Where is Bill Gates when you need him ?

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ravingdave
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Where is Bill Gates when you need him ?

Post by ravingdave »

Or when he could actually do something useful for the first time in his life.

I have a friend who is constantly bemoaning the fact that Wealthy individuals donate a huge amount of money to crap that won't make any significant difference in the quality of life for mankind in the long run, while at the same time they could have put money into science and technology which DOES improve the quality of life.

For example, The Bussard reactor, which may or may not work, but the gains if successful so far outweigh the costs if a failure, that it is brain dead stupid for wealthy individuals or foundations or companies (google) not to have ponied up the money necessary to find out instead of funding the latests kum bah yah crap.

Nobilis Oblige ?

David

jabowery
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Post by jabowery »

Understand that philanthropy is about little more than social status and social status is pretty much limited to that which appeals to young women as morally superior.

If you could get Hollywood to make a lot more movies like Tucker, you might get somewhere. As it stands, however, Gates and the like will do little of real value to help humanity.

Mike Holmes
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Post by Mike Holmes »

Well... at least some of the money goes to research grants to find ways to combat diseases like AIDS and Malaria. That's not "Science and Technology" with long-term effects?

Or is it just that none of them are funding your pet project? Last I heard we were funding this fusion project called ITER to the tune of like $20 Billion.

It would be nice if somebody had a few spare millions for Polywell. But there are other pressing issues in the world, and I can't bemoan anyone who throws their money at those, either.


Jab... I'm not sure if you're complimenting young women, or denigrating them by your stereotype... But I rest assured that when you have your millions that you'll be sending them right here, so I won't complain.

Mike

P.S. Bill Gates is a bastard, don't get me wrong (note my bias, I use a Mac). He has personally set back computing technology by more than a decade by his predatory business practices. Of which he's been convicted on more than one occasion, and for which he has yet to be punished suitably. I could go on and on. So I don't wish that he'd give away his money any differently... I wish he just didn't have the money in the first place.

scareduck
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Post by scareduck »

One, it's noblesse oblige.

Two, Gates and Paul Allen have already invested in Tri Alpha Energy, which is using a field-reversed approach advocated by Norman Rostoker of UCI (and others).

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Bill Gates does have his good points.

He (with IBM's help) unified operating systems at a time when there was a lot of confusion in the market.

What is really holding back computing these days is the dominance of the C, C++, Intel model of computing. The processors are overly complex and the language is clumsy.

Fortunately we are running into fundamental limits (the speed of light) which will eventually force on us a different way of doing things.

The deal is this: you can't design a small processor where C is the native language. FORTH on the other hand.....

In fact FORTH was based originally on the Turing idea that any processor can be made (with the right instructions) to emulate any other processor. Now a days we can skip the emulation process and go straight to silicon.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Mike Holmes
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Post by Mike Holmes »

You mean the "Wintel" model of computing? Yep, that's Gates' fault. He caused all the damage by "unifying" operating systems (read "stealing").

But this has nothing to do with the direction of his philanthropy, vis a vis fusion. I apologize for starting this new thread tangent.

If anybody knows anything about it, a new thread on the subject of Tri-Alpha might be interesting. I get the feeling that they're about as respected as Focus Fusion...

No, like I said, new thread, new thread!

Mike

scareduck
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Post by scareduck »

Mike Holmes wrote:I get the feeling that they're about as respected as Focus Fusion...
Much, much more. At least the FRC doesn't require the upending of entire branches of physics in order to explain its operation.

jabowery
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Post by jabowery »

Mike Holmes wrote:Well... at least some of the money goes to research grants to find ways to combat diseases like AIDS and Malaria. That's not "Science and Technology" with long-term effects?
1) Ever heard of "carrying capacity"?

2) The "cure" for malaria is known and has been put into practice in the US since the New Deal -- housing construction standards that enclose, not the healthy, but the virulently sick from exposure to the vectors so as to prevent the evolution of virulence via horizontal transmission.
See Ewald's work on the evolution of virulence.

But young women find the idea of mosquito nets around the healthy and treating the sick more appealing than the idea of evolutionary medicine so Gates et al fund accordingly.

Similar "young women" approaches are typical of AIDS philanthropy as I well discovered when advising Gary Hart's AIDS policy committee during his ill-fated presidential campaign.

jabowery
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Post by jabowery »

scareduck wrote:Two, Gates and Paul Allen have already invested in Tri Alpha Energy, which is using a field-reversed approach advocated by Norman Rostoker of UCI (and others).
One can cut Gates and Allen some slack on this, however it doesn't detract from my statement about philanthropy. It would have been philanthropy, for example, for Allen to have provided the $10M for the X-Prize rather than leaving it up to an Iranian family. It would have been philanthropy, for example, for Gates to fund the fusion prize proposed by Bussard and myself.

PS: From Wikipedia:
Colliding beam fusion is also studied, for example by the fusion researcher Norman Rostoker at Tri Alpha Energy, who previously collaborated on the Migma approach. The Tri Alpha Energy device combines a Migma ion beam collider with a Field-Reversed Configuration in order to increase ion density.[21] Another colliding fusion approach is the Electron spiral toroid from Electron Power Systems, Inc., who claims to make self-confined toroidal plasmoids, with no need for any external magnetic field for their confinement.[22]
Isn't this vulnerable to Rider's critique?

scareduck
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Post by scareduck »

jabowery wrote:One can cut Gates and Allen some slack on this, however it doesn't detract from my statement about philanthropy. It would have been philanthropy, for example, for Allen to have provided the $10M for the X-Prize rather than leaving it up to an Iranian family. It would have been philanthropy, for example, for Gates to fund the fusion prize proposed by Bussard and myself.
(1) It's not philanthropy (it will have to be a profitable enterprise or the whole thing is hopeless), and (2) the original poster didn't specify that it was. I'm not saying that a prize approach is a bad one, but clearly Gates and Allen felt like Rostoker et al. were close to having something useful, close enough that funding it as a business was a worthwhile risk.
Isn't this vulnerable to Rider's critique?
Possibly, yes, but Rostoker had his rebuttal to that, too. We shall see.

jabowery
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Post by jabowery »

Do you have a link to his rebuttal? Is it as different from Bussard's as is his device?

PS:
scareduck wrote:the original poster didn't specify that it was. (philanthropy -- JAB)
As long as we're in the nits:
...Wealthy individuals donate a huge amount of money to crap...

ravingdave
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Post by ravingdave »

jabowery wrote:Understand that philanthropy is about little more than social status and social status is pretty much limited to that which appeals to young women as morally superior..

That's an interesting take on the situation, and one that I hadn't considered. The obvious purpose being to make onesefl more attractive to breeding females. While I have long maintained that much of what we all do is dones specifically for this same purpose, I simply never considered that donations would also fit into this catagory.


jabowery wrote: If you could get Hollywood to make a lot more movies like Tucker, you might get somewhere. As it stands, however, Gates and the like will do little of real value to help humanity.

The people of Hollywood have their own notions about humanity etc., and do what they do because it fit's their mindset. I see little hope of them changing until they are divorced from their wealth and opulence.

David

ravingdave
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Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

Mike Holmes wrote:Well... at least some of the money goes to research grants to find ways to combat diseases like AIDS and Malaria. That's not "Science and Technology" with long-term effects? .

To be fair to Bill Gates, I have done no research as to the scope of his AIDS and malaria prevention efforts. I do recall that the news stories I read about were more along the lines of AIDS prevention, and more humanitarian than scientific. Apart from that, there are dozens of alternatively (government) funded researchers working on exactly the same problems.
Mike Holmes wrote: Or is it just that none of them are funding your pet project? Last I heard we were funding this fusion project called ITER to the tune of like $20 Billion. .
I actually think the funding for polywell is going to happen, but some money a couple of years ago would have made a huge difference. It doesn't have to be polywell to earn my respect, just not the latest "Celebrity Charity" cause du jour.
Mike Holmes wrote: P.S. Bill Gates is a bastard, don't get me wrong (note my bias, I use a Mac). He has personally set back computing technology by more than a decade by his predatory business practices. Of which he's been convicted on more than one occasion, and for which he has yet to be punished suitably. I could go on and on. So I don't wish that he'd give away his money any differently... I wish he just didn't have the money in the first place.
Wholeheartedly agree. Bill Gates made his money not by contributing anything useful to computer technology, but by being extremely lucky and taking lawyerly advantage of the works of other people. Plus a little lying, stealing, extortion and monopolizing.

David

ravingdave
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Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

scareduck wrote:One, it's noblesse oblige.

Two, Gates and Paul Allen have already invested in Tri Alpha Energy, which is using a field-reversed approach advocated by Norman Rostoker of UCI (and others).

I can't spell.... mea culpa. :)

In any case, my point is concerning the General case of very wealthy people sending their money to "cultural investments", using Bill Gates as a specific example. I suppose I could have used Ted Turner's gift of a BILLION dollars to the United Nations, but I think Bill Gates is more widely known for funding various third world philanthropic causes. ( of course not the one laptop per child program. :) )

At least some of the Bill and melinda gates foundations money might do something useful in the long run. By the way, what did melinda ever do to aquire billions that she could dole out to charity ?
Oh, she had sex with Bill Gates. I suppose she deserves the money.


David
Last edited by ravingdave on Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mike Holmes
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:15 pm

Post by Mike Holmes »

The laptop idea has a lot of merit in some ways. India has come a long way in development based solely on some forward-thinking implementation of computer technology in that country. That said, it's done very little to deal with the class problems there... sure Mumbai looks a bit like New York, but the countryside doesn't look like Wisconsin... if you take my meaning.

Long-term investments are important, no doubt. But some short-term investments can help with stability, for one. The disaffected in the region are threatening to create yet another India-Pakistan war. That's in nobody's best interest (except, perhaps, the terrorists').

The Gates' Foundation does a lot of agricultural development... can you leapfrog that, and go directly to industrialization? Stalin tried... Tough call. I think a little of each is probably a good way to go.

What do you think of this organization? http://www.heifer.org/

Mike

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