Knowing Our Context: Truth is Light, Faith is Gravity

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Knowing what to say which will get applause from the peers immediately surrounding me... that's the difference between a politician and a good doctor.   There are more politicians than doctors on Facebook and Twitter.

As a young man I wanted to worship the truth.  "Truth is light, faith is gravity".  I cannot function denying either.  Between any dialectic of the two, truth usually wins, and I can usually trust my sight better than my balance.  But not always, information can mislead, like a beam of light that blinds you from a wrong angle.

Off to battle.  I chose environmentalism because it's the thing we are screwing up which is most likely to be blamed by generations unborn, and I have always been fascinated by philosophers and scholars and holy men speaking to me from a distant past.    Extinction may not turn out to be "forever", there may be a tiger and dinosaur heaven, I don't know everything.  But with the information in front of me I want to make a difference that someone someday would care about without ever knowing who I was.  

That's part of what's fascinating when I hear, second hand, what some people in the industry think motivates me.   People are pretty sure by now that it's not greed.  So perhaps ol' Ingenthron's out for glory, the ego-driven explanation explains blogs and pontificatoins nicely.

While I confess I am proud of the recycling work I've done, I know that it will one day be like a ten year gig by a famous boxer (Jack Johnson), a famous orator (Martin Luther King, Jr), a famous performer (W.C. Fields), or famous engineer (H. Rembert).

Oh, you don't know Rembert?  The cotton baler (pictured above) is pretty much the same thing that drives the pre-shredding recycling industry.  Paper gets baled, ABS plastic gets baled, wire gets baled, steel gets baled... the baling area's one of the busiest places at our plant.   I correctly predicted (approximately) the employment of the Recycling Industry in Massachusetts in 1992 by counting the horizontal balers and estimated number of cars in recycling parking lots.     You could have predicted the number of slaves in the South with a good handle on the number of Eli Whitney's cotton gin sales.

When you are really focused on truth, and willing to say unpopular things, that's a secret of learning.  It makes you smarter when you weed out the platitudes aimed at applause, the tweets to the converted are a waste of electrons.

What I've discovered is that my "conservative" approach to regulating recycling is socially liberal.   Recycling "watchdogs" are falsely accusing, and imprisoning, black African technicians, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior's March on Washington.

And when we look at anti-reuse, anti-gray market, and planned obsolescence industries, we find deep roots, like honeysuckle or virginia creeper in the flower garden.    Follow the link to today's Wikipedia article on the Patent Exhaustion Doctrine.

The exhaustion doctrine, also referred to as the first sale doctrine, is a common law patent doctrine that limits the extent to which patent holders can control an individual article of a patented product after an authorized sale. Under the doctrine, once an unrestricted, authorized sale of a patented article occurs, the patent holder’s exclusive rights to control the use and sale of that article are exhausted, and the purchaser is free to use or resell that article without further restraint from patent law. Note, however, that under current law, the patent owner retains the right to exclude purchasers of the articles from making the patented invention anew, unless it is specifically authorized by the patentee.[1]
In pursuing the rights of technicians like Benson, Chiu, Moussa and Fung, we find the "right to repair" and the Doha Round on refurbishment of cores in International Law, at conflict with people who want to milk their patents for a few billion more dollars.  It turns out that the rise in income disparity in the USA, re-tweeted by my liberal Facebook friends, is predicted solidly, correlates directly, with each time Congress extends patent royalty terms.   Walt Disney's frozen head was possibly financed by Disney's obsessive, Microsoft-like EULA control over characters which should have returned to the public domain.  If it's a lifetime warranty, and his head's in a cooler, he hasn't actually died.

So you didn't know H. Rembert.  But as it turns out, Eli Whitney's cotton gin was a really important milestone in patent law history.  And cotton balers attracted the attention of lots of attorneys back then.

In Wilson vs. Simpson, the Supreme Court looked at a patent violation claim over the baling wire for a cotton baler (older version, 1850).  Some guys were buying the used bands, or wires, from the cotton balers where the bales were cut, and re-tying the wires for use in the lumber yards.   The baling wire company (with lawyers who had plenty of work with barbed wire patent law) sued, saying that reusing the bands, or repairing the balers, was a violation of their patents.

Andrew T. Dufresne of the Berkeley Law Journal ties the baling wire case to Electronics "anti gray market" patent law.  From his article, THE EXHAUSTION DOCTRINE REVIVED?  ASSESSING THE SCOPE AND POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF THE SUPREME COURT’S QUANTA DECISION, he writes about cotton balers and how the courts decision affects patent disputes in the electronics industry today.

The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to award patents with the expressly utilitarian aim of promoting innovation. This provision recognizes that new ideas, once revealed, are easily appropriated by others, and prospective inventors might  therefore decline to invest their  time, energy, and resources in research without a mechanism to  capture some benefit from their inventions. Thus, patents offer “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention” for a limited period of time.
The potentially lucrative right to commercializean invention free from competition provides a powerful incentive to offset the difficulty and risk inherent in research. In short, the  patent  system represents a bargain—society temporarily forgoes the benefits  of market competition in return for the public good provided  by the inventor’s efforts...
There are more gems in this article, but I have to get to work.  Note the links to Arkansas Agricultural History sites and Texas Ag Museum sites above.   Maybe because I'm a hillbilly, who learned to drive a tractor when I was 8 years old, I give Google's links to those sites a closer look.

That's all for now... exploring the connections between faith and gravity, truth and light, Quanta vs. LG and Wilson vs. Simpson.  Thought experiments.    We do care about poor people and toxics, but sending them to go mine raw materials, instead of recycling, is wrong wrong wrong.

Tractor on road in India.

And in Vermont

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