The fine folks at CERN- the European physics research center where the WWW was born- seem to have a sense of humor. They are calling their new super-duper network the grid. Seems right out of cyberpunk imagination. At least its not called the matrix.
Coming soon: superfast internet – Times Online
That network, in effect a parallel internet, is now built, using fibre optic cables that run from Cern to 11 centres in the United States, Canada, the Far East, Europe and around the world.
This strikes me as a fine example of all the associated and indirect benefits form basic research funding. Something that private corporate research would never invest in. According to one FAQ from a British university, the total cost is something like $6 billion. Total.
Compare that to the $374 million/day for the Iraq war. That is about a billion every three days. In less than a month in Iraq, we will have spent more than the Europeans are on their new basic research tool. What madness and folly is this?