A Spectrum of Articles

When you browse the web often, especially when you’re looking at mostly weblogs, you start to see some patterns emerging. A new site is discovered, then propagates throughout the blogosphere in fairly short order. I’m certainly no expert at spotting such discoveries, but one thing I’ve noticed being repeatedly referenced this past week is the IEEE Spectrum (a magazine devoted to electrical engineering). I’ve seen multiple blogs referencing multiple articles from this magazine, though I can’t think of a single reference in the past. Here’s a few articles that seem interesting:

  • Re-engineering Iraq (February 2006): A close look at rebuilding Iraq’s electrical system. Alas, no mentions of anything resembling Operation Solar Eagle… (don’t remember who posted about this one, but I did see it in a couple of places).
  • How Europe Missed The Transistor (November 2005): One of the most important inventions of the 20th century (which is no slouch when it comes to important inventions) was the transistor. This article delves into the early history of the transistor and similar technologies developed in Europe and the U.S., as well as how these devices became commercially successful. David Foster has an excellent post about the “importance of decentralization and individual entrepreneurship” in facilitating the commercialization of new technologies.
  • Patents 2.0 (February 2006): Slashdot posted about this interesting proposal recently: “a new type of patent that wouldn’t require formal examination, would cost significantly less than traditional patents, would last only 4 years from date of first commercial product, and which wouldn’t carry a presumption of validity.” Interesting stuff. It does appear that the high rate of technological advance should be driving the implementation of something like this when it comes to both patents and copyright law.

I haven’t read all of this yet, but there’s definitely good stuff there. Perhaps more comments later this week (time is still short, but my schedule will hopefully be opening up a bit in the next few weeks).

3 thoughts on “A Spectrum of Articles”

  1. I’ve only read the whole of the article on the transistor so far but that one is absolutely fascinating. I dig stuff like that, stuff that really delves into the invention of new technologies. It’s interesting when near-simultaneous development of a new technology happens independently in two different parts of the world but it makes sense that it would happen considering worldwide events (technological development during WWII being the key push for both teams in developing their transistors) and international commerce.

  2. Steven, certainly a worthy question. I have no idea how to answer it, I just thought the proposal was an interesting one. I’d assume it would require many changes in order to become workable (I’m not convinced that it will provide some of the benefits he claims).

    I’m certainly no expert, but it does seem like there’s something wrong with the current system, and it seems like that proposal has a few qualities we should be striving for (especially in a time of accelerating technological advances).

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