If we could reinstate a body to advise congress on matters scientific, so that our lawmakers could have some other point of view besides those provided by pollsters and special interest lobbyists, I believe we would have far fewer of this kind of ill-conceived bill winding its way through congress
The Office of Technology Assessment (click here to read a nice summary of their existence) was just such a body. Without their guidance, our congress is almost entirely a bunch of Political Science / History/ Legal Majors with no background upon which to understand some of the most critical issues of our day. Everything from DMCA* to why it’s an idiotic idea to move the DST around to save energy.
This article, American Thinker- Ban the Bulb?, regarding a proposal to ban incandescent bulbs amazes me not only because of the technical irrelevance of the move, but also from the fact that all those history majors in congress do not recognize the historical trend that should even be obvious to the Luddites that claim to represent our best interests.
Beyond the issues that the above article raises, it is commonplace for technological innovations to *increase* energy consumption rather than decrease it. Be it for sociological reasons (the new bulbs are cheaper to run so I can just leave them on all the time) or technological reasons (Hey! Here’s a use for these bulbs that I wouldn’t have even considered with the old bulbs!) that drive a new demand and hence greater energy consumption.
Check out my blog entry about a book VERY relevant to this discussion and see what I mean.