Monday, November 12, 2018

November 12th Links

  • However, there is one factor above that should be highlighted now, because many inventors and patent owners are unfamiliar with the concept. Continuity and continuations are of the utmost importance; they are a powerful tool for fixing problems, increasing claim coverage, and minimizing risk. If there are no pending continuations, it is unlikely that a lawyer will accept a patent portfolio on a contingent fee representation unless the other factors are extraordinary. Continuations allow the patent claims to be refined over time to improve validity and infringement positions as issues surface or the law changes. If the opportunity to file a continuation has passed, the patent owner cannot continue to obtain issuance of new patents and claims with the same effective filing date. [JDBIP]
  • If you wanted to communicate as much as possible to someone about your worldview by asking them to read just five books, which five books would you choose? [Luke Muehlhauser]
  • Risk cannot be avoided, only managed. The risk-free asset is an illusion. Someday your natural life will end, you need to invest taking that into account, and taking into account that this is true of everything else on this earth that you can put your trust in. If you allocate too much of your portfolio to "safe" assets you're leaving yourself unnecessarily exposed to the risk that this asset will become irrelevant, and failing to take the chances that are actually available to improve your position. [Ben Hoffman]
  • Relatedly, I've long wanted to research, compose, and record a many-hour continuous piece of music that recapitulates the entire history of "Western music" (which is better documented than other traditions). The piece would begin with sections composed in accordance with scholarly guesses about how prehistoric music might have sounded, eventually transition into the earliest styles from recorded history, then evolve into styles covered in e.g. Burkholder's History of Western Music, up to the present day. This is a pretty obvious idea and I'm upset that nobody has attempted it yet. [Luke Muehlhauser]
  • I was looking for clues as to how we could frustrate the Soviet versions of RAND and SAC, and do it in time to avert a nuclear Pearl Harbor. Or postpone it. From the Air Force intelligence estimates I was newly privy to, and the dark view of the Soviets, which my colleagues shared with the whole national security community, I couldn't believe that the world would long escape nuclear holocaust. Alain Enthoven and I were the youngest members of the department. Neither of us joined the extremely generous retirement plan RAND offered. Neither of us believed, in our late twenties, we had a chance of collecting on it. [Luke Muehlhauser]
  • With the outbreak of World War II in late summer, White returned to the United States. He later enrolled at Yale Law School in 1939. In a 2000 interview, White said that he was supposed to enroll at Harvard Law School, but got sick on the train ride there, so he got off the train in New Haven, Connecticut and went to Yale. [Wiki]
  • Economists love Uber like a mother loves her child. They love it like the internet loves cats. They love it like tech bros love Elon Musk. Economists love Uber because it's the closest you can get to taking the pure economic theory of textbooks and summoning it to life. Uber created a massive open market, governed first and foremost by the forces of supply and demand. Along the way it broke up the taxi monopoly, taught people to accept "surge" pricing, and ushered concepts long confined to econ 101 into the popular discourse. [link]
  • Bressloff's model does not only provide insight into the mechanisms that drive visual hallucinations, but also gives clues about brain architecture in a wider sense. In collaboration with his wife, an experimental neuroscientist, Bressloff has looked at the connection circuits between hypercolumns in normal vision, to see how visual images are processed. "People used to think that neurons in V1 just detect local edges, and that you have to go to higher levels in the brain to put these edges together to detect more complicated features like contours and surfaces. But the work I have done with my wife shows that these structures in V1 actually allow the earlier visual cortex to detect contours and do more global processing. It used to be thought that you process more and more complex aspects of an image as you go higher up in the brain. But now it's realised that there is a huge amount of feedback between higher and lower cortical areas. It's not a simple hierarchical process, but an incredibly complicated and active system it will take many years to understand." [link]
  • The intermittent and incompletely predictable solar cycles periodically stress the genomes of all life producing genetic changes which may be harmful or adaptive. The evidence presented in this study indicates that solar cycles, particularly the most irradiant which have occurred over the past 65 years, are fundamental engines of evolution, even underlying natural selection, and we bear their marks even to the end of our lives. [link]
  • Folate, a key periconceptional nutrient, is ultraviolet light (UV-R) sensitive. We therefore hypothesise that a relationship exists between sunspot activity, a proxy for total solar irradiance (particularly UV-R) reaching Earth, and the occurrence of folate-sensitive, epigenomic-related neonatal genotypes during the first trimester of pregnancy. Limited data is provided to support the hypothesis that the solar cycle predicts folate-related human embryo loss. [link]
  • Strange new respect for judicial minimalism. As Harvard Law professor Adrian Vermeule remarked, "Law review editors: brace for a tidal wave of legal academic theories supporting judicial minimalism, Thayerianism, and strong — very strong — theories of precedent. Above all: the Court must do nothing without bipartisan agreement, otherwise it is illegitimate." The past half-century's enthusiasm for judicial activism will vanish, as legal academia turns on a dime to promote theories that will constrain the court until a left-leaning majority returns, at which point they'll turn on a dime again. [link]
  • My friend Satvik recently told me about an important project management intuition he'd acquired: it's a very bad sign to have a lot of projects that are "90% complete". This is bad for a few reasons, including: Inventory: For any process that makes things, it's a substantial savings to have a smaller inventory. A manufacturer buys raw inputs, does work on them, and ships them to a customer. Every moment between the purchase of inputs and the delivery of finished goods is a cost to the manufacturer, because of the time value of money. Smaller inventories are what it looks like to have a faster turnaround. If a lot of your projects are 90% complete, that means you're spending a lot of time having invested a lot of work into them, but realizing none of the value of the finished product. [Ben Hoffman]
  • A key heuristic for confidence seems to be "cards in your back pocket." For example, it's much easier to negotiate salary when you know you have other job offers. It's much easier to confidently give a talk if you've done it before and know you can recover even if you get derailed. It's much easier to be confident in social situations when you're comfortable with your existing relationships, and aren't desperate for new ones. [Satvik Beri]
  • Implicit in this is that good taste helps you eventually become a good artist: by recognizing what good work looks like, you're able to practice and gradually improve your work until it meets your own standards. On the other hand, if your taste is poor then you're subject to a much slower feedback loop: at best, you can ask others to look at your work, which is still useful but introduces a substantial amount of delay. And the gap between practice and feedback has an enormous impact on how fast you learn. So poor taste = slow feedback loop = slow learning, while good taste = tight feedback loop = fast learning. This suggests that one of the most important things you can do is continuously cultivate better taste. [Satvik Beri]
  • If you spend an hour beautifully perfecting the wording of an essay only to throw out the whole paragraph afterwards, then all the time you spent polishing was wasted. It would have been much better to nail down the layout, then focus on getting it to the point where you'd be willing to show it to others. The broader lesson here is to figure out the piece of a project that has the highest uncertainty, and start iterating there, and do this sequentially until the project is done. [Satvik Beri]
  • Another important factor is that the tree of decisive considerations reduces what can seem like very complex values problems to relatively objective questions which can be answered with information. This makes it very easy to narrow in on the actions you need to take. [Satvik Beri]
  • Those of you who know me might know that I tend to get obsessed about things sometimes. And by sometimes I mean I almost always have one obsession that lasts about 1-6 weeks where I spend most of my waking hours thinking about, studying, or working on some topic. These obsessions have included statistics, video games, the history of monogamy, Kaggle contests, project euler problems, Coursera courses, work projects, and more. [Satvik Beri]
  • A simple, but important factor is that I started to take Tyrosine last year, and seriously upped my dosage whenever I felt depressed and unable to act. This didn't have much effect on my mood, but it made me noticeably more able to get things done. I would estimate that I was about 70% as productive in a "down" state as I was in a normal state, which is a huge improvement for me–previously, that looked more like 10%. [Satvik Beri]
  • On behalf of property owners everywhere, I want to thank Jeff for installing 1/4 turn ball valves on his plumbing shut-offs. I've replaced so many seized gate valves over the years (roughly all of the ones I own!) that hearing someone else with a practical bent to real estate makes me very happy. Plumbers love gate valves for reasons that make no sense to me, and I've had them installed in properties I own after I explicitly specified 1/4 turn ball valve (by plumbers that no longer do work for me). That type of attention to detail is key for small scale real estate investment. It costs an extra couple bucks, but it is basically guaranteed to save a $100 service call within the next 10 years. And once in awhile it will save a $10,000 flood issue when something is leaking and the crappy gate valve can't be closed. I doubt that level of attention to detail is available from an outsourced property management firm, but I sincerely wish this company the best. [CoBF]
  • The law surrounding subject matter eligibility under 35 USC 101 used to be clear-cut and well established compared to the law as it stands today. In 1980, the Supreme Court confirmed the historical intent of the law that "anything under the sun that is made by man" met the requirements for subject matter under 35 USC 101. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980). Thirty-four years later, the Supreme Court changed its mind. [JDBIP]
  • How can a claim be novel enough to pass 102 and nonobvious enough to pass 103, yet lack an "inventive concept" and therefore fail 101? Or, how can a claim be concrete enough so that one of skill in the art can make it without undue experimentation, and pass 112, yet abstract enough to fail 101? How can something concrete be abstract? These problems confound the most sophisticated practitioners in our patent system. People simply don't know how to draw these distinctions. If something is not inventive, then invalidate it under 102 or 103. If something is indefinite, or too broad to be fully enabled or described, then invalidate it under 112. [PatentlyO]

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