Tesla vs. Edison vs. The Great Men of History

Whether you think Tesla > Edison or Edison > Tesla, perhaps you're missing something important. In reality, technology isn't shaped by one guy who had one great idea and changed the world. Instead, it's a messy process, full of flat-out failures and not-quite-successes, and populated by many great minds who build off of and are inspired by each other's work.

Honeywell's Kitchen Computer: the 1969 behemoth that didn't sell a single unit

Wired's Daniela Hernandez has an in-depth history of the Honeywell Kitchen Computer, a minicomputer that could track recipes and offer meal plans, which was listed in the 1969 Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog, though none ever sold. Read the rest

Be thankful for turkey cooking patents

On TechDirt, Canadian Leigh Beadon helps Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with a roundup of all the weird patents the USPTO has granted for preparing turkey. Be thankful that deboning poultry is patentable (and has been repeatedly patented), otherwise, what would incentivize butchers and chefs to innovate? Read the rest

Fact-checking US patent-boss's defense of his job

This week, David Kappos, head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, gave a speech at the Center for American Progress where he dismissed critics of the patent system, telling them to "give it a rest already." He insisted that his office was doing a great job, and was the center of American innovation, citing various stats to back up his claim. Read the rest

3DS sues innovative new 3D printer company Formlabs & Kickstarter for patent infringement

3D Systems, one of the big, incumbent 3D printer makers, is suing Formlabs, an innovative new 3D printer company that prints in resin (see previous mentions), for patent infringement. Read the rest

Radio documentary on elections and America's energy future: The Power of One, with Alex Chadwick

BURN: An Energy Journal, the radio documentary series hosted by former NPR journalist Alex Chadwick, has a 2-hour election special out. It's the most powerful piece of radio journalism I've listened to since—well, since the last episode they put out. Read the rest

Viruses to the rescue

Technology Review's list of 35 Innovators Under 35 includes Timothy Lu, an MIT researcher who is engineering viruses designed to seek out and destroy biofilms — bacterial colonies that stick together on a surface, like bits of pear suspended in the world's most disgusting jell-o salad. Read the rest

Student disciplined for improving campus course-selection system

Timothy Arnold, a student at the University of Central Florida, produced a app called U Could Finish that automated the process of hunting for vacancies in popular courses. Read the rest

Declaration of Internet Freedom

I've signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom, a short, to-to-point manifesto for a free and open Internet. It's attracted some very august signatories, including Amnesty International, Hackers and Founders, Global Voices, Mozilla, the NY Tech Meetup, Personal Democracy, Fight for the Future, Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Aaron Swartz and Jonathan Zittrain. Read the rest

Fewer options, better healthcare?

Over at Discover, Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn makes an interesting point about flaws in our current healthcare system. Historically, we've put a lot of effort into innovation, and not enough into building solid bases of evidence about which treatments actually work. Read the rest

Horror stories from the history of surgery

Sometimes, it's a little mind blowing when you remember just how recently medicine passed from the world of art/magic/tradition and into the realm of science. There's plenty of reason to argue that the transformation still isn't complete today, but I'm really mesmerized by stories from the 19th century, when every surgery was something of an experiment and the same, cutting-edge doctor could vacillate between modern techniques and medieval bio-alchemy in his treatment of the same patient. Read the rest

Innovation Under Austerity: Eben Moglen's call to arms from the Freedom to Connect conference

Last week saw the latest installment of David Isenberg's Freedom to Connect conference in Washington, DC. One of the keynotes came from Eben Moglen, formerly chief counsel of the Free Software Foundation, now the principle agitator behind the Software Freedom Law Center. Read the rest

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": Awesome DIY transportation

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. Read the rest

Tomorrow is American Censorship Day: FIGHT SOPA!

Nicholas from Fight for the Future says,

Hundreds of sites have been joining American Censorship Day, taking place tomorrow, November 16, including the EFF, Boing Boing, Reddit, Creative Commons, Hype Machine, and many, many, many more.

Read the rest

Real cost of patent trolling

Kim sez, "Tech investor Brad Feld has a blog entry up summarizing and linking to a great paper by some BU School of Law students, in which they research the social & fiscal real world costs of patent trolls. Read the rest

How SOPA will attack the Internet's infrastructure and security

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is continuing its series of in-depth analysis of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the most dangerous piece of Internet legislation ever introduced, which is set to be fast-tracked through Congress by Christmas. Read the rest

Why we get the future of tech wrong

John Naughton's Association for Learning Technology keynote, "The elusive technological future," is a no-holds-barred, kick-ass talk about the systems, blindspots and biases that keep us from understanding where tech has been and where it's going. Read the rest

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