Tool Maker: there certainly have been problems with the joint force fighter plane, and a lot of them come from the requirements side. The problem is that it turns out that there are some things that can't be done, at least not reliably and for a reasonable price. The big problem there was with the incompatible specifications, and, of course, with the people who agreed to meet them.
3drob. I do not believe you are entirely true. Many technology companies have engineers as leaders. The corporation I work for currently has many leaders in its ranks that are engineers and their vision stretches into forever. Moreover it is apparent that corporations rise and a clear link between research and development and income is visible in the charts, to the point where even a business major is not arguing with the expensive bills of research and development. One of the key measurement units our company has is the number of patents awarded to it. I don't see where you are getting your information from?
Yes, it is normal for the public to chip in some money, as soon as we have some garantee that the companies that will produce the said batteries will not export its production to china in order to make more money out of us.
@3drob--although I agree with you that a lot of "Western" businesses are short-term focused, there are other barriers in Asia, in particular China, to the development of new technology. Chinese academics who are doing all kinds of innovative work don't have good paths to commercialize ideas. In the US, many universities have marketing and PR departments to attract interest to their ideas, then they enter into licensing agreements with startups, often involving the university researchers, and speed technology into the marketplace. This ecosystem isn't as well developed in China.
I completely agree that the place for this research is in Big Government. They can assemble teams of the finest researchers so long as they are 50/50 men and women; 15% black; 7% Asian; 18% latin, and 8% gay. The primary problem will be figuring out how to tax the tar out of the final product if the government already owns it.
Have there been government successes? Of course, but al you have to do to find boondoggles is look at the hundreds of billions poured int that Joint Force fighter plane. Has it ever flown yet?
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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.