Posts Tagged ‘Abuse

Patent This!

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The subject of patents copyrights, trademarks etc. is a subject I find fascinating.  The concept of protecting an idea makes a good deal of sense to me while at the same time seeming absurd to the extreme.  What in fact is an idea and what rights does one have to an idea?  Making laws about something as philosophically slippery as ideas is bound to lead to trouble and abuse.  Bellow are two examples of US patent claims that belong in the Onion and yet are sadly real.

At there is a report on Global Findability, Inc. suing over the use of a fictional alien code in the film Knowing.  The code, a string of numbers, represents a time, place and event apparently in a similar fashion to Global Finability, Inc.’s patent.  It is not clear if the patent includes using aliens as the transmitter.

Even more offensive is US Patent Number 6368227 , an actual patented method of swinging on a swing.  The method patented is a way of swinging that most children in America have probably used independent of anyone teaching them.  The following is from the US Patent Office’s online database.

I claim:

1. A method of swinging on a swing, the method comprising the steps of:

a) suspending a seat for supporting a user between only two chains that are hung from a tree branch;

b) positioning a user on the seat so that the user is facing a direction perpendicular to the tree branch;

c) having the user pull alternately on one chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward one side, and then on the other chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward the other side; and

d) repeating step c) to create side-to-side swinging motion, relative to the user, that is parallel to the tree branch.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method is practiced independently by the user to create the side-to-side motion from an initial dead stop.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of:

e) inducing a component of forward and back motion into the swinging motion, resulting in a swinging path that is generally shaped as an oval.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the magnitude of the component of forward and back motion is less than the component of side-to-side motion.


Written by Aaron Nee

March 26, 2010 at 2:08 am

Guantánamo Prosecutor Comes Clean

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In October published a story titled “Confessions of a former Guantánamo prosecutor” written by Human Rights Watch counterterrorism advisor Stacy Sullivan.  The article is based on correspondences between Sullivan and Army Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld, a prosecutor at the Guantánamo Bay military commissions.  Vandeveld prosecuted seven cases before resigning.  The difficult decision to resign came when Vandeveld was no longer able to serve in good conscience as prosecutor for an unjust Commission.

The article describes the case of detainee Mohamed Jawad, a youth accused of injuring three people by throwing a grenade into a vehicle with US troops.  Among the numerous disturbing details of Jawad’s case is the fact that the teenager was unlawfully detained with adults and denied contact with his family (a violation of US and international law).  The boy was subjected to prolonged isolation; was made to wear a hood over his head while shackled and forced to stand for extended periods of time; and over a 14 day period, he was moved from one cell to another 112 times (about every 3 hours) as part of a sleep deprivation exercise known as the “frequent flier program”.

Following Vandeveld’s resignation, the Pentagon dropped the charges against five of the detainees whose cases he was working.  Jawad was not among the five.

Written by Aaron Nee

November 6, 2008 at 9:25 pm

On the Front Lines of Dissent

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The footage bellow was made available by I-Witness Video. The video was recorded outside the final presidential debate, where Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) conducted a pre-announced peaceful protest. In the clip bellow, former Army Reserve Sergeant Nick Morgan can be seen getting knocked to the ground and trampled under the horse of a mounted police officer.  According to the report at I-Witness Video, there was “a delay in which Nassau County police refused to take Morgan to the hospital, he was finally taken to Nassau County Medical Center, handcuffed to a gurney, given Motrin and a prescription for antibiotics, and sent on to jail.”

Written by Aaron Nee

November 2, 2008 at 12:50 am