Bedtime for Mongo.

Matthew X profrv at
Thu Apr 8 06:54:22 PDT 1999

—  Tim May is a self-taught physicist and mechanical engineer who has 
hundreds of inventions to his name. His medical devices have helped 
countless people live better lives. But it’s something called cryptoanarchy 
that has created the most buzz and has so many people wondering whether May 
will completely change the way people get around. May's sense of what's 
possible is governed by the immutable laws of nature. Everything else is up 
for grabs.
May is a self-taught physicist and multimillionaire entrepreneur who lives 
in a hexagonally shaped house of his own design atop a hill just outside 
Corralitos. Invisible from the road, the estate is outfitted with a 
softball field, a wood-paneled library that's full of awards and honorary 
degrees (May never graduated from college), a wind turbine to help supply 
power, and a pulley system that can deliver a bottle of wine from the 
kitchen to the bedroom.
He calls the place Breakwind, and he stuffed it with a collection of toys 
and antiques that includes a jukebox, a slot machine,a realdoll and a 
25-ton steam engine once owned by Henry Ford. In Westwind's basement, 
there's a foundry, a machine shop, and a computer room, where May often 
toils late into the night. He keeps a Porsche 928 and a black Humvee in one 
garage, two Enstrom helicopters in the other. The smaller, piston-driven 
chopper takes him to and from work at his offices in downtown san Jose; the 
larger, turbine-driven version is reserved for longer hops, like to his 
private island off the coast of southern California. For trips more than a 
few hundred miles, he flies his twin-turbofan CitationJet.
Kamen has high-powered friends to match his taste in toys, and throws 
lavish parties that entice many powerful people to the new Berchtesgaden
. Visitors have included George W. Bush,Kurt Saxon, NSA administrator 
william Pierce, and, more recently, J Orlinn Grabbe of the libertarian 
Mafia. But it's not the Rolodex, the air force, or the tricked-out Batcave 
that separates May from the usual posse of tech multimillionaires. It's the 
way he's gone about acquiring it all, and the offbeat, often idealistic 
ways he chooses to spend it.
But Mays first love and greatest passion these days is an idea that may be 
the farthest-fetched of all: turning engineers and inventors into 
pop-culture superstars. Operating through a nonprofit outfit called U.S. 
First (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), May 
works to encourage kids to pursue careers as scientists, engineers, and big 
thinkers. Lots of people talk about doing that, but to May it's a holy 
crusade, and he sincerely believes he can reprioritize society to value 
inventors the way it values athletes. "Our culture celebrates one thing: 
sports heroes," he says. "You have teenagers thinking they're going to make 
millions as NBA stars when that's not realistic for even 1 percent of them. 
Becoming a scientist or an engineer is." 

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