7 Billionaires & Their Crazy-Ingenious Ideas

By Mother Nature NetworkLet's make lots of money: Billionaires are known for being an eccentric lot. Of course, having more money than could possibly be spent in a lifetime probably has something to do with that. But for many of the world's billionaires, it was their wacky ideas that made them so rich in the first place. It's worth keeping tabs on the ingenious concepts backed by the world's richest people, so here's our roundup. (Text: Bryan Nelson) Related Links: (2) Most millionaires weren't born that way; (2) Pets that inherited a fortune1. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic: Founder of the Virgin Group (which includes companies like Virgin Records and Virgin
Atlantic), Richard Branson is known for his sense of adventure. Perhaps the most significant embodiment of that spirit is his company Virgin Galactic, which is designed to corner the market on space tourism.
That's right: space tourism. The company hopes to be the first to provide suborbital space flights for tourists. The tickets won't be cheap: The first flight will cost passengers a whopping US$250,000. Even so, people have been lining up to board. Related Link: Richard Branson vows to give away half his wealth to charitable causes. 2. Jeff Bezos' 10,000-year clock: Jeff Bezos made his fortune
Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr
by founding Amazon.com. Now he wants to build the world's most perfect clock, designed to keep flawless time for 10,000 years. The timepiece, called the Clock of the Long Now, will be located on Bezos' and in Texas. Aside
from keeping time, Bezos hopes the clock will change lthe way humanity thinks about time. According to a website for the Long Now Foundation: "Ideally, it would do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment. Such icons reframe the way people think." Related Link: Amazon CEO's expedition raises Apollo rockets from seafloor3. Elon Musk's Hyperloop: Elon Musk is a
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man known for being unafraid to put his money behind his big ideas. He already has staked a great deal of his fortune on the visionary space transport company, SpaceX. He also founded Tesla Motors, an electric car company. His next big idea sounds like something straight out of a futuristic sci-fi flick: "hyperloop." Musk bills it as the world's upcoming "fifth mode of transportation" (after
planes, trains, automobiles and boats). It works by propelling passenger pods through low-pressure tubes. Since the pods would ride on a cushion of air rather then wheels or rails, they would reach incredible speeds. Initial models project at speeds of about 760 mph!If implemented, the hyperloop would certainly revolutionize travel.Related Link: 6 ways Elon Musk is changing the world4. Peter Thiel's Floating Cities: Many of
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the world's richest people are known for moving their money to tax havens, which are countries that do not tax. Several of the island nations of the Caribbean are examples. Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, 
wants to take that idea to the extreme. He wants to build giant floating cities in the world's oceans - a concept referred to as "seasteading." These floating cities would serve as independent colonies, free from the laws of land-based nations. It sounds like a wacky idea, but the first settlement is already being funded, and could be built within five years. Related Link: Peter Thiel pays kids not to go to college5. Yuri Milner's Global Brain: Yuri Milner has made much of his fortune by investing in
Internet companies such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. These have been wise investments, but for Milner they're more than just financial ventures. They're the embryonic beginnings of the development of a global 
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brainA global brain? It sounds very much like something out of "The Matrix." Milner believes an inevitable consequence of the Internet age is that all of the knowledge exchanged by humanity and machines will eventually coalesce into a supreme artificial superintelligence - a global brain. Whether this global intelligence will be benevolent remains to be seen. We're guessing, probably not. Related Link: Stephen Hawking wins $3M physics prize from Yuri Milner's foundation. 6. Nicolas Berggruen, world's richest minimalist: Say what you will about billionaires, but
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they're rarely characterized by their humility. Nicolas Berggruen might be the exception. In some circles, he's called the "homeless billionaire." The investor and financier does not own a home, and says he can fit all of his possessions into a paper bag. Berggruen is undoubtedly the world's richest minimalist. He acknowledges that whatever he owns is only temporary, and regularly
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speaks out about the spiritual bankruptcy of consumerism. He hopes to impact the world positively by bringing about political change, rather than by accumulating possessions. Of course, it's probably a lot easier to be a minimalist when you've got a few billion in the bank. But Berggruen at least earns points for not letting his money consume him. Related Link: 'The Minimalists' share their journey to a simpler life (Hint: One step at a time)7. Clive Palmer's Titanic II: Australian billionaire Clive Palmer must have been
one of those people who saw James Cameron's iconic film "Titanic" multiple times. He has funded plans to build a replica of the famous, ill-fated vessel, aptly called Titanic II. It should be set to sail in 2016. "It is going to be 
designed so it won't sink,'' he told the BBC. Now where have we heard that before?  Related Link: 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic [Photos] [Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited.]. Source: http://alizul2.blogspot.com/