Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, March 02, 2018

Four Things

1. Good news on the bedbug resurgence front comes from Pennsylvania:

[Entomologist Nina] Jenkins said the goal is to have Aprehend on the market and in the hands of professional pest controllers sometime in 2017. [Achieved -- ed] The product could change the way bedbugs are managed both in the United States and beyond.
The new product is a fungus that the bedbugs pick up on their way to obtaining a blood meal and bring back to their hiding places, where it infects others.

2. Here is a memorable rebuttal to the notion that egoism is unprincipled:
Since a pulse is not the goal of morality, the presence of a pulse cannot serve as the test of one's flourishing or as evidence for the egoistic value of violations of principles.
This comes from p. 38 of Tara Smith's Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics, which manages to be information-dense, though-provoking, and quite readable all at once.

3. Over at IP Watchdog, Gene Quinn ticks off a few nutty but patented ideas, such as "Headgear for Attaching a Toy" (US Patent No. 7,621,000), as a means of illustrating the absurdity of the idea that software shouldn't be patentable. Quinn notes in his lead-in that the argument for that idea, "devolves quickly into the substance of what they believe; namely that software should be free, which really means you create it and I steal it."

4. At Futility Closet are two videos of very unusual clocks. The array of clocks that shows time in digital format every minute is neat, but the dot matrix printer-styled waterfall display in Osaka is as beautiful as it is mesmerizing.

-- CAV


3-3-18: Corrected spelling from "etymologist" to "entomologist" in Item 1.  


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

The Objectivism Seminar, hosted by Greg Perkins, opened its doors in November of 2007 with a series of sessions on Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics by Tara Smith. Archived discussions are at the following url;

Scroll down to the very bottom of the page for the first session.

c andrew

Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I'm surprised that NASCAR isn't exploiting the attachment of matchbox cars to the baseball cap bill. Seems tailor-made for model-reproductions with the car number and all the associated commercial sponsors done in miniature.

c andrew

Jennifer Snow said...

I don't think software should be patent-able any more than you should be able to get a patent for a novel. Copyright, yes. Trademark? Sure.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the recommendation, and your comment on NASCAR is on point.


I used to agree with you, but am now of the opinion that software is much closer in nature to a machine than, say, a novel, and should be protected accordingly. On that issue, I found "A Brief History of Software Patents (and Why They’re Valid)," by Adam Mossoff quite persuasive.