39. There are a lot of bad software patents out there that are probably restricting innovation. Stack Exchange has a new sub-site for crowd-sourcing patent applications to help find “prior art” for silly patents that aren’t really anything new. It’s hard to say how useful this will end up being, but I find two things very encouraging from a political perspective: 1) It was enabled by a small change to government patent law. 2) It was essentially the Patent Office director‘s idea.
It’s easy to learn about the bad things government does and assume that all government agents involved are either bumbling bureaucrats inadvertently screwing up the system or corrupted cronies deliberately screwing up the system. Of course, those kinds of people exist, but it’s encouraging to see that the director is taking intelligent and thoughtful steps to improve his office’s work, as well as a pleasant reminder that my default stereotypes about government employees are often wrong. Not a panacea for the patent debacle, of course, but an awesome step in the right direction.
40. Thousands of Libyans literally ran Muslim extremists out of their town. This is a good sign for my optimism that the average Middle Eastern / African Muslim cares more about peace and prosperity than terrorism. This sort of thing may not happen in Afghanistan or Pakistan any time soon, but here’s hoping it continues to spread.
41. Progress in controlling bionic legs with your brain. Because when you’re paralyzed, joysticks are just too clumsy (h/t @planstoprosper).
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