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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2007-03-22 20:11
  Subject:   How stupid is our patent system: patent for a linked list - granted in 2006.
  Music:12 Stones - Broken
  Tags:  intellectual property, reddit

A computerized list is provided with auxiliary pointers for traversing the list in different sequences. One or more auxiliary pointers enable a fast, sequential traversal of the list with a minimum of computational time. Such lists may be used in any application where lists may be reordered for various purposes.


Yes I know there's metric craploads of prior art, yes I know it's both obvious and trivial, yes I know this patent will be shot down in a microsecond, yes I know it is so pathetic as to laugh. But my point is, why are we issuing patents for algorithms in the first place? Even if the patent examiners were to suddenly reverse their near-flawless track record of complete ineptitude and lack of even the most basic computer science knowledge, would it even be a good idea to issue software patents in general? What if Microsoft patented the idea of a "static, pressable UI element" and nobody else could use buttons in their programs? What if the guy who invented the hash table had patented it, and for 14 years nobody could ever store hashes of anything in memory for fear of a lawsuit? You may laugh at these examples, but do you remember when the Patent Office granted Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com a patent on one-click shopping? And he used it to shut down BarnesAndNoble's shopping website 23 days later?

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy. Because someday the way that you earn YOUR paycheck is going to be patented by somebody else. And then we'll see who's laughing.
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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2007-03-22 23:07
  Subject:   Remember the Hale-Bopp comet cult? One of them survived...
  Music:Aerosmith - Crazy
  Tags:  boingboing, humor

By the time I finished Beyond Human Mind, it was clear that Rio’s book is a gospel, a testimonial about his time with DO and the call to transmit his wisdom - along with the "updates" he’s now receiving. If DO and TI had ushered in a new, alien apostolic age, then it is Rio who hopes to emerge as Heaven’s Gate’s John the Baptist, taking the word to the people. This was the reason he felt the urge to leave the mansion in March 1997. He was meant to tell the story. He now realizes that’s been his job since DO came up with the idea of writing a screenplay in 1996.

The script incorporates the Heaven’s Gate cosmogony. Humans are bit players in a vast galactic drama, including at least one alien summit on Mars. The protagonist is a telepathic man-dog descended from the Atlanteans who has a crystal embedded in his forehead and journeys to Earth to grow a soul. Rio and OLLODY started the first version when the group lived in Pleasant Valley, Arizona, and DO decided that a screenplay would be a ticket to the masses. The first draft was several hundred pages long, and featured concept art for all the different alien races and ships. NBC, Rio said, was interested.


As loonerball as the Heaven's Gate guys were, I have to at least give them credit for one thing. They did useful work while they were here, they didn't impose their beliefs on anyone who didn't want to be part of the group, and when they checked out they didn't try and take anyone with them who didn't want to go. If only all religions were so benevolent...
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May 2015