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Wikipedia Didn't Kill Brittanica — Encarta Did

conlaw Re:Finally (288 comments)

Actually, the best bet nowdays seems to be typing a word the way you think it's spelled in as a Google search. They'll generally correct it for you; for instance typing "numonya" brings a prompt for "pneumonia." The old "look it up in the dictionary" doesn't work unless you already have a pretty good idea of how the word is spelled.

more than 2 years ago
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RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair"

conlaw Re:It's not property. (525 comments)

IMHO, the important words in trout007's quotation from the Constitution are: "for limited Times." Once Congress passed the "Let's Protect Steamboat Willy while Pretending We're Doing Something for Sonny Bono Act," the time limitations for copyright protection became ludicrous. Unfortunately, a law that fails to make sense to ordinary individuals becomes virtually impossible to enforce without continually adding new and more draconian punishments. SOPA and PIPA were the Congressional equivalents of "those who laugh on the Sabbath day shall be confined to the Stocks for eight hours" and thus deserving of the reactions they induced.

more than 2 years ago
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RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair"

conlaw Re:"Loaded and inflammatory" (525 comments)

Luckily, the Supremes of that era didn't accept that analogy. With current group on the bench, it's much better for individuals to block the law before it's enacted and some "person" like the RIAA figures out a way to get SCOTUS to come up with reasons why "piracy" should be punished by drawing and quartering.

more than 2 years ago
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How long until the (first-world) classroom education model is obsolete?

conlaw Re:Always a niche (317 comments)

I agree. The current model is too many students listening to a teacher drone on with the same lecture notes and/or Power Point overheads that he/she has used for the last five or more years. IMHO, that method was obsolete when I was in school 30-40 years ago. However, too many the current teachers and administrators have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo ante, so I don't have much faith in it changing quickly.

more than 2 years ago
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TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters

conlaw Re:really?! (117 comments)

"why are judges not elected instead of appointed?"

Because elections require campaigns which require funds which then tend to influence the candidates in favor of those who provided the funds, which hurts the impartiality required of judges. The best system is one in which judges are appointed but then have to run for retention every so often (4 years is typical). That means the electorate can get rid of the really bad judges but it's not a popularity contest to choose a successor.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Richard Stallman Was Right All Along

conlaw Re:The argument is miscast. (807 comments)

It was the people's demands following 9/11 that gave Congress the nerve to pass the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001." And, for anyone who hasn't read the USA PATRIOT ACT, I sincerely recommend that you set aside some time to read through it at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ056.107.pdf and then we can all chat again about the Constitution.

more than 2 years ago
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Actual Damages For 1 Download = Cost of a 1 License

conlaw Re:The actual damages... (647 comments)

Bits and bites in a particular combination are recognized by law as an object worthy of legal protection in the form of copyright and/or patent. Taking, without my permission, all of the bits and bytes that I have arranged in a particular unique combination is theft in just the same way that copying down various bits and bytes of information about you (the information regarding your birth, your social security number, and your driving privileges) is theft of your identity. You may not recognize the theft until I start using those bits and bytes by cleaning out your bank account or getting credit cards in your name, but it was truly theft all the time.

more than 2 years ago
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Actual Damages For 1 Download = Cost of a 1 License

conlaw Re:The actual damages... (647 comments)

I agree, lorenlal. One of the typical Congressional rules for violation of statutes is the guilty defendant has to pay treble damages--three times the actual damages. IMHO, the judge was right in that actual damages was the cost of a license, so three times the license fee would be appropriate.

more than 2 years ago
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Facebook Could Spawn Thousands of Milionaires

conlaw Re:Yeah right. (434 comments)

Someone needs to tell these dreamers:
1. Read the terms of the document giving you the shares to see when they vest;
2. Figure out where you'll get the money to buy the shares so you can sell them (sometimes you can do a cashless exchange but you have to know
a. who will arrange this for you, and
b. how much money it's going to cost you to have someone make the exchange
3. Realize that there are insider lock out periods after the IPO and before and after every quarterly report (any employee with options is an insider)
4. Profit? ?

about 3 years ago
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Denials Aside, Feds Storing Body Scan Images

conlaw Re:Does not violate the Fourth Amendment? (560 comments)

IMHO, the USA PATRIOT ACT (not shouting, that's the acronym for the ridiculously long name of the Act) is just as constitutional as the Alien and Sedition Acts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_and_Sedition_Acts, which were also rushed through in the guise of protecting US citizens. If only our congress-folk had spent as much time thinking about the constitution as they did about the acronym!

more than 4 years ago
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Verizon Changes FiOS AUP, -1, Offtopic

conlaw Re:Why they may have done so (560 comments)

The wording is broad, but that may very well be to make sure that they can reasonably catch it all and respond.

But if it's too broad, an affected customer can try to get a court to throw it out on grounds of ambiguity! Now do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around. That's what its all about!

about 5 years ago
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Senate To Air Findings In Web "Mystery Charge" Probe

conlaw Re:Could be fixed with a simple law. (120 comments)

In my experience, it hasn't been the merchants doing these add-ons; it's the credit card companies themselves. For instance, I call BigBank, the issuer of my Visa card, to make sure that my last payment was credited on time. I'm transferred to a customer rep who answers the question and then says, "By the way, I see that you're entitled to join our travel savings plan ... [blah, blah, blah about the great features of the plan]. You can have a free trial starting tomorrow." If you say anything except, "No, no, no," they automatically sign you up and then, after 10 or 25 days, X Travel Co. starts adding a "nominal fee" of $29.95 ("only pennies a day") to your card. If X Travel Co. is an "affiliate" of BigBank and you failed to opt out when BigBank sent you the notice of its privacy policies, then you don't really have much recourse except to call BigBank, talk someone into giving you the contact information for X Travel Co., and then contacting them to stop charging you.

more than 5 years ago
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In Britain, Better Not Call It Bogus Science

conlaw Re:Well Then (754 comments)

Yep, and that's exactly how clinical drug trials are done: they're just a bunch of anecdotal accounts of people who tried out drug X and what side effects they experienced.

Reputable clinical drug trials always have at least two groups of people in similar circumstances; in the case of just drug X versus no treatment, 1/2 of of the group get drug X and the other half get a placebo. The experimenters record the anecdotal accounts of side effects from each group. If the the same percentage of each group have the same side effect, then that effect is probably not due to drug X.

more than 5 years ago
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Favorite seasonal transition?

conlaw Re:Different everywhere? (451 comments)

Sorry about your 2004 experience; hurricane season that should not be in anyone's change schedule.

more than 5 years ago
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Favorite seasonal transition?

conlaw Re:Different everywhere? (451 comments)

Well, I'm stuck here in Central Florida, which includes everything from Daytona over through the Orlando area and here to the Tampa Bay Area. My mother has assured me for years that there are definite seasons, but I've sure never seen much difference. If we're lucky the temperature goes down some in the "winter" and in a good year the winter humidity is occasionally lower than the temperature. The good news is that summer temperatures tend to stay under 100F so that the humidity can always be higher than the temp.

more than 5 years ago
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How To Make Science Popular Again?

conlaw Re:Wrong question (899 comments)

I'm talking about peer review, university grants, and the esoteric publishing/journaling system that goes on with such a process.

As to the last item on your list, it's frustrating to find an apparent link to the discussion of a scientific subject in which I'm interested and then notice that the link takes me to Springerlink or Elsevier or one of those other sites that will allow me 24-hour access to the article for a mere $24.50. I thought that legislation had been passed a few years back that entitled the public the right to access scientific articles where federal monies had paid for the research. If so, it must require 100% federal money -- the 2% kicked in by CorporationX must disqualify the public's right.

more than 5 years ago
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Where's Waldo (the Submarine)?

conlaw Re:Florida (107 comments)

I hate to break this to you but Sarasota is on the west coast of Florida and Bermuda is off the east coast. The Everglades, which is full of alligators and pythons, lies between them.

more than 5 years ago
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Steve Ballmer Directing "House Party 7"

conlaw Re:Party permits (359 comments)

What does Loving v. Virginia have to do with having parties? I think you've been ingesting far too many unknown substances at the parties you attend.

more than 5 years ago
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New Zealander Invents Segway Alternative

conlaw Re:1000 charges? (282 comments)

I sincerely hope the inventor manages to make it a bit cheaper to own before this thing hits the streets....

Folks better not try "hitting the streets" anywhere except the bike lanes. 13mph seems to be about par with the average golf cart and we all know they're not street legal. In fact, I'd guess that a nice Amish horse and buggy could pass this Yike, except that it would probably break that old rule about "don't scare the horses."

more than 5 years ago
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Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System

conlaw Re:nightmares (495 comments)

Interesting that many agree with you that Trademarks are "mostly useful" when they, unlike all the other forms of "intellectual property," have infinite duration.

notable trademarks that have been used for a long time include LÃwenbrÃu, which claims use since 1383, and Stella Artois, which claims use since 1366.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark. IMHO, the difference is that copyrights and patents prevent consumers from the free use of the invention or ideas covered while Trademarks are used to give consumers confidence that the product that they're purchasing or using is indeed the genuine article (or, in recent years, a facsimile of a product that they wanted to purchase or use).

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Indian Outsource Company Admits Cooking the Books

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "Outsourcing of IT services to foreign countries has been the bane of many /. readers. Now, it has been discovered that one the largest outsource employers in India has been over-reporting income and profits for several years. As reported in Wednesday's Washington Post:

The leader of one of India's largest technology outsourcing companies, Satyam Computer Services, on Wednesday admitted cooking its books and committing other grave financial wrongdoing to inflate profits over several years.

....

The company, India's fourth-largest information technology firm, with more than 53,000 employees, services several Fortune 500 companies, including General Motors, General Electric and IBM. The range of services includes application software development, engineering design solutions and back-office customer services.

....

Chairman and founder B. Ramalinga Raju took responsibility for the fraud and resigned in a letter he submitted to Satyam's board. The letter said the company lied about profit and revenue for several years, inflating revenue by 33 percent and profits more than tenfold in the third quarter.

"

Link to Original Source
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Terry Pratchett speaks out on Alzheimer's research

conlaw conlaw writes  |  about 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "As many readers will recall, Terry Pratchett, the creator of Discworld and other fantasy books, was diagnosed late last year with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/14/0113224. He has since given a million dollars toward Alzheimer's research. Now he is about to present a petition to Downing Street calling for more money to be directed to research into the disease. His petition will be hard for government officials to ignore, since it was "signed by 100 top scientists, a host of public figures and 20,000 members of the public.""
Link to Original Source
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Another Google outrage

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "I've been under the weather for a day and managed to keep off-line, thus missing the Google email fiasco. http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/16/194244 However, I returned to find that my search history and the separate tab for keeping track of my agenda had suddenly been placed in a new separate column on the left side of my display. This new column squeezes my regular feeds into narrower but longer areas so that I can't read them without scrolling down. To add insult to injury, the "designers" of this new display, have changed all of my section headings to PINK. (Can you guess what my least favorite color is?)

Finally, I discovered after much searching through the Google pages that there is no "contact us" link and the help topics only relate to Google's choice of topics, such as how I can improve my IE search experience on a computer that they know is running Firefox on a Linux box.

If anyone knows how to contact someone at Google to report my displeasure, I'd appreciate that information. Thank you."
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Scrabulous Founders Strike Back

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "As was reported here earlier in the week,(http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/29/1455219), Scrabulous was taken down by its developers after Hasbro asserted that the game infringed on its Scrabble copyright. However the Scrabulous developers, Indian brothers Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, have already come back with a new game. According to the Washington Post, "the new game, Wordscraper, has a whiff of Scrabble to it and features many of the play options that made many Facebook users fans of the original Scrabulous. But the game has a different point system than Scrabble, uses circles instead of squares and has a few other differences."

Now to see if Hasbro claims that this games is still in violation of its copyrights."

Link to Original Source
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On the fringes of trademark law?

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "A judge in New York has allowed a suit (a lawsuit, to be precise) to proceed against the M & M Mars company and their advertising agency for infringing on the trademark of "The Naked Cowboy." For the past ten years, Robert Burck has been visible (very visible, that is) in Times Square strumming a white guitar while dressed only in white cowboy boots and hat and skimpy white underwear. The companies had created a series of billboards depicting M&M's dressed as New York City icons, including the King Kong and Statue of Liberty. Burck, however, was apparently not amused by video billboards depicting a blue M&M dressed in his signature outfit, and filed suit in February for violating his trademark."
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No Lobbyists?

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "I'm on the Democratic National Committee's mailing list. Here's the first part of the message I received this morning:

Dear Friend, I wanted to drop you a quick note about a major policy change here at the Democratic Party. As we move toward the general election, the Democratic Party has to be the Party of ordinary Americans, not Washington lobbyists and special interests. So, as of this morning, if you're a federal lobbyist, or if you control political action committee donations, we won't be accepting your contribution.


If /.'ers really want to get rid of corporations running the country, here's the URL for donations by "ordinary Americans": http://www.democrats.org/nonlobbyists"
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Nanotubes: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "As we all know, scientists have been all excited about nanotubes and the great forward strides they'll make in our lives. I guess most of them had failed to ask that perennial Slashdot question: whatcouldpossiblygowrong. Discovery News reports on one answer:

May 20, 2008 — Strong, versatile little "nanotubes" made out of carbon are considered future stars in nanotechnology research in medicine and industry. Now a study finds that longer threads of the stuff mimic the toxic qualities of asbestos, renewing questions about how carbon nanotubes can be used safely.
Oops."

Link to Original Source
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Danger, Will Robinson

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "In a headline reminiscent of the classic TV series, "Lost in Space," Discovery News declares, "Hibernation Method Tested for Space Travel." The reality, however, is somewhat less impressive than the headline. It does appear that some sort of slowing bodily functions would be helpful if astronauts were to go on longer journeys, such as the three-year voyage that would be required to reach Mars. First, hibernation or the like would serve to alleviate the tensions caused by having several people forced to remain together in the confines of a space ship for months on end. Also, slowing the astronauts' vital functions would not only reduce the amount of provisions needed to supply them with food, oxygen and other necessities but would also diminish the amount of byproducts produced by the comsumption of those supplies. At this point, it appears that hydrogen sulfide ("rotten egg gas") might furnish an answer. Mice who were exposed to the gas showed a much lower metabolism without experiencing some of the life-threatening problems associated with other methods such as extreme cooling. The scientists plan to keep testing the gas with larger animals long before experimenting on astronauts."
Link to Original Source
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Virtual Water?

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "News Daily reports that a scientist who developed a way to calculate how much water is used in the production of anything from a cup of coffee to a hamburger was awarded the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize on Wednesday. Professor John Anthony Allan of the University of London received the prize for introducing the concept of "virtual water." This concept is actually a method that has changed the way that the "water cost" of various actions can be calculated. For instance, we might think that making a cup of coffee would consume at most only a few cups of water, including the water used to wash the cup and the water that remains in the unused grounds. However, as Dr. Allan points out, "behind that morning cup of coffee, there are 140 liters of water that was consumed to grow, produce, package and ship the beans."

The full report can be found at http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/l18502272-water/"

Link to Original Source
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Dolpin Saves Beached Whales

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "We've all read or seen the stories involving whales who somehow become stranded near shore. Usually, despite heroic efforts by volunteers, the whales never make it back out to sea. This story, however, has a much happier ending. Volunteers had been trying to get two sperm whales away from the spot where they were stranded near Mahia Beach in New Zealand. Despite the volunteers' best efforts, the whales kept getting disoriented and ending up on the same sandbar. Then Moko, a bottlenose dolphin who frolics near the beach, arrived on the scene and guided the whales out of area and back to the open sea."
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Energy from raindrops

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "As reported on Discovery.com today, scientist have found a way to extract energy from rain:

Energy is everywhere. In the sun, wind, and now rain.

Researchers have developed a technique that harvests energy from rain showers and converts it into electricity. The technology could work in industrial air conditioning systems, where water condenses and drops like rain.

It could also be used in combination with solar power to scavenge as much energy from the environment as possible, or to power tiny, wireless sensors designed to monitor environmental conditions.
"

Link to Original Source
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Milestones

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "Arizona State University entomologist Quentin Wheeler has announced the description and discovery of a new species of whirligig beetle. Scientists have been finding and naming a lot of new species lately, but this announcement was unique in that it was made during a Roy Orbison Tribute Concert. Dr. Wheeler announced that he had named the the discovery "Orectochilus orbisonorum" in honor of the late rock 'n' roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara. P.S. Milestones is the title of a 1973 Orbison album."
Link to Original Source
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We'd need a MUCH bigger mousetrap

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "According a report in today's National Geographic News, scientists in Uraguay have confirmed that a skeleton found by an amateur paleontologist is that of the largest known rodent. Based on the 21-inch-long skull, the scientists have concluded that the creature, who lived between 2 and 4 million years ago, was about the size of a full-grown bull, weighing in at slightly over a ton. Imagine encountering one of these guys in your cozy little cave!"
Link to Original Source
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Keybindings beta

conlaw conlaw writes  |  about 7 years ago

conlaw writes "Please let us in on the new "keybindings beta" that has been showing up under the listing of comments on an article. Trying to figure out the significance of the Q W E A S D is driving me crazy (and let me tell you, that's not a very long drive most days). I even read through ALL of the FAQs last night in an attempt to find out what's happening. Thanks"
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Scanning All Travelers Crossing US Borders Now in

conlaw conlaw writes  |  about 7 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "Just the first paragraph of this Washington Post article is scary as all getout:

The federal government disclosed details yesterday of a border-security program to screen all people who enter and leave the United States, create a terrorism risk profile of each individual and retain that information for up to 40 years.
Note that this includes "all people," including US citizens."

Link to Original Source
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Nerds for Sale

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 7 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "As reported in today's Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/25/AR2007092501136.html), the members of the LUG group at Washington State University hopes to hold a "nerd auction." The idea is to trade their computer skills to sorority girls in exchange for a makeover and, possibly, a date.

The president of the LUG, Ben Ford, stated that "The problem is that we're all still nerds. Let's face it, guys. If anyone's going to bid on us, we'll need some spicing up," he wrote. "And who better to help with that than sorority girls who like nothing better than a makeover?""

Link to Original Source
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Coral Reefs' Symbiotic Partner Uncovered

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 7 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has announced that they have discovered an algae that feeds coral reefs by converting CO2 into carbohydrates upon which the coral feed. These algae, which they have named Symiodinium, are apparently unique. One of the researchers is quoted as saying:



These microscopic algae are quite weird and unlike any other lifeform. They have different photosynthetic machinery from all other light harvesting organisms. They have 100 times more DNA than we do and we have no idea why such a small organism needs so much. They really are like no other living creature we know.
"

Link to Original Source
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For next April 1?

conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 7 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "Amazing the things one serendipitously finds online. It may be too late for next April 1 but, OTH, some politicians are now urging that we build more nuclear plants to reduce the amounts of fossil fuels burned."
Link to Original Source
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conlaw conlaw writes  |  more than 7 years ago

conlaw (983784) writes "As reported in this morning's Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti cle/2007/04/30/AR2007043001668.html?hpid=topnews),
the Supreme Court may be as fed up with recent patent decisions as most /.'ers are.

From the article:

The Supreme Court concluded a series of cases yesterday that weaken the protection given to patent holders, making it more difficult to get a patent and easier to challenge existing ones. ...

"Granting patent protection to advances that would occur in the ordinary course without real innovation retards progress and may, in the case of patents combining previously known elements, deprive prior inventions of their value or utility," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for a unanimous court."

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