July 2005

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting on a lecture given by an Oxford academic to the Australian Catholic University in which it was said that “It is 97 per cent certain God raised Jesus from the dead – based on logic and mathematics, not faith”. According to the story:

Professor Swinburne, who gave a public lecture at the Australian Catholic University last night, said probability calculus showed a probability of 97 per cent. The probability God existed was one in two. That is, God either did or didn’t. And it was one in two that God became incarnate.

Professor Swinburne suggested a one-in-10 probability that the gospels would report the life and resurrection of Jesus as they did. The chance of all these factors coming together, if the resurrection was not true, was one in 1000.


The New York Times has reportedthe increased use of tattooing technology to identify individual pieces of fruit with pricing and other information. Since 9/11, the United States government has been encouraging fruit suppliers to experiment with different ways to “track and trace” produce. Different ways of identifying fruit with “PLU” (price look-up number) numbers is being tested, among them tattooing and scannable bar-coding etched into the wax coating a piece of fruit. The idea is to replace those annoying little stickers.

In 2002, Georgia fruit grower and distributer Durand-Wayland bought the patent for a process that etches the PLU number and any other information directly into the skin of the fruit. The process permanently tattoos each piece of fruit, without piercing the skin.

Australia’s first decision involving the legality of linking was delivered last week. The good news for bloggers is that linking itself is not at risk. Providing links to infringing material is not such a good idea, though, especially when the material is owned by major music studios. (more…)

The Seattle Times is reporting that Amazon has sued Cendant alleging infringement of patents. The story is thin on details, but the patents are supposed to be “e-commerce” patents, and Amazon contends they were infringed when using tools “to secure credit-card transactions”. It will be interesting to analyse the claims (and the patents) when further details emerge.

Cendant sued Amazon last year, claiming infringement of a patent for recommending choices to buyers based on previous ordering history.

Groklaw is reporting that it has a copy of a 13 August 2002 email from an expert hired by SCO to look into whether any code had been copied from AT&T Unix into Linux.

It is interesting reading and does not bode well for SCO. The money quote: “At the end, we had found absolutely *nothing*. ie no evidence of any copyright infringement whatsoever.”


Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced yesterday the appointment of Andrew Greenwood as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia. Greenwood is currently a partner of law firm Minter Ellison, where he leads their Competition and Regulatory Policy practice in Brisbane. He also has experience in the areas of intellectual property law and commercial litigation.

Greenwood is currently Queensland Chair of the Intellectual Property and Trade Practices Committees of the Law Council of Australia, and is an Adjunct Professor in the fields of intellectual property and competition law at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland. Greenwood is replacing Justice Richard Cooper, who passed away earlier this year.

Yesterday, the Australian Federal Court refused to stay proceedings brought by Australian company QSPX against Ericsson. It had been alleged that the proceedings were infected by ‘champerty’.

…which I thought was kind of interesting. And no, I’m not talking about the religious theme (warning, disturbingly twee photo of Alexander Downer behind that link).

Rather, I’m talking about the technology theme. And not just down in the technology section of the page. Up on the sidebar, quite high up, We have stories about the continuing sales of iPods, about the rise and rise of podcasting, and about digital TV – a story about how the BBC is launching an internet service allowing people to download its TV shows for later viewing, which will use a proprietary piece of software called the BBC Interactive Media Player (iMP), which apparently will use P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing technology.

The New York Times reports that business is booming for manufacturers of cheap DVDs. An increasing number of titles, typically old films and cartoons, are being priced in the US$0.99 to US$1.99 range, the low price a reflection of the fact that these works are no longer protected by copyright.