Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Congressional Ignorance


New York Times
10 June 2008

Physicists in Congress Calculate Their Influence


[Vernon J. Ehlers is one of only three physicists in the United States Congress.]

[...] Several times he has found himself "rushing to the floor" to head off colleagues ready to eliminate financing for endeavors whose importance they did not understand.

Once it was game theory. The person seeking the cut did not seem to realize that game theory had to do with interactions in economics, behavior and other social sciences, not sports, Mr. Ehlers recounted.

Then there was the time he rose to defend A.T.M. research against a colleague who thought it should be left to the banking industry. In this case the initials stood for asynchronous transfer mode, a protocol for fiber-optic data transfer. [...]