- Ars Technica: Patent trolls have cost innovators half a trillion dollars
A study by some Boston University researchers have found that, from publicly traded companies alone, $500B has been spent on paying off patent extortionists. That's a quarter of all U.S. R&D expenses, wasted. If we want to get serious about reducing the cost of doing business in this country, let's start with software patent reform.
- Google Webmaster Central: View-all in search results
When articles can be viewed paginated or all on one page, Google is now preferring the all-in-one approach in displaying search results. Because, of course, people don't want to read articles broken up into ten pages.
- Pressthink: We Have No Idea Who’s Right—Criticizing “he said, she said” journalism at NPR
Jay Rosen provides this thoughtful piece about the media-wide habit of presenting two sides of a disagreement and pretending that's good journalism. (The exception to this rule is, of course, Fox News, which makes only the thinnest of pretenses at presenting both sides equally.) Opponents of abortion say that tighter regulations on clinics are necessary. Supporters say that regulations are tight enough. So, go farther—compare abortion clinics to other, similar medical facilities, compare the requirements and the actual health data, and tell us who's right.
- Open: Emphasis Update and Source
The New York Times has a great feature that I'd never noticed—the ability to link to pages with specific content highlighted. It's perfect for calling attention to specific paragraphs or sentences when sharing a link with somebody. It's cleverly implemented, too.
- Time: Why Some Languages Sound So Fast
All languages, when spoken, have basically the same information density. If more meaning is packed into shorter words, its speakers talk more slowly. If it takes them a lot of sounds to get a concept across, they talk quickly.
- NPR: Tracks, Equipment Left By Apollo Missions Visible In New Moon Photos
New photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter provide an aerial view of the site of the Apollo 12, 14, and 17 missions. The lunar module, the abandoned lunar rover, and astronauts' tracks across the surface are all visible.
- Aloha Editor
I love this HTML5 WYSIWYG editor. They had me at the introductory paragraph, what with the editing of it. I haven't implemented it anywhere, but I love the concept.
- Slow Clap for Congress
Dear Congress, For your leadership, your maturity, and your inspiring ability to perform the basic duties of your job, We applaud you.
- PolitiFact: Florida state investment chief says transparency was a big issue for lawmakers in 2011
Here's a great use of legislative video: to fact-check a claim that financial transparency "got a great airing" during a recent session. PolitiFact Florida checked the video and calculated that a total of 36 minutes was spent on the topic, 25 minutes from just one senator. Legislative video is important stuff.
- Internet Archive: Mother’s Best Flour
This collection of songs from the "Mother's Best Flour" radio show is a must-listen for country fans. There are 70 shows of Hank Williams’ performances, from 1950–1951, many of which include first-ever performances of some classics. Each show includes in-studio chatter, which is fun to listen to, along with the constant promotions for the advertiser's brand of flour.
- Reuters: How I misread News Corp’s taxes
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston broke a story earlier this week about how News Corp had received $4.8B in income tax refunds over the past four years, while paying nothing. Turns out he was entirely wrong. What he'd written was the opposite of the truth. News Corp changed how they report their tax payments on their financial statements—switching from positive to negative numbers—and that was how it all started. Further confusing matters, Johnston contacted News Corp about his conclusions, and they had no quarrel with it. To Johnston's credit, he's going on the same press tour he went on a few days ago, trying to make the story of his mistake as big as his incorrect initial story.
- CSS Sprite Generator
Upload a ZIP file full of images, it returns with a file full of sprites and the relevant CSS. It's a great little tool!
- Thirty Thousand: The Population Size of U.S. House Districts by Year and by Congress from 1790 to 2100
This website, which advocates returning the House of Representatives to its 1793 rate of representation, provides this chart of the average population per U.S. House district from its founding until 2010. The chamber was envisioned—and created—to have each member represent 30,000 people. Congress fixed the number of seats at the arbitrary number of 435 back in 1929, and congressmen have come to represent more and more people ever since. It now stands at 710,000 people and climbing.