For those of you who don’t speak gobbledegook, that’s a near-lightspeed flying saucer powered by some combination of gravity, electromagnetism, superconductivity, and “quantized vortices of lattice ions.”
A space vehicle (see illustration) propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state … comprising a hollow superconductive shield, an inner shield, a power source, a support structure, upper and lower means for generating an electromagnetic field, and a flux modulation controller. A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle’s propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale.
This science, it goes boing like the superball.
I keep hearing about the Patent Office issuing absurd, ill-reviewed patents for things that are obvious, or dumb, or already in common use, or which lay claim to way too much territory, or which lay claim to an application of existing technology that’s clearly going to be possible in the future, but which do nothing to help that happen.
Harvey Ross’s claim that he’d patented POD book production irritated me no end. In 1990, he dreamed up the idea of kiosks where a customer could type in the title of a book, access information about it, hit a button, and walk out with a printed and bound copy. Big fat hairy deal. Lots of people had already been imagining arrangements like that: Take one each World Wide Web, broadband connection, library retrieval system, and Docutech printer; whirl in blender until done. His idea was distinguished only by the addition of a point-of-purchase hut, and those were hardly a new idea.
Harvey Ross didn’t do bleep-all to help build the online bookselling world, nor to get sales information piped directly from publishers to the net, nor to develop Lightning Source’s print-and-bind technology. All he did was posit a business using a certain configuration of obvious technologies. Then he designed a GUI and database storage system he imagined would be suitable for it. Again: big deal. This is very like Mr. Volfson’s flying saucer application, where all the work evidently went into designing the hull of the ship.
Last year, Ross slapped Ingram/Lightning Source with a $15 million lawsuit. Their business has no resemblance to his 1990 pipe dream. The court nevertheless upheld his claim, because, as one expert witness testified, “what’s of essence in the patent is a system or process whereby a customer can look at a computerized list of titles and select one for purchase that triggers the retrieval of a file that sets in motion the printing of the book.”
(I wonder whether anyone’s patented the same thing, only it burns the book to a CD. Or the same thing, only it downloads the book into your Palm Pilot. Whee, I’m an inventor, give me lots of money.)
Still, I really didn’t get a sense of the Patent Office’s culpable negligence until I saw that flying saucer patent. Are they brain-dead? Couldn’t they at least have shown it to an undergrad physics major? If the “quantized vortices of lattice ions” didn’t tip them off, the claim of near-lightspeed travel should have done so.
Forget that business about encouraging arts and manufactures; the patent office is awarding patents on the basis of who gets there first and tells the biggest whopper. If they’re willing to grant this nutbar a patent on antigravity, I want to take out patents on the time machine, positronic brain, tractor beam, ansible, light saber, Romulan cloaking device, matter duplicator, and babelfish. Might as well be me as anyone else.