CNN says that in two hours the House will vote to emasculate the House ethics committee.
This is an incredibly important event, embodying lots of forces, including modes of instability which make it hard to see a path in which this species survives.
CNN reports that the motivation is a belief that the committee has been perverted already, and used to pursue political agendas, compromising the basic principles of democracy. That is certainly true, and I can't help thinking of an old friend of mine who ended up in Congress who would have every reason to join what Ted Cruz called "the peasants with pitchforks."
However, I also can't help thinking about what the fraudulent "transparency and accountability" changes ACTUALLY meant at NSF. Far from curing whatever ills were there on a small scale,
in a few islands, it created a mechanism of NONtransparency and central control by puppetmasters not visible to the public... and when the gestapo consolidates total control over the House, it may be game over.
Someone recently asked me whether computer control would avoid some of the gross instabilities we are moving towards. But computers are not magic; they too can lead to garbage out or to mediocrity, or can be empowering, depending on design. In truth, in 1979 I was excited when I was able to flesh out a new algorithm for intelligent decision making (a GENERAL deep learning algorithm, Dual Heuristic Programming DHP, capable of juggling billions of variables, unlike the simple temporal difference method HDP which I had published in 1977 in GSY); however, when I started to try to prove stability, I found that CONFLICT OF INTEREST effects (improper terms or gaps) led to substantial possibilities for collapse or entropy. Only in the Handbook of Intelligent Control, 1992, did I publish a "slight" variation with math showing it did not have that problem. (Some folks would wait for the kind of rigorous proof we published in Automatica last year, for a simpler design... but..
lots of other things to do here.)
Here's the thing: the short circuits they are putting now into Congress, and the remedies most likely to change the game more, all imply a huge amount of entropy. More important, they seriously weaken
the embryonic hopes of sustainable stabilization mechanisms. The same may be said of Mike Roger's plans for actual mutual destruction in the cyber sphere.
But, having zero power, having been zapped by the gestapo myself (along with more than half the
previous scientific leadership of NSF, as the rest is also under substantial and effective attack)...
maybe it's time for me to catch up on reading and (ala Voltaire) my own garden... I really feel bad for the kids who will actually have to live in this world... but inner space is big enough.
A few hours later: this has been cancelled or postponed. (Whew!).
It intrigues me to consider the analogy to Obamacare: a quick sledge hammer is often more destruction than fixing, but serious technical improvements are needed... if we are smart enough to do serious technical improvements. Are we? TBD. At ourenergypolicy.org, I have also posted my thoughts (as one of the vetted energy experts) on some other issues up in the air...