Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Science: Political or Otherwise

(This is a draft I saved back on Tuesday, September 23, 2008)

What do I like about my job?  You're constantly testing things.  Like one professor describes it, you're on a constant cycle of ideas, experiments, results feeding back into ideas.  If you think you might have a possible explanation for why things turned out as they did, that usually means a whole series of new experiments to test this idea pops into your head! 

I think that if more micromanagers went into science, they'd be happier people.  I mean, if social engineers would channel their delight for control into something useful and humane -- like PCR -- well, the world would be a much different place.

A lot of times, I feel sorry for folks in political science.  As I was listening to the radio this weekend, one poor guy was trying to decipher the effects that the respective conventions, and the selection of VP candidates had the approval ratings of the two major candidates.  He could give a rough approximation, but it's kind of like trying to model the peaks in an x-ray photoelectron spectrum: you can guess where the overlapping peaks start and end, but a good bit of it is approximation.  It's impossible to back off the various components.

In political science, you can't even begin to control many key factors.  At least in what I do, you can choose a factor and vary it at will.  Hmm... maybe I should stay put...

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

No comments: