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List: The world’s best inventions weren’t made for profit

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Edward-M, May 5, 2008.

  1. Edward-M

    Edward-M New Member

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    1. The internet. (The government & Tim Berners-Lee.)

    2. Penicillin. “Florey believed it would be inappropriate to patent penicillin, but learned his lesson when some of his American collaborators did just that… Florey took no profit for himself.”
    http://time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,33700,00.html

    3. AC power & modern electricity. (Tesla)
    “Yet Tesla died destitute.”
    http://inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/Nikola_Tesla.htm

    4. Phone. “Meucci was recognized as the first inventor of the telephone by the US House.” “[He] was unable to raise sufficient funds to pay for the patent application… In 1861 his cottage was auctioned.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Meucci

    5. Lightbulb. “Göbel [invented] the first practical bulb… in 1854, a quarter of a century before Edison’s patent.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Göbel

    Yes he died pennyless too.

    6. Radio. “Tesla is now credited with inventing modern radio as well; since the Supreme Court overturned Marconi’s patent in 1943 in favor of Tesla’s earlier patents.”
    http://inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/Nikola_Tesla.htm

    7. Almost everything else - through state funding of science & university research.

    The point? While we all love for-profit economics, let’s not exaggerate their role either. At best they tend to succeed after government acceleration of new technologies.


    from
    http://newsrogue.com/list-the-worlds-best-inventions-werent-made-for-profit/
     
  2. top gun

    top gun New Member

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    You know... that's very interesting. Hell of a good first post!:)
     
  3. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    So scientists know, and make use of, the fact that the government takes titanic amounts of cash from people, and they therefore go to government to get funding. All it proves is government has the cash, nothing more. Government regularly also creates massive boondoggles, like the failed government funded research for alternate energy after the oil shocks of the 1970s.
     
  4. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    Thats the saddest rebuttal I have seen in a long time.

    To add something else to the list is the method of preserving food through canning. It was comissioned by Napoleon IIRC.
     
  5. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    The above statement raises the white flag from lack of ability to rebut - I accept your surrender, although I have to say it's unseemly that you quit so quickly. :D
     
  6. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    No surrender from me. Ill always fight the next day. Either way, I offered up another example for the list. A quite useful one to this day as well.

    So is GPS. Among many many others. But your right, government does nothing but take our money. Forget everything else that is done and/or not done.
     
  7. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    None of these "lists" mean anything. Inventions are created by creative intelligent individuals, not government committees, bureaucrats, or politicians. You want to give government credit simply because it used tax money to pay for lab equipment? :D
     
  8. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    No I give credit where it is due, and in many cases government has pushed development of a technology that is then expanded into civilian life. For instance the jet engine and nuclear technology it is often times government being the one who realized the need for such invention and bankrolls it, because private industry would not be able to do it on thier own.
     
  9. top gun

    top gun New Member

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    Well put my friend from the North!
    ;)

    Isn't in funny how after some get used to having things at their fingertips on a large scale they then develop amnesia on just what it would really be like without them... Interstate Highways come to mind and a long list of other things as well.
     
  10. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    This is one of the oldest and phoniest arguments of statists - the money came from people involuntarily when the government collects it. When people form a corporation, the money comes voluntarily. In either case, it comes from exactly the same place - people. Government doesn't create a cent. The jet engine is not a good case for purposes of this debate, because the motivation for creating jet engines was a military necessity (in WWII). Private industry can do ANYTHING on it's own if enough people want to do it - the money, as I said, comes from exactly the same source. And private individuals and corporations CERTAINLY have more initiative, creativity, and inventiveness than government drones. The only things that government can do is force people to pay for things they otherwise wouldn't - that's all.
     
  11. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    What a.........I'll take issue with that if I may........

    The UK Government has a very good record in funding science and technology especially medical research and if the UK Government can make money out of that reseach then good on them IMHO.

    The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a group of around 16 government funded bodies answerable to the Department of Trade and Industry, their CV ain't bad.....
    Important early work carried out under MRC auspices was:

    -Identification of the dietary cause of rickets by Sir Edward Mellanby
    -Discovery, in 1918, that influenza is caused by a virus
    -Description of neurotransmission and the first neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, by Sir Henry Hallett Dale and Otto Loewi, leading to a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1936;
    -Development of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming, Sir Ernst Boris Chain and Lord Florey, gaining them the 1945 Nobel Prize;
    -Linkage of lung cancer to tobacco smoking by Sir Richard Doll and Sir Austin Bradford Hill in the British doctors study, published in 1956;
    -Discovery of the structure of DNA by James D. Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Professor Maurice Wilkins. They would receive the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for their discovery.
    -Development of magnetic resonance imaging in 1973 by Professor Peter Mansfield and independently by Paul Lauterbur. This would lead to the 2003 Nobel Prize.
    -Development of monoclonal antibodies by César Milstein and Georges Köhler in 1975 (1984 Nobel Prize)
    -The identification, in 1983, of folic acid as a preventive measure for spina bifida and neural tube defects
    -Large studies, in the 1970s and 1980s, showing that aspirin can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
    -The publication of the genome of C. elegans, the first multicellular organism to receive this treatment, in 1998.
    -The ongoing Heart Protection Study, showing benefits of primary prevention with simvastatin in patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

    In all, scientists associated with the MRC have received 22 Nobel Prizes in both Medicine or Physiology and Chemistry.

    Not a bad record for bunch of Government Drones.................:rolleyes:


    Libsmasher here's link to MRC Homepage which you may find interesting

    Our Mission
    The heart of our mission is to improve human health through world-class medical research. To achieve this, we support research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas. We work closely with the NHS and the UK Health Departments to deliver our mission, and give a high priority to research that is likely to make a real difference to clinical practice and the health of the population.




    .
     
  12. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    Didnt they figure out how to make a cup of tea at -20 in 17 seconds? :D
     
  13. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    .........whilst performing self-flagellation with a wet cod fish!! :eek:
     
  14. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    I think that there is a divide between the concepts being discussed here.

    Scotsman and Bunz and the OP are discussing macro-social inventions, things that have changed the way society works in some fundamental way. Example: the Internet.

    Libsmasher is (I'm assuming) talking about micro-social inventions, the little things that make life a little easier in one way or another but don't cause society to shift. Example: Better automobiles.

    The question Bunz and Scotsman ought to be asking is, "What incentive do corporations have to finance scientific ventures that would have an enormous social impact?"

    The question Libsmasher ought to be (and, in a way, has been) asking is, "What incentive do socially-inclined governments give to continue progress on a small scale?" After all, those macro-social breakthroughs don't happen every week.
     
  15. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    This whole thread, as I have said, is entirely misleading. For just one example, mosts of the authors of the "lists" are using simplistic static analysis:

    "The government paid for the invention of the whizzwidget, therefore the whizzwidget would never have been invented except for the government."

    Also, entirely missing from the "lists" are parallel "lists" of costly failures, eg, the space shuttle and the space station.

    When you are a government bureaucrat, and spending hundreds of billions of dollars of other people's money, you can (and they do) indulge in the "plate of pasta" technique: throw enough plates of pasta against the wall, and one of them is bound to stick.

    And when it does stick, your >>>TOTAL<<< contribution has been nothing more than to spend taxpayers' money. A BIGBIGBIG achievement? Uh, noooooooooooooo.
     
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