As the coordinator for the Online Think Tank, I have always been concerned about the Fraud that goes on in Think Tanks. Often people will pretend they have an original idea. After a little searching it turns out to be something that was in a Science Fiction book 50-60 years earlier. Still. They will try to pass off an idea as a unique patentable concept.
In reality it was in a popular science magazine such as; Technology Review, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Omni, Discover or Scientific American. Perhaps they even saw it on TV on the Discovery Channel, NOVA, PBS or some other similar venue.
Not long ago someone attempting to claim a “brilliant idea” contacted our Think Tank, and as the coordinator, I listened. The concept was another crazy idea on how to kill a Hurricane, problem is the lady submitting the concept for review and discussion, was either oblivious to the fact that a Science Fiction Writer wrote about it in a book 50 years ago. The Sci Fi writers in the 40s and 50s were very in weather control, during the last big Hurricane Cycle.
The idea of dumping sawdust on the water in front of a Hurricane re-surfaced again about 20-years later in a popular science magazine. Again, it surfaced again, with a company called Dyn-O-Mat in Florida, this time using polymer balls that could absorb 2,000 times their own weight and then environmentally decompose within 3-days. That company has been at it for nearly 15-years now.
Needless to say; her so-called “idea” is not a new concept at all, and for her to attempt to take credit for it is a little unnerving. If she did it by accident, we should all forgive her failing mind, poor research skills and arrogance, but still it is not her idea, it is not an original concept, not even close. She contacted our Think Tank in 2007, much later than 1940 or 1950.
In observing this case study, we were even surprised to see Dyn-O-Mat get a concept patent on the scheme, although much of their patent involved the polymer balls and dropping it from a jet or military cargo plane. Unfortunately, those at the Patent Office perhaps do not read 1940 or 1950 science fiction stories or read old popularized science magazines.
Maybe this lady from Berkeley, CA really did think that she thought of the scheme, or she saw it somewhere then forgot about it, but subconsciously remembered it, I don’t know, doing her famous yoga spiritual thing and smoking pot in Berkeley (organically grown of course).
The biggest problem that I see with all of this is that is that would be inventors, pseudo science innovators and unearned ego in the sciences is a real dilemma, it is a real problem and something really needs to be done to protect the real innovators out there. The Online Think Tank is always looking for those who can repeatedly produce original ideas and concepts, and yes, we spend a whole lot of time separating the real folks from the posers, fakers and fraudsters.