This is funny in that makes-you-want-to-cry kind of way:

Feds Complete Internet Traffic Report, from AP

Lawmakers had demanded the $1 million study, ultimately called “Signposts in Cyberspace,” under a 1998 law. Passed almost at the dawn of what became the Internet boom, the law required the Commerce Department to seek a study about Web addresses and trademarks by the National Research Council and wrap up the report within nine months.

The council published its findings Thursday – two presidential administrations later and years after the implosion of what had been a bustling Internet economy.

There are some real masterpieces of understatement in this article:

“Time got extended,” said Charles Brownstein, director of the research council’s computer science and telecommunications board.

Added Steven Crocker, a respected Internet pioneer: “It shouldn’t have taken that long.”

And, in a stunning bit of banality, the committee recommended the status quo:

The report urged minor technical improvements to secure the system from hackers and prevent outages from natural disasters. … It also recommended those traffic-directing computers continue to be operated by volunteers, organizations and corporations around the world rather than governments. And it advocated dozens of new Internet address suffixes – similar to “.com” and “.net” – be introduced each year to allow for new Web sites and e-mail addresses.

But this is the best quote of all:

Brownstein said the government report was delayed substantially as the authors noticed dramatic changes in the same issues they were studying.

Well, everyone out there who’s studying information science, let’s all just go home. Clearly it’s too difficult to study a moving target.

And here’s the report on the National Academy of Sciences site: Signposts in Cyberspace: The Domain Name System and Internet Navigation.