Sunday, March 29, 2020

Autoimmunity, Hydroxychloroquine, and SARS-C0V-2

Former Kansas Governor and physician Dr. Jeff Colyer discusses the use of hydroxycholoroquine in treating SARS-CoV-2 on March 29, 2020, in an article in the Wall Street Journal.  In fact, in his article, he reveals that "Kansas City area physicians, including Joe Brewer, Dan Hinthorn and [Dr. Colyer], continue to treat many patients, and some have shown improvement."  It is still early in the process of determining whether hydroxychloroquine, either alone or in combination with other drugs, might be an effective and safe treatment for SARS-CoV-2.  However, a large natural experiment involving the drug is currently under way among the many patients who have some autoimmune conditions:  hydroxychloroquine is already in wide use to treat malaria, as well as "to treat discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus)...[and also] to treat acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis."  It could be revealing for medical science to watch the rate and course of infection by SARS-CoV-2 in patients already taking hydroxychloroquine to treat other medical conditions.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Six Seasons And A Movie

The sitcom, Community, had six seasons, albeit the final one was on Yahoo! Screen.  Now, only a movie remains to fulfill the prophesy of "Six Seasons and a Movie".  Netflix will begin offering the complete six seasons of Community on April 1, 2020.  Perhaps this portends a movie...

Friday, March 27, 2020

Severing Ties

On March 27, 2020, patent blog, PatentlyO, reported a petition filed with the United States Supreme Court involving U.S. patent application 2012/0253517, entitled NECKTIE PERSONAL-EXTENDER/ENVIRONMENT INTEGRATOR AND METHOD FOR SUPER-AUGMENTING A PERSONA TO MANIFEST A PAN-ENVIRONMENT SUPER-CYBORG FOR GLOBAL GOVERNANCE.  Here are the first five claims of this amazing patent application:
1. A system and method for augmenting Persona for humans comprising the arranging of a user and a machine (including Super-Computers, Network-is-the-Super-Computer, etc) in a Head (or any part of the body) and a Extender/Environment-Integrator relationship, whereby said relationship produces synergy and said user's Persona is augmented 
2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said Personal-Extender/Environment-Integrator is a Necktie Imitation 
3. The Necktie Imitation claimed in claim 2 includes pocket data processing device connected to a global network with handwriting, speech, gesture and image synthesizing/processing software, a camera on the forehead, an ear-phone with microphone and/or a projector 
4. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the Personal-Extender/Environment-Integrator is implemented through black-box modernization technique whereby the general purpose data processor is reconfigured 
5. The method as described in claim 2, wherein the Body part consists of space (Laborspace) available in the world including in Cyberspace, in which case Cyberspace may be layered over the Persona/Meatspace to achieve the desired result of augmentation/extension
Although not addressed in the petition, the specification of this patent fails to point which particular knots to employ with the cravat in claim 3.  Does a full Windsor achieve global governance more effectively than a nicky knot?  Do bowties fall within the scope of equivalents?  Natty dressers need to know.  The patent application also makes the following observation in paragraph 0216:
23. The Network Blob is hard to manage because digital robberbarons are on the loose and perform covert operation, whereas Global Cyborgs even if they are many have manifestation as entities and can be dealt with:
It may be of comfort to some that, although the "Network Blob is hard to manage", at least "Global Cyborgs...can be dealt with".

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Broad Testing

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard ("Broad Institute"), a leading biomedical research institute based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, became an important SARS-CoV-2 reference lab as of March 24, 2020.  Here is how Boston National Public Radio station, WBUR, described Broad's rapid arrival on the testing scene:
The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT began processing coronavirus tests Tuesday, and has the capacity to run more than 1,000 diagnostic tests daily. 
On Monday [March 23, 2020], the Broad ran 100 test samples from the [Massachusetts] state Department of Public Health through its robotic high-throughput system, and completed them successfully.
The Broad Institute's Genomic Platform is a natural candidate to help process SARS-CoV-2 tests rapidly and accurately, because, as its website explains,
Over the past ten years, The Genomics Platform has been the largest producer of human genomic information in the world. Currently, the group produces approximately 500 terabases of genomic data per month — a rate equivalent to one 30X human whole genome every 10 minutes. The group has processed more than 2 million samples from more than 1,400 groups in more than 50 countries.
As of March 24, 2020, according to Mapping Scientific Excellence, the Broad Institute has the highest "Best Paper Rate" of any scientific institute in the world.  In these challenging times, the best humanity can muster against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is its best science, so the Broad Institute is a powerful ally.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Pirate Pirating Is Not Piracy

On March 23, 2020, the United States Supreme Court decided a copyright case with a fact pattern almost too good to be true:  should a state's unauthorized copying of copyrighted works of authorship concerning Blackbeard the pirate constitute piracy?  Here is a summary of the dispute from the Court's syllabus: 
In 1996, a marine salvage company named Intersal, Inc., discovered the shipwreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge off the North Carolina coast.  North Carolina, the shipwreck’s legal owner, contracted with Intersal to conduct recovery operations. Intersal, in turn, hired videographer Frederick Allen to document the efforts.  Allen recorded videos and took photos of the recovery for more than a decade.  He registered copyrights in all of his works. When North Carolina published some of Allen’s videos and photos online, Allen sued for copyright infringement.  North Carolina moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the ground of state sovereign immunity.  Allen countered that the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA) removed the States’ sovereign immunity in copyright infringement cases.  The District Court agreed with Allen, finding in the CRCA’s text a clear congressional intent to abrogate state sovereign immunity and a proper constitutional basis for that abrogation. The court acknowledged that Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd. v. College Savings Bank, 527 U. S. 627, precluded Congress from using its Article I powers—including its authority over copyrights—to deprive States of sovereign immunity. But the court held that Congress could accomplish its objective under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourth Circuit reversed, reading Florida Prepaid to prevent recourse to both Article I and Section 5.
The Supremes held for the copying state, North Carolina, on grounds of state sovereign immunity.  Thus, in an Edward Teachable moment, the Supremes decided that, pirate or no pirate, state piracy is no piracy.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 Information Trove

For anyone interested in diving into data on SARS-CoV-2, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center website gathers together a trove of information, including excellent visualizations.  The website is here.  Inform yourself and stay safe!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Patents and Disasters

In 2008, I published an article entitled Patents to the Rescue - Disasters and Patent Law.  Its subject matter is highly relevant to the current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 ("SARS-CoV-2") crisis.  Here is the abstract:
The patent system can play a vital role in preparing for, mitigating, reacting to, and preventing disasters. In the far term, it ensures that society continually improves its technological capacity to deal with disasters. In the near term, the patent system includes a diversity of legal options for ensuring access to patented inventions needed in disasters. Foreseeable and surprise disasters require different legal approaches to ensure timely access to patented inventions while ensuring that society is able to continue enhancing both its general and specific technological capacities. Accomplishing optimal results requires careful balancing of far term and near term interests, respect for both international and U.S. patent law, a clear understanding of the interrelation of different aspects of patent law, insight into the incentives that drive technological innovation, and appreciation of the disparate challenges posed by different kinds of disasters. When employed wisely, the patent system can offer society powerful assistance to prevent, prepare for, and mitigate disasters.
  The full text is available free as a PDF here.