I have had discussions with friends in the past about the actual usefulness of the research that comes out of the academic community (in the field of computer science at least). While I don't often have good examples to point them towards, I think now I might.
LINQ, the name of the in-language SQL/XML/etc. query ability that will be built in to C# 3.0 is based upon a programming language technology known as monads, which are an important part of the programming language Haskell. Here is an interesting article on why it is neat, and why Java programmers should be worried (okay, I'm not to sure about that part).
Just nice to see some type theory escape to the larger world of popular programming languages.