A big government project, announced with much fanfare 5 years ago, admitted today it had failed to achieve its objectives after spending $450 million of taxpayer money. Few would be surprised by such a story. But it turns out that the sentence (mis)describes a Bill Gates project. Best I can tell, the project was similar to something the government might have done, particularly if you had someone like Rep. Dingell pushing NIH and funding its efforts. It actually was a group of projects, mostly conceived as top-down efforts, some of which were successful but most of which didn't meet their objectives.
To be clear, I don't regard this as a waste of Mr. Gates' money, but I am intrigued with the similarities and differences with similar government efforts.