Brain Atlas

“Are you ready?  Ready for the playoffs?”*

…Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen is — in a big way.  His “first love”*1, the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that he’s owned for the past 21 years,  has made it into the Playoffs, and no one is more excited than the owner.   One of the most devoted owners in the NBA, Paul Allen has always been his team’s biggest fan.   

Allen attends a majority of the Blazers games, bought the team’s game stadium twice and weighs in enthusiastically on every decision, often splurging on players and expenses.  He installed equipment aboard his ships that lets him watch Blazers games when he is away from home.  And when Allen was asked to give the commencement speech to the graduating class at WSU in 1999, he graciously agreed, but gave it long distance via satellite uplink, speaking to Washington graduates from the Portland Rose Garden Arena so he wouldn’t miss a Playoff game.

So his Trail Blazers’ entry this year into yet another Playoffs series is a thrill—still a major thrill— to a guy who has had more than a few thrilling moments in his lifetime.  Blazermania is back and no one is more caught up in the wave of excitement than the owner himself.

Current adventure, Trail Blazers. Past adventures?  This guy’s had a few.  Hopefully he’ll tell us more about all of them in his upcoming memoirs.   Don’t hold back, Paul—we want to know EVERYTHING !!!!! 🙂

In the meantime, here is a sampling of Paul Allen’s ideas about — Paul Allen, of course — from his statements to the press through the years.  So, here you go….Part Three of Paul Allen: In His Own Words:

The projects you have funded so far cover a wide range of fields. What are the criteria you look for?

“I ask myself: What are the great questions in science, the knowledge that we are just scratching the surface of?  The chance that we are going to pick up the phone and an alien is going to be on the other end is small, but it is certainly worth—on a modest scale, for me—seeing if we can enable some of that research.  There are these greenfield areas like the human brain, systems biology, ­understanding how cells work internally, and how the proteins interact inside the cell. That’s an area I’m thinking about. Then there are the global issues we have today: global warming, the environment, and disease. I don’t know that I could make a difference in theoretical physics; that’s basically a bunch of mathematical and theoretical geniuses at different places. I’m not sure how anyone could make them work any faster than they are.”
The Discover Interview, Evan Ratliff

On Advice to Young People
If you are starting any new venture, try to find people who share your
dreams with the same enthusiasm that you do and that can complement your
strengths and bolster your weaknesses.  Start with small but achievable
dreams and under the right circumstances, these small dreams can lead to
bigger ones. Remember that you have all of the open-mindedness,
fearlessness and enthusiasm of youth.  Believe in the possibility of success.
From Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to graduating class via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden Arena upon receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award—1999

Quote from the website (years ago):
  “What is the best advice, business or otherwise, you’ve had and from whom?
The best advice I’ve received came many years ago from my father.  He told me that you should love whatever work you do, you should try to find something you truly enjoy.  And I’ve been lucky through the years that the work I’ve been involved with has been challenging and for the most part, fun.”

On Trying New Things:

 You have to find and appreciate the joy and beauty of the world.  And
many times that comes if you force yourself to try things that you
otherwise might be skeptical of beginning.  In my case I discovered
scuba diving, but any kind of adventure that takes you totally out of
your normal life and into a different environment or meeting different
people can be very rewarding. Also, if you force yourself to be more
adventurous, the more ideas and different types of people you will meet
and the richer your life will become intellectually and otherwise…….
 From Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to graduating class via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden Arena upon receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award–1999

On His Childhood in Seattle:
From “Paul Allen Unplugged” Dec. 2003 Columns UW Magazine
Tom Griffin
 While many of our alumni know of your generous contributions to the University, most don’t know of the UW connections going back to your childhood. Your father Ken Allen began his career with the University libraries in 1951, two years before you were born, and was Associate Director of the libraries from 1960-1982. Did your Dad open the resources of the UW  libraries to you when you were a child?
A. I spent many weekends in Suzzallo Library as I was growing up. I remember spending hours just combing through the stacks of musty books, including early books about computers. Books about science and aviation in particular were some of my favorites.
Did your family have season tickets to Husky games?
A. Yes, my father had season tickets for the Huskies for my whole childhood and I remember going to many Husky games with him. One of the reasons that I really wanted to have an open-air stadium for SeahawksStadium is that I have fond memories of wandering around Husky Stadium with my Dad, eating hot dogs and being able to watch the Huskies play outdoors in the elements—I think it’s one of the best parts about football!
Do you recall attending any open houses or science fairs at the UW that might have sparked your interest in computers?
I went to science fairs many times and had a lot of fun. More than anything it enhanced my love of science— and I carry that excitement with me today. I am particularly interested in how the brain works, and what we might be able to learn by looking at the role of the human genome in the function and anatomy of the brain. 

On His Eclectic Interests

“Allen says his business success is partly a result of his wide range of interests, which he thinks allows him to see connections between disparate areas that others may miss. His credits his parents, who gave him an open-minded start, dragging  Paul and his sister Jody to galleries, the opera, science museums, dance concerts and aviation exhibits. “Even as a kid, every year I was interested in something different,” Allen says, “whether it was chemistry or cards or physics or electronics or space travel or music.”    (Over the Horizon with Paul Allen: Another Microsoft Billionaire Speaks. Fortune: 7/11/1994 by David Kirkpatrick.)


From The Discover Interview with Paul Allen (by Evan Ratliff )
What do you think are the chances of SETI’s succeeding—in other words, of finding intelligent life beyond our world?
“The scientists are optimistic because they think that if they have better instruments that look deeper or on more frequencies, there should be civilizations out there broadcasting. I think everybody would admit it’s a long shot, but if that long shot comes in… wow.”
If they do get the signal, will you be the first person they call?
“Actually, first they call the White House. At one point they told me I was third or fourth on the list. So I guess that’s one of the benefits of funding the project. But the phone hasn’t rung yet.”
What would that kind of discovery mean to you?
“That would be such a life-changing thing, for us all to know that there are other beings out there who we could potentially communicate with, or maybe we are listening to a signal that they transmitted hundreds of millennia ago. And then we’d say, “Well, what was in the message? Can we decode the message, and can we communicate back? What are they really like? Are they oxygen-breathing bipeds, or are they a gas cloud on some gas-giant planet?”

On Music   Gene Stout Seattle P-I
June 22, 2000   The Visionary: Jimi Hendrix set off a spark in Paul Allen’s Imagination  (On Jimi Hendrix, music and the Experience Music Project Music Museum):
I think Jimi expressed in some of his interviews, and in his songs, the idea that music serves as a magic carpet that can take you to different places,” Allen says. “There’s a churchlike feeling there, and great music makes the spirit soar.”  …..

“………..”It was really a challenge to come up with things that were hands-on, yet robust enough to stand up to thousands of people using them and still allow a level of instruction for someone who hasn’t had much experience playing an instrument,” Allen says. 
“We just want to get them excited about music and think, ‘Hey, here’s a door I can go through.’ There’s a lot of fun and excitement in self-expression.” 


 On Football:

“Hail From the Chief” by Brian Davis from the Seahawks’ website:
“My experience with football goes back to watching Husky games with my father when I was under the age of 10—outdoors, eating a hot dog and cracking open some peanuts and seeing a game played out in the elements. That’s real football to me, so that was my dream and I think we’re delivering on that.”

On Science Fiction and  the Science Fiction Museum
  “The Microsoft billionaire, whose personal collection inspired the idea for a museum, hopes the facility attracts droves of sci-fi fans from around the galaxy.
“I was exposed to science fiction at an early age,” Allen says. “I think… it’s actually about science and where science is going to take humanity and culture in the future.”

On The Allen Institute for Brain Science

From “Piece of Mind” The Economist 
   “The scientists used state-of-the-art technology to dissect a mouse brain, photographed it sliver section by section, then reassembled it in a computer database that would allow easy access. But it was the speed at which the project was accomplished and what they did with it afterwards that changed the game.
They released it to the public. Over the Internet. Free.
When we first put the mouse-brain atlas online free, it was met by the research world with suspicion. People wondered what the catch was. Scientific research has long been a solitary endeavour—one researcher, one microscope. Findings are protected so that discovery credit can be clearly defined and awarded. This is a successful model and will continue to be.
However, the Human Genome Project demonstrated a different path: multiple teams working collaboratively towards a common goal. I believe a real acceleration in progress and innovation comes from the open sharing of ideas and collaboration. We wanted the mouse atlas to be free and available for all to use as the basis for foundational research and discovery.
A new generation of implantable pacemakers for the brain will be widely used to treat everything from depression to addiction and Parkinson’s disease
If we thought it would be a hit right out of the gate, we were slightly wrong. It took a while for people to trust that it really was free to use. No one believed in a free lunch.
Now, things have changed. Today we have many scientists using the atlas for their research into Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorders, Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s, fragile x mental retardation and epilepsy. The atlas is also giving scientists insight into alcoholism, obesity, sleep, hearing and memory.”

And from a recent Wired Article:

In March 2002, Paul Allen—co-founder of Microsoft and 41st-richest person in the world—brought together a dozen neuroscientists for a three-day meeting aboard his 300-foot yacht, Tatoosh, which was anchored in Nassau, Bahamas. At the time, Allen’s philanthropic work consisted of an eclectic (some say frivolous) set of endeavors. There was the Experience Music Project in Seattle, a rock-and-roll museum designed by Frank Gehry; the Allen Telescope Array, 350 radio telescopes dedicated to deep-space observation and the search for extraterrestrial life; and SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded plane developed to put a human in space. But Allen was eager to start something new: a project involving neuroscience. He was excited by the sheer uncharted mystery of the mind—one of the last, great scientific frontiers—hoping a single large-scale endeavor could transform the field.
“I first got interested in the brain through computers,” Allen says. “There’s a long history of artificial intelligence programs that try to mimic what the brain is doing, but they’ve all fallen short. Here’s this incredible computer, a really astonishing piece of engineering, and we have no idea how it works.”
Over several days, Allen asked the neuroscientists to imagine a way to move their field forward dramatically. “I wanted them to think big,” he says. “Like the Human Genome Project, only for the brain.” (Jonah Lehrer 3/23/09)

and from The Discover Interview: Paul Allen by Evan Ratliff
Your interest in the workings of the brain seems like a logical step for someone who started out writing software.
“Yeah, if you are involved in computers, at some point you end up being fascinated by the idea of the human brain. The human brain works in a completely different fashion from a computer and does some things so much better than a computer, and this may remain true for the next 100, 200 years. How can that be? So I brought a bunch of neuroscientists together and asked, “What can I do that would be interesting and different that would potentially help the field of neuroscience move forward?” The answer was a genetic database of the mouse brain.”

On Space Travel:


Paul G. Allen
Remarks on Winning ‘The Robert J. Collier Trophy’
National Air and Space Museum
Washington, DC
April 19, 2005
from website

  “I feel I’ve been lucky to be part of three great waves of change—the personal computer, the Internet, and now private space travel.  All were extraordinary, but for sheer adrenaline, nothing will ever top that day last June when we first sent Mike Melvill to the edge of space in SpaceShipOne. 
I was always interested in flight and growing up in Seattle in the 1950s and ’60s was a great place to explore those interests. We had the World’s Fair, a strong local aeronautics industry, and I loved going to the library with my mother where I found books like Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo,” or Willy Ley’s “Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel.” 
Science fiction was great back then, but it was amazing how much trouble it had keeping up with the reality of actual space travel. Like millions of American kids, I followed the Mercury suborbital flights, then Gemini, and then the Apollo lunar missions. I remember how exciting it was to watch those events on our grainy black and white TV set. Like many kids back then, I built scores of airplane and rocket models, and naturally, I had a plastic Air Force helmet with a flip-down visor. I even had hopes to become an astronaut one day. But after my 5th grade teacher realized I was sitting in the front row of class and squinting—it became apparent that I was nearsighted and I realized that becoming an astronaut was not in the cards for me. 
I have no doubt that these formative early experiences with space exploration helped fuel my desire to build and program computers. That same spirit of invention was always in the air in the early days of Microsoft. With SpaceShipOne, the work we did with Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled reminded me in many ways of the work Bill Gates and I were doing when we were just starting out. There aren’t that many times in your life you get to work on a project that is challenging, groundbreaking, and just plain fun.”

Recently on space travel, while watching friend Charles Simonyi blast off into space for a trip to the International Space Station:

“It’s fantastic to see a launch, but when it’s one of your friends it’s just something so special,”  Allen told Associated Press.   Allen said he would not be interested into getting into orbit using Russian technology, but is hoping to using his own spacecraft. He is a major investor in SpaceShipOne, the first commercial space operation.,+Science+and+Technology+Figures/Paul+Allen/0dnL0857t8gym/4 )
 On SpaceShipOne:

” As an engineer, I’ve learned to avoid words like “awesome” or “amazing” that don’t describe things specifically; but I can’t think of any other way to describe Burt’s team and what they have achieved. With only 20-odd people, working out of a simple hangar in the Mojave Desert, they reinvented, for all time, the way we view space exploration—that we can accomplish it in new and cost-effective ways as private enterprise, and that soon it will be a possibility for a great many of us.

I’d also like to say a word about courage. Never in my career have I put my own life on the line to advance knowledge. Our pilots did just that. I can’t say enough to convey my thanks to Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie and their families for their commitment to SpaceShipOne. Without them, none of us would be here today. The early aircraft pioneer Otto Lilienthal once said, “To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.”…………………..
…………..But I hope SpaceShipOne does more than just bring people to the edge of space. I hope it helps to rekindle a passion for aviation, rocketry and exploration among kids. And I hope it motivates educators to lay the important foundation of making science and math really engaging to a new generation of students. ” (Collier speech as posted on
On the Biggest Thrill: 

 “I feel I’ve been lucky to be part of three great waves of change—the personal computer, the Internet, and now private space travel. All were extraordinary, but for sheer adrenaline, nothing will ever top that day last June when we first sent Mike Melvill to the edge of space in SpaceShipOne.” (Collier)
On what he wants to be his legacy:
 “You just try to create things or look for opportunities to do things for the world at large that are going to make the world a better place.”

On The Future:

 “I was always thinking about the future as a kid,” he says. “When you’re
a kid, you think anything is possible. You don’t know about constraints.”

  Living: Sunday, June 14, 1998  A Wealth Of Interests — The Big-Idea Billionaire — Paul Allen Is Into
Sports, Technology, Music, Real Estate, Movies – And He’s Not Done Yet”  by Richard Seven
  (He still does think anything is possible, or at least he seems to….)
 “From technology to science to music to art, I’m inspired by those who’ve blurred the boundaries, who’ve looked at the possibilities, and said, “What if…? 
 In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way. Challenges inspire me, whether it’s pushing further into space than any private citizen ever has, as with SpaceShipOne or into the inner reaches of the human mind, as with the Allen Brain Atlas initiative. The varied possibilities of the universe have dazzled me since I was a child, and they continue to drive my work, my investments, and my philanthropy.”
 I hope you believe, as I do, in the inexhaustible ability of human beings to find answers to problems, to create works of beauty and originality, and to craft vital new ideas inspired by those who’ve gone before. The possible is constantly being redefined, and I care deeply about helping humanity move forward. “
(From Paul Allen’s website
 And as he said a couple of years ago, in Paul Allen’s own words…..

  “I’m not near the end of the story.”  (Microsoft Co-founder’s Dreams Funded into Reality  by Allison Linn   1/17/05)
I can’t wait to hear more…..looking forward to hearing the rest of the story in your memoirs, Paul!!!!…. 🙂


*From Jason Quick of the Oregonian: (

“A scene that shows how fired up owner Paul Allen is: As the media was waiting to get inside the postgamelocker room, Allen emerged from his private suite. As he walked through the gauntlet of reporters he looked at me and smiled. “Are you ready? Ready for the playoffs?” And with that, he extended a fist for a fist-bump. I think it’s safe to say Paul is ready for the playoffs. And I think it’s safe to say Paul is glad he didn’t sell the team a couple of years ago. I still contend he is one of the best owners in sports.”





“…All my life I’ve wanted to see the day when men would conquer space and explore the planets—and I wanted to take part in it. I don’t have to tell you how that feels…”

From Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo” p.23



Escaping from earth will not always be automatically expensive; contrary to the impression created by a Saturn launch, the energy needed to reach space is remarkably small…..Commercial space flight is now beginning to be technologically feasible and will soon become economically viable.”

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

From the Foreword to Dan Linehan’s “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”



“Tourism is the first market for the new spaceflight industry, as thousands of people with the dream to see the earth from space for themselves sign up for rides on suborbital spaceships, which will become increasingly affordable.”

From the book “Rocketeers” by Michael Belfiore



Space travel was exciting to any kid growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen was no exception. Like millions of American kids, Allen followed the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, and recalled the excitement he felt when the television cart was wheeled into his classroom so that he and fellow students could view the historic events on a black and white TV. Science fiction books fascinated him, like Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo” which told the story of a group of kids who built their own spaceship; and a visit to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair offered a simulated rocket journey into space in the world’s first “Spacearium.” 

As a kid, Allen built dozens of model rockets and even tried his hand at building a homemade rocket of his own out of an old lawn chair (it melted:-).  And he was awed by science fiction stories that made the big screen, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he saw at Seattle’s local Cinerama theater.


So when brilliant inventor Burt Rutan introduced the idea of a low cost suborbital spacecraft, Paul Allen was very, very interested.


The relationship between the billionaire and the inventor began with a different business venture, but by the Spring of 2000, when Burt Rutan felt that his idea was ready for funding, he asked for a meeting with Paul Allen and told him about the spaceship he was designing. Allen responded with a handshake and an enthusiastic—“Let’s do it.”



“”I always had in the back of my mind, would I ever have the opportunity to do something in a space-related initiative? Allen recalled. “And so when the SpaceShipOne opportunity came up, I was very excited to pursue it.”

From Dan Linehan’s “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”(p. 19)



And the rest is history. The Allen-funded SpaceShipOne soared into space, and on October 4th, 2004, it became the first privately funded spaceship to make it into suborbital space twice in two weeks with an equivalent weight of 3 people, thereby winning the Ansari X-prize. It also thereby effectively jumpstarted the commercial space travel industry, something which had previously been thought so impossible that it had a “giggle factor.”


On that October 4th date, back in mission control, as SpaceShipOne was still floating in space, Paul Allen shook another hand—the hand of billionaire Richard Branson—who purchased the rights to Allen’s spaceship development program for his own commercial “spaceline,” Virgin Galactic.  The handshake symbolized the next great step in the commercial space travel industry—as “Rocketeers” author Michael Belfiore commented, “That moment marked the end of the beginning of the commercial space age.”


And on July 28, 2008, just a couple of weeks ago, the reality of private space travel—of ordinary people becoming astronauts and sailing off into space—just got closer with the unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s mothership, Eve, otherwise known as WhiteKnightTwo.  The WhiteKnightTwo, a beautifully designed carrier aircraft, will be launching rocket SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts into suborbital space in the near future.


In fact, if you have a couple hundred thousand dollars (or A LOT of Virgin Atlantic frequent flier miles)*, and a dream to be an astronaut, you can sign up to be a passenger on a Virgin Galactic spaceflight right now:





and for “Virgin Atlantic Frequent Fliers”*


Apparently, a large number of people have already signed up.






It’s all pretty exciting when you think about it, and it had me wondering what space travel might look like, say, 50 years from now.  So just for fun, I thought I’d write a story about an astronaut from the year 2058, who is also, since spaceships are so common at that time, basically just an ordinary businessman on his way home from work.


Just one more thought… case you hadn’t guessed, this story is NOT real. And one more thing—if you see Microsoft Co-founder,  Paul Allen’s name (and related stuff) pop up in the story, remember that this IS the Six Degrees of Paul Allen site…….. 🙂






Businessman Bo Nunez stepped inside the gleaming spaceship and trudged wearily down the narrow aisle leading to the first class section of the 8 pm Virgin Galactic Transport Shuttle. It had been a long day.


He looked forward to getting home. Although the commute to his condo on the Rutan Community Moon Colony was a long one—roughly an hour’s journey—he did not regret the purchase of his new dream home there last year in 2057.  The price was admittedly astronomical, but it was a nice little community—the amenities were unparalleled, and the views—well, the views were literally out of this world.


He sank down into his plush leather seat, buckled his seat belt and settled in for the ride home. Donning headphones, he began to listen to a song he designed last night on his computer with the help of the latest Drumcore software. He had become a pro at mixing tracks—and by blending a little U2, Blues and drum solos from his favorite artists, he had come up with a pretty decent song. In fact, the recording would have been perfect were it not for the vocalist. He chuckled as he heard his own voice. “OK, so I guess I won’t quit my day job,” he laughed.


He pulled his Kiha* out of his shirt pocket and gently set it down on the pull-down table in front of him. Immediately the surface of the table began to shimmer and ripple as if it were made of water. Multicolored tropical fish appeared to swim deep into the surface of the table and across the screen in 3D, as the scene reflected the underwater beauty of Bo’s favorite dive spot in Palau. This was clearly his favorite screen saver, this underwater video that Bo took last summer, and it always put him in a good mood after a hard day’s work.


“Hello, Bo” said a soft, pleasant voice coming from the table. “Where do you want to go today?”


“To the moon, Alice!” he thought, remembering the ancient Jackie Gleason reruns that were so popular in the 2040’s. But instead he smiled and said:


“How about checking today’s headlines?”


Immediately the surface of the table changed to reveal the top stories and photos of the day. One headline in particular caught his eye:


“The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Changes Its Name.”

AP Seattle, Washington


“The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has announced that it is changing its name and its focus due to the recent development of the Cancer/HIV vaccine.  Since the vaccine was discovered a few years ago, these diseases have been effectively made obsolete in the civilized world.


The newly renamed Fred Hutchinson Research Center will now merge with neighboring charitable organizations; The Allen Institute for Brain Science, founded by Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen and the Gates Foundation, founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, to refocus its efforts and collaborate its resources in order to bring the vaccine, along with other recent Allen Institute cures for MS, MD and Alzheimer’s Disease, and the latest spinal cord regeneration treatment, to underdeveloped countries.


“We are extremely pleased and honored to be a part of this wonderful project,” stated Jo Allen Patton, chairman of the Allen Family Foundation. “We are grateful to the remarkable men and women who have developed breakthrough medicines that are now capable of defeating these devastating diseases, and we hope to continue to provide the funding necessary to bring these cures to every person who needs them in every corner of the world.”


Nunez paused for a moment to absorb the information. “Another scientific breakthrough from the Allen District of Seattle! What a place it must be!


“And Paul Allen—I’ve heard of that guy,” he thought. “I wonder what he’s doing now?”


Curious, Nunez did an EVRI  search and discovered that at 105 years old the Microsoft Co-founder had just cut his 4th best-selling rock album.


“So he finally broke down and released another set of songs,” Nunez thought. He remembered what terrific hits the first three albums had become nearly 20 years ago, but he had heard that Allen hesitated to issue another album.  It was important to him that people remembered him for more than just his music.


Right under that headline was an article about Allen and Gates:


“Dynamic Duo Strikes Again


People Weekly


‘Holy smokes, Batman!’  The Dynamic Duo is at it again, battling the forces of evil.


No, we’re not talking about ancient comic book superheroes, but about an unbeatable team of philanthropists named Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Not quite a century ago, when the pair was barely out of their teens, they wrote a language that changed the world, and founded a company that is still one of the most successful organizations in the history of business.


And now they’ve joined forces again to take on a new villain—-disease.


Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been in the disease vanquishing business since the turn of the century. Through their efforts with the Gates Foundation, the disease Malaria, a horrible scourge that plagued millions of people many years ago has long gone the way of Microsoft’s early competitors. But Gates has begun to tackle other dark forces and has taken on a new partner to do it—his old Microsoft partner, Paul Allen.


Allen has been on a disease fighting mission of his own for many years. The Allen Institute for Brain Science, a charitable organization that he founded in 2003, has made major breakthroughs recently in combating a number of debilitating illnesses that have plagued the world. The Allen Institute has historically ventured into a number of research projects such as the brain map and spinal cord map, and has published its findings for free, assisting researchers to find cures for diseases in their particular fields. Recognizing that this kind of information-sharing leads to scientific breakthroughs that benefit everyone, other researchers have followed suit, and the speed of progress in fighting these infirmities has taken off like lightning in recent years, most recently leading to cures.


The Gates’ will now join The Allen Family Foundation and the recently renamed Fred Hutchinson Research Center in bringing these cures for a number of diseases, among them Alzheimer’s, MD, Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as the recently discovered Cancer/HIV Vaccine and Spinal Regeneration and Regrowth treatments, to countries that currently do not have access to this kind of medicine.


May their battle against disease take them to the ends of the earth and to the farthest reaches of space; or, in the words of another Superhero,


‘To Infinity and Beyond!’ “




This was great news. Bo remembered a friend of his from years ago, a good friend whom he’d lost…….”I wish those cures had been around earlier,” he thought to himself.


He was deep in thought when the seat belt light clicked off and nudged him out of his reverie. Bo looked up from the screen on the table in front of him and gazed out the window. What a view! He could never get used to how beautiful the earth looked from up here.


Some of the passengers had taken off their seat belts and were floating around the room, laughing and doing somersaults, and noisily calling each other over to the many windows of the spacecraft to check out the spectacular scenery. When the cabin was full, this was considered bad manners—-this bouncing around the room, sometimes bumping into people who just wanted to get home. But tonight, perhaps because of the late flight, the cabin was nearly empty, and there was plenty of room to move around.


As many times as he had made this trip, Bo could not resist feeling completely thrilled by this part of the ride. The feeling of weightlessness made him feel, well, even a little giddy, like a kid riding on a roller coaster for the first time.


But today for some reason, he was overwhelmed by the feeling.  Maybe it was the stress of the day or the good news he’d just read. Or maybe he had just taken it all for granted for too long. Whatever the reason, today he couldn’t resist taking off his seat belt and joining the floaters.  As he released the latch of his seat belt and floated away from the restraint, suddenly Bo Nunez forgot the seriousness of the day he had just had. He forgot his age, his business, his life back on earth. For this moment, none of those things mattered. He was 10 years old again—free—and if he wanted to jump off of his first class leather seat and bounce around the walls of this luxury craft in his business suit, he could care less how it looked to anyone else.


The seat belt sign came on again, much too soon it seemed, and he belted himself in once more for the lightening-fast ride home. He was breathless, elated from his venture climbing around the cabin and he felt a little like a school kid who had misbehaved in class and had gotten away with it.  By the time the Virgin Galactic Shuttle descended upon the Lunar Spaceport and touched down on the surface of the moon, Bo Nunez was in a very, very good mood.




Just for fun…so that means that none of this is real. But impossible? Maybe not …… J




Check out these links…….

Dan Linehan’s SpaceShipOne: an Illustrated History:

Michael Belfiore’s “Rocketeers”


“Rocketship Galileo” Robert Heinlein

Other References:
Remarks upon winning the Robert J. Collier Trophy from Allen’s website

Other Links:

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Ready for Trips into Space::

Upcoming conference on what’s next in the tourism industry:


Paul Allen’s SpaceShipOne:


Condos on the moon in 50 years?

(What about 15?)


Institutes mentioned as they are in 2008: 

The Allen Institute for Brain Science:


Allen Institute Spinal Cord Map:


Allen Institute Brain Atlas:


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center:


 Other Stuff Mentioned:









The Paul Allen Band:




*(BTW, I have no idea what they’re up to—just took a guess….:-)


Microsoft’s “Surface” 



SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo Videos and more:


 Inside SpaceShipTwo

 From the Discovery Channel and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions “Black Sky”   (Mike Melville)

 SpaceShipTwo Demo

SpaceShipOne winning the X-Prize (Brian Binnie)

 Space Travel future

 Virgin Galactic SpacePort

 Virgin Galactic video narrated by Richard Branson

 Animation of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo from a year ago

 Private industry moves to take over space race

Honeymoon in Space, Anyone? 🙂


Sorry for being away for so long —-
I’ve been hanging with Brad and Angelina ……….,,20196636,00.html


Starting new companies……

Sticking up for my homeboys against the whole NBA (except for Mark Cuban ) ……….

Doing Some Remodeling ….
And Accepting Awards…………,28757,1733748,00.html?iid=redirect-time100
All of those awards…where in the world am I going to keep them all???

The truth is, I’ve just been really busy doing a lot of pretty mundane things.
This has been a quiet Spring for Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen, but I imagine that Allen’s most uneventful day would seem pretty exciting in comparison to mine. 🙂

Here is a quick glimpse of just a few of the things that Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen has been doing recently:
—– Paul Allen was one of only two NBA owners who voted against moving the Seattle SuperSonics team to Oklahoma as the new Sonics owners wanted.  As reporter John Canzano noted, although from a business standpoint Allen had the most to gain from a “yes” vote, he put his own interests aside, stood up to NBA Commissioner David Stern and 28 other NBA owners and voted “no” in the best interests of the people of Seattle.
That took guts. Way to go, Paul!
—–Allen’s Brain Institute is continuing to push the frontiers of Neurology, giving away expensively acquired medical research findings in order to help other researchers to find cures for diseases of the brain that much faster.  In March, Paul Allen’s Institute launched 3 new landmark Brain Atlas projects focusing on the human brain, developing brain and spinal cord. The projects “have vast potential to help scientists worldwide gain new insight into neurological diseases and disorders.”
In addition……

“The Institute will create three new Web-based atlas resources that map gene activity in the brain and spinal cord. These include an atlas designed to provide insight into gene expression in the human brain; an atlas of the developing mouse brain designed to illustrate and enhance understanding of gene activity across multiple stages of development from birth through adulthood; and an atlas of the mouse spinal cord designed to inform research into spinal injuries due to disease, disorder or trauma.

The new atlases will be officially known as the Allen Brain Atlas (ABA)—Human Brain, ABA—Developing Mouse Brain, and ABA—Mouse Spinal Cord. Upon completion, the atlases will be made publicly available on the Internet at no charge to users to encourage widespread use and scientific collaboration.”

Although the Brain Institute’s latest developments have not been met with as much fanfare as the first time it made a major scientific breakthrough, Time Magazine has not forgotten to recognize Allen for his achievements. This is the second year in a row that Time Magazine has nominated Paul Allen as one of its “100 Most Influential” (for 2008).  Check it out below: (Excerpt written by Thomas Insel and Story Landis)
“If the brain is science’s great frontier, you need someone to lead the expedition—someone with smarts and curiosity, not to mention a large bank account to finance the journey. In the terra incognita of the brain, that’s Paul Allen.  Co-founder of Microsoft, owner of three sports teams and lead backer of SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 made the first private manned space flight, Allen, 55, is also head of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which was founded in 2001 with the goal of mapping the brain, cell by cell and gene by gene. His scientific team began with the mouse brain and finished the job in 2006, posting all the data online. Scientists everywhere now have a free neural GPS to learn where and how specific genes are expressed—a vital tool for studying similar functions in human brains.The institute has now begun its own effort to map human gene expressions, hoping for insight into the molecular basis of consciousness and creativity. Allen founded his institute in the belief that with the right tools you can transform the speed of science itself. Not many people accomplish that even once. Allen is doing it yet again.”,28804,1733748_1733754_1735855,00.html  *
—– And this is not the only honor that Allen will be receiving in May.
At the NCTA conference this month, Allen will be among those receiving the cable industry’s top honor, the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, which is “presented annually to individuals who excel in both business and personal commitment to their colleagues, and whose accomplishments merit the recognition of the entire cable industry.”
 Watch for the “battle of the bands” during the conference, which will include a performance by Paul Allen’s band. .
(BTW—-If you’ve been invited and have a video camera, please, please, please use it that night, ok? We seriously need a Youtube of Paul Allen in concert! 🙂
I’ve already found a few videos of my favorite musician on the Web—but could certainly use another one… 🙂
Check out these links: 
(Paul is the guy in the baseball cap)
Ok, the video above is pretty cool—Allen is performing with Spinal Tap and a number of other musicians during last year’s Live Earth Concert at Wembley Stadium in London. But it’s also impossible to tell whether Allen is a good guitarist or not in the midst of so many rock musicians.
So—check out this video from 1995—many, many years ago. Here is Paul Allen back in his bearded days, performing with “The Paul Allen Group” at a Ticketmaster event in Santa Barbara, California. It’s absolutely priceless, and you’ve got to admit, this guy plays a pretty mean guitar! 🙂
And here is one more site to check out for a taste of Allen’s own music.  Most of the songs on this album were written by Allen, and all of them were performed by his band, Grown Men.
What else?
In April, Paul Allen was awarded an honorary Ph.D in Science from the Watson School of Biological Science in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  In addition, during the last few months he has been founding startups, buying up wireless airwaves, donating to charities, “scouting” in Spain for his Trail Blazers, and basically having a really good time, as you can imagine!
What a remarkable life!
*(BTW—It is interesting to note how Time defines “Influential.”
“The TIME 100 is not a hot list. It’s a survey not of the most powerful or the most popular, but of the most influential. Influence is hard to measure, and what we look for is people whose ideas, whose example, whose talent, whose discoveries transform the world we live in. Influence is less about the hard power of force than the soft power of ideas and example.”)

‘Ever wanted to be someone else? Now you can….’ 

That line was the promo to the movie, “Being John Malkovich” 

The movie featured a little door on the 7 ½ floor that lead into the mind of actor John Malkovich.

But just for fun, let’s change the script a little.  Let’s say that you’ve discovered a similar little door in the wall underneath your desk; a portal to another dimension of reality that leads not into the brain of John Malkovich, but directly into the mind of Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.

Wouldn’t it be fun, just for a week or so, to step through that door and see what’s on the other side?

 It is true that Paul Allen is a remarkable person. But he also has a very, very interesting life. So let’s step on in and take a slice of life tour through the “Paul Allen Experience.”


Now, before we go, let me brief you a little about the world you’re about to enter… Let’s start with the basics:    

 Here’s a copy of this year’s Wired, Time, Seattle Magazine and Discover. As you can see, you’ve been interviewed, dubbed a “hero,” pictured on a magazine cover, hailed as one of the world’s most influential and chosen as “person of the year.”  The Brain Institute you founded a few years ago just made a major scientific breakthrough, but it’s not the first time you’ve tried to change the world. A couple of years ago you helped to jumpstart the private space travel industry with a really brilliant spaceship designer, Burt Rutan. You’ve been renovating the city of Seattle for awhile now. And then there’s that “Basic” thing you invented years ago and that company you co-founded with Bill Gates that nobody ever seems to forget about.  And, of course, the story’s not over yet; you still have a few ideas up your sleeve.

What you do:    You are the CEO of some really big companies, you have a few gazillion dollars in pocket change, you own 2 professional sports teams, and things are going really well. A couple of years ago your football team went to the SuperBowl. And your basketball team is not doing too badly either (more on that later).

What you own:   You also own—well—a lot of stuff. In addition to some other toys and some really valuable art, you are also in possession of a few Megayachts, (the 414 ft. one is parked in Australia right now), a submarine and a couple of nice jets that take you to your many gorgeous mansions in beautiful cities all around the world. 

What’s happening now:   A month or two ago you were partying with a few celebrity friends at the Cannes Film Festival when you discovered that your basketball team, The Portland Trail Blazers, had just won the NBA lottery, entitling them to the first choice in the NBA Draft. The news created such a frenzy of excitement among Trail Blazer fans that your team sold 3000 season tickets in one week, thereby reviving a phenomenon called “Blazermania.”

And, oh yeah, you like to play the guitar.


O.k., let’s get started. You are entering the “Experience” on June 28, 2007. And as Paul Allen, you and your staff have a few decisions to make……

1….On June 28th you choose the number one Draft pick—phenom Greg Oden—for your basketball team, the Portland Trail Blazers. Click on the Trail Blazers link below and choose the icon that says “Portland Selects Greg Oden” to watch the actual moment the choice was made, how it aired nationally and how the fans reacted.  

 The Experience: Watch the excitement generated by a simple phone call—a phone call that you got to make because, well, you’re the owner of the team.

2….Afterwards, with a little extra pocket money, you, Blazers owner, Paul Allen, do a little player trading and buy up a few more hot draft picks, just to make sure that you make it to the NBA Finals this year.    

 The Experience: This is real-life NBA Monopoly, and you own the bank.

3….A few days later, on the 4th of July, you jet off to Europe to attend an exclusive party, the Dom Perignon Oenotheque 1993 International Launch hosted by Karl Lagerfeld and super model Claudia Shiffer, held at a private mansion in Paris. Some of the celebrities who join you there include Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes, Paz Vega, Maria Bello, Pedro Almodovar, Zhang Ziyi and Mia Maestro.

Your date for the evening is a beautiful French actress named Aure Attika.  See … adad-7272d984af66%7d%7C%7bffffffff-ffff-ffff-ffff-ffffffffffff%7d&qsPageNo=1&fdid=&Area=Search&TotalCount=302&CurrentPos=2&WinID=%7b506e9a89-3fe0-4739-adad-7272d984af66%7d   and   

The Experience: Need I say more?

4….On July 7, 2007, you’re in London, backstage at Wembley Stadium with British actor Ricky Gervais and a group of young friends. You’re at London’s Live Earth Concert, one of a number of concerts that were hosted around the world to raise awareness about climate change issues.*1 The upbeat concerts, which featured more than a 100 music artists and celebrities appearing across the globe, were organized by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and attended by billions of fans, including over 10 million who watched it via MSN streaming video. The reason why you’re backstage at Wembley right now is that you were invited by your friend Al Gore to perform at the concert too.  

So, several minutes later, you and a number of other Bass guitarists from rock bands like Foo Fighters, James Blunt, Madonna, Bloc Party and Beastie Boys are introduced by newly reunited Spinal Tap* and brought onto the Wembley Stadium stage.  The stadium is packed, and as you look out over the sea of fans jamming to the music, you begin to play Spinal Tap’s tongue-in-cheek song, “Big Bottom” on your guitar, accompanied by Spinal Tap and all of the other musicians onstage.


Here’s the video —-(Note: you’re the guy in the baseball cap)

Scroll sideways to video #58 Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom” (You’ll have to wait a moment for the menu to appear—there’s a commercial that appears first. The menu is on the left…..”play clip” segment 57-63.) 

The Experience: Check out that crowd—is that cool or what? You’re a rock star, man!

And now we’ve come to the end of our tour. We hope that you’ve enjoyed the Paul Allen Experience.

Before you go, don’t forget to take a souvenir photo of your trip… (see Gettyimages link below).

Thank you, come again….|1&axs=0|75311819%2c75310590%2c75310353%2c75309335%2c75304894%2c75304807%2c75303893%2c75302275%2c75301480%2c75300360%2c75298446%2c75298047%2c75297513%2c75297320%2c75297150%2c75295795%2c75295750%2c75295748%2c75294775%2c75294773%2c75294770%2c75294277%2c75293858%2c75293856%2c75293416%2c75293415%2c75293396%2c75265577%2c75263776%2c75263296%2c75263254%2c75031140%2c74336436%2c74153467%2c74153462%2c74079982%2c74079290%2c74079289%2c73745004%2c73578657%2c73687379%2c73539310%2c73645874%2c73465454%2c73408586%2c73408469%2c73408458%2c73389532%2c73389455%2c73389446%2c73392428%2c73392384%2c73556097%2c73556052%2c73556031%2c74679586%2c73533779%2c73533777%2c73279992%2c73279984&id=75265577  (p. 28 of 60, Gettyimages–Also check out 29-31–scroll to the right)


* Http://    BTW, “This is Spinal Tap” is one of the funniest movies ever made–if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve got to check it out. The reunited group that performed at Live Earth was the actual rock group from the movie…..

*1     You’re quite an environmentalist in your own right, and here’s the proof:

Your “OneWorld Challenge:”

You invest in alternative energy companies:§or=Capital&subsector=VentureCapital   

Over 14% of Allen Family Foundation charity $$ goes towards environmental causes.

And, your Vulcan Productions movie company produced a PBS show on the issue:


*2 Six Degrees Trivia:

Your new one degree connections include the musicians who performed at Wembley Stadium for Live Earth London:

Beastie Boys United Kingdom Hip-hop/Rap
Black Eyed Peas United Kingdom Hip-hop/Rap
Bloc Party United Kingdom Rock
Corinne Bailey Rae United Kingdom Pop
Damien Rice United Kingdom Rock
David Gray United Kingdom Rock
Duran Duran United Kingdom Rock
Foo Fighters United Kingdom Rock
Genesis United Kingdom Rock
James Blunt United Kingdom Pop
John Legend United Kingdom R&B/Soul
Kasabian United Kingdom Rock
Keane United Kingdom Rock
Madonna United Kingdom Pop
Metallica United Kingdom Rock
Paolo Nutini United Kingdom Rock
Pussycat Dolls United Kingdom Rock
Razorlight United Kingdom Rock
Red Hot Chili Peppers United Kingdom Rock
Snow Patrol United Kingdom Rock
Spinal Tap United Kingdom Rock
Terra Naomi United Kingdom Rock

 (From ) 

As I passed by the magazine rack at the gym today, a headline on the cover of Wired Magazine caught my eye:

“Heroes of the Wired World.”

I’m a sucker for that kind of news, so I grabbed the magazine and started looking for the story. And guess whose name was included among those “Heroes?” That’s right, Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen! The May issue of Wired listed its 2007 Rave Awards for the “innovators, instigators and investors who are changing the world,” and Allen was given the award for his most recent contribution to science, The Allen Brain Institute’s Brain Atlas.    

Here is a link to Wired’s terrific article about Paul Allen’s Brain Atlas: See… 

 From the article:         “If the brain is the ultimate computer, the Allen Brain Atlas is the ultimate tech-support manual. Launched with $100 million in seed money from Paul Allen — Microsoft’s other founder turned philanthropist — the atlas provides researchers with the first complete genetic map of the mouse brain. The map identifies more than 21,000 genes, and because mice share 90 percent of their genetic material with humans, the project is a huge step toward understanding how genes regulate the brain’s structure and function. (The next rev of the atlas will map the human neo cortex.) Allen, who survived Hodgkin’s disease in the 1980s, funded the atlas after asking neuro scientists what single project would give them the boost they needed to better tackle disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia at the genetic level. By determining which genes are active in each cell of the mouse brain, the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science has given researchers a breakthrough tool to understand how things go wrong, while giving drug developers the data they need to design innovative treatments with minimal side effects.”  

It got me to thinking….you know, Paul Allen is having a pretty good summer. 

Before the season even started, Allen was named among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential…. see…,28804,1595326_1595329_1616322,00.html  

In May, Wired Magazine called him a “Hero.” 

And a little while later that same month,  Paul Allen joined celebrities like Bono at the Cannes Film festival in France, where Mr. Allen learned, in between movie screenings and lavish parties, that his basketball team, the Portland Trailblazers, unexpectedly won the NBA lottery, entitling the team to the number one draft pick.    

So right now, in June, Paul Allen is in Portland, Oregon making some exciting decisions about his basketball team, the Portland Trail Blazers.  Ever since
the Blazers won the first round draft pick in May,
Allen has had a smile on his face. Watch the “pinch me I must be
dreaming” comment he made at this press conference the other day)

Tomorrow, June 28th, he and his staff have the daunting task of deciding which phenomenally
talented player (Kevin Durant or Greg Oden) will be taking the Blazers
to the NBA finals this year. And to do it he’s been getting to talk to them, watch
them practice and watch mountains of basketball videos.
(It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it… :).

Among the good things that have happened recently, Allen’s Trail Blazer franchise has made an incredible turnaround. Allen has a terrific staff this year (how can anyone NOT like Kevin Pritchard?) and everyone seems to be excited about the future of the team. In fact, after the draft pick win was announced, the Trail Blazers sold 3000 season tickets, making it the all-time greatest week in franchise history.*1 (BTW—check out the free Blazer Draft party at 3 pm at the Rose Garden Arena on June 28 th  *2 )

So what happens in July?  

I don’t know for sure, but Mark Bowling from down under ( ) writes that Allen’s spectacular 414 ft. yacht Octopus is moored right now in Darwin, Australia beside the beautiful “Athena,” software mogul Jim Clark’s megayacht . ( ( PMY reports that Allen’s ship arrived in Darwin on June 16th, and apparently it hasn’t sailed away yet.

And there are a few exciting things going on in Darwin right now. In less than a week, starting July 3rd at Darwin Stokes Hill Wharf, Baz Lurhmann will be filming his epic movie, “Australia” starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Lord of the Rings’  “Faramir” (David Wenham). (see….  and … ) * Supermodel Kristy Hinze, granddaughter of Queensland politician Russ Hinze, could be in the area too, as she is rumored to be Netscape Co-founder, Jim Clark’s girlfriend. 

 But if and when Paul Allen joins the party down
under remains to be seen.   And of course, t
he fact that his ship is in Darwin might mean nothing at all—it could all be a really big coincidence. But I don’t think
so.  Despite the fact that this guy is a visionary and a philanthropist, and despite the fact that he has some serious business to attend to right now—the daunting task of choosing the most talented new player in the NBA for his own personal basketball team—there is always room in Allen’s life for another party. 

Yep—I think he’s having a pretty good summer………..  

Links:  * Baz Lurhman’s Australia *1 The Trail Blazers won the NBA lottery and then proceeded to sell 3000 new season tickets and have their all-time greatest week financially in franchise history.  *2