HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

1/29/2001

All DNA sequences © 1975 NPH Industries


"[Congress shall have the power] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"
Article I, Section 8; US Constitution.

The rush to patent has meant that some really strange things have been patented recently. Take, for instance, this article about the emoticon :-(, which is about a lawsuit suing everyone who's ever used that emoticon ever, in an email, webpage, or print article. The copyright is real, by the way, even though the lawsuit threatened in the article is not. I especially like the way the fake lawsuit uses the nasty Carnivore program to reach into the past and rip anyone's emails open looking for the copyright breach. Nice touch. Nonetheless, Despair, Inc., is using this silly issue to draw attention to a serious shortcoming of patent laws, which is the protection of Amazon's one click buying function. Amazon wants to keep this really bad, and has paid through the nose to good lawyers to ensure it does. The rest of the online business community wants to use it really bad, and is beating its collective head against the wall trying desperately to show that the use of cookies in the buy function is "obvious." (It sure is, isn't it!)

Think that's outrageous (I'm sure someone, somewhere, just said 'I do,' where the rest of you just shrugged. Oy vey!)? Well, consider biotechnology patents. This article gives a good, if pro-industry analysis on the happenings on the IPR (that's Intellectual Property Rights) front since Harvard first patented a transgenic mouse in 1988. What's the big deal about patenting genes? Well, the more they're patented, the more the likelihood that the only humans benefitting from the riches of our new science are the companies. Vandana Shiva, noted third world author, lecturer, and scientist, drops a bit of knowledge on what these advances are doing for India, and what we can expect to see more like this with a WTO that over-emphasizes protection of corporations instead of the common good (disclaimer; I am a free trader; but this is just stupid). Moreover, the rush to file international patents on IPR issues of biotechnology is crushing the regulatory industries under a mountain of patent applications. While immoral companies attempt to get rich by isolating our common biological heritage, worthwhile inventions are not being looked at because the infrastructure can't handle the applications. Finally, some companies are patenting human genes. Patenting life crosses a line; has no one pointed out they didn't invent these genes? This and other objections to out of control IPR claims in that article. This is the worst, however; the company that claims it has a patent on crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
(some links today have come from the MeFi search function)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Today is day one of the experimental detox fortnight. I will eschew all chemical inputs for two weeks, including but not limited to: alcohol, THC, heroin, crack cocaine, benadryl, Amyl Nitrate, psilocybin, sucrose, powder cocaine, amphetamines, tobacco, sudafed, quaaludes, barbituates, caffeine, ecstasy, nitrous, opium, acid, heroin and PCP (and bonus points if you name the song that the last six listings are a reference to).
I watched "Survivor II" last night and didn't even feel guilty about it, despite the predictable moaning I've heard on various places around the net about what rot it is and how it will be the final nail in the coffin of American culture. Sorry, folks; "Survivor" worked because it was at its heart about politics, which is why I liked it. This new one should be similar, but last night's episode featured about zero politics and mucho whining and grunting. If you don't want to watch the show but do like to keep up with the happenings for your perspective on pop culture, I recommend highly Salon's take on reality TV. From this link you can get their episode-by-episode guides to each of the major reality shows, which in every case are much more entertaining than the show. Take "Big Brother," for instance. That show was so boring, you couldn't pay me to watch it. It was like watching paint dry. The Salon synopses were quite good, however, and I kept reading those through the end.

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