Can facts be patented?

(via The Consumerist)
I did not know this.  Apparently Metabolite has a patent on the fact “The level of an amino acid called homocysteine is measured in a patient’s blood or urine and, if elevated, it can be correlated with a deficiency of folic acid, or B12.”  And there is a lawsuit against the company Laboratory Testing Company for violating this patent.  Also, supposedly I’ve broken the law by quoting that fact.
The Supreme Court has to decide the following question:

if a doctor looks at a patient’s test results and even thinks that sentence, has he broken the law?

I don’t have much faith in our courts to make a good decision here, but we’ll see.

[tags]Patents, Metabolite[/tags]

One key gaming

Reading the latest issue of PCGamer, I was reminded of an experiment initiated with the intention of giving more people with physical handicaps and disabilities the option to play games. The end result of this experiment is a set of games which are playable with only a single key. As surprising as this might sound to some gamers, these are some good games, and they can be surprisingly challenging and engaging. If you want to try some of these out, start with these listed in the April 2006 issue of PCGamer.

  1. Oneswitch Ballz – Simply enough, you just have to control a ball travelling a path. The spacebar makes the ball jump. The challenge comes in when you start hitting floor tiles that change your direction, speed, and even the height of your jump.
  2. Mini-Golf One Button Style – As the name implies, this is mini-golf played with a single key. As with any other mini-golf game, you just need to try to sink the putt. In this game, though, you only have one key to press to set the direction of travel and the force of the hit. This is actually the first game in the one-button set of games that I ever heard about.
  3. 1Key Case Ship – You control a space ship travelling in this side-scrolling cave traversal game. Pressing your key makes the ship go up. Releasing it stops the upward force until gravity pulls the ship back down. It sounds easy, but it can be very tough to avoid crashing.
  4. Strange Attractors – You turn your “gravity drive” on and off with a key-press. When it is on, you are pulled towards celestial objects. When it is off, you free-float along the trajectory gained from gravity. Your goal is the exit gate on the other side of the screen.
  5. Shades of Doom – Described in PCGamer as a non-graphical first-person shooter, in Shades of Doom you are blind. Try this out and see how well you do when you have to rely on sounds.

EDIT: I forgot to mention in the original post, but if you enjoy these and want to see more one-key games, hit the OneSwitch site.
[tags]One-key gaming, games[/tags]

Judge makes nonsense decision, supreme court won’t reconsider

(via BoingBoing)

The obscenity section of the Communications Decency Act (hereafter CDA) bans publishing “obscene” material on the net. Unfortunately, according to this wonderfully moronic act, “obscene” is determined by “local standards” in the courts. That means someone hosting porn in California can be sued by someone living in Puritinicaville, FL (actual name – Ave Maria, FL) for hosting obscene material. For those that haven’t heard of this Internet thing, it turns out it is world wide. But any potentially obscene material hosted online and originating in the US now gets judged by the most conservative , puritanical communities rather than by the site of origin or at a nationally set guidance level. Any material online is obscene if any community declares it obscene.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court has declined to overturn this decision by lower courts. The site where I first saw this story, BoingBoing, has links to a social network style site named SuicideGirls (not safe for work). Under the CDA, a lot of what shows up on SuicideGirls would be considered obscene to some people. Now, thanks to the CDA and the Supreme Court’s unwillingness to overturn the lower courts’ decisions, a site like SuicideGirls could go off the air so to speak. Or at least outside the country.

I’m not suggesting that anyone, anywhere on the Internet should be able to post anything they want. But restricting all content to the most prudish members of our society might be worse than letting the most depraved determine what is acceptable. If we as a nation are going to put limits on Internet content, it needs to be restricted according to some defined national levels. As bad as our government is about determining things like this, I still think those at the federal level could do a better job setting a baseline standard than we will do letting any community decide.

Of course, better yet is getting rid of the CDA, but that’s not likely to happen in the heavily conservative court we now have.

[tags]CDA, Communications Decency Act[/tags]

C’mon, you conspiracy theorists, you know you want some!

(via Tingilinde)

Are you looking for that fashionable tin-foil cap or a cleverely disguised EMF-guarding camisole (because even when you want to look nice, you want to be protected from all that bad EMF!)? Maybe you just want a faraday cage screen so you’ll sleep better at night? Well, folks, worry no more. Now you can find these, and more, at

emf-glove.JPG What we have here is an emf-apron.JPGEMF-shielded glove, sure to protect your hands from all those nasty emissions your computer puts out. If that style doesn’t suite you, maybe you need one of these handy EMF aprons instead. Of course, you could suit up in both, throw on a EMF shielded baseball cap, and you’ll be styling AND safe from those bad, pesky, scary rays that are flying around us every moment. Oooooooh! Just head on over there and pick up all your clothes. And be safe to use your computer and cell phone again!
[tags]EMF Shielding, sarcasm[/tags]

Wicked lasers

I have another cool post to make soon about lasers (high powered burn-your-doll’s eyes out lasers), but I wanted to point these out while I have them open in my browser. If you’ve ever wanted a laser that’s just a little bit different than what everyone else has, check out Wicked Lasers.

Pretty much everyone owns red laser pointers. You’ve tried every method imaginable to see that red laser beam. But, you’ve never had the actual power until now. Wicked Lasers grants you the ability to shoot a red laser beam, green laser beam, or even blue laser beam from your laser pointer.

There’s even a link to a low-res (4 meg) or hi-res (18 meg) video from FOX TV.  The down side is the price – $99 to $999.  But if you have $999 to spend, you can get a blue laser pointer.  That’s what I want.  Because I’m a big geeky boy who is impressed by shiney things.

[tags]Lasers, laser pointers, geek tech[/tags]

ASUS dual-core widescreen laptop

(via TechEBlog)

I like to game. I want a good laptop. If I had the money, I’d probably get something a lot like this:

At 7.5 pounds, the ASUS W2J boasts a vibrant 17-inch TFT (WSXGA+) display that’s perfect for watching digital TV via the built-in DVB-T tuner. This laptop can handle any application, thanks to its speedy Intel Centrino Core Duo T2500 2.0GHz processor, 1024MB of DDR II 667 SDRAM memory, 120GB HDD, ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 256MB (512MB HyperMemory), and slot-loading DVD Super Multi drive. The W2J is available now at the price of $3,157.


The only thing I could really wish were changed is the video. I prefer nVidia.  And maybe a 19-inch screen.  But that might be asking to much
[tags]ASUS, Dual-Core laptop, widescreen laptop,geek tech[/tags]

M-Brid pocket movie player

(via TechEBlog)
I just had my birthday. When my wife asked what I wanted for my birthday, I didn’t know. If I had known about this, I would have asked for one. It is t3h secksay to me.

Similar in size to Apple’s iPod, the M-Brid Pocket Movie Player features a 2.2-inch LCD display, 4GB hard drive, and support for a variety of video/audio formats. An integrated d-pad makes navigating the interface a breeze. Pricing and availablity have not yet been announced.

Well, there is that pricing and availability have not yet been announced issue, too. But it sure is pretty.


[tags]PMP, M-Brid, Pocket movie player[/tags]