TPM News

When President Obama delivers his speech on jobs and economic growth on Thursday evening, there's a good chance that he will mention patent reform as a driver of job growth.

With landmark patent reform legislation pending in the Senate, the President might point to the imminent reforms as an example of how his administration is trying to position the United States to be both globally competitive, as well as forward-looking with the types of well-paying jobs that the reforms will generate.

The only catch: The legal community is highly doubtful that the reforms -- which could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as this week -- will spur any big changes in the current incentive structure for inventors and innovators, and indeed could make it worse.

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AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Some 1,386 homes have been destroyed in a monstrous fire burning southeast of Austin that has destroyed more homes than any other blaze in Texas history, county officials said on Thursday.

With Mitt Romney desperately trying to redefine the nomination fight as a battle between a man who understands the importance of Social Security (Romney) and a man who wants to get rid of it (Rick Perry) -- and the Perry campaign seemingly willing to let him, there's a big question for all involved.

How will all this play in Florida? The state's early primary and huge population makes it a potential game changer in the nomination hunt, and a fight over Social Security seems tailor-made to the electorate there.

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Make no mistake about it: Rick Perry is running against Social Security. Last night in the debate, Perry stood by his oft-repeated claims that the popular government retirement program is a Ponzi Scheme and a "failure."

And after the debate, Team Perry refused to rule out ending the program all together under a Perry presidency.

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has just dismissed Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act, upholding the law’s individual mandate. The appeals court threw out a lower court ruling that had declared a provision of the law unconstitutional, as Reuters reports.

Your cell phone signal could soon be getting a huge boost thanks to a relatively minor tweak, if researchers at Rice University have their way.

A team led by Rice professor of electrical and computer engineering Ashutosh Sabharwal has managed to successfully demonstrate their method of increasing wireless network throughput - the rate of successful message delivery - by 70 percent, with mostly existing mobile device and cell tower hardware.

That ultimately means wireless network providers can provide more customers with faster and smoother transmitting of all data-intensive operations - including calls, video streaming and downloading apps - without having to install expensive new cell towers.

"Our solution requires minimal new hardware, both for mobile devices and for networks, which is why we've attracted the attention of just about every wireless company in the world," Sabharwal said in a release. "The bigger change will be developing new wireless standards for full-duplex. I expect people may start seeing this when carriers upgrade to 4.5G or 5G networks in just a few years."

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Google has acquired the popular restaurant review and recommendation service Zagat. From a Google blog post announcing the deal:

So, today, I’m thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat. Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows last month’s record earthquake in the eastern United States may have shaken a Dominion Resources nuclear plant twice as hard it was designed to withstand, a spokesman for the nuclear safety regulator said on Thursday.