Thursday, June 05, 2008

TED Talk - Nathan Myhrvold: A Life of Fascinations

A very cool TED Talk featuring former Microsoft technology guru Nathan Myhrvold.

Nathan Myhrvold talks about a few of his latest fascinations -- animal photography, archeology, BBQ and generally being an eccentric genius multimillionaire. Listen for wild stories from the (somewhat raunchy) edge of the animal world.

Since leaving his post as Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer in 1999 (with fortune in tow), Nathan Myhrvold has been a professional exemplar of the spirit of the "Renaissance Man," proudly following his interests wherever they've led. His strangely dispersed passions have triggered an impressive list of accomplishments, including world barbecue championships, major archeological finds (several Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons), prize-winning wildlife photography, as well as expertise in a little-known cooking technique called sous-vide.

Taken on a gloss, Myhrvold might be accused of lacking focus. But Malcolm Gladwell's 2008 New Yorker profile of him revealed an impish but truly inspired character whose latest obsession -- brainstorming and patenting wild inventions -- might be just the courageous force for innovation that the world needs. (Though some claim his company, Intellectual Ventures, is no more than a patent troll.) After funding SETI projects such as the Allen Telescope Array, exploring active volcanoes and investigating penguin digestion, Myhrvold insists that his hobbies aren't as discursive as they seem. They do have a common denominator, after all: him.

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