Bill Nye to USA: We Need More Engineers

A good friend of mine, Dil, caught me off guard the other day by asking me, “are you watching the debate?” I thought immediately to myself, “the debate?.. it must be something epic.” It was something epic.

Bill Nye (on behalf of science) faces off with Ken Ham (on behalf of genesis, i.e., religious beliefs about human origins) – the entire debate is a back-n-forth over these two viewpoints on ‘where we come from’ –  in an ultimate two and a half hour debate.

Bill Nye & Ken Ham

In this excellent debate broadcasted live earlier this week (broadcast date: February 4th, 2014), my favorite spoken thought came from Bill Nye, at the 1:49:26 mark, where he says:

“…we need scientists and especially engineers for the future. Engineers use science to solve problems and make things. We need these people so that the united states can continue to innovate and continue to be a world leader. We need innovation and that needs science education.”

Bill Nye: We Need More Engineers

Check out the video yourself on YouTube and it will likely also remain embedded on the debatelive.org homepage for some time.

Powerful Quote by James Weldon Johnson

New York City is the most fatally fascinating thing in America. She sits like a great witch at the gate of the country, showing her alluring white face, and hiding her crooked hands and feet under the folds of her wide garments,––constantly enticing thousands from far within, and tempting those who come from across the seas to go no farther. And all these become the victims of her caprice. Some she at once crushes beneath her cruel feet; others she condemns to a fate like that of galley slaves; a few she favors and fondles, riding them high on the bubbles of fortune; then with a sudden breath she blows the bubbles out and laughs mockingly as she watches them fall.

                                                                                                                      source

The exciting story of New York coming into its own is a tale that has fascinated me, throughout my life (view my personal NY photographs, in both life and land galleries).

Recently, while watching a YouTube documentary on the subject of New York, a powerful quote by James Weldon Johnson shook me, watch:

(video starts with quote, at 3m 17s into documentary)

Hey Elon Musk, can you confirm this correlation?

During a recent interview with Elon Musk (the name of a man who I anticipate will become a household name over the next few years), he was asked to share a bit about his mentors and (what and/or who) had inspired his entrepreneurial & scientific endeavors. I listened closely during this part of the interview, as it was an aspect of Elon’s life I could not recall being addressed during any of his previous interviews.

(note: If you haven’t seen Elon Musk’s Stanford University Entrepreneurship Corner Lecture clips, you should take a moment to watch a couple of them)


I have been fortunate enough to have two influential mentors during my lifetime. Elon says during the interview, however, that he hasn’t had any. But, Elon goes on to mention one specific person (with great fondness) for whom he had read the biographies of. The person of mention was a genius inventor, entrepreneur, and politician – the man’s name: Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.


Now, getting to my correlation and question to Elon. If you recall in recent news, Elon is considering an application for a patent of “the Hyperloop,” a method of transportation that would be much more efficient that any of our current methods. I find it quite interesting that Elon’s intentions for “the Hyperloop”, if or when the patent comes to fruition, is to open it up to “anyone who can make a credible case that they can do it.”

Benjamin Franklin, like Musk, became successful at a fairly early age. Franklin had made fortunes from his widespread distribution of Poor Richard’s Almanac, encouraged substantial royalties from his publishing franchises, and was on his way to becoming an affluent statesmen, when, at some point, he stumbled across a pretty nifty invention. In 1741, he invented a stove that was more efficient (produced more heat and less smoke) than any other stoves in use at that time. The stove was coined, the Franklin stove. And he never patented it – he just gave the plans away. As put by the narrator during a YouTube biography on Franklin, “…[Franklin] declined to patent his design. He argued that inventions should serve the public interest and that new ideas like his stove should be shared freely”.

So, assuming that Elon’s primary motive for patenting “the Hyperloop” is to avoid “trolling” and relatedly, to ensure that if it is ever built that it will be engineers that are worthy (and thus, has similar motives as Franklin had, of sharing an invention to serve the public)…

Is Elon Musk’s Hyperloop an iteration on Benjamin Franklin’s stove? And if so, I am curious (so, I ask directly)

…..

“Hey Elon Musk, [sir,] can you confirm [having any previous thoughts regarding] this correlation?..

Or, is this the first time you’ve considered it?”

contact me anytime

Subtracting Congress From the Equation

Think about the tangled mess of a web that constructs the United States’ Economy. Well, I think there is a factor at play – currently undergoing some measure of a ‘reform’. CNN wrote on it recently and I don’t think the surface is even being scratched from an analytical standpoint.

It could be an issue of the US’s majority being composed dominantly of citizens in the middle class. People that don’t at all have the educational background to fully-understand our economy. Or the political structure of our government. People that don’t have time, nor care, to interpret the workings of a capitalist monarch. A society that is composed of our best thinkers and builders.

A portion of the US’s top one percent is composed of our most innovative engineers and business leaders (aka the private sector), while the other part is composed of those working for government entities. Where does Congress fit in? It’s fair to assume that each member falls in the top one percent. And that each member undoubtedly works for the government, i.e., for “the people.”

Could it be possible for a small group of lawmakers to have an enormous impact on the economical changes that take place around us? All the while doing so partially, or potentially solely, in the spirit of increasing their personal wealth? If your job allowed you the unwavering-flexibility to impact decisions related to our capitalist country’s future, would you bet on there outcomes?

Some wish not for Congress members to be given the ability to cash-in on investments that are driven by ‘inside’ information. They don’t think that this should be legal.

Personally, I think that severing the ties between Congress and the markets could be a game changer. Eliminating an elemental topological space that has pushed and pulled the mold, that which holds a fluid and evolving economy for the past 300+ years, could change everything.

Likely, a change this dramatic would only result in more of a free market. But that’s a discussion to be had on another day.

If Congress loses their ability to trade, I believe that these two predictions would hold true:
1.) Their wealth will be distributed back to the private sector.
2.) the US’s economy would undergo a dramatically different course as it continues to evolve on a it’s variable trajectory.