Archive: October 21st, 2002

Stop the Patent Process Madness

Wired has published an excellent article by Lauren Weinstein on the ludicrous state of Intellectual Property patents:

"Business methods and software patents have become a cesspool of attempts to control what many observers feel to be routine and obvious procedures."

Patents now exist for everything from exercising your cat with a laser pointer to one click online shopping. Weinstein makes the point that it’s a win/win situation for lawyers:

"Even when courts ultimately rule a particular IP claim invalid, the real winners in these battles, as usual, are the lawyers, who rake in the fees either way."

You can bet that a lot of lawyers made big bucks from the Macromedia vs. Adobe debacle.

This isn’t something that just affects businesses either. A key breast cancer test can no longer be carried out in Canada because an American company has patented a gene:

"Utah-based Myriad Genetics Inc. has put a patent on two genes that can signal whether a woman may develop hereditary breast cancer."

What a sickening state of affairs. I can only echo Weinstein’s words:

"We need to take a hard look at the fundamental ways in which IP laws have been perverted from their original purpose as creativity enhancers, into sordid money machines in this country and around the world."

Hear, hear.

The Morning News - The Opposite of Sex and the City

What if Sex and the City had been written by Beckett?

"1: I doubt I am fecund.

2: I have eaten so little.

3: Where are the men?

1: There are no men.

2: I will pay a woman $40 to caress and decorate my toes with varnish. I will wear shoes that cost more than the weekly wages of a restaurant worker, with tips.

3: What kind of tips?

2: Not on the shoes, for the restaurant workers.

1: I am hungry. I will not marry.

2: Talk about the shoes.

3: The shoes!

Unison: Shoes."

Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character

This is a scarily accurate online version of twenty questions. It didn’t take long for it to guess that I was thinking of Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties.

Why would I think of a character from Family Ties?

Maybe it’s because I just found out what Tina Yothers (the little blonde kid who played Alex’s sister) is doing these days: she’s rocking out with a band called Jaded.

Maybe I should just think of a dictator the next time I try that online version of twenty questions.