Congress has spent the last six years cobbling together a bill to overhaul the way the strapped and struggling U.S. patent system works. This week, lawmakers are on the cusp of passing the America Invents Act, which has been championed in the Senate by Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and in the House by his counterpart Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas. But like many inventors during their process of creation, Congress seems to have lost a clear vision of the problem it was trying to solve.
Google Inc. announced yesterday that it plans to pay $12.5 billion to buy Motorola Mobility, a 63 percent premium on the Illinois-based cell phone manufacturer's closing stock price last week. By Google's own admission, this deal is about more than cranking out cell phones. Google is equipping itself for battle on behalf of its Android mobile operating system, part of the on-going mobile wars that began when, in 2008, Apple's Steve Jobs was reportedly incensed that the touch screen on Google's first cell phone prototype featured iPhone-esque pinch and swipe features.
Down below, my very smart colleague Paul Waldman entertains the idea of increasing Twitter's character limit, riffing off a recent piece on the same by Slate's Farhad Manjoo. Sidestepping the linguistic specifics of the tweet capacity question, I have to ask, if there was enough demand for that sort of thing, wouldn't that be called something like TwoEightyer, or Chatterer, or, more to the point, something other than "Twitter"?
Progressive activists and public interest groups have long blasted Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation for political biases. But in recent weeks they have seized on a new and more tangible reason to call for the revocation of his TV licenses and the breakup of his company: the British hacking scandal.
The news that Aaron Swartz, a technologist and activist involved in the early days of Reddit and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has been indicted in Boston for allegedly breaking into an MIT wiring closet and downloading in excess of four million academic journal articles from JSTOR while a student at, wait for it, Harvard's Center for Ethics, brings to mind a profile of information activist Carl Malamud that ran in TAP just about a year ago: