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Big Cash For Big Information

Ever since the first gumshoe paid his favorite informant $20 for the name of the doll that shot Mr. Big three times in the head with his own .45, money has been the motivator for getting the right information from those who have it.

Leap forward a few decades and the biggest payday was recently made by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen who were paid $10,000,000 bucks by the X Prize Foundation when their private rocket made it into space. Sure the foundation also got an event out of the money in the form of a space flight, but make no bones about it, what they were really paying for was the information about how to get a man into space twice, with private money.

Such is the development of a growing trend to tap into minds of geeks and creative entrepreneurs everywhere to solve the riddles of today faster than normal progress might allow, by offering an ever-increasing flow of large amounts of money. In fact, the current X Prize Foundation contest dangles another $10,000,000 for the winner of a race between clean production-ready cars that exceed 100 MPG. The deadline is 2009 and 2010 and already there are 45 groups approved to at least qualify for the prize.

There are more:

$10,000,000 offered by Google and The X Prize Foundation for a private mission to the moon, travel 500 meters, and send data back to Earth.

$25,000,000 offered by Richard Branson to create a commercially feasible way to remove greenhouse gasses from Earth