I don't know if the patent was new or not; I'm actually curious to see the prior art. But my intuition as someone "skilled in the trade" is that the concept is definitely NOT obvious.
Do you remember how things worked pre-iPhone? It would actually be hard to imagine because there was no such thing as natural-direction, touch&grab scrolling (or maybe there was) but the rubberband effect is, in my opinion, a nifty little user interface innovation that greatly improves usability.
If it were so obvious, how come we never saw it anywhere else, for example in desktop web browsers?
I too am curious about the accounting practices in the case of movies (we all know about how it works in the case of music) but treating gross box office figures as if they were net income doesn't make much sense.
Although it's not my cup of tea either (nor many others'), you can look at it as one more "against all odds" factor. In fact, I don't think it even satisfies Pirate Mike Masnick's "be awesome" criteria (not for most)... And yet, Alex is still doing great.
How do we better reward insight and thoughtful commentary over the quick hit-scoop?
This would be as big an endeavor as trying to reduce healthcare costs by shifting the incentive structure: rewarding providers based on the results they achieve, not on how many tests/procedures they do.
Mike and/or one of these initiatives should team up with JACK ABRAMOFF and see if there's any hope to at least start changing things. I, for one, do buy Abramoff's newfound righteousness and his experience could prove invaluable in an effort like this.
Abramoff is a rare opportunity now - unique, in fact - and not taking advantage of it would be a shame.
Mike should sink a little (for the greater good!) and write a quintessential link-bait article, complete with a catchy headline and all. Say, for example:
"Justin Bieber to face felony charges under new law"
or "5 reasons why Justin Bieber will go to prison next year"
or "Do you want Bieber out of jail? You are not alone! 3 ways to stop the madness TODAY"
As for the article itself, it should be written in a language targeted to non-TD readers and should be the right mix of FUD, credibility and call-to-action so that it gets shared around.