Quote Originally Posted by astonas
The current funding environment is so obsessively focused on "practical" research, that real progress is very frequently sacrificed in order to sustain the appearance of progress.

It is the story of our times. Appearance matters more than reality. This creates perverse incentives, and wasted resources on all levels. When you refuse to fund basic research, you waste vastly more money trying to do "applied" research, and simultaneously achieve vastly less progress on applications.
Hear, hear.