Sunday, July 08, 2007


A really competitive society is perhaps one that holds competitions. I've written before about the cash prizes offered in America for the DARPA Grand Challenge (autonomous vehicles) and the Space Elevator prize. The latest has been announced:

U.S. soldiers will go into future combat situations wearing more than 20 pounds of batteries to run the electronic systems they take with them.

That burden is too high, so the Pentagon is offering a $1 million prize to any team that can cut that weight to 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) or less.
These competitions are highly successful - the Grand Challenge is over, having been won. They are also, by the standards of government research budgets, astonishingly cheap. And they're FUN.

We really ought to hold them here.


dearieme said...

How do they get round the Affirmative Action laws?

Peter Risdon said...

Do they apply to competitions?

dearieme said...

They do for competition to get into Universities! More seriously, shouldn't you be proposing a competition to identify the best competitions?

Peter Risdon said...

A meta competition! Definitely.