Technology Triple Trivia


3 Questions. 3 Hints. 3 Answers.

December 1, 2015

1. What in-the-works technology finally makes getting a tattoo worthwhile?


Answer: biometric tattoo technology, involving the application of a temporary “smart” tattoo will allow entities like the military, nursing homes, families and so forth to keep track of individuals’ biometrics and location, providing insight as to when assistance might be needed. According to one developer, “[t]he future of wearables is biowearables.”  However, as with all such technology, privacy, potential FDA oversight and other liability concerns are inevitably raised.  Read the story here.

2. What’s worse than running out of Bulgogi?


Answer: things are not looking good for some professors in Korea.  Prosecutors there are about to charge 200 professors with copyright infringement.  The mostly science and engineering professors allegedly changed existing book covers and re-published the books under their own names, obviously not setting a very good example for academic integrity.  Read the details here.

3. How did a company that built its reputation on privacy and identity protection engage in activity that resulted in the complete opposite?



Answer: it’s not the first time Arizona-based LifeLock is in trouble.  Most recently, it has found itself in the hot seat by allowing an ex-husband to open an credit-monitoring account in the ex-wife’s name to track all of her financial comings and goings.  When the ex-wife was made aware of her ex-husband’s actions, she approached LifeLock.  LifeLock’s response?  The company ignored her.  Only when contacted by the media did it hop-to and attempt to remedy the wrong.  Read more here.

Worldwide Web Watch


November 25, 2015

Should we be concerned?  A new brand of peanut butter, containing more than five times the amount of caffeine found in a can of Coke, is only one of a number of caffeinated “everyday” foods that is available on  the market.  Mishan Wroe, in an article titled Peanut Butter Pick-Me-Up notes that the FDA regulates neither the amount of caffeine added to products nor the actual addition of caffeine to products.  While a 2013 FDA investigation into the concern has not given rise to any restrictions, it has brought attention to the fear that increased, sometimes unintended, caffeine consumption could have negative health effects, especially on children.

Technology Triple Trivia


November 24, 2015

1. What’s worse than not being able to afford that trip to Hawaii?


Answer: the high cost of drugs is currently a topic of private and public national interest.  A recent study  found that on average, a year’s worth of a “specialty drug” in 2013 retailed at $53,384.  That number is far above annual average incomes for many patients.   The pharmaceutical industry argues that specialty drugs, used to treat diseases like cancer, account for only a small percentage of annual drug sales and total healthcare spending.   In addition, the industry faults the study for not taking drug discounts and rebates into consideration cost-savings wise.   While patients with affordable, employer-subsidized insurance plans may not bat an eye, those with no insurance or high deductibles are concerned.  For the Department of Health and Human Services it is a question of effectively balancing “innovation, access and affordability.”  Read more here.

2. What is the best way to preserve intentions?


Answer: put it in writing.  A California court recently ruled that given a prior written agreement, a divorced couple’s frozen embryos must be destroyed.  In a contest between a proposed right to procreate and adherence to the terms and conditions of an executed consent, the written agreement triumphed.  Generally speaking, courts are loathe to impose parenthood on someone who no longer wish to procreate with a particular partner.  Read the details here.

3. What’s so great about plasticity?


Answer: plasticity is one of the new ways the human brain is being distinguished from the brain of other species.  Our brains are not as developed at birth, allowing the environment to have a great influence on the way our brains evolve over the years.  Read the story here.


Center Faculty Fellow Dan Bodansky Quoted on Climate

At climate talks in Bonn in June 2015, Bodansky said:

“The issue, ultimately, is how can the agreement [The Paris Climate Agreement] be most effective in reducing emissions…[That’s] a function of how ambitious the agreement is, how many and which countries participate and a function of compliance…If there’s greater compliance at the cost of lower participation or lower ambition then we might not have gained anything, so I think it’s a trade off.”

The above quote is part of an article recently published in Resilience.

Steamboat Willie & Copyright – Dennis Karjala in The Free Dictionary

An Excerpt from The Free Dictionary:

“Copyright status

The film has been the center of a variety of controversies regarding copyright. The copyright of the film has been repeatedly extended by acts of the United States Congress. However, recent evidence suggests that the film may be in the public domain due to technicalities related to the original copyright notice.

The film has been the center of some attention regarding the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act passed in the United States. Steamboat Willie has been close to entering the public domain in the U.S. several times. Each time, copyright protection has been extended. It could have entered public domain in 4 different years; first in 1956, renewed to 1984, then to 2003 by the Copyright Act of 1976, and finally to the current public domain date of 2023 by the Copyright Term Extension Act (also known pejoratively as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act”)[15] of 1998. The U.S. copyright on Steamboat Willie will be in effect through 2023 unless there is another extension of the law.

It has been claimed[16] that these extensions were a response by the Congress to extensive lobbying by The Walt Disney Company. Others claim that the copyright extensions Congress has passed in recent decades have followed extensions in international copyright conventions to which the United States is a signatory. (See US Copyright Law, Universal Copyright Convention, and Berne Convention.)

In the 1990s, former Disney researcher Gregory S. Brown determined that the film was likely in U.S. public domain already due to errors in the original copyright formulation.[17] In particular, the original film’s copyright notice had two additional names between Disney and the copyright statement. Thus, under the rules of the Copyright Act of 1909, all copyright claims would be null.[17] Arizona State University professor Dennis Karjala¹ suggested that one of his law school students look into Brown’s claim as a class project. Lauren Vanpelt took up the challenge and produced a paper agreeing with Brown’s claim. She posted her project on the Web in 1999.[18] Disney later threatened to sue a Georgetown University law student who wrote a paper confirming Brown’s claims.”[17][19][20]

¹Dennis Karjala is a Center Faculty Fellow.