Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Politics Government Science

Presidential Candidates' Science and Tech Policies 413

gracey1103 writes "Popular Mechanics has put together an easy-to-follow matrix of where the '08 presidential candidates stand on different science, tech and environment issues. Everything is cited and links back directly to each candidate's published policy pages so you can get more info."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Presidential Candidates' Science and Tech Policies

Comments Filter:
  • by LGagnon ( 762015 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:14PM (#21758850)
    They didn't mention Kucinich or Gravel, and allowed more Republicans on the list than Democrats. This seems a bit biased to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ada_Rules ( 260218 )
      Wow you are right it is totally biased. They totally left out the 3 candidates for the Libertarian Party nomination. Wayne Allyn Root Michael Jingozian Daniel Imperato
    • by morari ( 1080535 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:32PM (#21759082) Journal
      The media has been doing and wonderful job of either making Kucinich look like a nutcase or just outright ignoring his existence. Being the best candidate for the people quickly earns enemies though, I suppose.
      • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:49PM (#21759236)
        Kucinich gets my support simply because he wants to reduce the military budget. I don't care how much of a nutcase you are or what other bad ideas you have, it's hard to make an error that'll offset the hundreds of billions a year saved.
        • by PresidentEnder ( 849024 ) <wyvernender.gmail@com> on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:58PM (#21759338) Journal
          So does Paul get your support, too? (Kucinich is my other favorite, of course).
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Entropius ( 188861 )
            No, because he opposes reproductive rights.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @10:08PM (#21759974)
              He opposes them personally. But his beliefs that the federal government should have no say on abortions whatsoever trumps that. You can either wait for a candidate that aligns with you on every single belief you hold, or you can go for one that might disagree with you but will never use the machinery of the state to enforce that.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
              Huh? Ron Paul opposes the right of two people to copulate and produce offspring? Since when?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Ah, my friend, you should pay more attention. It's not that he supports making abortion illegal across the board, it's that he believes it ought to be decided on a per-state basis. Indeed, this might be best for the "fetuses aren't human" side of the argument: if your legality is federal, then the feds (under a government run, for instance, by a former baptist minister) could make a sweeping decision that it's illegal. In fact, Ron Paul voted against a bill [vote-smart.org] which would have forbidden minors from crossing st
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Elemenope ( 905108 )
              You do realize that before his somewhat half-hearted about-face, Kucinich was strongly against "reproductive rights" too, right?
        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @07:49AM (#21763060) Journal

          Kucinich gets my support simply because he wants to reduce the military budget.
          I heard a speech he gave on the radio. It was some college station and I only caught about 8 minutes of what was a broadcast of a complete speech. I couldn't believe I was listening to a presidential candidate. He actually sounds like an extremely intelligent and thoughtful person. Person not public-relations robot. And unlike at least two of the Republican candidates, he actually accepts Darwin's theory of the origin of species as a viable explanation of evolution!

          I'm afraid he could never carry Megachurch America.

          I'm voting for him just because any funny looking little guy who's not rich and can get a hot piece of ass wife like Kucinich's got who actually seems to be in love with him must have some serious Mojo. I know this sounds funny, but that's exactly the kind of guy we need to deal with the Iranians and Chinese.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by coaxial ( 28297 )
        Well if Kucinich would actually have some real proposals rather than simply spouting sophmoric hippie clap-trap like creating a "Department of Peace" (whatever that means), then perhaps he'd have better traction.
      • by alshithead ( 981606 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:45PM (#21760754)
        "The media has been doing and wonderful job of either making Kucinich look like a nutcase or just outright ignoring his existence. Being the best candidate for the people quickly earns enemies though, I suppose."

        Welcome to the wonderful world of modern US politics. If you aren't in the pockets of the multiple corporate overlords then the corporate owned media will spin you into oblivion...if they mention you at all. I'm not sure what the solution is.
    • Ah, why couldn't they allow the second candidate on the list that cared about space... maybe aliens. Maybe someone who has seen a UFO! You are right! Kucinich totally should have been there.
    • Funny, I can't see the bottom of the list. I think it's a conspiracy by Firefox to ignore Ron Paul.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      Popular Mechanics has had a very obvious pro-corporate and pro-Republican bias for quite a while. You mean you hadn't noticed? It is pretty blatant sometimes.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Skater ( 41976 )
        Really? There's a big article this month about video surveillance - what's possible and what's wrong with it.

        In other issues in recent months/years I've seen editorials and articles explaining the problems with DRM and the like.

        Those don't sound pro-corporate to me.
    • Reality Check:


      Principled man with a cute wife, but he doesn't have a chance in hell of winning.


      Who?! (This is what's called a rhetorical question.)

      allowed more Republicans on the list than Democrats

      Boo-hoo! Every fringe candidate wasn't on the list! And there's more of one party! Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle. Shut up and do something about it. Something constructive.

      I heard Alan Keyes (again, a principled man... not sure how hott his wifey is, tho) is running, again, but he's not on the list.

      This seems a bit biased to me.

      You seem like a wimp or a troll to me.

  • by Curien ( 267780 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:15PM (#21758862)
    o Auto
    o Digital/Tech
    o Climate/Energy
    o Environment
    o Gun control
    o Infrastructure
    o Science/Education
    o Space

    • by Oriumpor ( 446718 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:19PM (#21758932) Homepage Journal
      let me fix that:

      o Auto
      o Digital/Tech
      o Climate/Energy
      o Environment
      o Cowboy Neal
      o Infrastructure
      o Science/Education
      o Space
    • you're right, it has little to do with the other topics although it's a very polar issue between the political parties and a lot of people feel strongly about one side or the other. It seems appropriate that this be addressed in the comparison. That is however, assuming that they actually end up doing what they say they are rather than what suits them as POTUS...
      • And why no abortion and gay marriage? About as controversal (at the very least as controversal) and about as (un)"geeky".

        The only thing "geeky" about guns is that they are a lot more mechanical than the two aforementioned issues. They're more biological (yuk!).
    • by megaditto ( 982598 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:36PM (#21759102)
      You are right: while all the other listed issues are interrelated, this "Gun Control" stands on its own. To fix the list, we need to add:

      Freedom of Speech,
      habeas corpus and
      Civil rights

      Also needed is Immigration all of these up together.
    • It does seem a lot more specific and is the only "social science" issue. Still, it is amusing to see candidates try to justify their stances while trying not to let science enter the equation as to what their stance is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The inclusion of Gun Control in this matrix is as peculiar as the absence of trade and labor issues.

    • It's an inverse Schrödinger thing. Dead people make no observations, therefore handguns are anti-scientific.

      Hm, the phrase "co-Schrödingerisation argument" is sparky. I have to start using it in my gibberish.

    • by jank1887 ( 815982 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @09:35PM (#21759678)
      No, it fits. This is a PopularMechanics list. They are quite proud of the fact that guns are a significant topic with their readership. they run ads for gunmakers, and don't apologize. they print both sides of letters to the editor about guns, gun control, gun ads, etc. gun control as a topic is likely high on the list of interest to the readership, along with tech/science/etc.
      • by Curien ( 267780 )
        OK, that makes sense. I don't read the magazine regularly; but I've seen plenty of covers, and I never suspected guns were a main focus.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by treeves ( 963993 )
      Here's how they're related:

      Popular Mechanics compiled these links to make it easier to compare leading presidential candidates on several issues of interest to our readers, primarily in areas of science and technology.

      The article does not limit to science and technology. That is a simplification made in the summary and the /. post's title.

    • For instance:
      - Current research into Railguns (safer alternative to current naval cannons, far greater range, no need for tons of explosive material)
      - Boeing's current chemical laser research

      Certainly geek stuff

      Give a couple of years and the above *might* be available to your local street ganger...

  • Disappointment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:17PM (#21758902) Homepage Journal
    This seems to assume that 1. you only care about "mainstream party" candidates and 2. spending is the primary measure of support.

    I don't know how willingness to spend confiscated funds on research became a qualification for office, but I am completely convinced that this point of view is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:18PM (#21758908)
    on whether the candidate supports PS3 or XBOX360? Or BluRay vs HDDVD? Or KDE vs GNOME?
  • by yali ( 209015 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:19PM (#21758930)

    "Easy to follow matrix"? Not exactly. At first, I thought the matrix indicated endorsements, but it doesn't -- checkmarks simply indicate that they were able to find out where a candidate stands. If you actually want to know what that stance is, you sometimes have to click through many screens to get to it.

    Great idea, mediocre execution. (And why is gun control on a list of science and technology issues, but not stem cell research?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Great idea, mediocre execution. (And why is gun control on a list of science and technology issues, but not stem cell research?)

      or for that matter, what is their stance on whether or not we should ignore the constitution in regard to intelligent design being taught in schools? [probably been answered but hey what else on this list hasn't either?] seems like a rather important thing to know about a potential POTUS- whether or not they intend to inject religion into science education and all... It was rather

    • by Empiric ( 675968 )
      ...but not stem cell research?

      Because recent advances have eliminated the necessity of an ethically-controversial method of acquiring them?

      Pretty widely-carried news recently. [wired.com]

      I can't really picture the most conservative of conservatives being against it on this basis. So, maybe the people choosing the issues for the grid saw it as a nonissue at this point as well.
      • by yali ( 209015 )

        From your link: "This is early-stage research. We should not abandon other areas of stem cell research. It's by no means certain they'll differentiate in the same way as a normal embryonic stem cell."

        Additionally, you said:

        I can't really picture the most conservative of conservatives being against it on this basis.

        Based on his past statements, it is likely that Ron Paul would still oppose it [ronpaul2008.com].

  • Affirmatives only? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:21PM (#21758962)
    I didn't go through all of them, but it seems the matrix only shows which topics a candidate has an affirmative stance on. If they do, then a checkmark links to an explanation of the stance. If not, no information is given. For example, all of them except Giuliani and Huckabee were "in favor" of digital technology. I assume that Giuliani and Huckabee weren't taking the Amish approach, but rather they hadn't made any clear statements on the matter.

    So the chart is a mildly intersting way of presenting a limited amount of information on candidates stances, but not particularly useful for comparing them. A better approach (although still imperfect) would have been to attempt to determine sides of an issue and divide the candidates that way.

    For example: Should federal government increase spending on internet infrastructure projects? *

    Biden: No
    Clinton: Yes
    Edwards: No
    Obama: Yes
    Richardson: No

    * (answers randomly assigned)
    • * (answers randomly assigned)
      Nitpick: That's pseudo-random at best, and even that is statistically doubtful. The selected candidates were the democrat slugs, and the yes/no answers just alternate...
      • by Curien ( 267780 )
        How do you know? He could have thrown dice or used some other good source of random data. Just because a sequence has a pattern (and it's a short sequence, at that) doesn't mean it's non-random.
    • There's a big problem with your idea: the article only looks for places where that candidate's campaign has expressed a position on that issue. So they would have to find negative positions to do as you request, and that's not going to happen.

      Even on something as controversial as gun control, I challenge you to find something supporting all-out gun control on any of the Dem's websites. (It may be there; I don't have time to check now, but I seriously doubt it.) Why? Because the Dems know that gun control
  • by apachetoolbox ( 456499 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:25PM (#21759002) Homepage
    http://www.copyrightreform.us/2008-presidential-candidates [copyrightreform.us] has something much better going on. Help out by suggesting IT related questions to ask the candidates. Replies and scans of the letters they send back will be posted as they come in. Help us figure out some good questions.
    • Am I the only one starting to get afraid to follow links posted here (at least at work?)

      Not directed at the parent, I just felt noticed myself hestitating before clicking
    • Seeing how the DMCA clone was defeated in Canada, (at least for now) this may be the best time to apply some pressure for a DMCA rollback in the US. Sure, money talks but if we can make this into a significant election issue the RIAA and MPAA doesn't really have a lot of friends outside of their home base. Especially if attention is made to some of the really loony effects of this law, and how it affects joe and jane average.

    • I'd be interested what they think about patent trolling and whether or not it is a problem. Being not from the US, I kinda doubt my question would be considered important. After all, I couldn't vote for any of the candidates.
  • Meaningless drivel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Normal_Deviate ( 807129 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:28PM (#21759036)
    Every election year, people get caught up in the candidates' "positions" as if they meant something. Face it: the Presidential election is the world series of lying, and you are not wise enough to detect it. In a political debate, you may safely ignore any sentence that does not begin with "When I faced this problem before, I ..." Remember, under Jimmy Carter we got deregulation of trucking, airlines, and natural gas. Under Nixon we got actual wage and price controls (!), and the EPA.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The exception this year is Ron Paul. Even those who disagree with him can't fault his honesty or consistency.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:39PM (#21759126)
    I was interested in the difference between Obama and Hillary. Obama's strategy depends heavily on Cellulosic ethanol [wikipedia.org]. One of the advantages of cellulosic ethanol is that there are a couple of major ways to make it. That makes it a pretty safe bet that the necessary technology will develop. The other advantage is that it can be made from agricultural waste.

    Hillary said a bunch of stuff but it was the kind of stuff that a politician would say. I really liked that Obama was specific. That makes his proposals much more likely to happen.
  • This is the dumbest chart I have ever seen. A check-mark? What does that mean? The candidate is aware/unaware of the issue? Is pro/con with the issue? Just dumb. And where is Kusinich? He'd probably have the most checks (whatever they may stand for).

    Or am I not geek enough to just scan over the chart and go: "Aha! Now it all makes sense." Typical dumbed down politics. Everything is so black and white at this point that a fucking check-mark is all you need to see in order to make up your own simplistic bl
    • While I have to agree that the presentation is pretty poor it's not quite that bad.

      The check marks simply mean that PM has a source link to provide with info on the candidates stance in that category. The check mark is the link. If there is no check mark it means PM doesn't have reliable source to point you to.

      Granted it's certainly not "easy to follow" but after figuring it out and actually following the links I found it to be pretty informative.
  • Categories:

    Auto Digital/Tech Energy/Climate Environment Gun Control Infrastructure Science/Education Space

    "Gun Control"? Which Republican picked those categories? What does gun control have to do with science policy? Does _Popular Mechanics_ have a firearms classifieds section or something?
  • Is there some reason why Kucinich is regularly left out of all Presidential debates and comparisons? Is there some reason that everyone is afraid of him? Don't tell me a congressman isn't good enough to be a President. Only Senators can become president this time around?
    • Is there some reason why Kucinich is regularly left out of all Presidential debates and comparisons?
      Yes. Insufficient funding. They know he doesn't have a snowball's chance, so they don't waste thier time. Same with libertarians. Most of of the media is not really interested in ideas, so they don't judge on that basis.
  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:57AM (#21761254) Journal
    ... when I saw that a majority of the candidates listed had a tick under gun control. I was less pleasantly surprised when I realised that the tick meant they opposed gun control.

    How counter-intuitive is that? The tick implies approval (not to mention it implies that the candidate made the right choice).

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.