Re: The Brin/Kelly challenge

From: John Clark (
Date: Sat Apr 08 2000 - 10:09:23 MDT

How to spend $1B over 5 years wisely for maximum good.

It would be wise to start small to gain experience in philanthropy, and besides
you might as well go after the low hanging fruit first, less than a million a year
are spent on the following so a little money could go a long way.

1) Study the rain forest's of the world to find new human pathogens.
     Some species have been almost totally wiped out by just one type
     of virus, the same thing could happen to humans, especially when
     you consider that there is less genetic variation among humans
     than almost any other animal. If there is something bad out there
     I'd like to know about it as soon as possible.

2) Hire a few graduate students, buy a few telescopes or even high power
    binoculars and look for earth crossing asteroids and comets.

3) Not long ago the world's leading expert in the field said that if somebody
    was willing to spend a million dollars a year for 10 years on research a
    way could be found to vitrify a human brain, that is, you could freeze
    it without damage. A charitable organization was set up to provide the
    funding to do just that. It failed, people just didn't think it was important.
    So today the very few dollars spent to find ways to store organs without
    damage is on things like kidneys and livers, virtually nothing on the brain.
    Personally I'd like to see some of the amazing things we talk about but
    recognize that it might take a little longer than we expect. I'm willing to
    accept the risk that I'll die the day after the Singularity but damn it, if I die
    the day before the singularity of blood poisoning from an infected toe
    I'm going to be pissed.

              John K Clark

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