Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chu as SecEn

The Obama team continues to move along like a dream -- now he has chosen Steven Chu of LBL as the Secretary of Energy.

I mean, wow. I have gotten so used to...well...hacks in high Cabinet positions that it seems unbelievable we will actually have someone who is intelligent, rational, and forward-thinking.

I mean, do you remember James Watt, Secretary of the Interior in the Reagan administration? A complete wack job. He actually said, when speaking to Congress:
"I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."
And -- and this is, sure, exactly what you want in a high-level politician anywhere, let alone one tasked with managing your country's land:
"After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."
People aren't weird even in the Bush Jr. administration.

After office (and after being indicted for influence peddling, he spoke in front of a group and said:
"If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used."
What a nightmare.

Or remember Spencer Abraham? Bipedal incompetency.


So why should we expect Chu to be any better? Because he's a physicist!

Sure, I'm biased. But I really do believe that physicists -- or, at least, some of them -- are some of the smartest people on the planet. And, more than that -- and I've know a lot of them -- probably the most educationally balanced people on the planet.

Historians or English majors can get away with not knowing much about quantum mechanics or professing their fear of algebra, but physicists are expected to know about the Shakespeare and the French Revolution and the politics of the US Civil War. It's simply part of being an educated person. And they can convert Joules to BTUs!

Sure, Chu is forward-thinking. That's great. But mostly he's very, very smart, too smart to be easily fooled or suckered by politics or bullshited to.

I'm not saying he can walk on water. But at least he knows what its index of refraction is.

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