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Politicians Have Poor Grasp of Technology? 349

Posted by Zonk
from the but-i-thought-they-were-all-knowing dept.
Alfred Lee Deon writes "Chris Patten, a former EU Commissioner, was speaking at the three-day conference in Nice, France, on European business and technology. 'Many politicians don't understand the technology issues that could affect government IT schemes,' he said.' Politicians have no sound grasp of technology issues — but politicians don't necessarily have a profound grasp of any issue.' He was especially critical of UK's government's ID card scheme — a scheme he felt would not achieve one of its possible objectives of making borders more secure."
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Politicians Have Poor Grasp of Technology?

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  • by th1ckasabr1ck (752151) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#16608758)
    Oh please... It's clear that our fearless leader has been using the google on the internets for years. I hear he looks up maps.
    • been oddly unsuccessful....no doubt thanks to the dilligent efforts of those in the CIA trying to keep WMD data from the terrorist.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      They don't have a grasp of technology, that's not their job. They should instead be competent to find competent people with no private interest to delegate decisions and design.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mevans (791269)
      Can I just say that I thought of all people, the President would have better access to spy satellites and maps, and would be the least likely candidate to need to use Google Maps? I mean, are they plotting out wars with Google Earth?
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#16608760) Homepage Journal
    No, politicians have an excellent grasp of technology.
    • by recordMyRides (995726) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:38AM (#16608832) Homepage
      After all, they seem to be able to use instant messenger quite well.
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:40AM (#16608870) Journal
      True. For example, take the worst case: Ted Stevens. I mean, he was correct to say that "The internet is not a truck.", yes yes? That's true. The internet is not a truck.
    • by burnin1965 (535071) on Friday October 27, 2006 @11:00AM (#16609110) Homepage
      Is that grasp of technology or strangle hold on?

      One of the fine senators from the US state of Utah, one Orrin Hatch, attempted to pass legislation that would allow organizations such as the RIAA to illegally infiltrate and destroy software and information on personal computers of the citizens whom he supposedly represented. It seems the corporations he actually represents find the legal process and the concept of innocent until proven guilty by your peers in a court of law to be too cumbersome for them to deal with.

      The same senator recently had an article on his website where he supported the "technology" behind the CP80 (clean port 80) effort. Unfortunately the CP80 effort is not technology but rather is another legal effort to throw people in jail who refuse to adhere to the mores of a specific segment of society and block undesireable internet content from other countries, pretty much what China does to their citizens, perhaps the CP actually stands for China Protocol. No technology was developed for CP80 its just an effort to create laws based on the mores of a minority.

      The irony is that this senator started his political carreer by pushing out an incumbent with the following critical stance in his election effort "Hatch criticized Moss's 18-year tenure in the Senate, saying that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents". This was the beginning of Hatch's political career which started in 1976!

      burnin
      • Hatch criticized Moss's 18-year tenure in the Senate, saying that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents
        Silly rabbit, the corporations are the constituents.
      • by IflyRC (956454)
        It's surprising to see Orin Hatch being shown in a bad light here on /. Afterall, he was one of the senators who urged the DOJ to pursue the antritrust case against Microsoft. He needed to protect Novell.
  • by le0p (932717) * on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#16608770)
    but in America our politicians have a strong grasp of how to use technology... for hooking up with underage boys.
  • by chroot_james (833654) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:36AM (#16608794) Homepage
    What can be done about it? None of those people are reachable like they claim and everyone who goes against the norm (lobbyists) will be discarded as a radical...
    • by Cederic (9623)

      That's a very defeatist attitude.

      Support for ID cards is not complete even in the UK parliament. A significant percentage of the UK population is against them, and has contacted MPs to let them know.

      On other technology matters individual activism can also make a difference. The Government seemed surprised and concerned by the general reaction to EU attempts to introduce software patents, and made active attempts to ensure the issues being raised were addressed and resolved. Admittedly there's a lot more the
  • New blood (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:36AM (#16608796) Homepage Journal
    It is not just a problem in the EU and UK. We have major IT issues related to privacy, government and oversight here in the US and this is why we need to start populating the political system with politicians who *understand* some of the political issues. People like Pete Ashdown [peteashdown.org] who is running against Orin Hatch (the guy who wanted to remotely destroy computers of those who download music) in Utah are the types of folks that we need to elect. Pete owns one of the first ISPs in Utah and has been at the technological forefront for a number of years. He understands how technology impacts government and business and effects the lives of private citizens.

    Populating the political landscape with technologically savvy folks will eventually happen as a matter of statistics, but right now we are dealing with lawyers, jocks and business people as politicians who it seems frequently rely on their staff to even read and answer their emails, much less actually possessing an understanding of more complex technological issues or their wider implications. However, with issues like the massive cost overruns and failure of projects like the FBIs agency wide computer system, loss of privacy and government intrusion into our lives sought by those in the Republican party (OT: what happened to the Republicans? They *used* to be about smaller government, less intrusion into our lives, lower taxes, and a strong military. They are now 180degrees off from all of those issues), we need a new generation of politicians who will be responsive to the people they represent, will understand some of the complex technological issues and all of the social, political and economic implications that technology brings.

    • by Hahnsoo (976162)
      (OT: what happened to the Republicans? They *used* to be about smaller government, less intrusion into our lives, lower taxes, and a strong military. They are now 180degrees off from all of those issues)
      Our political parties in the United States have a long history of re-inventing themselves every generation to appeal to the masses and get more votes. It wasn't so long ago that conventional wisdom said "If you want to go to war, vote a Democrat into office." Personally, I think it was probably the (relat
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222)
        It's not that off-topic :) Political topics are a free-for-all.

        The simple answer is that Republicans were for smaller government because they were the minority party. A smaller federal government would give them and their constituency more power on the local level. Now that they control the entire federal government, they see that it is at the federal level where it is most efficient to advance their agenda.

        Demographics have played a big part in the Republican's rise to power. They play big on the family va
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jamstar7 (694492)

          The simple answer is that Republicans were for smaller government because they were the minority party. A smaller federal government would give them and their constituency more power on the local level. Now that they control the entire federal government, they see that it is at the federal level where it is most efficient to advance their agenda.

          Actually, the Republican platform of smaller government was due more to the percieved 'common wisdom' that the Democrats never saw a social program they didn't li

          • by MightyYar (622222)
            Can't deny that... but I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg discussion. Did the Republicans respond to pent-up demand for smaller government, or did they just use that demand to achieve their goals? In reality, it is probably both... people who wanted smaller government gravitated towards the Republican party, and the party was happy to have them because it was consistent with their strategy. The chicken WAS the egg. :) Now that the Republicans ARE the government, they are a lot less interested in small
        • by CaptnMArk (9003)
          Perhaps it's time for North to secede and build their own wall.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hyfe (641811)

      this is why we need to start populating the political system with politicians who *understand* some of the political issues

      Yes, more people to get the treatment Al Gore and his 'You could say I helped the invent the Internet' quote did?

      There are more profound problems in a country where a misquote can be made into that big a deal, or somebody changing one bloody opinion over a 5 year period can be branded a 'flip-flop'er (or rather, 'not retarded' as we others call it).

    • Well, duh, the Republicans will get out of our lives as soon as they're done stopping the terrorists, just like they'll lower taxes when Enron & co get back on their feet and they don't need any more corporate welfare.

      Come on. You just have to wait for the answers to come down the pipeline, like in Urinetown. If those people had just sit tight, the UGC would've implemented its long-term solution and the drought would've been over.

    • Actually, Reps are still about strong military and lower taxes, but they are now fine with larger government and greater intrusion.

      I fear for the "new blood" because of people like Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who is about 31 years old has fallen for pulling stupid tactics. He accused of the Democrats of covering up the Foley thing so they can leak it before the election. When an interviewer challenged him to prove it, he stammered then shoved it back at the interviewer to prove that the Democrats didn't do wh
      • Re:New blood (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BWJones (18351) * on Friday October 27, 2006 @12:25PM (#16610420) Homepage Journal
        Actually, Reps are still about strong military and lower taxes, but they are now fine with larger government and greater intrusion.

        If the Republicans really *are* for a stronger military, then it would be hard to imagine given the cutbacks in VA funding for veterans in the face of tens of thousands of returning vets with significant wounds and lost limbs from the current Middle East conflict. If the Republicans really *are* for a stronger military, then it would be hard to explain given the increasing movement towards giving military jobs out to private contractors (and paying the contractors more). If the Republicans really *are* for a stronger military, then it would be hard to convince the Pentagon who has much less control and power over it's own affairs after Donald Rumsfeld has gone through and consolidated control away from the current flags. If the Republicans really *are* for a stronger military, then it would be almost impossible to justify in the face of decreasing educational programs within the military.

        As to taxes, the only structures the Republicans are for lower taxes on is large corporate America. As a middle class citizen, my taxes have actually gone up. Factor in higher inflation rates, higher fuel costs, higher healthcare costs, fewer tax deductions for the middle class and a stock market that is only now climbing back to where it was six years ago and where are you?

        • My kid sent me an email, "Dad you gotta go to KBR and put in a job app, they are paying people $80K/yr. to be bus drivers and that's around post not thru downtown Bagdad either" Those school lunch-ladies could be making $50K! A couple semesters of chemistry means you can test diesel fuel and do lube-oil analysis for $125K.
    • Some politicians [com.com], however, do have a good understanding of technology.

      The list of board members for the national Libertarian Party is no less geekish: a software engineer; a database consultant; an author of a book on Linux system administration; the CEO of a Web application company; and the creator of PocketMoney personal finance software for Palm handhelds. "Can you find another political party with a tech-savvy board like this?" said Cory, the Libertarians' national chairman. "I can tell you it

  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@NosPam.gmail.com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:38AM (#16608828) Journal

    Assigning a grade of "poor" to politicians' grasp of technology implies they have grasp, most don't. They (IMO) seemingly react to political winds, political windbags, and moneybags. I can't recall ever seeing a politician on TV, or elsewhere and thinking, "Gee, that politician really gets it!".

    And, that's probably why we see laws passed and considered that continue to feed the wealthy and lock in their revenue streams. Technology has so much potential, it is almost mind-boggling what we could and should be doing with it, but instead (IMO) we've watched the train wreck that is our (and now others (BTW, an American here)) government and their bizarre understanding spawning laws that not only hinder technology, they are indecipherable (anyone understand fair use anymore at all?).

    The future continues to look more locked in with probably one major provider of technology with a track record of bumbles and fumbles that boggle. Money talks, and politicians listen.

    I used to see a future of broad interconnected technology, almost transcendental and transparent. Instead, I see vertical silos of incompatible rubbish that doesn't even mature before generation N+1 is released... the technology moves "forward", our ability to use and access to technology diminishes. (Anyone still confident HDTV, HD DVD, BluRay, etc. will have a soft landing with everyone up and running happily? It's been 10 years since HD, what gives?)

    Ironically, glimpses of technology at its best were government funded, the internet is largely an outgrowth of ARPA and DARPA funding. Hubble is NASA. One (the internet) is on the cusp of being regulated to death, to the benefit of the powerful lobbying of powerful groups. The other (Hubble) is on the chopping block for monies in almost any other context would be paltry...

    Another interesting lack of understanding manifested after the 2000 elections. The confident rush to technology and electronic voting paradoxically ended up being pointed at as the culprit for another "stolen" election by the very people who had demanded the technology.

    There's still a lot of good technology, and there will be a lot more, but it won't be because of the good hands of government. I'm hoping I never see politicians encroach to the point of locking up and out the Open Source and Linux worlds, but I'm fearing I might (Trusted Computing anyone?).

    • I can't recall ever seeing a politician on TV, or elsewhere and thinking, "Gee, that politician really gets it!".

      I have personally met Rick Boucher (D-VA) and spoken with him on the DMCA and the SSSCA (it's been long enough, I'm not sure if that's the right number of S's). He really does get it.

      I suppose this might be classified as a political accuracy nazi post, since pointing out one of the very few exceptions isn't really salient to the argument.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by orzetto (545509)

      Assigning a grade of "poor" to politicians' grasp of technology implies they have grasp, most don't. They (IMO) seemingly react to political winds, political windbags, and moneybags. I can't recall ever seeing a politician on TV, or elsewhere and thinking, "Gee, that politician really gets it!".

      First, I totally agree with your post. But look at it from another angle: we don't "get it" when it is about political questions. Politicians and we slashdotters think in a different mindset: we mostly think "IT sec

  • true.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:39AM (#16608848)
    ...most politicians are geezers in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and sometimes 90s. so the current crop is ignorant, but in once the current crop starts to really turn over, those politicians should be more up to date. that said, i know some people in that age range that have a good grasp, and other who do not. the latter outweigh the former. additionally, i know a good portion of my classmates on campus are ignorant of technology as well. eh.
    • As you just said, a good deal of the currently "young" generation has no effing clue about technology in general and the internet in particular. They just treat it like their car. Turn the key, works, great. Don't bother explaining what's under the hood.

      And current legislation and the course we're steering actually promotes ignorance. We're getting closer ot laws where you are suspicious or even already a criminal for simply knowing how to use the tools in the way you (and not its manufacturer) want.
  • Politicians have no sound grasp of technology issues.

    Are you sure about that? Let me go home tonight, download the internet, and google it. [Ducks]

    • "Are you sure about that? Let me go home tonight, download the internet, and google it. [Ducks]"

      That's a pretty good idea. The thought of having my own personal Google that has the entire net archived*cough*CACHED sounds great. With all the increasing regulation in the US and the United Nations now making noises about their intent to destroy it, you never know when you might wake up one day to find the Net gone.
  • by MrLizard (95131) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:39AM (#16608856)
    ...except how to hold on to power. That's their job, really, and the good ones do it well. No one ever lost an election because they didn't understand the things they were supposed to be making laws about. See also http://www.pontification.com/serendipity/index.php ?/archives/117-The-Know-Nothing-Party.html/ [pontification.com]
  • Politicians Have Poor Grasp of Technology?

    Does the question even need to be posed? Recall Ted Stevens' absurd "It's not a truck, its a series of tubes" nonsense.

    Or more recently, Bush admitting he sometimes uses 'The Google'.

    IT is a speaciality, it is not a layman's field. Of course politicians know little about it. Unless they happen to be hobbyists, it really ought to be expected of politicians. In the same vein, I would not expect a doctor, welder or forest ranger to know much about IT.
  • No shit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vanders (110092) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:40AM (#16608876) Homepage
    I have yet to see a single politician ever talk convincingly on any matter that involves technology. Living in the UK and having to hear some of the claims given about the ID Cards Database is enough to make me laugh at times. On top of that the Government continues to spend huge amounts of money on IT schemes that could be done with a fraction of the money. These schemes are generally run by everyones favourite useless shower of bastards, EDS. Invariably these gigantic schemes fail, leaving the Government without their much-touted improvements (Many of them imaginary, but still) and EDS with a pocket full of cash. Then the cycle begins again with the next eye-watteringly huge contract for another IT scheme.

    It seems the highest level of IT amongst UK politicians is the ability to post a stupid clip of yourself on YouTube. I believe Tony Blair doesn't even use email, and I'd be amazed of Gordon Brown can even switch a PC on, frankly.
    • by Cederic (9623)

      some of the claims given about the ID Cards Database is enough to make me laugh at times

      Same here, although I'd use "cry" not "laugh".

      I don't think you can just blame EDS either. There are many equally incompetent organisations performing similar services.

      I too want to land a £10bn contract to fuck over an entire Government department and then just walk away going "Oh well."
  • by w.p.richardson (218394) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:44AM (#16608900) Homepage
    A politician is nothing more than an empty suit that travels from fundraiser to fundraiser. There is no real understanding of any issue, technology included, at a deeper level than bumper sticker sloganeering.

    A person who gets involved in politics may begin as an ideologue on one or more issues, but with the massive amount of issues that a politician must deal with, it's difficult if not impossible to keep up with them all. Thus, interest groups can influence pols by aligning with political parties to affect whatever outcomes they desire.

    Unfortunately, as long as there is an expectation that a government should be involved in every issue, this is the way things will be. A perfectly reasonable solution to the problem would be to ignore these buffoons, and the problem will eventually go away. At the very least, vote for someone who will be ineffectual for a couple of years and routinely toss them out. Or, just vote for a drunken pirate [jameshillforcongress.com] for the laugh value.

    Because, in the long run, we are all dead.

  • Lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:44AM (#16608906)
    For the most part - politicians in the US are lawyers and tend to be from the boomer generation. As such, they tend to have no training and little exposure to technology. Their technological background ranges from ignorance to neo-luddite. Is it any wonder when they turn out absurd policies regarding science and technology. I suppose we should be grateful that they're not still using quill pens.
  • by aleksiel (678251) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:45AM (#16608922)
    "Everyone knows that Congresspeople are assigned to committees based on their greatest weakness! Why else would Senator Ted Stevens, a man more comfortable in the horse and buggy era, wind up in charge of regulating the Internet... which, he believes, is a series of tubes... a series of tubes through which other Congressmen can reach in and fondle sixteen-year olds?"
  • Thats all that ever needs to be said.... tubes.

  • Since they have such a tenuous grasp on REALITY, it is no surprise that technology is a problem for them as well (given that technology is a part of reality).
  • I am a technologist (well, a UNIX System Administrator with a strong background in programming and electronics). I have no clue how to garner votes, please constituents, enact legislation, etc. - and I don't expect professional politicians (we may as well call it a profession, as those people generally earn their living exclusively from politics) to be conversant in the intracacies of my profession.

    For them to enact legislation pertaining to my profession, it is necessary for them to acquire a generalized

  • A bit misleading (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JanneM (7445) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:49AM (#16608984) Homepage
    As much as I despise people who long for power, this is all a bit misleading. Yes, they probably have poor grasp of IT while making decisions greatly affecting the field, but are you really prepared to say that is a real problem? If it is, then you imply they should have a good knowledge of every single field their decision making touches. Every single one - law, business economy, medicine, pharmaceutics, university research, child care, road planning, ship lane ice breaking, geology, hydrology, satellite communications, nutrition, animal husbandry, criminology, emergency veterinary care, time keeping, library organization, weapon systems development, ....

    I would certainly love to have such polymaths in any parliament; I doubt you could find 3-400 such people that are actually competent to make decisions in any country though.

    Politicians don't know the ins and outs of their field any more than CxO:s know the details of their company operations. They rely on having people that are experts in their field give the needed input. Is that perfect? No, but, unlike the alternative, it is actually possible to implement.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Volante3192 (953645)
      Politicians don't know the ins and outs of their field any more than CxO:s know the details of their company operations. They rely on having people that are experts in their field give the needed input. Is that perfect? No, but, unlike the alternative, it is actually possible to implement.

      The problem, as I see it, is it seems they take the advice from the experts and throw it out anyway. I find it difficult to believe anyone could be against net neutrality if they heard it explained rationally and clearly
    • I doubt politicians could even close their italics tags! :-) Hey! I'm teasing! It's Friday!
  • Nobody can be proficient with all the topics a legislator works on.

    What's suppsed to happen is that their hired staff is, or consults, experts in the field and briefs the politician on the issues and options.

    We get the politicians we vote for, anyway. I wrote to my state legislator once about e-voting and he'd heard of GEMS: he wrote back to the effect "It's a nightmare. Access was never designed for that kind of application". Be certain I'm voting for him next time he's up.
    • A good leader is not generally going to know everything, but he should be smart enough to surround himself with people who can fill in the gaps.
      • by Bodrius (191265)
        Surrounding yourself with experts is easy.
        More important: a good leader should be smart enough to ask for advice and listen to the experts he keeps around.

        It shouldn't take much effort to find someone who can say "Well, no, Senator. The Internets are not really a series of tubes."
    • We get the politicians we vote for, anyway. I wrote to my state legislator once about e-voting and he'd heard of GEMS: he wrote back to the effect "It's a nightmare. Access was never designed for that kind of application". Be certain I'm voting for him next time he's up.


      Well, who was it? On the off chance we live in the same state, I want to be sure to give him some consideration.
  • is how they compensate for ignorance. A good example is the (planned) "Gesundheitsreform" (restructuring of the health services system) in Germany which implies a remarkable remodelling of business processes (of course IT-based, really huge DBs) with remarkable extra cost. Of course there is a lot of other issues they fail with regard to the general issue as well, too many to tell.

    CC.
  • "but politicians don't necessarily have a profound grasp of any issue"

    Indeed. They don't need a firm grasp of any issue, because their whole goal is to get elected, not have views on any issue. Most of the false Dichotomies the modern western democratic political wars are over, are often over simplification of the issues.

    The recent spat between Rush Bimbo and MJ Fox and the senate races in a couple of states is a great example. The issue is more complicated than "stem cell research" (without saying which of
  • by east coast (590680) on Friday October 27, 2006 @10:59AM (#16609098)
    From a lot of the "political" comments on /. it's fairly apparent that most IT people/geeks have no real grasp on governmental affairs.

    It's fantastic when slashdotters throw around terms like "censorship" when censorship is not really involved (thus proving said posters have no grasp on politics) but god fucking forbid a guy call it "the google".

    It's sad how much we sit around here patting ourselves on the back for being so 31337 when the fact is that most of us are severely unqualified to do much more than post on slashdot.

    I wonder if on some political site they're discussing how slashdotters have no grasp on politics.
    • by krell (896769)
      Where's an example of this missuse of the word "censorship"?
      • by Tim C (15259)
        Almost every single article posted here about such-and-such a company taking down a blog, or removing comments from a forum, or something along those lines will have many comments decrying it as censorship.
    • IT people aren't in the position to make good decisions to affect millions (or dare I say, billions?) of people, and, most importantly it's not their job. Politicians are SUPPOSED to make good decisions. Whether that requires them to learn something or get people that do, that IS their job. This post is like responding to a situation of a coach of a losing team by saying that some complaining players on the losing team don't know anything about coaching.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by crabpeople (720852)

      "the fact is that most of us are severely unqualified to do much more than post on slashdot."

      Perhaps when you graduate highschool and move into the real world, you would understand that IT people are the problem solvers of the world. We are the soldiers of a digital age, armed with our minds, rapier like wits, and superior intellectual powers. We are the gatekeepers that master over the pleebs and serfs - the unclean, unwashed masses that merely plod on through life oblivious to us as we would be to any ext

  • Most of the world has poor grasp of technology. Even in the most developed countries, the average citizen has, at best, a marginal grasp of technology. Politicians are too busy being politicians to actual develop a good understanding of technology.

    This should not surprise anyone.
  • They would not have reduced our productivity by 2/3 because a bunch of executives looted enron.

    Not one IT person has been indicted but many IT persons in america in a publicly held is drowning in new paperwork for even the most trivial changes.
  • I'm not surprised at this at all. Let's just ignore all the obvious evidence for a moment (DMCA, "series of tubes", etc.) Politicians are just like CEOs and such in some respects. They both get paid to do big jobs that require knowing things. Knowing computers is NOT one of those things. This means that most of them have generic computer skills, but I bet if they need anything more complex than something simple they get an assistant/secretary/whoever to do it. There are people who know how to do that stuff

  • ...and /. readers have poor grasp of politics. 1 Enroll as a republican 2 Ensure Diebold Machines are used for polling 3 ??? 4 Profit!
  • Scientists and engineers now have a new org to help make sure that politicians and policymakers get the science/engineering info they need, "Scientists and Engineers for America" [sefora.org]. They recently appeared in an amusing Colbert Report episode [youtube.com], and on NPR's Talk of the Nation" [npr.org] show.

    "Effective government depends on accurate, honest and timely advice from scientists and engineers. Science demands an open, transparent process of review and access to the best scholars from around the nation and the world. Mistake

  • A famous bank robber said it did it because banks are "where the money is." I don't find this to be overly different. Technology is an industry where there is potential for rapid growth. If technology lobbyists are good enough, the politicians don't really need to know what they're doing. The government is a way for tech companies to sell stuff in high volume. Blame the companies for having excellent salesmen rather than talking bad on the politicians.
  • ... 'cause I'm gonna post "Series of Tubes" for the 15th time in this thread. Ready? Here goes:

    Series of tubes, anyone?

    Ha ha. That was funny.

  • the other side of the coin is that technological people only rarely have any grasp whatsoever of public policy and/or law issues. case in point #1 is slashdot, where we see people with doubtlessly technological skill coming out of their ears but largely (though not universally, of course - ther are a few truly bright people here on all sides of the various questions) unable or unwilling to see beyond short-term self interest in giving rather poorly thought out views on virtually every matter from intellect
  • Water wet?
    Windows prone to bugs?

    Obvious statements as questions annoy readers?
  • by Himring (646324) on Friday October 27, 2006 @11:31AM (#16609632) Homepage Journal
    It's a lack of represented professions. It's lack of not enough of everyone, or anyone, besides a lawyer. Plain and simple, and old as hat, government is ran by lawyers. Few are from any other profession. No, this is not another lawyer bashing, it is pointing out the fact that the masses would benefit from a more even, representative, spread of professions and knowledge-bases than are currently represented.

  • Politicians have a poor grasp of reality.
  • It's interesting from this vantage point to notice the story of a conference in France on EU politics and tech was being covered in ZDNetAsia.

    Patten, as the Last Governor of Hong Kong, is a celebrity of sorts here, but it would have been far more interesting to hear him explain at detail his thoughts on the issues and potential flaws with the UK ID card plan as former chief executive of a government with a mandatory ID card program.

    Perhaps the powers that be should send Patten, now the Chancellor of Oxford
  • the sky is blue. story at 11.
  • What about Al Gore? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Slowcurl (846117)
    Yeah, go ahead and make fun of him again for the whole inventing the internet thing or whatever, but it's pretty clear that he's comfortable around technology.
  • They are supposed to listen. And they listen to whomever has the most money to put on their campaign.

    I say we buy ourselves a congressman, too. I mean, if we all chip in, how expensive can a muppet be?

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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