[ExI] [wta-talk] MIT boffins crack fusion plasma snag

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Mon Dec 15 19:28:14 UTC 2008

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 6:40 PM, John K Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> The trouble is that we live in a era where a simple attack helicopter or
> even a Tom Cruise movie can end up costing two or three times what was
> predicted, and you're talking about Space Elevators (made of who knows what)
> and continuous duty 4GW Lasers. Is it any wonder that few can take your
> financial estimates seriously?

Even if it were the case, what's the big deal? How was the accounting
of the Manhattan Project, or even the Apollo Project?

But speaking of here and now, how many billion did the adventure in
Iraq cost? 600? 900? What about some fancy military megaprojects aimed
at more or less improbable  scenarios? I am not moralising here, I
simply take those as examples where dividends, if any, have been very
disappointing, including from a political or military point of view,
without any big fuss being made of it.

Our societies are perfectly capable of wasting enormous amounts of
money against very dubious returns (at a private as opposed to public
level, the dot-com bubble comes immediately to mind). The problem is
its growing inability in investing in breakthroughs, the reasons of
which are IMHO more cultural and structural than economic.

Stefano Vaj

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