[FoRK] I'm off to the Kamen Islands, baby!
rohit at xent.com
Wed Feb 11 22:35:43 PST 2004
> North Dumpling Island is a second home and retreat owned by Dean
> Kamen, best known as the entrepreneur behind the Segway personal
> transporter. Dean Kamen is the founder and owner of Deka Research,
> which in addition to the Segway has also developed a number of widely
> used medical devices. Mr. Kamen also owns a helicopter company. Mr.
> Kamen is the founder of the FIRST student robotics competition, which
> now attracts over 800 student teams in its annual competitions.
> Mr. Kamen installed a Bergey 10 kW turbine on an 80 ft.
> self-supporting lattice tower in 1992 to reduce the island's electric
> bill and reduce the load on the submarine cable supplying the island.
> Since no crane could be brought to the island the tower and turbine
> were "stacked" in place using a gin-pole and winch system.
> Mr. Kamen has had a lot of fun with the island, which he refers to as
> the "Kingdom of North Dumpling". The Kingdom has its own
> Constitution, ministers (for example, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
> of Ben & Jerry's have served as joint Ministers of Ice Cream),
> currency, postage stamps, and 200-inch territorial waters. Mr. Kamen
> also has a wind turbine at his primary home in New Hampshire.
Apparently, he also has a non-aggression pact with the USA:
> After two years, he sold Auto-Syringe to Baxter for an undisclosed
> sum. Up until that point, he'd hardly taken a salary, plowing the
> majority of his profits back into the business. For the first time, he
> felt rich. Within days of the sale, he bought a helicopter, fulfilling
> a childhood dream.
> The helicopter led him to North Dumpling Island, a speck of land with
> a lighthouse, located in Long Island Sound. His flight instructor's
> wife, a real estate agent, told him the island was for sale. One
> winter day, he set out to find it. He brought the chopper down near
> the lighthouse tender's home. A frightened old man, part of the family
> that owned the island, came out to see what was going on. The young
> inventor befriended the man and his wife. When Kamen later bought the
> island (at a bargain price), he let the couple continue living there.
> Though Kamen doesn't visit the island much anymore, it's a microcosm
> of his worldview, a whimsical combination of leave-me-alone and dreams
> of techno-utopia. An aerial photograph that hangs in Kamen's office at
> Deka bears a caption that reads "The Only 100 Percent Science-Literate
> When Kamen wanted to erect a wind turbine on North Dumpling and the
> state of New York objected, he seceded from the US. Though the
> secession has never been officially recognized, he signed a
> nonaggression pact with his friend, then-President George Bush, and
> enlisted Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's as "joint
> chiefs of ice cream." North Dumpling has its own flag, its own anthem,
> a one-ship navy, and its own currency. One bill, which Kamen carries
> in his wallet, is the value of pi. "You can't make change for it," he
> says with a grin. "It's a transcendental function."
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