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Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequel Parasite Puppeteers, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page.

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Farmers Demand Right to Fix Their Own Dang Tractors

Last Fall I published an article about iFixit, the activist group trying to make it safe, even possible for people to fix their own stuff. That article referred to a Wired article about the John Deere company trying to make it illegal for farmers to fix their own tractors. Now Modern Farmer has an article about how farmers feel about that.

– This might be hard to believe for non-farmers, but owners of tractors aren’t actually allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property.

– John Deere, the world’s largest tractor maker, said that the folks who buy tractors don’t own them, not in the way the general public believes “ownership” works. Instead, John Deere said that those who buy tractors are actually purchasing an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”

– Farmers are fed up with being forced to endure long, inefficient repair processes.

Source: Farmers Demand Right to Fix Their Own Dang Tractors – Modern Farmer

I’m tired of people using copyright this way. It’s bad enough that copyright has been extended so far that the original creator’s grandchildren will be dead before it expires. Now it’s being used to curtail competition in business. Could someone please throw a pitcher of ice water on our politicians? We need to break their thrall.


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Really Early Onset Alzheimer Syndrome

Public domain

Public domain

In a previous post, I referred to some research that seemed to indicate that there is a link between having a cynical and distrustful personality and later getting Alzheimer disease. As I explained then, this does not mean that being cynical causes the disease. All it is is a correlation. If anything, it might mean that the same underlying cause leads to both the cynicism and the dementia.

Now there is some more research that seems to indicate that at least one form of hereditary Alzheimer syndrome is beginning to affect the brains of its carriers much earlier in life. There is evidence of brain shrinkage as early as age three in some children with the APOEe4 gene mutation. This mutation is known to make its carrier fifteen times as likely to get dementia as non-carriers. It’s alarming that about fourteen percent of people carry this mutation, and it seems to be implicated in 20-25 percent of Alzheimer cases. Researchers stress, though, that genetics increase the risk, but do not guarantee the result. alzheimer-boy Interestingly, the APOEe4 gene mutation is also known to make people more susceptible to disease in general. Might it be that we’ll be able to prevent at least some Alzheimer cases by treating some childhood infection? If so, then might it be possible that we’d also see a reduction in cynical, distrustful people?

Mind you, given the implications of potentially altering people’s personalities, and possibly their politics, what are the odds that there will be a huge campaign against the treatment? Or is that too cynical?


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