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Open-Source Biology

nicholast Re:Pretty ignorant article (122 comments)


regarding your first point, of course it's true that science had an ethic of sharing before software. In the first draft, there were several paragraphs explaining the role in distributing information that scientists such as Nicolas Peiresc played in the 17th century and noting that RMS was originally inspired by scientific ethics. See the middle of this for his clearest explanation

I cut that out because it seemed obvious, the Einstein quote gives some context, and it's really important and challenging not to bore peoeple writing about science in a political magazine. Maybe that was an editing mistake. But I certainly don't disagree with you or think that Linus influenced Einstein.

WRT your second point, as you surely know patents have a mixed impact on sharing. They do allow more information to get into the public domain, but they also allow for hoarding and blocking other research (see the Costa Rican rice example). I certainly don't think that they are entirely nefarious. My contention is simply that the overall trend is clearly going in the wrong direction (the lack of sharing amond geneticists is the clearest evidence) and that overuse of patents, particularly upstream patents, makes the problem worse.

more than 12 years ago



How do we program moral machines?

nicholast nicholast writes  |  about 2 years ago

nicholast writes "If your driverless car is about to crash into a bus, should it veer off a bridge? NYU Prof. Gary Marcus has a good essay about the need to program ethics and morality into our future machines."
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Why Smart People Are Stupid

nicholast nicholast writes  |  more than 2 years ago

nicholast writes "A good piece by Jonah Lehrer on about why smart people are often more likely to make cognitive errors than stupid people. Examines research about the shortcuts that our brains take while answering questions, and explains why even the smartest people take these shortcuts too."
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George Hotz, Sony, and Anonymous

nicholast nicholast writes  |  more than 2 years ago

nicholast writes "A story in The New Yorker about George Hotz, that takes you from his childhood to today. Explains how he hacked the iPhone and the PS3, how Sony reacted, and then how Anonymous fought back. It also explains Hotz's ambivalence about Anons. “I’m George Hotz. Everything I do is aboveboard, everything I do is legit.” The piece ends with Hotz meeting with Sony and explaining his methodology."
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Is Stanford too close to Silicon Valley?

nicholast nicholast writes  |  more than 2 years ago

nicholast writes "A New Yorker story by Ken Auletta about the connections between Stanford and Silicon Valley. The piece explains how important the University is to tech companies and venture capital firms, but it also questions whether the university has become too focused on wealth. "It’s an atmosphere that can be toxic to the mission of the university as a place of refuge, contemplation, and investigation for its own sake," says one professor. The piece also explains Stanford's conflicted thoughts about distance education: which could transform the university or prove to be a threat to it."
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Obama and McCain graded on technology issues

nicholast nicholast writes  |  more than 5 years ago

nicholast writes "Wired Magazine has put out a scorecard grading Obama and McCain on technology issues. McCain does better on H1B Visas; they tie on spectrum policy; Obama does better on net neutrality, green tech, and broadband deployment. There are widgets in the story so that readers can submit their own topics, and grade the candidates themselves."
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The differences between Obama and McCain on tech

nicholast nicholast writes  |  more than 5 years ago

nicholast writes "An article that argues that there's a vast difference in the ways that Obama and McCain view technology policy. The piece argues that McCain, because of his opposition to almost government regulations---and his support for almost all mergers---deserves some of the blame for the lack of competition in the broadband industry, and thus for America's terribly slow Internet speeds and the awful customer service we get from the now giant DSL and Cable companies. A follow-up piece ran here detailing the history of McCain's policies:"
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