Host Ira Glass talks with science writer Paul Hoffman about a mathematician named Frank Nelson Cole, who demonstrated a groundbreaking idea at a conference in 1903. Paul explains that in addition to their celebrated breakthroughs, many of the greatest thinkers in history have entertained some very crazy ideas.
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We sent a reporter named Dan Grech to the Hundred Year Starship Public Symposium, which aims to tackle the technological problems related to interstellar space travel. And as host Ira Glass explains, Dan found this gathering to be way more adventurous than your average scientific conference.
There's a derogatory term in Silicon Valley for companies that amass huge troves of patents and make money by threatening lawsuits: "patent trolls." When Jeff Kelling's Internet company Fototime was sued - along with more than 130 other companies - for violating someone's patent, he wondered if it was a troll (which the company denies), and then settled out of court.