This week we nervously caught up on some podcasts wondering whether President Putin’s Ukrainian posturing will lead to war or whether sense and negotiation will prevail. From a Minsk Agreement perspective It looks perhaps like a truly MAD world but lets make peaceful negotiation the way. As The New Yorker asks today – Who will blink first? (There is certainly a fraction too much friction, send in the tribologists! 😊or Steve Killelea from the Institute For Economics & Peace – interviewed here)
War in the past has stimulated much scientific and technological progress (as discussed in an Infinite Monkey Cage episode) and patents but never before have both prospective protagonists been armed with theatre and strategic nuclear weapons or be so well equipped for a full scale brave new war! (The information / disinformation battle may already have started with the CNN chyron being misused in a report purporting to show President Putin commenting on an Ukrainian incursion.)
At least there was a few positive aspects in Techstuff’s patent podcast in the context of February being African-American History Month. Thomas L. Jennings was granted the patent in 1821 for his method of dry cleaning becoming the first African-American patent-holder. He died on 12 Feb 1856.
Talent is equally distributed but opportunity and access to resources is not.
Just as with the International Day of Women & Girls in STEM on 11 Feb showing how much talent of the has been wasted over time so has inequitable access of African-Americans and others to opportunity and resources wasted much human capital. Let’s ensure we do not blow it all away nor continue this waste now and in the future.
Somewhat surprisingly Deutsche Welle’s Science Unscripted offered some respite from a downbeat martial mood with some positive pandemic coverage as well as (about 13 min in) a caveat on the US CDC announcing that people under 18 getting Covid-19 had a 2.5x greater risk of contracting diabetes. The presenters clarified that this is likely to refer to Type I diabetes as an induced autoimmune disease effect and suggested a need for the US Center For Disease Control to issue some clarification. We are vaxxed and hoping, doing some pleasant post pandemic dreamin’ of seeing the world again - we hope at peace not at war.
And what better podcast to leave on today 13 Feb – the World Radio Day – than with Melvyn Bragg on the invention of the radio and Jonathan Strickland’s Techstuff episode “The Golden Age of Radio”.
Some other shows about war and patents
The Fruits of War by Michael White, discussed in a podcast here
You may own your jeans but the ABC’s Philosophers Zone asks Who Owns Your Genes?
How do we protect IP in a digitally disrupted world? Are NFT’s really the answer?
Some flaws in how patents operate and are (mis)used.
See also our design story behind our War! What Is It Good For? collection