Re: Poor Man's Macroengineering and Marketing the future

David Lubkin (
Mon, 19 Jul 1999 12:59:39 -0400

>>I think there was a proposal involving the Dead Sea, which is about 1200 feet
>>below sea level, whereby piping in water from the Mediterranean could be used to
>>generate electricity.

>I've heard of something along those lines, but don't recall any details.

As I recall, the proposal is originally credited to Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel. My father revived the proposal when we were living in Israel in the 70's. There was some governmental interest at the time, but it never went anywhere. I'll ask him about it when we speak next. The idea was never pipes, though -- it was digging a channel. And, in his version, it was also about desalinating the sea water. (Israel is short on both energy and water.)

This reminds me of a related issue, though. In my own professional work, I focus on staying 1.5 years ahead of the public. I perceive impending needs 18 months before they do, which lets me get a solution to market just as they become aware that they need it. For now, I stay clear of Internet products, because things move too fast for me to remain far enough ahead.

My father's problem has always been that he perceives and solves needs decades before there's a market for his solution. Or maybe he's just not good enough at salesmanship and marketing. In the 50's, for example, he invented a fax machine and optically generated variable-font-size typography. Other ideas in other decades. Each time, we've seen someone else come along 10 to 40 years later and get rich with their variation of what he hadn't been able to get funding for. Was the time finally right? Were they just better at selling their ideas?

Then I look at us, and some of our "fellow traveller" groups -- the libertarians, the cryonicists. Why are groups promoting liberty and immortality (goals you might think are obviously worthwhile) so unrelievedly unsuccessful in recruitment? When you talk to people you meet about the future, which topics do you discuss? In what order? Is any of our shared vision (in all its variations) solid enough and soon enough to take to a venture capitalist? Are any of you actually making a living off the extropian dream? (Besides Drexler, Merkle, and, until recently, the Rocket Plumber.) || Unreasonable Software, Inc. || a trademark of USI:

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