/Adoption can be amusing...
Usenet survived the big renaming, despite all the controversy.
Actually the best part about Usenet which is mostly missing today is that the protocol is separate from the client. If you don't like the client you get a different one. This is very similar to email - there's a standard protocol that everyone uses (even microsoft) and then you choose your own client. With Yahoo groups (or google, etc), you have to use their web interface only and if they decide to change it you have to follow along. The drawback of Usenet, which is also one of its big advantages, is that corporations can't monetize it with advertizing and so it lost favor and the completely awful substitute of forums took over.
Now, that's for private, non-profit schools. Public schools it has jumped substantially, but not for any nefarious reason: it's what happens when the state legislature looks for easy cuts in the budget and axes higher ed first. When I went to William and Mary back in the mid-80s, 34.7% of the budget was covered by the state. It's 12.8% now, but they're still expected to offer everything they did before (and more) as well as give discounts to in-state students. That money can come only from two places: tuition and endowment.
Endowment is an entire 'nother subject. You might have noticed a serious drop in the stock market a few years back? We (and many other schools) run a three year trailing average on endowment draw, so that's still hurting badly. Oh, and you can't get bonds or other securities with yields higher than a percent or two these days.. Couple the two and your endowment income has cratered as well.
Can we cut budgets? Sure: I started here six years ago in IT and my budget is 20% less than was when I joined. Software vendors don't care: my SPSS licensing costs have tripled in those 3 years for example, and everyone else wants their 5% a year bump. And I'm at a healthy school: I've been at ones that aren't and it's worse.
The real abuse IMHO is the loan industry. We've somehow gotten this idea that it's ok to put yourself into debt for the rest of your life for a degree. (And that debt, unlike every other kind can't ever be vacated by bankruptcy) Nobody should take out $100k of debt for any degree, and the feds shouldn't back it, much like they shouldn't back flood insurance for people who want to live on barrier islands. That may mean you don't get your dream school. Maybe it means 2 years of community college before residential. There are plenty of ways to get an education- shop for them just like you would for an phone
Back when I was in grad school there were two guys collecting links into a nice sorted directory. Stanford hosted it for quite a while until it took up 50+% of the entire network bandwidth and the school decided that Yahoo! had to become a real company. Nobody stopped Napster or Bittorrent (technically)
Google's not stopping you from developing the next great thing, nor will they lower the priority of your packets when you do. They just don't want you doing it on a line that the TOS specifically says you can't.
A number of years ago I worked with a professor who was writing a textbook. I wrote a quiz engine and a question bank to use with it. The professor owned the copyright to the textbook. The university owned the electronic stuff I developed, both text and code, even though it was an adjunct to the text.
My PC has all of its drives, video cards and the like internal, unlike the new Powermac
Perhaps the PC makers need to update their ads?
Politically it wouldn't fly in the US anyway. While profit motive isn't always the a great option, would you rather have political appointees deciding if Gardasil testing should go forwards? Right now there are a number of people in Congress trying to rewrite the way that NSF/NIH award grants- those sort of shenanigans would be long term far more damaging.
(I'll agree with you on the open access to trial data and advertising bits- we need to simply ban public ads for prescription drugs and dramatically restrict sales tactics to doctors. I hated seeing chemists get recruited by the sales folks at Merck- it seemed like they were going over to the dark side.)
He also told me that about 90% of all the new drugs actually come from research out of universities, not the pharmaceuticals themselves
I keep reading that from a broad variety of sources as well.
(Is it true?)
Depends on what you mean by "research". A lot of the initial leads do come from universities, but the process to turn a lead into something you can buy over the counter is difficult, very long and hugely expensive. You frequently see a drug company buy the rights to the idea and then do the human trials. The HPV vaccine Gardasil is a good example- a group of people at several universities developed the concept. Merck then took over and ran the phase III human trials (the one that sees if it actually works in the field) as well as the R&D to manufacture it.
IMHO, this isn't a bad way to work- most drug companies can't really do the blue sky stuff and universities don't have the $$$ to bring something to market.