Grid computing combines the processing power of several computers across a network to work on a single scientific problem, while cloud computing allows researchers to access the latest web applications and databases.
Increasing connectivity in and of itself won't solve the distance problem. Scientists must be socialized (i.e. educated) to communicate effectively in a non-face-to-face environment. This is easier said than done, which is why the world is spiky.
Nonetheless, talent is still trying to connect more effectively with kindred spirits around the world. The recent launch of Architizer, a social network for architects, is a good example. The tool allows someone to expand her market from local to global. Thus, the world gets a little flatter. We needn't resign ourselves to the dictates of Spiky World. The transformation may be slow and difficult, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.