Sex and the Single Technosapien

The hottest women in the world are magnetically attracted to two centers of power.  One on the west coast, Hollywood.  One on the east coast, Washington, D.C. These incredible emBODYments of every male’s fantasy are as much on display in the Capitol dining room as they are in the commissaries of the major studios.  Sound sexist?  Yes.

But hey, do you really think (male) politicians went through all the crap they had to go through to get elected, to actually SERVE the public?  (See: Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, John Ensign, Chris, Lee, Eric Massa, Mark Souder, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, David Vitter, James McGreevey, Gary Condit, Bob Packwood, Gary Hart, Wayne Hayes, Wilbur Mills, JFK, and Anthony Weiner)  We’re talking a well stocked pond here. And the bait wiggling on the hook is power, influence, and money.

My first experience in Washington was sitting in the Senate dining room, watching 90-something year old Claude Pepper, the Congressman from Florida, sitting amongst five women.  Each could have easily held the Miss America title.  He was slurping Yankee Bean soup, if I recall.  So, what did I take from this?  Utter defeat.

How could a nerd flourish in this environment?  Principally, me and the nerds I was working with for the House Committee for Science, Space, and Technology.  Nerds with no power, no influence.  But then, I saw them at work as “the science guys.”  They were quietly trying to nudge America’s Science and Technology agenda into something that eventually would serve America well and I realized quickly that they were the cool guys.

At the time, little things like cell phones, smart phones, high definition television, the Internet, bioresearch on cancer, genomes and supercolliders were just over the horizon. But this real, complicated, heady techno-crap was never going to arrive on America’s shores unless the nonagenarian sucking down the soup could understand the workings and value of the science and technology he would eventually be called to vote on.

That was part of my job, at the time, to create information pieces for the members of Congress, so they could vote on appropriations on science.  It was a tough assignment because 99% of them were lawyers.  They were there to make more laws, not science, so that other lawyers could make more money.  This forced all of us to “lawyer up” in order to comply with the laws that had been written by lawyers.  But that’s a scam story for another book.

Back to my challenge on how to get ol’ Claude, there, to understand the subtle nuances of 1920 x 1080 dpi, square pixel, progressively scanned, 60 frame per second, 16×9, Video standards, when he was born before the invention of the airplane.  The craft of simplifying the complicated was what I was able to hone well in the hallowed halls of Congress.  And, hopefully, one that I continue to succeed with between the covers of a book – or, because of those initiatives started 20 years ago, between the clicks of an ebook.

In fact, the technology, delivery, and infrastructure that delivers that digital book and everything else to your handheld device, was what we were pushing for back when the computer was as big as a house, cost $10 million, took 3 people to run, and had a whopping 64K solid core memory.

Claude is long gone, God rest his soul, and the girls are probably wearing Spanx and considering Botox, but you are reading this on one piece of technology that has 20-2,000 times the total computing, switching and data capacity of every electronic device combined in the Entire World at the end of the Second World War.  That is the power and influence of nerds.

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