arthur Kabrick looks at the best and worst sequels in recent history, and compares the changes they've made to the formulae of their franchises. By doing this, he comes up with a list of lessons that any game developer creating a sequel should follow, if at all possible, to ensure that the new game is a step up, rather than a step sideways or, as in some cases, a step down. The criteria include ensuring the game does not spend too much time in development, updating technology, and trying not to change the development team, as well as being wary of changing the basic formula so much that fans of the franchise are alienated."

Comment Re:And so (Score 1) 346

My only problem with HFCS is that it's subsidized to the point where it is used in preference to almost all other sweeteners. I actually prefer the taste of sugar cane and other sweeteners, especially in drinks. It used to be very hard to find drinks sweetened with anything other than HFCS, though that is changing with "premium" drinks.

Also, of course, it would be nice if we didn't have to use taxpayer money to support the subsidies.

Comment Why is the corn lobby so powerful... (Score 1) 346 contrast to other farm crops or any other agriculture? Is it just because the first primaries are in Iowa/Idaho?

The corn lobby is very powerful, as the rather expensive ethanol subsidy was extended for another year in the tax cut deal, adding another $7 billion to the deficit. Kudos to Senator Dianne Feinstein who at least tried to cut the ethanol tax credit slightly to save about $2 billion, but she was rebuffed. Hopefully she won't be overly punished for defying the corn lobby.

Comment Can the FCC block the merger? (Score 1) 68

The FCC can add regulatory conditions to all cable companies, which is what the commissioner is proposing now. The regulation is specifically aimed at Comcast so that they don't abuse their position after the merger.

But I don't think the FCC has the power to actually block this specific merger, at least on anti-trust grounds. That might require the Dept of Justice. Does anyone know exactly?

Based upon what I've read about his proposals on this merger and the Net Neutrality issue, Genachowski seems to genuinely care for the public interest, even when it causes problems for himself. I wish we had more officials like him; he might not go far enough in his actions, but his heart seems to be in the right place.

Woman Sues Google Over Street View Shots of Her Underwear 417

Kittenman writes "The Telegraph (and several US locals) are covering a story about a Japanese woman who had her underwear on the line while the Google car went past. She is now suing Google: 'I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime,' the woman told a district court. 'It caused me to lose my job and I had to change my residence.'"

Comment Need more good PR soundbites like this... (Score 1) 156

Regulating the internet means telling people what they can and cannot use.

Regulating ISPs means preventing them from telling people what they can and cannot use.

Finally! A soundbite for the Internet Freedoms that the average person can understand quickly. Frankly, the names and slogans supporting internet freedoms have been very poor. The literal name, "Net Neutrality," for example, is confusing and buys zero support. Look at the ill-considered provisions that quickly made it through Congress, they have emotionally charged meaningful names like "Patriot Act", "No Child Left Behind"

Even Cerf's quote (from the summary) "... we don't believe that governments should be allowed to grant themselves a monopoly on internet governance...," sounds rather weak. To the average less-informed person on the street, this is not compelling. If not the government, who should govern the internet? Why should one care? While it's truthful, it's unconvincing without additional context. Not a good soundbite.

Governments will always be tempted to censor or control the internet directly for their own self interest. (ex. Wikileaks) Having a central authority such as the UN do it would be a horror. The temptation to somehow tweak the traffic "to protect " worldwide would be unbearable. At least now, any national government doing so needs to establish some sort of "Great Firewall" to wall out the free internet.

Comment Analogy with the Aircraft Industry. (Score 5, Interesting) 113

This is a excerpted from (not my post) which I think is very relevant.

Before the United States government forced aircraft manufacturers and patent holders into the Manufacturers Aircraft Association there was a patent war that resulted in lots of litigation in the United States but no aircraft manufacturing or innovation once the patent war started.

When a real war broke out, WW1, the United States had to buy aircraft from France because the United States business ventures were more interested in lawsuits than making aircraft.

After ending the patent war by forcing everyone into a patent pool the aircraft industry in the United States took off.

There are other similar cases that plainly show how the patent system has been a failure from the beginning in serving the Constitutional requirements. To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.

Note that the aircraft industry had to be forced into a patent pool by the US Government. This is another patent pool, but unfortunately controlled by a few giants. It's totally necessary to get business done, but excludes everyone else.

Comment Re:wow... (Score 1) 558

IANAL, but I believe that the objective is not to have an ignorant jury, but to clearly document all the information available to the jury in court records.

If jurors depend on sources that no one knows about, justice may be subverted without anyone realizing. But if all information flow to the jury is clearly recorded, then supposedly all unfair influences on the jurors are available for further review, allowing for either a mistrial or an appeal.

In this case, it seems to be an honest mistake on the juror's part. I'd think that the best thing to do would have been to present the wikipedia definition to the two opposing attorneys, and if they both agreed that it was an ok definition, let the trial continue.

Comment Re:Do away with patents entirely (Score 1) 189

While I think that patents can sometimes be a good thing, (e.g. pharmaceuticals where new drug development is extremely risky), the current patent system is so bogged down scrapping patents entirely may be better than what we have now: a gradual continual strangling of tech innovation. The cost and legal risks of tech innovation in America keeps on going up.

There will be no sanity from the Patent Office while they directly benefit from patent renewal fees, fees that are the bulk of the PTO revenues. The patent office is proud to be the only government agency that operates in the black. Er, isn't that raising a red flag? That is not necessarily a good measure of success. They are selling the country's future competitiveness for their operating budget and bragging rights amongst the other agencies.

Patents are inherently restrictive. It's as if the FCC sold "radio rights" to sue anyone else using a small part of the radio spectrum for a specific marketing purpose. Or the post office sold "mailing rights" to sue anyone delivering mail of certain topics to a small region.... um, this might not be a good direction to continue speculating.

Corporations Hiring Hooky Hunters 610

No longer satisfied with your crinkled doctor's note, a growing number of corporations are hiring "Hooky Detectives." Private investigator Rick Raymond says he's staked out bowling alleys, pro football games, weddings and even funerals looking for people using sick days. From the article: "Such techniques have become permissible at a time when workers are more likely to play hooky. Kronos, a workforce productivity firm in Chelmsford, Mass., recently found that 57 percent of salaried employees take sick days when they're not sick — almost a 20 percent increase from statistics gathered between 2006 and 2008."

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