Re: As a side note
"an episode of ST:TNG, in which Data opens the show by playing cards with Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking."
that was a great episode. I miss STNG [nobody plays the reruns any more]
My guess is that there are several possible explanations as to WHY we don't have things like warp drive and practical fusion reactors and things like that...
a) space aliens "holding us back" for our own good [had to get that over with, heh]
b) wealthy/powerful elitists (like Soros) fearing a loss of power and control, shifting gummint policies and money accordingly to maintain power/control. After all, if we can just leave earth and go to space to get away from *THEM*, they'll lose the monopoly they have over our lives...
c) scientists paid to "do research", not "get results" (think of the Manhattan project, which was all about THE RESULTS, and how quickly atomic energy became an integral pat of our society)
d) all of the above.
hey, it's possible, ya know? I think 'c' is the most likely candidate, though. history backs me up on THAT one.