Whither the future of US science and technology?

It’s coming fast and furious these days.

An article discussing the impact of offshoring in Silicon Valley (and other places I’d wager). Business types saying it’s just a normal trend; the unemployed angry, not philosophical.

“I am not angry with companies for trying to conserve costs, but at the same time, we do have to acknowledge that it’s going to create more problems for us domestically if we don’t create more jobs for U.S. citizens,” said Humphries

“I think overall, long term, the U.S. economy can take it. But there’s going to be a huge amount of restructuring pain,” said Rafiq Dossani.


Hey, out of Austin, TX., a Washington Post article about how tightened security measures post-9/11 is discouraging students and scientists from coming to the US.

More than two years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a thicket of new rules governing the granting of visas to foreigners is dissuading thousands of people from coming to the United States and generating protests from research universities, medical institutions, multinational corporations and the travel industry.

As a side note, my appointment with Carlos Ortiz de Solozano was delayed several weeks because he got caught in a bureaucratic snarl regarding his visa when he went to return to Berkeley from his native Spain.

Are biotech and nanotech the answer? Well, it’s no slam-dunk. Nanotech is still green fruit, and biotech—because it involves doing something in people or food—is a slow, risky proposition.

At least the White House is getting an earful. Meetings of advisors on science and technology had a few things to say.

In China, 39% of all students are studying engineering, as compared to just 5% in the United States. “What is occurring is a massive exodus of jobs,” Herbold told PCAST. His subcommittee’s most important finding for policymakers was that “we have a shift here of monumental proportions” in jobs and competitiveness.

Finally, to me the most discouraging, an article today in the NY Times asking if the US and so-called Western culture is retreating from science.

The disaffection can be gauged in recent opinion surveys. Last month, a Harris poll found that the percentage of Americans who saw scientists as having “very great prestige” had declined nine percentage points in the last quarter-century, down to 57 from 66 percent. Another recent Harris poll found that most Americans believe in miracles, while half believe in ghosts and a third in astrology — hardly an endorsement of scientific rationality.

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