Kickstarter: A Crowd-Sourced Dragon's Den
Kickstarter is a service that allows you to raise money for projects easily: write up a proposal, come up with a set of bonuses that your funders get (You've watched PBS, you know the drill: "For \\(50, you get a lifetime license and a tote bag! For \\)100, you get all the benefits of the \$50 level, plus a golf umbrella!").
I am tempted to see if it works for my line of interests: for instance, a technical article or podcast on (say) neural networks or genetic algorithms or somesuch. Or, even more interestingly, to fund a project in the hit-driven world of iPhone development.