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My life list: Places I have visited

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My life list: Rides and places I would like to visit
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
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This is my life list. It's actually got... most of the stuff on this is actually crossed off, I'm noticing. Or half of it is, anyway. It does keep getting longer faster than it gets shorter. So it's kind of in categories. The first category is rides. So things I still have never done: I have never landed an airplane; I've never ridden on a rocket ship; I've never gotten to drive a tank, and I've never gotten to ride in a deep sea bathysphere. So those are on my list, but I see the rides, I've done an awful lot of them, like flying a helicopter and hovercraft and blimps, so... Like driving in the nuclear submarine, that got crossed off, so I think I'm doing pretty well in that category.

The next one is places to go. I recently got to cross off the Galapagos. I didn't really cross off Papua New Guinea. It was on my list, but I feel like I still have to go back, so it's in the sort of half crossed off version. But you know I still have some places like the South Pole, which I really want to go to, I've never been. Easter Island, I've never been to. Actually, I see I still have Borneo. I can cross that off. I've now been to Borneo, although I don't really feel... I think that's going to have to go in the halfway list. I don't really feel like I've seen Borneo. So... and yes, I've never really spent time on the Amazon. I definitely have to do that. And I've never been to New Zealand, so... Those are definitely in the category to be done.

And then there are sort of man-made sites that I want to go and see. Like here, well, like the Truk Lagoon is supposed to be a really interesting place to go diving, where all the sunken ships are. I've never seen the carving of Crazy Horse, and that's definitely on the category. Or in Budapest, there's the... there's supposedly a place that has still tube carriers, a tube where... pneumatic tubes, and there's the switching station where they take an envelope out of one tube and move it to another tube, and I really want to see that while they're still doing it. I've never been to Luxor, I've never been to St Petersburg, so there's a very long list here of places like that that I need to go visit. I've actually never even seen Mount Rushmore, so... Like, I really want to go into the... some of them are sort of half done. I just went to Afghanistan, but I've never to the lapis lazuli mines in Afghanistan, so that's on the list. And I would love to go to the Gobi Desert in China. I've never seen the Great Wall. So there's a long list of those. I've definitely... like there's St Patrick's Well in Orvieto, which I think is a lot like my spiral staircase, except it's a much cleverer design. It's a double helix so that people can be going down to the well and other people can be going up that Leonardo Da Vinci built. I've always wanted to visit that. And I've always wanted to go into Water Tunnel Number Three that's going into New York that's being constructed, that's going to bring water into New York. This huge construction under New York that most New Yorkers don't even know exists.

W Daniel Hillis (b. 1956) is an American inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While doing his doctoral work at MIT under artificial intelligence pioneer, Marvin Minsky, he invented the concept of parallel computers, that is now the basis for most supercomputers. He also co-founded the famous parallel computing company, Thinking Machines, in 1983 which marked a new era in computing. In 1996, Hillis left MIT for California, where he spent time leading Disney’s Imagineers. He developed new technologies and business strategies for Disney's theme parks, television, motion pictures, Internet and consumer product businesses. More recently, Hillis co-founded an engineering and design company, Applied Minds, and several start-ups, among them Applied Proteomics in San Diego, MetaWeb Technologies (acquired by Google) in San Francisco, and his current passion, Applied Invention in Cambridge, MA, which 'partners with clients to create innovative products and services'. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices (including a 10,000-year mechanical clock), and has recently moved into working on problems in medicine. In recognition of his work Hillis has won many awards, including the Dan David Prize.

Listeners: George Dyson Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: bucket list, rides, places, travel

Duration: 4 minutes, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017