- Court says only hard math is patentable
Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica describes the most thorough response on the question of software patents to date. Unfortunately the news is mixed, conceding that math that can largely be calculated by hand is not patentable but anything that requires a computer can still be patented. Lee clearly puts this into context, explaining how rulings have run on the issue at the federal circuit level and the Supreme Court. How the distinction between easy and hard math holds up will be interesting to see as there are already tons of counter examples that undermine how the ruling is stated and was arrived at.
- Computer prediction used to design better organic semiconductors
Slashdot links to a pair of articles discussing some research from Stanford and Harvard that is tantalizing for the possibilities it may enable if it can be applied to CPU designs rather than this particular application, identifying compounds for organic semiconductors for use in flexible LCD displays. Granted, the results are very impressive even if they aren’t directly going to yield the first step towards a hard take off Singularity.
- Wikipedia may censor images
Slashdot links to the news straight from Wikimedia of a possible new feature and policy, opt-in at first, for flagging images for problematic content. As the submitter notes, however, if implemented this likely to directly aid and abet those already pursuing mandatory censorship regardless of the opt-in status. I understand the pressures brought to bear by the board of trustees but I think any step in this direction would be a mistake as it is too hard to draw a line that doesn’t imperil free speech and free access to information.
- Berkman study finds many net activists are not taking necessary precautions to conceal identities, All Headline News h/t @OxbloodRuffin
- Scientists devise 260GB CD-sized glass disc storage technology, The Register
- IBM plants transactional memory in CPU, EETimes
- Firefox 7 beta puts priority on performance, PCWorld
- HTC unlocks its own phones, Slashdot