Tag Archives: intellectual property

Media piracy study and Canada’s International Development Research Centre

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) helped to fund (along with the Ford Foundation) a massive study on media piracy in emerging economies led and published by the US Social Sciences Research Council in March 2011. It was a global effort also supported by Brazil’s Overmundo Institute and the Center for Technology and Society, Getulio Vargas Foundation; India’s Sarai: The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and The Alternative Law Forum; South Africa’s The Association for Progressive Communication; Russia’s The Centre for Independent Social Research and The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; and the US’s The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. I half expected to see China listed too and I find the absence surprising.

It was a March 8, 2011 posting by Mike Masnick on Techdirt that alerted me to the study. (from the posting),

… much in the report is extremely forward-looking and thinking. It goes into great detail how fascinating and innovative new business models are appearing around the globe where “piracy” is rampant, and suggests that we really need to rethink the idea of “piracy” in those markets. It highlights how almost all of the policy discussions in the west concerning infringement focuses on “enforcement,” but that may be the wrong way to go about it. The research, instead, points out that a better focus may be on setting up the structures for successful business models to emerge — which include local firms who can compete on prices …

The 440 page report, Media piracy in Emerging Economies, is available under various licensing agreements (free and pay).

Yesterday (June 1, 2011), I received a media advisory from the IDRC informing me of a panel discussion being held tomorrow, June 3, 2011,from 2 pm to 4 pm EDT in Ottawa (if you can’t get to the live panel discussion, you can view it via livestreaming webcast). From the media advisory,

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, a landmark study co-funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), made headlines around the world earlier this year. The controversial study determined that this “global scourge” was better described as a global pricing problem: high prices for media goods, combined with low incomes and cheap digital technologies. The report underscored that attempts to police piracy aren’t working and that, in some cases, global enforcement has led to unintended negative socio-economic consequences.

In a panel discussion at IDRC on June 3, three internationally renowned experts will discuss the implications of media piracy for the global economy. Media Piracy in Emerging Economies editor Joe Karaganis, from the American Assembly at Columbia University, and one of the researchers, Ronaldo Lemos, from Brazil’s Center for Technology and Society at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas School of Law (who will appear via live stream), will be joined by technology law expert Michael Geist, from the University of Ottawa, to debate the issues as they relate to Canada and the world. [emphases mine]

You can to this page to register for the live event or click through to the livestreaming website.

Patents and innovation; should Canada take its cue from India?

Anti-retroviral drugs are invaluable therapy for  AIDS patients and the world is dependent on India for a cheap supply of the drugs. According to an article (Indian Trade Agreements Could Choke AIDS Drug Lifeline) by Jenara Nerenberg on the Fast Company website, this access could be jeopardized,

India is the primary supplier of anti-retroviral (ARVs) AIDS drugs in middle and low-income countries. And a report from the Journal of the International AIDS Society reveals just how catastrophic it would be if somehow that supply were to get cut off due to political, trade, or disaster-related causes: In some countries, up to 90% of children with AIDS are dependent on India’s cheap, generic drugs.

… The massive, low-cost ARV production industry in India has been made possible by the country’s patent laws. “Indian laws did not grant patents on a product, but only on a process to make it, which helped its drug firms to make cheaper versions and improved formulations using alternative methods,” SciDev.net reports. [emphasis mine]

But not everyone in the world sees those laissez faire patent laws as a good thing. India is in ongoing discussions with the World Trade Organization and the EU, but there is fear that increased patent requirements may dismantle the country’s thriving ARV production industry.

Interesting that a demand to patent products would mean less competition. If India’s experience with anti-retroviral drugs is any indicator, while patenting products gives you more patents (handy when countries are comparing scientific leadership by measuring the number of patents [amongst other criteria] that have been filed) patenting a process leads to more competition or should we call it innovation.

If there’s interest in innovation/competition (something the Canadian politicians and government agencies are very concerned about stimulating) then, I think Canada should look to India and its experience with anti-retroviral drugs for inspiration.

Thinking about Canada’s copyright act, property rights, and slowing innovation

A new copyright bill is supposed to be introduced to Canada’s Parliament sometime this week according to both Michael Geist and the National Post. From Geist’s blog(May 19, 2010),

The National Post’s Don Martin reports that the copyright bill could be introduced next week with confirmation of the broad outlines of the bill I reported on earlier this month. Martin, who, describes the forthcoming bill as heavy-handed, reports:

All signals suggest Heritage Minister James Moore has triumphed over the objections of Industry Minister Tony Clement, setting up Canada to march in excessively protected lockstep with a United States that boasts the toughest laws against pirated music or movies on the planet.

In Geist’s latest post (May 25, 2010) on this issue,

The foundational principle behind C-61 was the primacy of digital locks. When a digital lock (often referred to as digital rights management or technological protection measure) is used – to control copying, access or stifle competition – the lock supersedes virtually all other rights. The fight over the issue has pitted the tech-savvy Industry Minister Tony Clement, who has reportedly argued for a flexible implementation, against Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who has adopted what many view as an out-of-touch approach that would bring back the digital lock provisions virtually unchanged.

Moore has declined to comment on his position, but his approach raises some difficult questions …

I have posted elsewhere about the impact that intellectual property law (which includes copyright, patents, and trademarks) can have on the practice of science/innovation, i.e. crippling it, and on how the number of patents received are used as a measure of scientific progress. It’s interesting that a measure for progress can also function as an impediment to it.

In contrast to the usual discussion about copyright, Mike Masnick (Techdirt) has written an article (May 24, 2010) that highlights the notion of fairness-based legal liability. From the article,

His [Marshall van Alstyne] most recent paper, co-authored with Gavin Clarkson, explores both how strict intellectual property rights lead to socially inefficient outcomes, and how “fairness” principles could be much more efficient. The paper uses a combination of real world examples, previous research and game theory to make a rather compelling case.

Basically, it explains all the reasons why intellectual property leads to hoarding of information that slows innovation:

Property rights provide incentives to create information but they also provide incentives to hoard it prior to the award of protection. All-or-nothing rights, in particular, limit prior sharing. An unintended consequence is to slow, not has- ten, forward progress when innovation hinges on combining disparately owned private ideas.

Apply this thinking (“… they [property rights] also provide incentives to hoard it prior to the award of protection”) to nanotechnology and the other emerging technologies all of which are highly dependent on interdisciplinary cooperation and you can see what starts happening. Then add some of the current copyright craziness (a YouTube clip of This hour has 22 minutes),

As the video makes clear, once ownership has been awarded, i.e. you have a copyright, there are the issues of control for the purposes of your business model.

It would seem that if the ‘new’ bill resembles the old bill, Canadians will be faced with the possibility of less innovation via this new law despite the feedback the government received during last summer’s public consultations and at a time when it’s been recognized that there is too little innovation in Canada.

15th Century painting techniques and nanotechnology; Conference Board of Canada and copyright; Real Vancouver Writers; Better Living

Kate Nichols is a fellow at TED. She is also a painter who trained in 15th century techniques. From the article by Kristen Philipkoski on Boing, Boing,

Nichols learned painting as painters did in 15th century Flanders: by apprenticing under a master and learning to make her own paints. She became skilled at creating the type of complex colors only possible as light travels through thin layers of oil glaze. But she eventually found that no amount of layering could recreate the complexity she saw in the Morpho butterfly’s wings. [I previously posted about nanotech and the colour of butterfly wings here.]

As Philipkoski goes on to recount, the desire to recreate the colours of a Morpho butterfly’s wings is what led her to working with nanotechnology but, first, working with mathematician, Judy Holdener, she learned why she couldn’t recreate those colours with her traditional techniques. Nichols eventually contacted someone at a nanotech laboratory in her pursuit and went on to become the first artist-in-residence at that lab (the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley). (You can see images of her work at the article on the Boing Boing site.)

More recently she was awarded the TED fellowship I’ve already mentioned. TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design and it started out as an annual conference. You can find out more about TED here and more about this year’s annual conference here. As for the fellowship, it sounds a bit like a mentoring programme but you can read the description for yourself here.

One last quote from the article,

“I love thinking about plasmon resonance–likely, because I paint motion and grew up dancing,” Nichols said. When light comes into contact with a metal, electrons are displaced. Because the electrons are attracted to the nuclei of the metallic atoms, the electrons fall back into their original positions only to be exiled again, over and over. This oscillatory dance is called a plasmon and we perceived it as color when the wavelength falls within the visible spectrum.

On the copyright (intellectual property) front, Michael Geist is commenting on the latest Conference Board of Canada’s report. As you may recall, the Conference Board was embarrassed last year when it released a report that had large chunks plagiarized from a US lobby group’s materials. You can read more about the contretemps here on Techdirt and Geist’s comments here. From Geist’s blog,

The new report, which weighs in at 113 pages, was completed by Ruth Corbin, a Toronto-based IP expert. Corbin started from scratch, reading a broad range of materials, conducting interviews, and leading a private roundtable on the issue (I participated in the roundtable and met separately with her). While there is much to digest, the lead takeaway is to marvel at the difference between a report cribbed from lobby speaking points and one that attempts to dig into the issues in a more balanced fashion. Three examples:

First, the report puts intellectual property policy into perspective as just one portion of the innovation agenda, noting that over-protection can be lead to diminishing returns…

W2 Community Media House (in Vancouver, Canada) is hosting a writer’s series that has two more weeks to go. The next event is Feb. 17, 2010.

This description from Heather Haley (poet) highlights a couple of radio interviews and her upcoming Real Vancouver Writers appearance,

Real Vancouver Writers Series at the W2 Culture and Media House
Located across from the refurbished Woodwards Building in Downtown Vancouver
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
7:00pm – 10:00pm
112 E. Hastings
“Poet, author, musician and media artist Heather Susan Haley pushes boundaries by creatively integrating disciplines, genres and media. Published in numerous journals and anthologies, her poetry collections Sideways (Anvil Press) and Three Blocks West of Wonderland (Ekstasis Editions) have been described as ³supple and unusual” and ³brawny and uncompromising.² She was an editor for the LA Weekly, publisher of Rattler and the Edgewise Cafe, one of Canada’s first electronic literary magazines. Architect of the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre, the Vancouver Videopoem Festival and SEE THE VOICE: Visible Verse at Pacific Cinémathèque, her works have been official selections at dozens of international film festivals. Haley has gained renown as an engaging performer, sharing her poetry and music with audiences around the world. Most recently she toured eastern Canada and the U.S. in support of her critically acclaimed AURAL Heather CD of spoken word songs, Princess Nut.”
She will be appearing with Teresa McWhirter, Lee Henderson, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Nikki Reimer, Chris Hutchinson, Dina Del Bucchia, Amber Dawn, Donato Mancini, Sonnet L¹Abbe, Jonathon Wilcke and Catherine Owen.
Heather will be live in ‘The Artist Lounge’ hosted by J Peachy on CJSF 90.1 FM on Tuesday Feb 16th at 7pm. Hope you can tune in, its also online at http://wwwcjsf.ca. The next day, the day of the reading, Wed. Feb. 17 Heather will be visiting friends Steve Duncan and RC Weslowki on Wax Poetic @ 2pm (PST) 102.7fm CFRO Co-op Radio, http://www.coopradio.org/. *See* you there!

I like to feature more about the arts and new media on Fridays or, at least, to have something amusing here. Today, I’ve managed both now that I’ve come to this item by Alissa Walker in Fast Company ,

Who knew that paper clips and staples could teach such smart life lessons? Everyday objects you might find at your desk are the stars in Hints for Better Living , a short film by Los Angeles-based designer Mike Afsa, who also does work for companies like Chiat\Day and Quiksilver.

It’s charming and it gave me a whole new perspective on paper clips and staples. Happy Weekend!

Patents kill innovation?; nanosponges and spinning carbon nanotubes in China; Google and the universal translator

There’s an article about patents in The Economist online that provokes a question that’s not broached in the article. Here’s the thesis,

Most economists would argue that, without a patent system, even fewer inventions would lead to successful innovations, and those that did would be kept secret for far longer in order to maximise returns. But what if patents actually discourage the combining and recombining of inventions to yield new products and processes—as has happened in biotechnology, genetics and other disciplines?

Here’s the logical next question. If you accept the notion that patents kill innovation (or hinder it mightily) than how can the number of patents that are registered by any one country be used as a standard measure of scientific progress as per the 2009 OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard (my post about Canada’s low patent score here)?

Thanks to Techdirt for pointing me to The Economist article (go here to see their take) and to the Brad Feld posting (go here to see their take) about biotech innovation and patents. From Feld’s posting,

Regularly, patent advocates tell me how important patents are for the biotech and life science industries.  However, there apparently is academic research in the works that shows that patents actually slow down innovation in biotech.  The specific example we discussed was that there is increasing evidence that when a professor or company gets a patent in the field of genetics research, other researchers simply stop doing work in that specific area.  As a result, the number of researchers on a particular topic decreases, especially if the patent is broad.  It’s not hard to theorize that this results in less innovation around this area over time.

Feld goes on cite a few academics who write about patents and their impact on innovation. His main interest is not biotech but software which brings me back to the article in The Economist and a ‘weirdity’ at the end.

An end to frivolous patents for business processes will be a blessing to online commerce. Meanwhile, the loss of patent protection for software could make programmers realise at last that they have more in common with authors, artists, publishers and musicians than they ever had with molecular architects and chip designers. In short, they produce expressions of ideas that are eminently copyrightable.

That could be good news for innovation. After all, who in his right mind would seek a lousy old patent offering a mere 20 years of protection when copyright can provide monopoly rights for up to 70 years after the author’s death? That one fact alone could spur more innovation than all the tinkering attempted so far.

I understand that the author is being satirical, unfortunately, the copyright side of intellectual property law is at least as crazy as the patent side and this falls a little flat for me.

Michael Berger over at Nanowerk has devoted a couple of spotlight items (in depth articles) to innovations in China over the last few days. First there were the carbon nanotube sponges,

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are ‘strange’ nanostructures in a sense that they have both high mechanical strength and extreme flexibility. Deforming a carbon nanotube into any shape would not easily break the structure, and it recovers to original morphology in perfect manner. Researchers in China are exploiting this phenomenon by making CNT sponges consisting of a large amount of interconnected nanotubes, thus showing a combination of useful properties such as high porosity, super elasticity, robustness, and little weight (1% of water density). The nanotube sponges not only show exciting properties as a porous material but they also are very promising to be used practically in a short time. The production method is simple and scalable, the cost is low, and the sponges can find immediate use in many fields related to water purification.

Then today, there was an article on spinning carbon nanotube yarns,

“While the development of a continuous and weavable pure carbon nanotube yarn remains a major challenge in the fabrications, CNT yarns so far obtained from the different processes are monolithic in structure,” Ya-Li Li, a professor in the Nanomaterials and PDCs Group at the Key Laboratory of Advanced Ceramics and Machining Technology at Tianjin University in PR China, explains to Nanowerk. “We have now been able to demonstrate the fabrication of a novel continuous yarn of CNTs with a multiple-layer structure by the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) spinning process. The yarn consists of multiple monolayers of CNTs concentrically assembled in seamless tubules along the yarn axis.”

While I’ve seen a number of articles proclaiming China’s increasing  presence in many scientific fields, including nanotechnology, this is the first time I’ve seen articles that probe beyond a basic description of published studies in language that is still accessible, i.e., you don’t need a specialist degree to read the material. It certainly helps to contextualize the statistics and other data about China’s published studies.

Kit Eaton’s article (Will Google’s Translator Phone lead us to Babylon or Babble On?) in Fast Company touches on, biblical times (Tower of Babel), Star Trek (universal translator) and linguistics, how could I resist?

Google’s revealed it’s working on extensions to its smartphone voice-control powers, debuted in the Nexus One, that’ll automatically translate between languages. It’s the stuff of pure utopian science fiction. But is it a good idea?

While Eaton makes some other sci fi references that I’m not particularly familiar with such as Douglas Adams’ Babel Fish (which in turn references the Tower of Babel), her point is clear: there can be unintended consequences (a concept from Max Weber, if I recall rightly) to new inventions/innovations.

…  For example, if Google’s device succeeds, and is useful and ubiquitous (in other words, nearly everyone ends up using it, or a competing service)–nobody would need learn a foreign language. “Hooray!” you may be thinking, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Because language plays such a fundamental part in connecting each of us as thinking creatures with the world around us, that the subtle nuances of language (which are different even in similar tongues, say the Latin-derived Spanish and Portuguese) actually shape how we think about the world. Learning something of how somebody else speaks from a foreign country actually helps you to understand their mindset a little. And if the average Joe on the street never learns a foreign language anymore (because it’s a very tricky thing to do, and Google’s just doing it for you, so why bother?) then that subtle understanding will be lost.

In the discussion about  “… the subtle nuances of language shaping how we think …” Eaton is referring to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Interestingly, some of the traditional linguistics departments in universities have resisted this hypothesis (I first learned about it in a mid-1980s communications course where we focused on semiotics).

On purely speculative terms, I could see two other ways for a universal translator to have unintended consequences. First, if something can’t be translated, it could disappear. Second, if a translatable version of your native language should emerge, people could break up into smaller subgroups to create more languages and more barriers to understanding. Eaton’s article definitely provoked some thinking for me this morning.

I did mention that I’d be posting the Geisler interview article later this week and I may have been a little optimistic as I’m having some difficulties chasing down a few details. In short, it’s on its way.

Idle thoughts about the OECD 2009 Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard, patents, and scientific productivity

I’m always intrigued that  patents are used as a means of measuring scientific productivity especially as there is some talk that they inhibit rather than encourage research efforts. (I have an earlier posting about this here.) This is by way of noting that the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Canada highlights (part of the 2009 Science, Technology and Industry Scorecard) had this to say,

Canada has a low number of patents (21 per million inhabitants in 2005-07) compared to the OECD (33) and the G7 average (48).

Other indices are used as well and I’ve not examined it thoroughly enough to comment on the scorecard itself.

Now back to today’s theme, patents as a measure of scientific productivity. Patents are filed for any number of reasons not just to protect the inventor’s/researcher’s interests but also to intimidate others into abandoning their work or to lay grounds for future legal suits for heinous amounts of money (people who do this are called patent trolls). The question I have is do: the registered patents represent active scientific work? I can’t imagine that this question can be answered by looking at patent registration numbers.

Is self-healing paint nanotech-enabled?; intellectual property in science fiction and in science; global nanotech regulation database

Ariel Schwartz has a news item on Fast Company about Japanese cell phones and self-healing paint. It seems to me that this is likely nanotech-enabled technology and an example of how we are more and more able to exploit the properties of matter at the nano scale. But, I couldn’t find any information to confirm my suspicion. More about the paint from the news item,

Nissan recently licensed its Scratch Shield paint, which is scratch resistant and even repairs fine scratches, to Japanese cell phone company NTT DoCoMo. The paint has been used on select Nissan and Infiniti cars worldwide since 1995, but this is the first time it will be used outside of the vehicle market. Unlike the vehicle paint, cell-phone scratch-proof paint will only be available in Japan for now. But considering the wear and tear that most cell phones see, demand for the product will almost certainly expand to a worldwide market.

I did check out the Nissan website which offers a few more pictures than the news item does but not much more information.

I occasionally mention intellectual property (IP) as the current turmoil over copyrights, patents, and trademarks have an impact on writing. It’s with some dismay that I found an item on Techdirt about a science fiction movie that’s being sued for patent infringement. Yes, a fictional device has been patented. Given that lots of items that we take for granted, cell phones/mobiles for example, are based on devices found in fiction first, this lawsuit does not bode well. Coincidentally (on the same day), I saw another item onTechdirt, Yet Another Nobel Prize Winner Says That Intellectual Property Law Is Harming Science. From the item,

For science to continue to flourish, it is necessary that the knowledge it generates be made freely and widely available. IP rights have the tendency to stifle access to knowledge and the free exchange of ideas that is essential to science. So, far from stimulating innovation and the dissemination of the benefits of science, IP all too often hampers scientific progress and restricts access to its products.

If this issue interests you, the item on Techdirt offers more links. Btw, the scientist speaking out is Sir John Sulston (a prize-winning biologist).

Thoughts of intellectual property led me to thoughts about lawyers, which is why the news item on Nanowerk about a global nanotechnology regulation database caught my eye.  From the news item,

A global database of government documents on nanotechnology is being launched by three law professors at Arizona State University who, with their colleagues in Australia and Belgium, have corralled and organized a massive number of regulatory documents dealing with the rapidly advancing technology. The Nanotech Regulatory Document Archive is a free resource built and maintained by the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Over the past year, Gary Marchant, the center’s executive director, and center Faculty Fellows Douglas Sylvester and Kenneth Abbott, developed the database as part of a multiyear grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Genomic Science Program.

I am intrigued to see that the project is being funded though a sort of genome programme being run by the US Dept. of Energy. I find this to be an unusual conflation but I suspect that’s largely due to my ignorance. I’ve certainly noticed the talk about bio-nano so a genome project being run by an energy department is not entirely out of the question but it hints at the idea that the gap between living and nonliving is being bridged. More about that when I’ve had time to think about it.

Idle thought: I wonder how long this free tool will remain free.

Patenting and copyrighting intellectual property; the role of technical innovation; more on London’s digital cloud

I keep expecting someone to try patenting/copyrighting/trademarking a nanoparticle or some such nanoscale object. If you believe that to be unthinkable, I suggest you read this (from TechDirt’s  Mike Masnick’s news item here),

We’ve seen a few ridiculous cases whereby local governments claim copyright on a law [emphasis mine], but it’s still stunning to see what’s going on in Liberia. Tom sends in the news that no one knows what the law covers in Liberia, because one man, leading a small group of lawyers, claims to hold the copyright on the laws of the country and won’t share them unless people (or, rather, the government of Liberia) is willing to pay. Oh, and did we mention that the US government paid for some of this?

Masnick’s article provides a link to more information in the story, He’s got the law (literally) in his hands, by Jina Moore and Glenna Gordon. While I find the situation extreme what strikes me first in Masnick’s piece is that it’s not unusual. So if people are actually going to try and copyright a law, why not a nanoparticle?

Coincidentally, China and India have made a proposal to eschew intellectual property rights with regard to green/clean technologies prior to the big climate talks during December (2009) in Copenhagen.  From the news item on Nanowerk,

As world leaders prepare for climate talks in Copenhagen next month, developing nations have tabled a controversial proposal which would effectively end patent protection for clean technologies.
China and India have floated the idea of making new green technology subject to ‘compulsory licensing’, which critics say amounts to waiving intellectual property rights.
The idea of adapting or liberalising patent rules for crucial new inventions which can help reduce carbon emissions is not new, but the EU and US are unhappy with compulsory licensing, fearing it would dramatically reduce the incentive for businesses to innovate and stifle green job creation.
Compulsory licensing has to date only been used in emergency situations where patent-protected pharmaceuticals were seen as prohibitively expensive. The Thai government used the mechanism to allow local medicines factories [to] produce HIV drugs at a fraction of the cost.

I’m guessing the reason that this item was posted on Nanowerk is that nanotechnology is often featured as an enabler of cleaner/greener products.

On a related theme, Andrew Maynard has posted his thoughts on the World Economic Forum that he attended last week in Dubai (from his Nov.22.09 posting),

Developing appropriate technology-based solutions to global challenges is only possible if  technology innovation policy is integrated into the decision-making process at the highest levels in government, industry and other relevant organizations.  Without such high-level oversight, there is a tendency to use the technology that’s available, rather than to develop the technology that’s needed.  And as the challenges of living in an over-populated and under-resourced world [emphasis mine] escalate, this will only exacerbate the disconnect between critical challenges and technology-based solutions.

The importance of technology innovation – and emerging technologies in particular – was highlighted by Lord Malloch-Brown in his closing remarks at this year’s Summit on the Global Agenda.  Yet there is still a way to go before technology innovation is integrated into the global agenda dialogue, rather than being tacked on to it

Maynard provides an intriguing insight into some of the international agenda which includes a much broader range of discussion topics that I would have expected from something called an ‘economic’ forum.  You can read more about the World Economic Forum organization and its latest meeting here.

I wasn’t expecting to find out more about London Olympics 2012”s digital cloud proposed project on Andy Miah’s website as I tend to associate him with human enhancement, Olympic sports, post humanism, and nanotechnology topics. I keep forgetting about his media interests. Here’s his latest (Nov.22.09) posting on the Digital Olympics (title of his new book) where he includes images and a video about the architectural project.

The poetry of Canadian Copyright Law

Techdirt had an item, Intellectual Property Laws Rewrittten as Poetry. The poet, Yehuda Berlinger, has included Canada’s copyright law in the oeuvre. You can read the verse here. It’s surprisingly informative given how amusing and concise the verses are.

On a completely other note, there’s an article in Fast Company about a haptic exhibition in Japan that’s quite intriguing in light of the Nokia Morph. Part of an exhibit last year, the Morph concept is a flexible, foldable, bendable (you get the idea) phone. As far as I know, they (University of Cambridge and Nokia) have yet to produce a prototype (last year they had an animation which demonstrated the concept). Getting back to Japan, one of the exhibits was a design for speakers where you control the volume by changing their shapes. Haptic Speakers: Reach Out and Touch Some Sound is the article. Do go and read it. I found it very helpful to see the pictures (which seems ironic given that the article is about the sense of touch).

I’ve been curious about research concerning disabled folks and using their ‘thought waves’ to control equipment or machinery. I’ve found a description of some of the research in Richard Jones’s blog but it’s in the context of a discussion of Ray Kurzweil and some of Kurzweil’s ideas regarding the ‘singularity’. Anyway, Jones offers a good description of some of the ‘thought wave’ research. As for Kurzweil, one of these days I will try and read some of the material he’s written. The little I have seen suggests that he has absolutely no concept of human nature, in much the same way that economists don’t.