2008-10-13

The dead hand of software patents

I've been moved to write the following to my MP and some of my MEPs:
Andrew Murrison, Graham Watson, Neil Parish,

I was concerned to hear that the Court of Appeal has ruled that patents should be allowed on software.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article4907993.ece

The reason that software patents are so bad is that it's so difficult, time consuming and expensive to avoid violating them. One has to hire expensive patent lawyers etc. This is in contrast to copyright, where it's easy to avoid copying someone else's work. So I believe that copyright is adequate for people who want their software to be proprietary.

Please deliver us from the dead hand of software patents!

Regards,

Tony Locke,
Trowbridge,

2008-10-06

Synthetic Biology

As well as Bill and Pascal, Jo and Phil went along to Monday's Science Cafe. Jo and Phil work for a pharmaceuticals company, so phrases like 'recombinant DNA' hold no fear for them!

The subject covers the spectrum from taking the basic molecules of life and using new variants to do new things, to using existing DNA and recombining it in different ways.

The speaker quoted Richard Feynman saying something like, 'to really understand an idea, you have to use it to build something'. So the lab is trying to understand biology by using it to build something new.

There's something that offends the religious in creating life. It's as though being able to create life is either an affront to God, or somehow shows that he doesn't exist. Creating life is nothing new, women have been doing it for years!

Lying

Some time ago I started reading a Wendy Perriam. 'The 50 minute hour ' I think it was called. I found I just couldn't get into it. Perriam was an author I remember my mum reading, so I thought I'd give her another go with Lying. I believe that Perriam has the reputation of producing aga sagas. Joanna Trollope is the queen of the aga saga. Didn't she bridle at that label, saying her work could be bleak and challenging?

Well, I'm divagating. One of the characters, James Egerton, explains that Saint Augustine thought that evil wasn't a thing in itself, but rather an absence of good.

I watched Capote yesterday, and the message seemed to be that Capote was wrong to manipulate the trial in order to suit his own writing. Of course this was wrong, but it's the kind of wrong that still gives me hope. I think the worst thing is nihilism, where nothing matters. Capote is better than that because he thought that something mattered (his book) but he just got the wrong thing.