The Newspile: March Left-Overs

Gizmondo has put up the RIAA’s official decision matrix, used whenever they need to figure out how to handle a legal issue. Seems to be consistent with what I hear in the news…

Mike from Techdirt put up a very interesting post a few days ago talking about the concept of a “patent thicket.” Smart readers will of course notice this directly relates to the Verizon / Vonage ssue in the news lately.

Basically, so many companies have popped up claiming to hold patents on various parts of VOIP technology, that it is starting to look like offering the service will become prohibitively expensive due to licensing fees. Even though this is bad for Vonage, it is clear that that consumers are the real losers in this story. This seems to be a nice little example of my theory in action (my theory being that the rampant abuse of the patent system in the last few years actually discourages innovation and harms both the “little guy” and the consumer).

What is it about regulatory bodies trying to spoil the fun and destroy innovative new technologies? First the SoundExchange thing and now this…

I want one for home!

Although I don’t necessarily participate in Gizmodo’s RIAA boycott (I can’t bring myself to NOT support artists that I like… they get at least SOME of my money), I definitely can sympathize with the spirit of the thing. The RIAA, like the U.S. patent system, has recently proved to be evil without a doubt. Check it out, and do your part to un-support the RIAA!

In this era of wireless deviousness, its nice to see that someone has invented what is essentially a Faraday cage in liquid form. Although it costs about as much as “good-quality carpet,” others would argue that $4/foot is a reasonable price to pay for privacy. Or for imposing your privacy on anyone that steps into your house.

Slashdot posted something a month ago talking about what some scientists have found about “global warming”… apparently the surface of Mars has been experiencing temperature increases which correlate directly with the global warming phenomenon we have been observing on Earth.

Does this mean that global warming doesn’t exist? No, it probably does exist. But unlike Al Gore would have you believe, it is probably very very arrogant to think that we are responsible for raising the Earth’s temperature after only 200 years of industrialized greenhouse-gas-producing societies. It is far more likely that the sun’s output is fluctuating over time, or that the planets in our solar system are falling into the sun at the same rate.

So this guy from Carnegie Mellon has come up with cute little dancing robots that resemble Peeps. There’s a couple of videos on the page, but the most impressive to me is the one where the Peep dances to the sound of a drum being played next to it… notice how effortlessly it tracks tempo changes…

This bike’s transmission might be one of the coolest things I’ve seen. I’m very interested in seeing if this design gets used for any other products.


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