It's really too bad that this didn't come up before O'Connor retired. I can't see her voting to uphold business method patents. As usual, Kennedy makes the wrong choice, though I'm pleasantly surprised about Sotomayor, given that her ex-husband had a vested interest in upholding software patents.
This is what's called a dysphemism treadmill. "Moron" also used to be, and in fact was used as an insult. People like to use taboo words. In fact at the high school I went to people used "SpEd" "special" and "SPEDdcial" them the same way.
I was in the SPED program for autism, and when people talked down to me I hated it. I didn't care when they used the term retard, but then, I knew I wasn't mentally retarded (socially is a different matter), and since their use of SPED and special was in the same manner, I didn't object to that either. The kids who were mentally retarded and verbal, clearly didn't like it when people talked down to them. I don't know that the highfunctioning mentally retarded, mostly with Down Syndrome object to the term, because I've never heard people use it in their presence. But there's a large difference between mocking a person, and using the term "retard." It's always seemed to me like the objection to the term was more a problem the parents and educators had, yes, sanctimonious political correctness.
Really, I wish more people would get upset about things that actually cause problems. For example, putting kids who could function in a normal class into a "special" class because it's easier on the teachers. It almost happened to me, and from my observations it's a lot more harmful both to ego and life performance than hurtful comments.
I didn't think so. Software patents are an important process in preserving our Anglo legal heritage! You people just want to STEAL the inventions that people invent. JUST BECAUSE THE INVENTION IS IN THEIR HEAD AND NOT IN THE "REAL WORLD"! You guys make me sick.
The idea behind patents is not that you have an idea, it's that you implement that idea, and then share with the country how that invention works, in exchange for a time-limited monopoly.
That is, you can't patent the idea of "heavier than air air travel powered by an engine," but you can patent an airplane. An airplane is difficult to invent, but, I can invent a different method of air travel, such as a helicopter. If rockets had been around at the time of the Wright brothers I might even have been able to patent a rocket-powered airplane.
By contrast Friendster patented the idea of a social network, that is assessing people's relationships based on mutual connections. The idea was not hard work, it's not clear that Friendster actually invented the social network (see also: LiveJournal), and certainly not clear that the idea is is non-obvious. It does not merit a 28 year monopoly.The hard work was not in coming up with that idea, and the idea should not be patentable.
The specific code that Friendster uses is subject to copyright. Moreover the classes, subroutines, and functions required for a social network, the architecture is a great deal of effort to design (though probably still not meriting 28 years' protection). I know because I've tried to write a social network. If Friendster patented its particular architecture, it does not block me from coming up with a different architecture going through the hard work of coming up with a working prototype.
If I'm not making myself clear, just imagine if Alia had patented search engines, or if OpenDiary had patented the idea of a blog. Imagine if somebody had patented the idea of "selling stuff over the internet, by means of a computer."
"School filters have never, ever stopped me from seeing something i shouldn't. >:)"
I actually took a course in web design in high school that taught me nothing about web design, but did teach me how to evade the school's filters. The teacher mentioned that the school's filters could be easily circumvented. He stopped short of explaining how, but didn't raise an eyebrow when a couple student immediately picked off where he left off.