Thursday, May 15, 2008

In The Air

Just finished reading this (long) article. It is (mostly) about how putting great minds together is the perfect recipe for getting incredible innovations out in the open (and then straight to the Patent Office :-)).

It also touches on the subject of "multiples", the fact that important discoveries are made almost simultaneously by different people. Sometimes more than two different people. (And there are some great examples mentioned in the article.) Based on that it reaches the conclusion that at least some discoveries are inevitable. If Bell (or was it Gray?) did not invented the telephone then surely someone else would have done it. Therefore:
A scientific genius is not a person who does what no one else can do; he or she is someone who does what it takes many others to do. The genius is not a unique source of insight; he is merely an efficient source of insight.
Which, I guess, it's good news -- it means that I'm not completely lacking any genius; only that there's probably a need for a few thousands of me's to come up with something worthy of genius status. So, there's hope! :-)

ps/ Another quote:
In his living room, Myhrvold has a life-size T. rex skeleton, surrounded by all manner of other dinosaur artifacts.
The one-beer question is: If you let 10 different Roombas running around the above mentioned living room, will any two of them ever collide before running out of power? (I need proof before handing out the prize. :-))

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