OTA reminder

Remember, we’re supposed to be pushing for the restoration of the Office of Technology Assessment. Have you written or phoned your senators and representatives yet?


  1. Caledonian says

    How exactly do you imagine you’ll get it reinstated?

    For that matter, how exactly do you imagine you’ll keep it from being a puppet of whatever Administration is in charge? It’s not worth anything if it isn’t independent, rational, and unbiased.

    Perhaps if you demand loudly and frequently enough, reality will set itself aside and give you what you want?

  2. fnord prefect says


    So nothing not guaranteed of success is worth doing? Yeah, if a senator/rep is dead against something, no amount of nudging will change it. But lets face it, they are (and not necessarily a bad thing) all vote-whores. If they see they stand to gain more by voting for it than against they may just go ahead and do the right thing.

  3. Caledonian says

    The point isn’t that some people may do the right thing. The challenge of government is to create a system where the ability of the irrational and malicious to damage society is minimized while fulfilling the basic responsibilities of the government.

    We have a very limited ability to demand change in our government, and virtually no ability to demand productive and responsible change.

  4. says

    Ok Caledonian. You’re right. Nothing ever changes. The world is broken. I’m just going to put a bullet in my brain right now.

    Or maybe, this office managed to run as an independent and highly-regarded body for 30 years. Maybe the evidence is that this office can work, and actually trying to change the world for the better is something worthwhile and possible.

  5. Kagehi says

    Yeah. Hate to be a cynic, but one can’t help but think, given the trend of Bush and the like to already undermine everything they look at, that it might not one day become the, “Office of Theological Assessment”, even if we did reinstate it. What is needed is some way to keep people’s grubby hands off of such a branch of the government *first*, then you establish one, once its sufficiently protected. Whether or not that also means laws requiring that they be listened to, and not budget cutted to the point where they only have some guy in the basement dusting filing cabinets, is another matter as well.

  6. AnthonyH says

    Caledonian (#1) wrote: “…how exactly do you imagine you’ll keep it from being a puppet of whatever Administration is in charge?”

    Uh, the OTA was a congressional agency, not an executive branch agency. This means that “the administration” (the President) had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    The Wikipedia article clearly states: “It was governed by a twelve-member board, comprising six members of Congress from each party.” That was the mechanism for ensuring that the OTA was not “the puppet” of whichever party had a majority of seats in the congress.

    Your statement is rather of the same order of understanding as saying “pi equals three.”

  7. says

    Otherwise you’ll get things like this project mentioned at Ontario Geofish, where the government has already decided to put nuclear waste in an area of weak, fractured rock and there’s no public study of the geology.

    It seems to be called the Deep Geology Repository. “OPG” is Ontario Power Generation, formerly part of Ontario Hydro. The other two fragments are Hydro One and TSS. Nobody knows what any of them do.