I worry when I hear that the U.S. is sending in military advisors to help with the nuclear reactor disaster in Japan. Someone with real know how and no mental reservation would be best, not often the notable characteristic, perhaps with the exception of our elite special ops units. What is needed in Japan is someone who can conceive of resolutions that have engrained the solution within the concept, which can be accomplished quickly, even if the solution is unusual or offbeat. No fear. One example of a person who thinks laterally, is MIT’s Robert Langner. He has come up with unusual and creative but pragmatic solutions to a number of medical and engineering problems by allowing his mind to go places others may think bizarre . A few minutes ago, I was watching the video of the helicopters trying to drop water on reactor number 4 in Japan, which is apparently nearly dry and at significant risk for a meltdown. I thought to myself, now what would MIT’s Langner do in this situation? As I watched the wind send the water everywhere but into the reactor I thought, 10,000 water balloons would do the trick. They’d have to be made out of stretchable material that wouldn’t break until it hit inside the reactor but that already exists So you fill up the balloons, load them on the copters plunk them into the reactor. Now I know this might not be feasible. I know that the force of the balloons and water hitting the reactor might increase the heat but that’s not the point I am making. Also, who is going to fill all those balloons and how long would that take? The point here is not that this is a better fix and we need our top SCIENTIFIC MINDS AND THEIR STUDENTS to allocate a portion of their brain power to this problem which is a global matter as it will affect everyone on the planet. What better means to motivate student creativity? I was even toying with trying to call Langner or Bill Gates or Bill Clinton. Jeepers, couldn’t these people could surely construct some sort of robotic fireboats which could be directed into position just off shore and send a streams of cold seawater just where needed? We have the fireboats and the technology for maneuvering them via radio control “off the shelf.” The only thing missing is the power thinker, the influence wielder who can pick up the phone to Obama to get the damned thing done. Overly simplistic? I don’t think so. All that is needed is will, influence and MOVEMENT. Jeepers, the engineers in General Electric should be stepping up to the plate to help out on this one. They designed these cheap, poorly designed plants and allowed them to be placed directly over four unstable techtonic plates that the island of Japan sits on, which plates that move constantly in a location with a high percentage of earthquakes. G.E. was warned by three of its own engineers who eventually quit their jobs over the issue, 35 years ago! GE might save iself a boatload of money by offering to assist. Our nation has an awful lot of bright folkswho know how to engineer workable solutions in a hurry. Maybe they haven’t been asked to help but I think they should. So Bob Langner, let’s hear from you. We need your help.