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Sunday, March 21, 2010


Jerry Pournelle has highlighted my previous thread pointing on the Mohole Project & the fact that it would not have meant blowing $60 million to a politically connected company if it had been done by a prize rather than a favoured grant.
You once said "I have never understood why prizes are not popular. They cost almost nothing..."

I have blogged on the Mohole scandal - the developers of the idea were dealt out of the game to be replaced by a company without experience but a long record of donations to LBJ's campaigns, which proceeded to blow $60 million (a lot in the 60s) while achieving nothing. Maybe I am overly cynical but that is an instance where a general prize would have either have achieved or cost nothing & it is clear exactly why that was not the popular choice with those in charge.

The corollary to that is that any politician opposing prizes may reasonably be assumed to have an ulterior motive, though not all debts are paid in money. An assumption which, if it became widespread, would concentrate some minds wonderfully

Neil Craig

The Mohole Scandal used to be more widely known, but it was long ago. It wasn't a prize it was a contract. They insisted it would be "professional" to pay a fee to -- surprise -- Brown and Root. But there was never a prize offered. If you want a given result, offer a prize for it. If no one does it you have lost little. If someone does it, pay the prize when it is completed.

I propose a Lunar Colony, $10 billion to be paid to the first American company that puts 31 Americans on the Moon and keeps them there alive and well for three years and a day. No money to be paid until the conditions are fulfilled.

Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo where apparently Halliburton Oil subsidiary Brown & Root Services?are making a fortune, Plus ca change

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