Public transit patent trolls get thrown under the bus

In a field of horrible, amoral scumbags, patent troll ArrivalStar is an exceptionally awful enterprise. They have a huge portfolio of ridiculous patents for obvious ways of tracking where public transit vehicles are and using that to coordinate schedule information, and they use that portfolio to extort massive sums from public transit systems in cities across America. After a years-long reign of terror -- which included the Electronic Frontier Foundation getting one of their patents gutted on rexamination -- the The American Public Transportation Association and the Public Patent Foundation have filed suit to get the whole portfolio knocked out. Good luck, APTA and PubPat: our cash-strapped cities need you. Read the rest

Now with more scum

"Check back panel for nutritional information" [Thanks, Heather!] Read the rest

Guerrilla bridge-makers save New Yorkers from scum river

Post sez,
For several years, a leaky pipe on 33rd Street in New York beneath the Hell Gate Bridge viaduct approach has submerged more than a hundred square feet of heavily-trafficked sidewalk under a festering cesspool of standing water. Astoria Scum River, as it's called, stretches the entire width of the sidewalk, and as winter approaches, the river ices over and becomes particularly hazardous to cross. Astoria Scum River Bridge was constructed to offer Astorians an opportunity to safetly cross this hazard. The unauthorized bridge is a gift to the pedestrians of Astoria in the absence of successful municipal efforts to ameliorate the problem.

The bridge was made at zero cost entirely from recycled materials: an old work bench found on the curb, rescued screws from a disassembled desk, and a metal plate from an expired electrical component. It was installed and dedicated on December 30th, 2009.

On January 25th, 2010, Astoria Scum River Bridge was the subject of a commendation from the office of NYC Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr., accompanied by a pledge to work with Amtrak to re-route Astoria Scum River off the sidewalk.

The bridge remains in place as this work progresses.

(Thanks, Post) Previously:Bridge demolitions set to opera - Boing Boing Laser-cut gingerbread bridge - Boing Boing Brooklyn Bridge to get a waterfall - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Minneapolis bridge collapse: blog roundup 4-ton railway bridge stolen - Boing Boing Time-lapse video of Bay Bridge deck replacement - Boing Boing Photo of pro-Tibet protest on Golden Gate Bridge - Boing Boing Read the rest