January 1st, 2015
08:43 PM ET

American innovation is in trouble

By Fareed Zakaria

If you ask people in Silicon Valley what makes it work, they will talk about many things — the ability to fail, the lack of hierarchy, the culture of competition. One thing almost no one mentions is the government. And yet, the Valley’s origins are deeply tied to government support. The reason there were so many engineers in California in the 1950s and 1960s was because large defense companies had attracted them there. Most of the legendary start-ups that fueled the computer revolution — Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel — got off the ground largely because the military, and later NASA, would buy their products until they became cheap and accessible enough for the broader commercial market. GPS, the technology that now powers the information revolution, was developed for the military.

And then there was government funding for research, which is sometimes thought of simply as large grants to universities for basic science but often was far more ingenious. My favorite example comes from Walter Isaacson’s fascinating new book, “The Innovators.” In the 1950s, the U.S. government funded a massive project at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, employing equal numbers of psychologists and engineers who worked together to find ways “that humans could interact more intuitively with computers and information could be presented with a friendlier interface.” Isaacson traces how this project led directly to the user-friendly computer screens of today as well as ARPANET, the precursor of the Internet.

Federal funding for basic research and technology should be utterly uncontroversial. It has been one of the greatest investments in human history. And yet it has fallen to its lowest level as a percentage of GDP in four decades.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

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  1. chri§§y

    For being too young of course @ philip lol. But i did have tickets...and of course my mum was NOT letting me go! Lol. And sorry never been a fan of the beverly hillbillys. Now the reality show "hollywood hillbillies" thats quite funny. Have a good nite.

    January 5, 2015 at 12:27 am | Reply
    • Philip

      You too. Have a good night. Had fun.

      January 5, 2015 at 12:41 am | Reply
  2. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Jhinga Bells Jhinga Bells
    Jhinga all the way

    Dashing through the Ganges
    In a one cow open sleigh
    O'er the sewage filled waters we go
    Raiping all the way
    Bells on rat tails ring
    Making spirits shiver with plague
    What fun it is to laugh and sing
    A gang raiping song tonight

    Oh, jingle bells, jhinga bells
    Jhinga all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to ride
    In a one buffalo open sleigh
    Jhinga bells, jingle bells
    Jhinga all the way
    As the Indians gang raipe on the sleigh

    January 5, 2015 at 12:27 am | Reply
  3. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Hindus in France
    Raiping each other at first glance
    Looking for babies with delight
    Wondering in the night
    What were the chances
    Of shoving candles in their genitals without exchanging glances
    Hindus in the nighttttttt....
    Doobie Doo Daaa Dooobie Daaa

    January 5, 2015 at 12:30 am | Reply
  4. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Hindus on a flight
    Defecating on plane aisles at great heights
    While crew raipe each other at first sight
    In the cokpit... And consider it their right
    While the PAX cry in the cabin of their plight
    What a blight what an Indian blight

    January 5, 2015 at 12:32 am | Reply
  5. chri§§y

    Ok leaving just in the nick of time lol. Good luck with that hot mess @ philip! Lol

    January 5, 2015 at 12:33 am | Reply
  6. Philip MC

    Huh?

    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop

    Hello stranger
    It seems so good to see you back again
    How long has it been?

    Seems like a mighty long time
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    It seems like a mighty long time

    Ahhh my my my my I'm so glad
    You stopped by to say hello to me
    Remember, ah that's the way it used to be

    It seems like a mighty long time
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    It seems like a mighty long time

    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop

    Ohh, yes I'm so glad
    You're here again

    If you're not gonna stay
    Please don't tease me like you did before
    Because I still love you so although

    It seems like a mightly long time
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    It seems like a mighty long time

    Ohh, ohh my, my, my, my, I'm so happy
    That you're here

    Songwriters
    LEWIS, BARBARA ANN

    Published by
    Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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    January 5, 2015 at 12:36 am | Reply
  7. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    In the nick of time
    As the night falls
    We go raiping in hick town

    Jhinga Bells Jhinga Bells
    Jhinga all the way

    Dashing through the Ganges
    In a one cow open sleigh
    O’er the sewage filled waters we go
    Raiping all the way
    Bells on rat tails ring
    Making spirits shiver with plague
    What fun it is to laugh and sing
    A gang raiping song tonight

    Oh, jingle bells, jhinga bells
    Jhinga all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to ride
    In a one buffalo open sleigh
    Jhinga bells, jingle bells
    Jhinga all the way
    As the Indians gang raipe on the sleigh

    January 5, 2015 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • South Park Timmy

      Gang raype! Timmay!

      January 5, 2015 at 12:40 am | Reply
  8. Philip MC

    ARS for your listening pleasure and all around having a good time. Nut it IS going to rain.

    When you walked into the room,
    There was voodoo in the vibes.
    I was captured by your style,
    But I could not catch your eyes.
    Now I stand here helplessly,
    Hoping you'll get into me

    I am so into you
    I can't think of nothing else
    I am so into you
    I can't think of nothing else
    Thinking how it's going to be
    Whenever I get you next to me
    It's gonna be good, don't you know
    From your head to your toe

    Me and-a you, you and-a me, me and-a you!

    whoo hoo hoo hoo

    When you walked into the room,
    There was voodoo in the vibes.
    I was captured by your style,
    But I could not catch your eyes.
    Now I stand here helplessly,
    Hoping you'll get into me

    I am so into you
    I can't get to nothing else
    I am so into you, baby
    I can't get to nothing else
    No, no, no

    C'mon baby,
    I'm so into you
    I love the things you do.
    Listen baby
    You drive me crazy
    Ooh
    Love the things you do

     { +
    print

    Read more: Atlanta Rhythm Section – I Am So Into You Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    January 5, 2015 at 12:39 am | Reply
  9. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Oh Jhinga bells

    Jhinga Bells Jhinga Bells
    Jhinga all the way

    Dashing through the Ganges
    In a one cow open sleigh
    O’er the sewage filled waters we go
    Raiping all the way
    Bells on rat tails ring
    Making spirits shiver with plague
    What fun it is to laugh and sing
    A gang raiping song tonight

    Oh, jingle bells, jhinga bells
    Jhinga all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to ride
    In a one buffalo open sleigh
    Jhinga bells, jingle bells
    Jhinga all the way
    As the Indians gang raipe on the sleigh

    January 5, 2015 at 12:40 am | Reply
  10. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Once upon a Mumbai dreary, while the Indian Army pondered weak and weary.....
    While they nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at their bunker door.
    "'Tis some visiter," they muttered, "tapping at our bunker door —
    Only this and nothing more."

    What say you? Quoth the talibans… What say you?
    It ain’t no visiter….so to speak…’tis…the talibans…2 or 3 but Not More.
    We come in peace and nothing more…only in peace and nothing more...to tickle you to heart’s content.
    To sing you some bhajans and maybe more....so go back to sleep Evermore.
    Quoth the talibans, Evermore".
    And when you wake up we will be long gone…but we will be back____will be back
    This time in New Delhi….we will be back____
    Quoth the talibans…. we are coming back!!!!.

    January 5, 2015 at 12:41 am | Reply
    • Kuntsy

      Mwah ha ha ha hahahaha

      January 5, 2015 at 1:07 am | Reply
  11. Philip

    118. Estranged Babies of NW India (EBONWI)

    January 5, 2015 at 12:42 am | Reply
  12. Philip

    119. Flute Basket Players United

    January 5, 2015 at 12:43 am | Reply
  13. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    BODDA BING BODDA BOOM

    We are Hindus from India,
    And we like to put on the Bindiya,
    We are mostly Haris,
    But we like to put on the Saris,
    Sadly, we are nothing but Bhikaris,
    Sadly, we are nothing but Bhikaris,
    We take the Americans to Heart,
    But get nothing in return except a F@rt,
    So we tend to kiss the American @ss,
    Again, we get nothing in return except the American gas,
    We are nothing but Bhikaris and are Indians No Mas.

    January 5, 2015 at 12:44 am | Reply
    • Kuntsy

      Ya think hindoos kapiche. Badda bing !!

      Ha ha ha ha ha

      January 5, 2015 at 1:01 am | Reply
  14. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Jhinga oh Jhinga

    Jhinga Bells Jhinga Bells
    Jhinga all the way

    Dashing through the Ganges
    In a one cow open sleigh
    O’er the sewage filled waters we go
    Raiping all the way
    Bells on rat tails ring
    Making spirits shiver with plague
    What fun it is to laugh and sing
    A gang raiping song tonight

    Oh, jingle bells, jhinga bells
    Jhinga all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to ride
    In a one buffalo open sleigh
    Jhinga bells, jingle bells
    Jhinga all the way
    As the Indians gang raipe on the sleigh

    January 5, 2015 at 12:45 am | Reply
    • Kuntsy

      Oh you are toooo much. You tickle me

      January 5, 2015 at 1:00 am | Reply
  15. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Bub bai
    Hindoo hill billys

    January 5, 2015 at 12:46 am | Reply
  16. Kuntsy

    Nighty nite. Had heaps of funee fun

    January 5, 2015 at 12:59 am | Reply
  17. Blue Philip

    120. Camouflaged Monkeys Unltd. (CMU)

    January 5, 2015 at 1:00 am | Reply
  18. Blue Philip

    Kuntsy? Is that even allowed?

    January 5, 2015 at 1:03 am | Reply
    • Blue Philip

      Sheesh. Guess it is. I'll BD darned. Could have been using the K word all this time.

      January 5, 2015 at 1:04 am | Reply
  19. Kuntsy

    A lulla bye

    We all know about hindus
    Raiping in India
    Wearing the bindia
    Along Lord Hanuman came
    And wanted to join the game
    And Ganesh with trunk did same
    And shoved up Hanuman's a zz a sugar cane

    January 5, 2015 at 1:03 am | Reply
  20. Kuntsy

    G'nite.
    Namastay

    January 5, 2015 at 1:04 am | Reply
  21. Kuntsy

    Hindus raiping in a car
    Defecating on train tracks afar
    Drinking cow urine out of a jar
    Urinating on the floor of a bar
    On hindu face feathers n black tar
    On hindu face black tar black tar
    What a mar what a mar

    January 5, 2015 at 1:05 am | Reply
  22. Kuntsy

    Nighty nite
    Bub buy

    January 5, 2015 at 1:06 am | Reply
  23. chri§§ty

    Lol @Philip does my p ussy taste like canned tuna? My amma wouldn't let me eat it! Tell me.

    January 5, 2015 at 6:51 am | Reply
    • Philip

      It was difficult to smell with Blue Saffron's d ikk up my a zz.

      You see, I can't multi-task. LMFAO

      January 5, 2015 at 6:58 am | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Hmmmm.... What you are saying is that you could smell the element in your a zz. Therefore you could not do so with the p ussie in question.

        You certainly are multi organic. ROFL

        January 5, 2015 at 7:08 am |
  24. Banasy

    I feel left out. Nobody wants a piece of me lately. I am busy innovating. Trying to s ukk my balls. He He He He

    January 5, 2015 at 7:01 am | Reply
  25. chri§§ty

    @Joey try rubbing a munchkin on your a zz and eating it. My mum taught me to do it. Lol.

    January 5, 2015 at 7:12 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Thank you, @ fausse chrissy.

      January 5, 2015 at 8:07 am | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        i see that my call for Mayor de Blasio's resignation was rejected.
        It was a rational post from a sane liberal.

        January 5, 2015 at 8:28 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Even citizens of New York City deserve to be safe on the streets.
        New York's Finest certainly do.

        January 5, 2015 at 8:32 am |
  26. rupert

    @real Joey. There's always hope. Mayors should never help divide a city.

    So disgraceful. The Dallas victory was won by the raferees. Down right disgusting.
    Sorry Detroit. You were cheated. We all know, you really won and should have advanced on the play offs.

    January 5, 2015 at 8:36 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      @ rupert,
      always hope?
      As long as there is life, yes.
      The holder of any opinion must has the right to express his views, or the concept of equal rights is a specious lie.
      Our mayor is incompetent. He should realize that and step down.

      January 5, 2015 at 8:47 am | Reply
  27. rupert

    No accountability for De Blasio or the cheating Texas raferees. Two black eyes for America.

    January 5, 2015 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Cheating in sports?
      Really?
      No!

      January 5, 2015 at 8:50 am | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        But, but...they're professionals, aren't they?

        January 5, 2015 at 8:53 am |
      • rupert

        LOL. I see your point. But the NFL is supposed to be above that.
        Few bad apples in every profession.

        January 5, 2015 at 9:48 am |
  28. Blue Saffroń

    Vis a Vis innovation I am not a centralist. It better be left to market forces.

    Innovation is not prophetic. Rather it is cryptic. But lately it has been apocalyptic. Go figure.
    Will ya, Fareed.

    January 5, 2015 at 8:55 am | Reply
    • Cristobal

      Capitalism is the best revenge.
      Innovation is salvation.
      But with private funding.
      Agreed?

      January 5, 2015 at 9:07 am | Reply
      • Cristobal

        Knock it off. But I agree. Thanks

        January 5, 2015 at 9:09 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Market forces? Market forces?
      Oh, that is so old-hat! And immoral, you Capitaliss Pig!
      You see, when all innovation is of the government, by the govurmint, and so forth, then everybody can feel that he is an innovator! And that is much better for all of us.
      Together.

      January 5, 2015 at 9:11 am | Reply
  29. Candice

    Does Bombay have a mayor?

    January 5, 2015 at 9:15 am | Reply
    • Hannah

      Mayor? That is so ancient blasé.
      Most of Bombaynians are raipists. You see Modi needs to be dragged to the stand.

      January 5, 2015 at 9:20 am | Reply
  30. Hannah

    Innovation is the mother of all inventions. Corned beef a culinary marvel. Yummy.
    Together with pastrami.

    January 5, 2015 at 9:24 am | Reply
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