Re: That reminds me, I saw 2001 the other evening
>>Trouble is, without the motivation of making better sticks to hit the other monkeys, we wouldn't have got this far technologically :-/
Partially true, but you have things like the space shuttle, many people think it was a great achievement, and to be fair it was, however, it was a dead end, only ever capable of low earth orbit, specifically designed to have an enclosed bay to move satellites about without showing what you bring back, it was like saying "we no longer want to go past LEO" - and financially commit to nothing more (as it was very expensive), constrained by the military requirements.
However, people like Sergei Korolev were flying rockets in the early 1930's before military involvement.
Of course, the project really took off (pun intended) after the military funding, but imagine if we were not funding war, perhaps that money could be put towards good.
As Tony Benn said, when talking about the founding of the NHS after WW2;
"If you can find money to kill people...you can find money to help people"
I always feel slightly uncomfortable when people say "Look at all the technological breakthroughs that war gave us", as if it's some kind of consolation prize, but I'm really not convinced, surely killing off a load of people (who would be in their prime) and spending vast sums of money to do so, can't possibly be better than using that money to build infrastructure, industry and putting most of them through university?