In Praise of Intellectual Property Theft

Apple's patent war rages on against Samsung and Google but in what sense has something been stolen from Apple? Timothy Lee says strict patent laws harm the common good. 

What's the Latest Development?

Apple has alleged that Samsung's tablet hardware and Google's Android software violate various patents it holds and is seeking injunctions against the sales of related devices in court. It is not the first time Apple has alleged broad copyright violations. Two decades ago, it accused Microsoft of stealing 'the look and feel' of Mac O.S.'s graphical user interface. While Apple lost its suit against Google, Samsung's tablet has already been taken off the shelves in Germany.

What's the Big Idea?

Do we want a patent system that grants monopolies over basic concepts? Imagine if Apple had won its 'look and feel' lawsuit against Microsoft. Technology writer Timothy Lee asks: "Would anyone seriously contend that we'd be better off today if Apple (or Xerox, which pioneered some of the key concepts) had held a monopoly on basic user interface concepts like menus, buttons, and scroll bars for all of the 1980s and 1990s?" Or if Apple has succeeded against Google's Android, would not competition have been greatly hurt? 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less