10 July 2009

This Could Save Many Lives: Let's Patent It

Bill Gates is amazing; just look at this brilliant idea he's come up with:

using large fleets of vessels to suppress hurricanes through various methods of mixing warm water from the surface of the ocean with colder water at greater depths. The idea is to decrease the surface temperature, reducing or eliminating the heat-driven condensation that fuels the giant storms.

Against the background of climate change and increased heating of the ocean's surface in areas where hurricanes emerge, just imagine how many lives this could save - a real boon for mankind. Fantastic.

Just one problemette: he's decided to patent the idea, along with his clever old chum Nathan Myhrvold.

The filings were made by Searete LLC, an entity tied to Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue-based patent and invention house run by Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer. Myhrvold and several others are listed along with Gates as inventors.

After all, can't have people just going out there and saving thousands of lives without paying for the privilege, can we?

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.


saulgoode said...

I wonder if maniacal schemes by evil-genius villains in spy novels can serve as prior art.

I seem to recall this "invention" appearing decades ago in a Clive Cussler novel or somesuch -- though therein the plan was to create hurricanes.

einfeldt said...

I'm a little confused. Use ships to stir up cold water to lower the surface temps of hurricane-building warm water? First of all, the idea is vague, at least as described here on your blog (not your fault, obviously). The patent office will not issue patents or enforce patents for using water to put out a fire, for example. Not original and too vague.

The idea is also unworkable. Think of the energy required to move enough water to sufficiently cool that much surface water. It boggles the mind. This idea is a fool's errand.

Glyn Moody said...

@saulgoode: any port in a, er, hurricane...

Glyn Moody said...

@einfeldt: you don't mean that the patent is not only morally reprehensible but a sham *too*...?