Mike the Mad Biologist

BP and Revenge of the NerdsExperts

Ezra Klein makes a great catch:

Obama has also called in some of the many scientists on the federal payroll, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Chu at one point pushed the unusual idea of using gamma rays to peer into the blowout preventer to determine if its valves were closed, a technique he experimented with in graduate school while studying radioactive decay.

The suggestion at first elicited snickering and “Incredible Hulk” jokes. Then they tried it, and it worked. “They weren’t hot on his ideas,” a senior White House official said of BP’s initial reaction to Chu’s suggestions. “Now they are.”

This seems related to something I’ve discussed before:

…many issues require detailed knowledge and specific skills. You can’t just get some ‘good folks’ together and build a light water reactor. If there is a reason why there are so few public intellectuals left, it is because expertise is no longer understood.

In BP’s case, they’re not even good people, but idiots stoned on their own testosterone and narcissism.


  1. #1 Fluffy Eschaton
    June 12, 2010

    The suggestion at first elicited snickering and “Incredible Hulk” jokes.

    Brawndo’s got electrolytes!

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