Friday, May 27, 2011

Mining Minerals in Space, Business Innovation Can Get Us There?

So some smarty-pants mediocre-tech billionaire, Peter Thiel, thinks that college is "over valued" a waste of money in proportion to what a kid can do by just going out there and starting a big billion dollar  business like he did himself.  Which leads to Market Place reporters discussing the case of one John Burhnam:
Students get big payday for skipping school | Marketplace From American Public Media: "STEVE HENN: Most of the fellows are pretty excited about this. I talked to John Burhnam. He's 18 and he's skipping his own high school graduation to get started. This summer, he's interning at MoonEx, which is a private space exploration company.
JOHN BURHNAM: There's an incredible amount for me to learn, and I'm swimming in an ocean of information. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Burnham's sketching out a business plan to mine rare minerals from asteroids and the moon --
AMY SCOTT: Wait, what?
HENN: And then fly them back to earth.
SCOTT: Steve, this sounds a little crazy. This guy wants to drop out of college to mine the moon?
HENN: Basically, yeah. And you know, it might not work. But I think Thiel just wants to show that bright, motivated kids don't have to go to college. They can innovate or learn in other ways.
SCOTT: Sure, if someone pays you $100,000 not to go to college. But what happens to Space Boy when the money runs out and he's left without a college degree?"
Well I can't say I blame the kid for taking $100,000 dollars to not go to college for a couple of years.  Lucky fucking bastard, I wish I had been offered a deal like that. But isn't this the worst case study to discuss?  The kid wants to mine minerals from outer space for crying out loud!  Jeez, you think that maybe a few courses or even degrees in engineering, geology and physics might come in handy in this epic quest? Ya think?

My bets are that "Spaceboy" John Burhnam has actually already figured this out and is taking the cash and the internship and planning on a few of those physics and geology degrees afterwards.  Kid may actually end up contributing to the mining of heavenly bodies.  Who knows?  And it's not going to be business that gets him there, but science, and most great scientists are nurtured in universities. So stick it where the sun don't shine Mr. Peter Theil!

Of course the premise under which Peter Theil operates under is that the most important pursuit in life is MONEY.  Yeah, apparently he yammers on about "innovation", and his is Pay Pal.  Big fucking deal, yeah he got super rich with that, but it isn't like a some actual contribution to humanity. Never mind the fact that the actual value of higher education is increased knowledge and hopefully some critical thinking skills.  Yeah, it is too bad that so many of us have to go into the poor house to gain access to this higher education, but that doesn't eradicate the value of higher education in of and for itself. 

And another thing, the Market Place reporters, Scott and Henn don't seem to be all that bright in their mocking commentary, and annoy the hell out of me!  Just thought I would get that off of my chest.  Thank you.

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