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My life list: Writing and publishing


My life list: Plants and animals
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
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Plants and animals. I've never seen orangutans in the wild. I was hoping to do that in Borneo. I didn't. That's why I don't feel like I've really been to Borneo. I've never seen glow-worms in a cave. I've never seen a giant squid. Not many people have, but I want to see one. I've never actually seen a tiger in the wild. I've never seen a platypus in the wild, either, so... And I would love to see the migration of the Monarch butterflies in Mexico. That's apparently quite a sight. I haven't seen... they're sort of partially done, I've never seen enough blue whales. I want to see a lot more whales than I have. And there lots of variation of whales that I've never seen. And I do want to do a visit where I get up close to the gorillas in the wild. I saw gorillas in Africa quite a lot, but they were always in captivity. I've never come up them close in the wild, so I'd love to do that. But I have seen a lot of these others of Komodo dragons and giant sea turtles and toucans in the wild. Big sharks, that kind of thing. Those were on my list. I have seen a platypus in the zoo.

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: Christopher Sykes George Dyson

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: Borneo

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017