Here's what we emailed out the week of July 9, 2021. Sign up for updates directly in your inbox.
To all our Microsoft users out there, a big change is coming: The company will officially be retiring their infamous blue “screen of death.” This error message screen will soon be black instead starting in Windows 11, matching the new log-on and shutdown screens. That said, the page itself is otherwise identical to the original, sad face and all.
A patent claims LSD could treat food allergies — without any conducted research
Thu Jul 1
Using LSD to treat food allergies — that’s psychedelic baby! Well, it would be if it were true. While there have been tales told, discussions on Reddit, and even support from a doctor himself around how psychedelic drugs help with the treatment of food allergies, there has not been any clinical research on humans to prove these theories true. And yet, a patent was approved last month for the “idea” of such a solution.
An approved patent signals to the public that a remedy exists, regardless of real possibility or efficacy. This is largely due to how patents work:
- First of all, patents are intellectual property that give the owner a legal right to the invention, whether or not proven to work. In this case, the patent simply says LSD can treat food allergies and that the firm filing the patent owns this idea and any future use of it — which even bars universities from conducting further research under threat of patent infringement litigation.
- The bar for proving an idea works before filing an application is quite low. As a result, many applications use "prophetic examples,” or examples that describe what potential experiments could be done to prove a claim. It’s not actual research but forecasts the benefits of the invention.
- And approval rates can vary widely based on the individual examiner. Some patent examiners approve fewer than 1% of applications. Others are more lax, like the LSD food allergy treatment’s examiner who has granted patents for 82% of his cases.
And this race towards grabbing patents for ideas (whether for psychedelics or otherwise) can be a detriment to society. Many have been calling for changes to patent laws to lower barriers to doing public good, especially during the pandemic when, for example, patents for 3D printed valves became blockers for more ventilators. Another proposal pushes for all academic researchers to be immunized from patent infringement if their work doesn’t involve product manufacturing or commercial selling.
Some additional resources...
A rising group with an undefined history believe they are exempt from U.S. law
Mon Jul 5
Can you live on U.S. soil without abiding by state laws? A Rhode Island based group believes so. Called the Rise of the Moors, 11 of their members were found heavily armed and in military uniform alongside a highway in Massachusetts this weekend. When police requested their gun licenses, the men revealed that their group doesn’t recognize state laws, leading to a nine hour standoff and shelter order for surrounding neighborhoods.
So who exactly are these Moors? Moors are neither a religion, ethnicity, nor race, and over the centuries their association has changed.
- As early as 711 A.D., Moors have been described as Muslims in Spain, Europeans of African descent, or any person with dark skin. The most famous mention was in a Shakespeare play where a Moor character secretly marries a White woman.
- By 1913 A.D., the Moorish Science Temple of America was formed as a religious corporation dedicated to removing racial labels such as “negro, Black, and colored.” They believe these terms were given to them by others, and therefore don’t reflect their true identities, traditions, or roots
- More recently, Moor has become associated with the sovereign citizen movement in the U.S. where extremist groups believe they can reside on American soil and be separate or “sovereign” from the country. These groups like Rise of the Moors use this sovereign claim to prove they are exempt from any U.S. laws, including taxes or drivers licenses
In fact, the FBI labeled such sovereign citizens a domestic terrorism threat in 2010. With the Rise of the Moors as just one of 25 such groups in existence, police increasingly see them as a great threat to their communities. Moors specifically prey on Black and Brown people by offering a fair and equitable society in a country where they are typically treated poorly. Their group teaches that their African roots to America makes them the rightful owners of $666 trillion worth of U.S. land, leading a few members to try and claim people’s homes in Seattle suburbs last year as their own by pretending to be government officials.
Some additional resources...
- Full coverage: Washington Post
- History of the Moors: National Geographic
- Moors labeled as domestic terrorists: FBI
- Moor extremists claiming people’s home: Daily Beast
ASCII OF THE WEEK
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How did Microsoft promise the blue screen would be gone?They gave their Word.
Art Credit: ascii.co.uk