Michael Harper Best

January 19, 2009

Global Warming

Other Friends Lost

Dr. Cathcart 2007

Mark Woodward 2001

WD4DUG, Michael Harper Best, "Mike", MBest -at- triad.rr.com of North Carolina has become a silent key.

(Amateur radio term for a station or call sign that has gone silent, The term goes back to the days of morse code sent by tapping a "key" connected to a radio transmitter or telegraph cable.)

The world has lost a great genius of a man, a great inventor who's quiet work in textile chemistry and other fields has touched the majority of people in the USA, even though they may not know it. More recently, Mike was working as an electronics engineer, working to manufacture his latest invention, beyond state-of-the-art measurement equipment.

More than that, Mike Best was the most curious person I'd ever met. I ran in to him on a health mailing list over a decade ago. I saw this guy had a Brain and was not afraid to Really Use it! And more, to explain his opinions with solid logic and science.

We became best friends, discussing the latest scientific discoveries, wondering about the future; and more, trying to Invent that future by the work of our minds and our hands.

Mike was so many things to me, a fountain of knowledge, an intelligent entrepreneur, a most curious collaborator, and a very, very good friend. When I run across new things, when I come up with an interesting question, or a new idea, or a funny contradictory observation, I want to email Mike, as he had me. We were kindling each other's curiosity and ideas.

But now, instead of the joy and fun of discussing new ideas, it brings me to tears that his rasping voice is stilled. We could question, argue, really wrestle with our minds in occasional disagreement; not just be the best of friends; but enjoy the debate, for it was not about us, it was about our understanding of reality and possibility. He was a singular point of Active Brilliance in this world.

What I really enjoyed, was brainstorming about new products, potentially profitables new products with him. Mike the curious Scientist-Entrepreneur.

God, it Hurts losing a great mind like his! Ideas half formed, projects half done, a future unfulfilled.

I need a co-conspirator of the mind to work with, to exercise my mind with! Anyone reading this who's got even half of Mike's curiosity or entrepreneurism, Please leave a note for the lonely minds he left behind. (Chat page link at end.)

I have some genius friends, but none of them, no one I ever met, had the breadth of Curiosity Mike had, nor the breadth of knowledge. Mike was Alive in his Mind!

I know some on our various mailing lists said he was very opinionated. I wouldn't exactly say that. Although he could, and often did vigorously back every opinion with facts and solid logic; he quickly changed his mind when the facts (as we know them) changed. That too, is incredibly rare!

It is a high honor to be able to work with a genius of such high level, especially one who is as humble and gentle to others such as myself. (Though he did not tolerate stupidity or censorship well. Remember, ignorance is not stupidity; but blind stubborn belief usually is.)

Mike living in North Carolina, and myself in California, we'd never met in person, just corresponded for over a decade and a half. In the past five years, we came to speak often on the phone. In 2008, we started talking more seriously about my moving to North Carolina to be able to work together on some of our mad scientist ideas, and to work for the corporation he and his father were trying to take over. He was their chief scientist, inventing new things. Those new things needed microprocessors to make them easy to use. That's what I do. As a consulting systems analyst, I design software to make things easy to use. And after the analysis and design work is done, I am also a Software Engineer, putting my ideas into practice.

And like Mike, I love to test my ideas on the intended customer base whenever I can, to validate our ideas, and gain the insight which leads to new ones. I don't have to be right; but when I sign off on it, it has to WORK!

I had found a car that would let me haul my surviving books and equipment from California to Greensboro North Carolina. (I'd lost most of my library and rural mad scientist laboratory in The Summit Fire, prompting Mike to call California "The shake and bake state".) He'd just sent me an email about some low cost airline tickets...

Then silence. My emails drew no replies, and his computer phone went unanswered...

With the peanut butter recalls, I was afraid of a repeat of the time he'd nearly died of Salmonella in Peanut Butter; but I hoped it was more like the times his computer had been knocked down by lighting and he'd been too wrapped up at work to finish it right away. When I finally called his workplace, I was told he had passed away. Mike? Mike Best??? How could it be? I was in shock!

He died of Sleep Apnea. His father said Mike was going to see about getting a CPAP machine first thing in 2009. Too late.

If you have trouble breathing, or think you might, GET IT CHECKED!!!

I feel so alone now... no really curious, bright minds to talk to. I have genius level friends; but they are not as broad banded, nor as curious as Mike.

Isaac Asimov summed it up best when he said there is no better indicator of intelligence, than the love of science fiction. Mike and I enjoyed science fiction, especially the technical kind. And a whole lot more.

He was my best friend! God, it hurts!!! A gaping hole has been torn in my life, for the Ideas and discussions, and the things we were planning to work on in 2009 and beyond.

But while my loss is great; the loss of a bright, active, Inventive mind like his to this nation, and the world, really is Incalculable; because the real difference between the fur clad man standing in fear at the mouth his cave, and the man in the business suit sitting calmly at his desk, is the sum total of humanity's Inventions. Mike Best was an Inventor!

Feel free to email me at this site, or leave comments in the chat page below.



GARA member Michael Harper Best, 47, passed away at his home Wednesday, December 31, 2008.
Memorial contributions may be made to Greensboro's Youth for Christ or Greensboro's Urban Ministries. Mike's father is Bob Best, W4JGA. GARA would like to convey our condolences to Mike's freinds and family.

http://www.w4gso.org/ -- Greensboro Amateur Radio Association

Chat -- Comments about Mike Best

Tell us what you did with him, and where he got his incredible information.