Thanks! You've given the best description of science I've ever read. Disclaimer: I am a scientist.
Seriously. A lot of the fancy topics are interesting because they are like a foggy mountain top, you know that there must be a mountain top, but you don't know the way, and you don't know what you will find up there, and which equipment you need to take along. This makes science different from engineering, where you at least would have a map of the mountain roads and altitudes etc.
As far as funding issues goes: what did the giant banking bailout of 2009 brought us for the future? That has cost us a multi-multitude of the ITER project and that money just disappeared into oblivion. With the ITER, even if it wouldn't work out eventually, we'd still end up with the new technologies and materials that were developed to build it.
As others pointed out, there are technical ways to create ad-hoc wifi networks, I guess similar to the idea of the OLPC networking mode.
Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. - Oscar Wilde