The Null Device


To protest biotechnology patent laws, which often give multinational corporations absolute rights over basic foodstuffs (even if they had been grown for centuries), a development charity is planning to patent salted potato chips. By patenting a new pre-salted chip, ActionAid are hoping to own the rights to the concept of salted potato chips, which in theory could be used to levy license fees from chip shops under threat of patent infringement lawsuit.

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Scientists in Adelaide have discovered that organ music reduces Christmas-related stress. It did not matter whether the organ in question was a pipe organ or an electronic organ; however, commercial Christmas carols did not reduce stress. So when December rolls around, if you wish to avoid Xmas Rage, ditch the Mariah Carey Christmas album and put on some Bach. (via Jimbob)


Software patents are bad, mmmkay? An article on how restrictive licensing killed MPEG-4; pity, as technically it was quite a doovy scheme; still, that's greed for you. Fortunately, the W3C has ruled out endorsing royalty-bound technologies, a scheme it had been mulling earlier. (via bOING bOING, EFF)

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