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Genghis Khan, History's Greenest Conqueror 279

New research suggests that in addition to being one of history's cruelest conquerors, Genghis Khan may have been the greenest. It is estimated that the Mongol leader's invasions unintentionally scrubbed almost 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. From the article: "Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world's total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests. In other words, one effect of Genghis Khan's unrelenting invasion was widespread reforestation, and the re-growth of those forests meant that more carbon could be absorbed from the atmosphere." I guess everyone has their good points.

Comment Re:Misleading Summary (Score 1) 168

I'm with you that it is not the "fundamental components of biology" that are being patented. What I do not understand fully is what is being patented? The articles are rather vague when it says, "cover not only the process for determining the structure of the molecules, but also the computation used to design new antibiotics." It seems like Steitz et al are hardly the first to grow these crystals. See: co-winner Ada E. Yonath. Also, it seems like the computation is more of a software patent. Do we have those in the US?

As far as your question,"Why should an organization bear this cost out of the kindness of their heart?", I don't know for a fact, but I am guessing most of the work was paid for by NIH, NSF or some other granting agency.

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.