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Patents and Innovation, via slashdot

Patents: Slashdot gets a lot of stick for cluelessness. Now and again, though, you find well-presented arguments you won’t read elsewhere. Try these:

An excellent summary of James Burke’s book, The Day the Universe Changed; I haven’t read it, but it sounds good. Reportedly, there’s a section covering a period in British history when patent law was extended to cover 100 years; ‘Like copyright today a person could not extend on a process developed on the day of their birth – they and their children (and even many of their grandchildren) would be dead long before the patent expired.’

Meanwhile, Germany refused to respect these terms, and their industry flourished — ‘a backwards agrarian society became an industrial powerhouse that far exceeded the capabilities of the British industry they ‘stole’ from, within a working lifetime.’

Details of how Lowell, Massachusetts became an industrial-era milling powerhouse through the US ‘stealing’ British patents: ‘an English immigrant, Samuel Slater … had worked his way up from apprentice to overseer in an English factory using the Arkwright system. Drawn by American bounties for the introduction of textile technology, he passed as a farmer and sailed for America with details of the Arkwright water frame committed to memory.’

Games: GameChronicles on the GTA:VCScarface connection. A nice summary of all (or at least, most) of the Scarface homages in the game.

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