From Razib Khan:
Qatar is going to spend $200 billion over a 10 year period on amenities for soccer because it is hosting the World Cup in 2022. Yes, the World Cup is a very big deal. But did you know that NASA’s budget for 2012 was less than 20 billion dollars. In other words Qatar could create its own rival to NASA if it wanted. But why would they?Comments number 2 and 7 are particularly noteworthy. A warning, though: Don't comment at Razib's site unless you've got a good point and can express it clearly, as he moderates comments and is brutal about it. (I thank him for that, too.)
More thoughts later, if I can find two functions brain cells in my cranium and get them talking to each other.
ADDED: Actually, a thought now. It should be noted that Qatar is a small country, and that the money they are spending is basically for a one-off event. A lot of what they're doing will be completely pointless by 2023.
Of course, in 2014 one could say the same about the entire history of the US manned-space program from 1959 to 2011, given that we can no longer get people into orbit ourselves unless we hitch a ride with a country with whom we have hostile relations. Progress!