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Re: [tlug] [OT] Specialized insects and Linux

On Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 1:48 PM, Raedwolf Sumner <> wrote:
> "Stephen J. Turnbull" <> writes
> the new technology (esp. printing presses, steam engines) leading to the
> economic explosion of the Industrial Revolution and up into the economic
> growth of the 20th century (cars, telegraph, telephone, radios, rubber)
> came from tinkerers who benefited economically from applying their
> ideas. The waters become more muddied as we get further advanced
> technologically with TV, flight, and computing. It seems the higher the
> technology, the more important the research. The times may be
> fundamentally changing.
> IIRC, Einstein said that his E=mc2 was "in the ether" (of course, his ideas
> on "the ether" are a good bit beyond my understanding) and if he hadn't
> put it out, someone else would have because its time had come. Obviously,
> though, basic research is important, too. The question is whether it drives
> economic growth, and I don't think it does. What economic growth has
> come directly from E=mc2?

I'm a bit poor at remembering what I learned in physics, but doesn't
that equation (among others) formed the foundation of nuclear fission?

Maybe basic research doesn't yield immediate economic benefits.  I
can't imagine a company paying staff to come up with mathematical
equations, etc.  But some research does lead to other works, some of
which a company might take and make it into something profitable.

IMHO there will always be a place in basic research -- especially
research that is funded by governments and is then disseminated
publicly.  Since there are many topics that companies won't touch
because it won't guarantee profits in X years for their shareholders.
But if there is good research done that's out in the public, companies
will be happy to take it, modify it, patent it to call it their own,
and then sell it...

But even at publicly-funded universities, there is a push for
collaborations with industry.  That'll bring in money but it may
eliminate some interesting projects from further consideration.


PS:  Of course I'm bias because I'm working in basic research.  :-P

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