Why Patents Don't Necessarily Make You Rich, and Other Myths

Have you invented something wonderful? Patent it! But don’t count on making much money.

Just about every significant modern convenience is protected by a picket fence of patents, and even the silly, cheap doo-dads you find at the bottoms of cereal boxes are usually patented or emblazoned with a “Patent Pending” statement. People patent anything that can make money these days… even genes.

There’s nothing wrong with that, because patents protect inventors from imitators and help us build our technology, piece by piece. And as Einstein proved, patent offices are great places to think (he conceived many of his greatest ideas while working as a patent clerk).

But patents and the patenting process, like everything else, have their myths. Let’s crack a few, shall we?

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Busting a Few Myths About Electricity

Like fire, electricity is a mysterious and dangerous servant; and also like fire, myths about electricity abound

It’s not surprising that there are all kinds of myths about electricity floating around out there. After all, it’s a constant in modern life; even a necessity, in the sense that people consider living without it a hardship. All such necessary things have their myths.

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Sushi Myths That Smell a Little Fishy

Despite certain sushi myths, the dish is more than just fresh fish bait. Let’s do a little quick myth-busting on the subject

Foreign delicacies that they are, those artistically presented bits of vegetables and seafood so common to Japanese cuisine have spawned a rather hefty set of sushi myths. But as it turns out, what you think you know may not be quite the truth. So, in the interest of fair play, let’s do some sushi myth-busting.

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Three College Myths You Shouldn't Believe

Don’t let these college myths block your path to the future

If you’re a college-bound senior, you’ve certainly encountered more than your fair share of college myths by now. But it’s crucial to do your research, and learn to separate myth from reality — because if you take the myths too seriously, you may impede your own efforts to succeed.

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Facts About Herbal Supplements

Many people prefer herbal supplements to conventional medicines, or take them to complement their meds. But don’t fall for the associated myths

Many people distrust modern medicine, and the current popularity of herbal supplements is one aspect of that attitude. And really, that’s fine: many herbs work wonderfully well. Your Humble Writer, for example, favors a nightly mug of valerian-laced chamomile tea for relaxation.

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Interesting Myths About the English Language

As with just about anything of significance, myths plague the English language. Let’s look at a few

By any measure, the English language is a very successful tongue. It’s spawned perhaps the richest and most varied literature in history; acts as the global lingua franca for business, science, and government; and nearly one billion people speak it.

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The So-Called Obesity Paradox

Oddly enough, some studies indicate that overweight people are more likely to survive cardiac events. But is the “obesity paradox” real?

There’s been a lot of excitement lately about the apparent “obesity paradox,” especially among people of a certain girth (Your Humble Author included). Basically, the paradox is this: a few studies have suggested that heavyset people are healthier than their lean counterparts.

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Overcoming Those Pesky 2012 Myths

In recent years, the doomsayers have been up in arms about all those 2012 myths predicting the end of the world. Well, you needn’t worry.

It’s here at last: the dreaded year of the 2012 myths. According to some, the world’s about to end. But do we really have anything to worry about? While there’s no way to be entirely sure, the smart money’s on “No.”

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A Few Myths About Australia, Busted

Over the centuries, the rest of the world has developed some interesting myths about Australia. Let’s check into a few

Like many Americans, you may be laboring under a few myths about Australia that deserve some serious busting. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us have been misinformed on the subject — not just by the usual suspects, rumor and the media, but also by Science itself.

And in any case, any subject that arouses intense interest generates myths by the carloads. Let’s look at three, and quickly set them straight.

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Myths About Vegetarians That Deserve to be Busted

Myths about vegetarians can range from reasonable to pretty silly. These four, for example:

Myths about vegetarians are common, at least among us omnivores. That’s not too surprising; as we’ve pointed out in the past, food myths permeate our culture. Basic necessities do tend to accumulate myths, possibly because everyone deals with them every day.

Whatever their stripe — vegan, lacto-ovo, plain old vegetarian — those who eschew meat tend to be misunderstood, even denigrated, by those who don’t. So let’s try to clear up a few public misapprehensions that cause vegetarians trouble.

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