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White House pulls plug on controversial Patent Office nominee after tech sector backlash

Gigaom

The Obama Administration has changed its mind over a plan to name pharmaceutical executive Phil Johnson as head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to multiple sources. The reversal is a victory for the technology industry and other proponents of patent reform.

The plan to appoint Johnson surfaced in late June, and was met with outrage on social media, where critics claimed the choice reflected hypocrisy on the part of President Obama, who had called for fixes to the patent system in his January State of the Union address.

Johnson, a longtime attorney for Johnson & Johnson, was a controversial nominee in part because he helped lead opposition to a bipartisan bill, which died in May, that would have made it easier for companies to challenge bad patents and to seek legal fees from so-called “patent trolls.” He has also publicly scorned previous attempts to reform the patent system.

News of the White…

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The Waxing and Waning of Friendships

in case i'm gone

I recently unfriended my first person on Facebook. I’ve never done it before. I’ve blocked people’s feeds when they post too frequently or I heartily disagree with their politics. I’ve ignored friend requests, not denying them so much, as simply leaving them in Facebook purgatory because the alternative feels judgey. Who am I to deny their “friendship”? We deny friendship in real life – when we can’t find the time to “grab a drink” or “get the kids together” – because time in real life is finite and it’s truly impossible to be friends with five hundred people, but on line it’s just a click, so what’s my problem? The thing is, I’m not into “collecting” friends. Though I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a rather large and eclectic group of extended friendships that seems to span the globe, my day to day group of friends is really quite intimate. Real time friendships take more…

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Guess who once told foreigners to shut up about George Bush’s “justified” post-9/11 policies

Good Drone, Bad Drone: How to Fix the Drone PR Problem

TIME

It’s no wonder the drone industry doesn’t like the word “drone.” Thanks to the work of human rights activists in exposing the ugly side of how Predator and Reaper drones kill innocent people overseas, “drones” can evoke a one-word reaction similar to the word “sweatshops”: yuck! Then there’s the transnational campaign to ban fully autonomous drones, a campaign that’s instilling public fear about a brave, new world where kill decisions are increasingly made by machines. Add to the mix the specter of drones being used by government agencies here at home to increase Big Brother’s ability to invade our privacy, and you have a reaction to drones that isn’t just disgust and fear, but defiance.

After Congress passed legislation in 2012 calling for the opening of U.S. airspace to drones by 2015, dozens of states began cobbling together legislation. Some bills restrict law enforcement agencies from gathering information on the…

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Mother: Daughter lost in cornfield was ‘nightmare’

FOX2now.com

PITTSFIELD, IL (AP) – The mother of a 3-year-old girl who was found after wandering into a western Illinois cornfield says she “couldn’t help but think it had to be a nightmare.”

Crystal Stewart’s daughter Jayden Coffey was found Tuesday morning after wandering into the 140-acre cornfield outside Pittsfield. Stewart tells the Quincy Herald Whig  her “world was turned upside down.”

Pike County Emergency Corps commander Mark Jeffers says there were more than 100 people searching.

Illinois State Police used a thermal imaging airplane and Adams County lent a drone helicopter. Searchers eventually found the girl _ about 20 minutes before a large storm started.

Jeffers says the found the little girl twice, but “she was on the move inside the cornfield.”

Jayden was taken to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure.
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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com

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Wine Growers In Sonoma And Napa County Face New Water Management Standards During Drought