Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIPO Adopts Treaty to Grant Copyright Exceptions for Visually Impaired

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled was unanimously adopted by the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at a 17–2 June meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Treaty seeks to improve access to published works for the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world by creating an exception to internationally-recognized copyright restrictions. The treaty guarantees the right for the visually impaired to reproduce, distribute, and translate works without obtaining a license from the author.

Link to the article in Intellectual Property Watch: Over 50 Countries Sign Marrakesh Treaty On Copyright Exceptions And Limitations For The Blind

Monday, July 15, 2013

Risotto, move over

Colored riceWe have been using saffron to make risotto and paella yellow for centuries. Saffron, though, is very expensive. Now there is a new patented process to make rice in red, yellow, green, and purple, with the caveat that green does not survive cooking. I wonder if an orange risotto, which in addition to saffron would use ang-khak rice mold, would be less fattening, given the statins in Monascus purpureus.

Here is the article from Focus Taiwan.

A government-assisted farmers' research group in eastern Taiwan has developed "colorful" rice — no longer rice in white, but in four different colors — red, yellow, green and purple. The Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station — which is dedicated to helping local farmers improve their earnings from farming, including by coming up with new products — said it has spent seven years developing the technology to add natural colors to rice using vegetables. "The colorful rice can add interest, enrich your visionary sight and increase your appetite, especially for children," the station said. It said that Southeast Asian countries and India have used natural colors to cook rice since ancient times, mostly using turmeric (a plant of the ginger family) and herbs to give rice color. It said that using the natural colors of vegetables to produce colorful rice is both "safe and delicious." The four colors developed by the station — red, yellow, green and purple — are derived from using anka (red yeast, Monascus purpureus), turmeric, chlorophyll (green pigment derived from green vegetables) and anthocyanidin (plant pigment). The station noted that rice colored with anka, turmeric, and anthocyanidin will not change color during the cooking process. The green color, using chlorophyll, however, tends to turn into an olive color after cooking. "The best ingredient is using something that is natural," the station said. It said that it is not only targeting families as the main consumers of colorful rice, but is also eying hostels or leisure farms, which may want to use it for creative dishes. They could also make it a souvenir or gift for visitors, he said. In the earlier days of research into making colorful rice, the technology could only produce a small amount of colorful rice, according to the station. But after further development, it has come up with the technology for mass production, and has obtained a patent. The station later transferred the technology to the private sector, which can now produce two metric tons of colorful rice each day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Global Innovation Index

For the first time since 2009, the U.S. has been ranked among the top five nations in the Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII). The U.S. placed fifth behind Switzerland, Sweden, the U.K., and the Netherlands, ranked first through fourth, respectively. The annual report, released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, and INSEAD, is a key benchmarking tool for businesses, policy makers, and others concerned with the relative status of nations in the global innovation environment.

The GII relies on two sub-indices, the Innovation Input Sub-Index and the Innovation Output Sub-Index, each built around pillars.

Five input pillars capture elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication. Two output pillars capture actual evidence of innovation outputs: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

Each pillar is divided into sub-pillars and each sub-pillar is composed of individual indicators (84 in total). Sub-pillar scores are calculated as the weighted average of individual indicators; pillar scores are calculated as the weighted average of sub-pillar scores.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tokyo Police to Introduce 3D Printers for Prosecutors in Court

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department aims to introduce 3D printers for prosecutors to create more graphic crime scenes in court. The agency will use US-made machines capable of making solid color objects made of plaster using 3D image data captured with portable special cameras. The models will recreate murder scenes, or fire scenes details such as wall colors, shape and furniture layout. The department hopes that such models will assist judges to visualize circumstances such as culprit entry and escape routes as well as crowd member positions at the crime scenes. In current criminal proceedings, prosecutors generally describe crimes using pictures, photos and floor plans; although some of them have had 3D models made manually and used them at trial. The department has already started making prototypes based on the data from several cases. The Metropolitan Police's Criminal Investigation Laboratory introduced 3D printers in 2011 and has since applied them to actual investigations.

Source: Nikkei