Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

04 Feb 2008, 6:59 a.m.

Technologists Needed, Tech Priorities, And Tech Triumphs

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

My company is hiring web developers and information architects, especially ActionScript, Flash and JavaScript coders. Let me know if you want me to get a resume to the parters.

My sweetie just wrote an amazing essay on what the government space program should be doing.

A talk about priorities is usually a talk about money, so here's a baseline number. NASA's 2008 budget is $17.3 billion. This is not a trivial sum, but since the government always seems able to allocate much larger sums for pointless wars, weapons systems that don't work and/or are strategically useless, etc., I've never bought into the argument that this $17.3 billion is taking off the table money that could be used to solve pressing social problems. (In fact there's a pressing social problem that NASA is in a good position to help with, except that part got taken out of NASA's mission statement.) I prefer to think of NASA's budget as a Strategic Awesomeness Reserve. And over time I've come to the conclusion that manned space exploration is not awesome-effective.

Leonard also has been keeping up the insight and research at The Future: A Retrospective. When I saw his post about the female condom I felt a need to bring up the relevant section of Our Bodies, Ourselves so people could learn about the plethora of birth control methods we currently enjoy. A new IUD, a vaginal ring, spermicidal foams, a patch, low-dose and combination-hormone pills, the implant one-sixth the size of Norplant... and now a contraceptive pill that also stops menstruation. Let's see how many of these Future Stuff predicted!

I got into an argument last week with a sullen, America-bashing Scottish kid at SIPA. Among other things easily refuted by about five minutes of blog-reading research, he charged that Big Pharma Doesn't Make Medicines That Really Help People. Oh really? I can think of about three uncomplimentary reasons why he hasn't been keeping up with the latest in contraceptive tech.