January 24, 2005
I love old library books. Marked up in pen and pencil by ten different people, one sitting in his underwear under a bare lightbulb, another on her lunch break at the record store. Truth be told, I'm procrastinating reading this. We're covering it in Sunday School (and what nostalgiac cotton candy that term evokes, Sunday School. All paper foldouts and crosses made with popsicle sticks).
January 11, 2005
I was talking it over with a friend again recently, and I still have the same reaction I had when I first heard of it (what, three years ago?): Is Nathan Myhrvold's company really an incredibly insidious impediment to commercial creativity? As I understand it, Intellectual Ventures' mode of operating is to study ongoing public research, brainstorm and extrapolate its eventual commercial uses, and patent them. They have no plans to actually build anything, only to take a piece of the pie from whomever does. This strikes me as a formula for squashing innovation outright. It also sounds like a great way for a group of smart posteconomic people to have fun.
As a Silicon Valley VC in this article worries "We're concerned that these giant pools of patent rights are going to prevent entrepreneurs from entering markets, as opposed to being used to promote innovation".
Coincidentally as I was cleaning up old bookmarks I ran across Peter Singer's (is it necessary to say "controversial philosopher Peter Singer"?) old article on the ethics of philanthropy, which ties in a bit with my previous post and Joe's critique of a journalist's statement that our care about a disaster is inversely proportional to its distance from us. (See "On Persephone's Nickel". Joe, where are your permalinks? Good to see you blogging again.)