visa ban connections/ impact with science/ tech/ research/ edu

hi all, ideally technology advances might exist in some kind of vacuum that is unimpacted by politics. technology does have a huge resilience these days to shifting political winds du jour but alas, it can be highly impacted by political currents/ decisions. after a major regime/ administration change, these heretofore “hidden” dependencies can come into more stark focus, as is the case lately.

am trying to come up with a personal strategy/ pov/ philosophy toward the Age of Trump, still under development/ construction. have been through major election disappointments before. was mostly apolitical before Bush and then became much more political after bush, just trying to understand the world we live in and the direction it was going. bush 2004 election was a big disappointment to me. it seemed like a victory for warmongering. its strange how delayed the publics reaction to Iraq invasion was. it seems it took over a decade for the public to sour on it. but its heartening to some )( degree that those types of shifts can eventually happen and affect mainstream politics.

anyway, here we are now lurching back into a right wing US hegemony. the phrase “loose cannon” comes to mind. to me a constant daily anger is just not healthy (either by the shocked/ dismayed public or POTUS himself!). there is certainly fuel for that reverberating all over the media. it seems that old phrase “scandal fatigue” all over again. politics and retaining ones personal sanity in the face of political gyrations of the ages requires a kind of weary resignation sometimes.

have made some comments in this blog. Obama was generally a real friend to science/ technology during his administration. its hard to imagine a better scenario for that position from the pov of tech/ science. he had a (so-called) “bully pulpit” and used it. there was remarkable support for CS built in to admin policy and obama personally endorsed it enthusiastically. the phrase “bully pulpit” now takes on entirely new meaning! 😮

what Trump seems unaware of is how much of his policy interacts with technology. for example, if world manufacturing is using robotics heavily, how does that interrelate to his attempts to increase human manufacturing jobs? it would seem he hasnt been briefed yet on this subject. maybe Bannon or Conway can fill him in on that ASAP? or maybe the CIA already has a white paper on it thats been tossed in the “circular file”…

there is that old phrase “revenge of unintended consequences” coming to mind. already there is talk about serious/ widespread impact/ damage to US scientific capability/ development/ future. there is another phrase “consequences be damned”.

this is a complex topic and its in play and its not sure how its going to play out. but another big item that seems likely to heat up is H1B visa policy, Trump admin is making some noises on this.

in theory based on the law the US is not allowed to pay less-than-market wages to H1B visa applicants but in practice that is far from the case. that whole concept of “market wage” is really slippery sometimes. corporations largely dictate it and the govt has to accept their declarations. and nothing could possibly go wrong with the honor system by corporations, right?

H1B visas play a big/ outsize role in the technology industry, and its mostly been under the radar of the mass public, but the discontent has been bubbling for years.

globalization tied to neoliberalism has been in play for about 3 decades now. its jet fuel for capitalism but sometimes capitalism is like a big squeezing vice on labor (reminds me of that scene of the garbage compactor in star wars), with the 1% somehow magically escaping the grip, like trick of the beautiful woman in the box (not!) sawed in half. (& was that enough mixed metaphors yet?)

lately more and more of the dark side of globalization is apparent. this is something of a polite understatement. one might even say, like all human endeavors, globalization seems to have elements of evil to it. generally well concealed but maybe somewhat less lately.

the mass public seems to be waking up to some )( degree. social media is assisting some of the discontent, but is not the source of it. the source of it is the intense, sometimes crushing dehumanization of our economic system that has spread worldwide. sometimes the emperor has no clothes, and yet no other emperor is available.

sometimes dark ages bring out some light. its heartening to see the massive reaction by professionals such as scientists etc push back against the visa ban. eg, in a rare moment, normally apolitical tech CEOs are showing up with their political juices flowing.

but it also seems sometimes like a massive waste of brilliant energy. why do we live in a country where so much effort must be put into humanitarian resistance effort?

its a lot of upset, tumult, shrillness and even shrieking lately.

where is this going?

what do you think?

following, a selection of reading come across in my own personal daily travels/ travails to help me make some sense of it, hope you find something useful.

a. ban
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