In a column in The New York Times last week, Tom Friedman took a creative and rather insightful stab at what a Chinese version of WikiLeaks might read like. In a faux letter from the vantage point of a Chinese correspondent reporting on what the Chinese embassy is witnessing in Washington, Friedman mocks what he sees as some of the absurdities of America.

One of the observations hit home: “America’s politicians are mostly lawyers — not engineers or scientists like ours — so they’ll just say crazy things about science and nobody calls them on it.”

The point is well taken. Greater engineering and science expertise among government leaders would shifts the conversation on technology from mostly subjective to knowledge-based.

Human nature imposes upon us the inevitable habit of telling others what we think. If Congress were better informed on matters of technology, opinions would carry the weight of knowledge. This is essential as the debate on energy policy and the necessary infrastructure continues.

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The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

December 2010
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