Permalink
Oct 06, 2001

blackholebrain - Freedom First, Justice Will Follow
Personal Commentary

Don't get me wrong -- it all sounds good. But there will never [ever] be any globally-implemented, man-made political, legislative, technological, or militaristic remedy that actually puts an end to terrorism. Period. Why? Because something as completely permeative of the human soul as religious belief is --no matter how radical the belief system-- it's really just part of being human. And beliefs won't just disappear with a UN mandate and some bullets, especially when dealing with belief systems that compel believers to sacrifice themselves in order to destroy those who believe differently. It's true.

[*applause*]

 


Permalink
Oct 05, 2001

Opportunists use crisis to push agendas
Misc.
'Yet amid the chorus of draconian proposals and McCarthyite threats, one voice of opportunism still stands out. That voice belongs to Robyn Mazer, who is using September 11 to call for an international crackdown on counterfeit T-shirts.'

Is there no cause that can't be twisted to be related to terrorism? We're finding out. The more time goes by, the closer we get to "no"...

 


Permalink
Oct 05, 2001

The 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Winners
Patents
'TECHNOLOGY IG-NOBLE AWARD:
Awarded jointly to John Keogh of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, for patenting the wheel in the year 2001, and to the Australian Patent Office for granting him Innovation Patent #2001100012.'

What are the Ig Noble awards?

 


Permalink
Oct 05, 2001

A rant against bad patents
Patents
'Looking at patent US5379129 itself, I see that it contains no new intellectual content. Usually, when I see a claim that Company X has patented Obvious Technique Y, I'm skeptical. Whether you agree with the patent system or not, in many cases the actual patent contains claims that show that Company X has at least used Obvious Technique Y in a new context, or figured out an implementation trick.'

'Here, however, the patent really is as dumb as it looks at first glance.'

I'm on a Yahoo group dedicated to discussions of the Web and the law. There's this one lawyer on there who has apparently written a program or two (though I'd bet almost anything we're talking a script or two), and thinks that he has enough expertise therefore to declare that all software patents, with perhaps only a few rare exceptions, are valid.

Personally, I notice a distinct correlation between development work done in life and anti-patent attitudes. I don't think you get that anywhere else. It's not business entities fighting against patents, it's the software developers. Pharmaceutical industry physicians like patents. (I like them in that case too.)

What's different about software? (Hint: Check the linkage.)

 


Permalink
Oct 03, 2001

My test today
Personal Commentary
I took a test today in my graph theory class. I thought it might be interesting to share one of the problems:

4. Prove by induction on the number of vertices in the graph (|V|) that every undirected graph G has an orientation such that |indeg(v) -outdeg(v)| <= 1 for every vertex in the graph.

I think I got it mostly right.

One of the things I love about math is taking a course and reading the last chapter the course will cover. Such gibberish. Yet, in just four or five months, it makes sense. You'd hardly even think it was the same book. So much fun!

And that's why I'm a grad student. I figured anybody who can say that with a straight face probably ought to keep going in their education.

 


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