Charlie Stross's space-colony überthread brings a couple of things to mind. First up, the best thought-through space elevator project is costed at $40bn, not far off £21-22bn. The Al-Yamamah contract was £43 billion - two space elevators. The degree of corruption involved is, literally, mindblowing. Perhaps the BAE managers and Tory bagmen I regularly insult really did invent something - an Apollo project of crime.
More broadly, it's astonishing just how many stupid people showed up to argue that the past was shit, so the future must be great! I suppose that their operational model, in so far as they have one, must be Moore's law - they are Slashdot users after all. But this is dense. If the geek ethic has any meaning, it's that technical knowledge counts and can be democratised. What appears to be going on here is that a faith in creationist technology - we invent the whole system and it's off to the stars! - unites a lot of stupid people.
I reckon there's an IT/telecoms (nethead/Bellhead) thing here. IT rarely involves JCBs, their drivers, ships, or the billion uncertainties of radio-planning. If the link goes down..you blame a telco, after all. IT doesn't have a working class.