“Desire2Learn’s blind workers help make better accessibility tools for classrooms,” reports Christina Farr of VentureBeat.
Author Tim Wu argues for policy reform on our patent system in the New Yorker’s Elements blog.
Patent infringement is easy to allege and expensive to disprove. The problem is compounded by the excessive leniency with which patents have been issued over the past two decades, particularly for software and high technology. That creates ripe and lucrative opportunities for blackmail and extortion. One recent study suggests trolling costs the U.S. economy close to thirty billion dollars a year. The mathematics of deterrence suggests that the government needs to make the life of a troll miserable instead of lucrative.
Reporting from SXSW in Austin, Jenna Wortham sketches the new product from Memoto, a tiny, wearable camera that captures moments every 30 seconds.
Memoto’s camera hints at some of the issues that will emerge about privacy, ownership of data and social etiquette as automatic lifelogging devices like theirs, or Google Glass, become more prevalent in the wild. There are also larger questions about how secure the sensitive information captured on these devices will turn out to be, or what happens should these companies go out of business, potentially taking reservoirs of personal information captured over the years with them.
Last week John Broder of The New York Times wrote a critical review of Tesla Motor’s Model S electric car and the charging stations the company installed on the East Coast. Due to unusually cold weather and software issues, Broder’s planned trip from DC up I-95 ended on the back of a flatbed truck. (Actually, the truck drove Broder to a charging station, where he then finished the journey.)
In response to this review Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, wrote a harsh rejoinder to the Times where he accused Broder of purposefully sabotaging the ride. Musk uses charts and graphs to display the car’s locations, speeds and battery life and alleges that Broder failed to charge the car properly, drove at high speeds to deplete the battery, and at one point, spun around in a parking lot—all to kill the car. (Musk is a popular entrepreneur and a technology icon. His other business endeavor, SpaceX, manufactures rocket ships.)
The flame war continues.
Broder responded twice today. His second, more fully developed comeback is evenhanded and earnest. After sketching out his background at the Times and how this car review came to be, Broder goes point-by-point addressing each of Musk’s accusations. Where Musk says Broder drove around in circles, Broder says he was driving around trying to find the electric charging dock. (Much of the car’s lack of range is explained by the cold weather sapping life from the battery.)
And where Musk makes Broder out to be a petrol-Hummer-loving saboteur, Broder merely says, you’re supercharger network kinda sucks.
After writing a post on the fascinating new PPlanter, one of their designers, Julia Schmitt, was kind enough to write in and provide some key details.
Hey there, I’m one of the PPlanter designers. To answer your question about how it works – there is a 5-layer filtration system built into the center module (where the urinal and sink are located) to help capture excess nutrients, pollutants, and salts prior to urine/sink-greywater being pumped into the bamboo planters. Indeed, you’re right – we could use the center urinal module with ANY nutrient/salt-tolerant plants. That’s part of what makes the system modular/reconfigurable as we describe it. For multiple urinal units, we could bring out 10+ bamboo planters, or just locate the urinal adjacent to a large garden, farm, or compost pile as long as there are plants that are nutrient/salt tolerant.
We like to point out that this project will initially be intended for festivals and food-truck confluences. Down the line, once we’ve gotten enough funding, fixed any bugs that exist, and made it more rugged, we could deploy it on streets for more permanent use by anyone and everyone.