by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 18th 2008 11:21pm
A bunch of people have been submitting the news that famed writer Arthur C. Clarke has passed away at the age of 90. You've probably already read about it elsewhere, so I debated whether or not it was worth posting it here as well. However, he clearly had a large impact on the technology world, and there was one interesting note in his NYTimes obit that seems to fit with what we often talk about here. While it's widely known that he's credited with the idea of the geostationary satellite, in later life, Clarke admitted that a lawyer convinced him not to patent the idea, saying that the concept of geostationary communications satellites was "too far-fetched to be taken seriously." While he later joked about how he probably lost billions on that decision, the truth is that in not patenting the concept and simply publishing the idea, it's quite likely that he did much more to speed along the concept from idea to reality. Even he admits that there was nothing "new" in what he described, it was just that he helped publicize the concept and make people realize it was feasible -- and for that we should be thankful.
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