David Anderson, the founder of BOINC, provides many explanations for the drop. BOINC has failed to target a broader demographic, the media coverage has decreased and a shift of mobile devices has changed the playing field. There is now a fear that this will make running computer simulations more expensive.
Link to Original Source
To play the devil's advocate here there does seem to be considerable evidence that voting makes very little, if not zero, difference....
Citation needed, I think...
Uh, no. Voting in an election is not like bidding in a slave auction.
Our elected representatives may be shitty representatives, and they may shift positions on issues like a pair of 19-year-olds having sex, but "slave" seems to me to be an extremely inapt analogy (feel free to comment on my own poor analogy).
You have a vested interest in voting for the least crappy candidate (or best candidate, if one exists) in each election you have the opportunity to vote in. Not doing that (or simply not caring enough to know which candidates are potentially crappier than others) leaves us all with the shitty representatives we have now.
Perhaps a resurgence of mandatory civics classes would help maintain a reasonably sane electorate...perhaps not...but giving up on it all or throwing away the current system is not the solution to the problem.
Seriously. Like, "there's an emptiness and it gnaws at me" kind of missing it.
I know why PJ went off the grid, and I respect her concerns, but it still sucks. In the meantime, anyone who feels the same can pay a visit Here, where some folks that used to frequent Groklaw are trying to re-establish a community that cares enough about the same things to keep them visible and discussed.
You should all drop by sometime.
...And before you say "OMG Apple sues over every silly patent!" remember that Samsung sued Apple for the bounce-back effect when you scroll a list and reach the end (no I'm not joking they really did).
Aside from the fact that you have that precisely backwards, that's correct.
From the column you linked to written by Florian Mueller (not exactly an Open-Source evangelist):
...For example, Apple is suing Samsung over a feature called "rubber-banding." It's the iconic bounce-back effect when you scroll a list (such as your phone's address book) and reach the end. I like it, but if you have rubber-banding and I don't, we can still keep in touch. No nuclear threat there...
I do agree with your sentiment...."The best thing the government can do if insisting on directly promoting development of technology", I guess I should have said.
Whether that is, in and of itself, a means to positive fiscal ends (increased tax revenues, govt energy savings, etc, etc) is way too long of a discussion.
The logical thing (as with every technology) would be that its time will come when the value of said technology exceeds the cost. Could be that fossil fuel gets more expensive, could be that manufacturing costs for solar go down...or efficiency rises sharply at the same cost.
The problem (as noted in the summary) is not with government investing in research, it's with government backing production. If you want efficient, cost effective non-carbon-based power sources, then you need demand and competition, not lack of demand and competition avoidance.
Either climate change or energy prices are going to continue to push the "expensive" needle for hydrocarbon-based fuel higher and higher without stopping, which will help make solar/hydro/nuclear more attractive, which will in turn lead to more production and economies of scale.
The best thing the government can do is to throw around research dollars and get the fuck out of the way.