White House invites the crowd to fight patent trolls, but it won’t solve the problem


Patent trolls are a gaping wound on the innovation economy. Despite growing evidence about the trolls’ economic damage, the U.S. government is still grasping for ways to stop them, and to fix the country’s dysfunctional patent system.

On Thursday, the White House plunged forward with a new series of measures intended to curtail the troll plague that is siphoning money from productive companies while producing nothing of value. The plan is clever, relying on crowdsourcing tactics to expose trolls and bad patents. Unfortunately, it won’t kill the trolls.

Here’s an overview of the new troll-fighting tactics and what they will — and won’t — do to fix the patent problem.

Trolls and transparency

The details, set out in a fact sheet, includes an “online toolkit aimed at empowering consumers .. [that] will include information and links to services and websites.”

That toolkit will be powered in part by websites like Lex…

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Top jobs of the week in tech: Zappos.com, Threadless and more


While your next job probably won’t pay in Bitcoins, it just got one step closer to reality with the planned rollout of Bitcoin ATMs. In other news, the readers of Gigaom chose their favorite new startups for the Structure Data Awards. And until building cool things with Legos starts paying the bills, check out the weekly jobs review here:

We also have other listings from companies like Target, Microsoft, Shell Oil and more. Click here to see what else is on our job board.

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How a pomegranate inspired a new lithium ion battery design


The lithium ion battery could get a boost from the humble pomegranate. According to researchers at Stanford, including Amprius founder Yi Cui, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, clustering tiny silicon particles in a hard carbon rind — like seeds in a pomegranate — could be a helpful design breakthrough for using silicon in the next generation of lithium ion batteries.

A lithium-ion battery — the standard being used in gadgets today — is made up of three pieces: an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte that shuttles lithium-ions between the cathode and anode. That shuttling process is what happens when you charge and discharge a battery.

pomegranate battery

Scientists have long wanted to use silicon in the anode of a lithium ion battery because it can hold more energy per given volume than the traditional graphite that is commonly used — so a silicon anode battery could be smaller and…

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Mingle @ The Mix Up Bar

By Matt Lewis


After an evening of drinks, mingling and thinking I believe I’ve fully digested all the Royal Palms Resort & Spa and the Arizona Foothills Magazine (AFM) had to offer with this event.

After a vote of their peers, 21 Phoenicians were named most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. I would have to agree with most if not all of their choices, but I do know of one fascinating young woman who was “robbed” of the title, but alas I digress.

The event was very low-key and offered a wide array of folks — the 20-something crowd who is hip, hot and single; the 30’s and 40’s crowd looking for professional business contacts and everyone in between.

I met quite a few beautiful and accomplished women and would talk to as many as I could muster the courage to approach — which was about seven.

What brought me to this event you may ask? A Facebook invite and also a mutual friend was going to be there and I wanted to met them in-person because I felt they were going places in politics — something I hope to always have an ear to the ground with when it comes to being a journalist who is informed.

I must applaud the AFM for hosting such a elegant and wonderful event. There were free champagne and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a bar to get “liquid-courage.”

While in the Men’s Room, I got a question from a gentleman I met at the event. He asked if I would be writing about my experience that night. I laughed and told him “probably.” He said it was a great event to observe people in an unassuming habitat. I agreed.

It made me think of my favorite place to people watch –> the airport. If you ever get bored at the airport, just start people watching and imagine their stories and why they’re going and where they may be from and more of their story.

Thanks for listening to my rant on a mix and mingle that was designed for people just like me. Have a great day.

*** This story was updated for style errors on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 3:14 p.m. ***