Tuesday, November 4, 2008

As a Technical Person...

I am not usually inclined to actually get involved in technology policy. I just want to do my experiments. Technology Policy sounds like a misnomer to most techno-geeks because, honestly, we just want to play with our toys.

But in the last several years, I have noted that the highest levels of government are FUCKING CLUELESS about some basic stuff and made some horrifically bad decisions, like using Diebold machines or employing RFID in our passports. I called my bank recently and told them to give me another card without RFID in them, because I'm a computer scientist and there is no way I'm using that card, and they capitulated. I dont' even want my credit card information broadcasted on RFID, you think I want that shit broadcasting off my passport? Yeah right.

If I were a technology advisor to the government, I would have laughed in their faces and told them to try again. Seriously, even as a 23 year old baby PhizzleDizzle wannabe I knew these ideas were stupid.

So, I saw this article recently about Obama's likelihood of creating a CTO-like position in the cabinet to advise technology issues. I think this is a great idea. We are becoming ever more dependent on technology in our lives, and if Bush can create a Homeland Security department, surely we can have a Technology department to make sure stupid shit isn't done.

I personally think Ed Felten would be awesome. Ed Felten is a huge rockstar. He was a government expert witness for the Microsoft Anti-Trust trials. He and his graduate students have proved time and time again that Diebold machines can be hacked in 5 minutes or less. He is basically, a techno-god. So, he would have my vote.

Anyway, I know it's a little late to be waxing about reasons to vote for Obama, but I think this is one of them.


Ambivalent Academic said...

Yeah, I also heard that he's committed to actually filling his Science Advisor post...I believe it took Bush Jr. a few YEARS to fill his. Can you imagine!?!? Not getting around to appointing a science advisor until midway through your first term? All the while spouting off completely uninformed opinions on stem cell research (among other things)?

BH pointed out that perhaps it went unfilled for so long bc he couldn't find any reputable scientists willing to follow his playbook. Sounds like Obama has a lot more sense than that.

PS - Thanks for blogrolling me! How do you get yours to update with recent posts?? I think I just have mine as a list of links - there must be more to it than that.

PhizzleDizzle said...

I am currently reading a book by Seth Shulman called "Undermining Science: long post colon subtitle I can't remember". It basically talks about how the Bush admin. systematically politicized science, vast numbers of scientest with the EPA, the Interior, and more all resigned rather than fudge their numbers the way he liked. What a douchebag!

Anyway, to do the blogroll thing, when you mess with it via the Layout->Gadget interface, you can click little checkboxes for saying "show date updated" or "show snippet of last post". that was it!

Ambivalent Academic said...

Thanks - I just found it and came back to tell you so.

I think I've heard of that book...have been tempted to read it but worried that it make me more angry than I already am.