April 17, 2022


by: glawson


Categories: Current Culture

Geniuses, Patents, & Easter Church


Geniuses, Patents, & Easter Church

One benefit of my career has been the exposure it’s afforded me to seriously smart individuals — even apart from the thinkers in my MasterMind group. Back in the mid-80’s, I worked in the Robotics Division at Texas Instruments. Some of those engineers and programmers were brilliant inventors who spent their time developing stuff the rest of us only dreamed about.

Shortly after starting my own business in 1988, I began working with the Neuromodulation department at St. Jude – the folks who implant tiny computers in your body to fix errant nerve impulses. They thought up trivial stuff like pacemakers, debilitating back-pain relief and even a brain implant to eliminate Parkinsons tremors. Some of them started their own companies, developing cures for things like opioid addiction and incontinence.

I even spent a few years supporting the marketing efforts of some very impressive nerds up in St. Louis who invented a computer modeling system to design new drugs. Their software took years off the required development time for medications. Just imagine what they’re doing today with all the genetic information that’s come to light.

Every high-IQ individual I’ve worked with was constantly involved with the patent process. The goal was to protect their discoveries long enough to develop a commercial product capable of recouping their research costs and paying dividends that would attract future investors. The fly in the ointment is that China and India do not honor our patents. The minute a new product or medication hits the market, they begin reverse-engineering it to make their own cheap knock-offs. That limits profitability and drastically reduces the incentive for future research funding.

I threw that last paragraph in for free…and to vent my irritation about the gutless dishonesty of certain foreign governments.

One of the AI wizards at Texas Instruments once told me over hamburgers that Artificial Intelligence is really nothing more than a giant database of “yes” and “no” answers that builds on itself and begins to extrapolate solutions based on a compilation of previous answers. The ultimate goal is to create a machine powerful enough and with enough of those yes’s and no’s in it’s hip pocket to slip free from the tether of it’s original coding and begin to “create” itself.

Back in 1973, I met an old and experienced inventor who had created just such a mechanism and let it run free. In short order, the individual components began to corrupt themselves as well as the entire system. He eventually resorted to sticking his hand into the mechanism to set things right, an action that cost him dearly but which ultimately assured realignment of the elements and the survival of the machine. His machine is still running today.

That brings us full circle to the question of why a grumpy old fart like me attends church on Easter Sunday (of course that’s a logical leap). Why shouldn’t I just stay home and avoid the tourists? A better question might be why I even attend church at all given my distaste for Western organized religion in general. The answer is simple – I know the inventor. And, darned if I don’t love watching what He’s doing to fix all the corrupted elements in His three-billion-year-old mechanism, myself included. He’s even fixing those broken churches. Maybe I’ll see ya there.

Come on. Y’all knew I wasn’t going to ignore Easter Sunday even if it highlights our differences. I’m more than happy for you to convince me that I’m wrong. Just let me know where and when we could enjoy that discussion.

“There is no Concorde that flies us from immaturity to maturity in a few hours. There is only a narrow, bumpy road where a few people walk together as they journey to God”

― Larry Crabb


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Good Reads. Even Better Listens.

Larry Crabb

We can’t make significant progress in healing our relationships until we start to heal ourselves. We can’t make significant progress in healing ourselves until we start to heal our relationships. This book is an excellent starting place. I highly recommend it. Crabb is like a really good mechanic that specializes in fixing people.


Warren Bennis

Full Disclosure: In the spirit of transparency, I’m not even finished with this book yet but just look at the authors and you’ll understand why I’m recommending it. Bennis and Coleman together are, in the words of Jack Nicholson, “As good as it gets” (but this time, I’m not being sarcastic).