The Pentagon is backing away from a planned terrorism futures market as a way of predicting the next method of terrorist attack. The system is based on a kind of market in which "shares" are bought and sold, with each share corresponding to one method of attack. A similar system was developed by Iowa State University to track elections, and has had a very good record of predicting the outcome of several major elections.
Of course, the usual suspects were decrying the program, despite the fact that none of them seemed to show any understanding of what it really was or how it worked.
One would think that when we’re in a war with a very devious group of religious maniacs that we’d reward original thinking. Then again, original thinking is not usually a hallmark of government activity.
I can only imagine the reactions of these people in the 1940’s. "What? You mean that drug comes from *mold*! Well, forget that idea!"
I’m sure the lesson has been learned well. DARPA won’t bother coming up with anything really innovative, lest the dullards in Congress end up running around the halls of the Capitol like chickens with their heads cut off. Sure, a program like this could help agencies raise their level of preparedness and help policymakers prepare for future events. But the people in Congress decided that kneejerk reactions and soundbites are more important than rewarding initiative and creativity.
I’m becoming more and more convinced that our leaders are still stuck in September Tenth mode…