Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Great Slackers in History

Albert Einstein.
Einstein held a job in the Swiss Patent Office for seven years. His responsibilities consisted of evaluating patent applications for such everyday devices as cameras and typewriters. The job was not demanding, and Albert knew how to "stick it to the man." He wrote at least five papers on Brownian motion while employed at the patent office, mostly on work time. Although these early works were not directly related to relativity, they laid the foundations for is later works.

Karl Marx.
What most people don't know about Marx, the originator of Communism, is that he was a lazy freeloader who never held a real job. He read a lot, though, and had a lifestyle remarkably similar to the perpetual grad students of today. Karl was able to get away from this because he had a wealthy benefactor, Freidrich Engels, the owner of several English textile mills. Though lauded in our times as a great socialist thinker, Engles never applied any of his ideas about labour reform to his own factories, and Marx never pushed him. Why? Because Karl needed his allowance. In fact, most of the corresondence between these two politcal giants can be boiled down to this: "Please send the money now."

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