In San Francisco this Friday, the Long Now Foundation will host a talk by Peter Diamandis, founder and Chairman of the X Prize Foundation, on X-Prizes. Here's a YouTube taster. It got me thinking. Large prizes are great for stimulating the public's imagination, but do they make for good public policy? Take John McCain's proposal for a taxpayer funded $300 million dollar prize for a breakthrough auto battery. The market opportunity for a true battery breakthrough is already so enormous, it is hard to see how $300 million is a relevant incentive. I mean, if you invent that kind of …
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