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05 June 2015


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Babak Makkinejad

I was in this All-Employees Meeting in this company which was going through layoffs - 3 layoffs in a period of 6 months - in which we were regaled by the video of CEO (God knows where he was at the time, on vacation with his new bimbo) urging us to work hard to return "value to the share-holders".


So having been a student of history; what I saw was an absentee feudal lord - an absentee overseer in fact - urging us peasants to work for the benefit of the absentee landlords.

To me, that was a new form of feudalism; reward on top, punishment at the bottom.

Kim Sky

Primarily this phenomenon has concerned me as a national security issue. Secondarily as a US loss of the middle-class issue. Very short-sighted. Seems that the internationalist business has won. The practice of out-sourcing was so successful, the military grabbed onto the idea. Nationalism seems to truly exist for parades and population control only.

In the nineties I began asking the help personnel, "What country are you in?" then proceed to discuss the weather, etc.

I've been in the tech industry all my life, and witnessed HP etc, move whole centers, including highly trained linux personnel to India. A job of some 70,000 a year turns into a job of 5,000 dollars a year. Much less the odd practice of importing workers to the US from India.



When you're provided detailed information with how people skirt DMV procedures and insist on saying "B-b-but muh regulations!", yes.

I hope you code better than you argue.



Its from the Big Lebowski. And seeing as how you're numero uno around here for riding around on a moral high horse (a crowded field around here), its very relevant how you're in full throated favor of more diversity while keeping it well away from you. Typical prog hypocrite.

I never mentioned illegal immigration, you goof. I said they were immigrants, period. I know you want to blame kkkorpoations but remember that your fellow Dem and Republican fellow travelers are just as much to blame.



I think the relationship between Wall Street and quants is precisely the sort of problem that set off the exchange between Farooq and myself.

I actually personally know quite a lot of people from physics/math background became Wall Street quants. They are very smart, highly able technically, and do fine work, but within their limits. Basically, they can do the math and optimize portfolios extremely well, but are basically ignorant about markets and economy beyond the formulas and, even more dangerously, dangerously overconfident about what they do know (and underestimate what they do not know, or even understand.) Many of these people, directly or indirectly, were responsible for some of the financial fiascos we have had in the past decade or two. It's an attitude (and the problem) that I suspect is common among the tech-savvy intel types doing Sigint and such and policymakers trained in "poli sci" as the colonel likes to refer to them.

At the root of the problem might be that many of these people, though smart, are not very "intellectual" or "scientific" in their thinking. They are bright and hardworking enough to master the formulas (or programming or whatever) and learn what they need quickly enough. But not only can they not see the big picture, some of them actually hold the big picture in contempt, as long as they can get what they want done. Like I mentioned in one of replies to Farooq above, I used to be really bothered by this trend, but I'll confess that I don't care that much any more, and it is not as if it matters for most people anyways, I suppose. Still, I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bother me that I don't care any more.


There are abuses in the system and i never said there are not. There is cycle of companies taking advantage and then crack down by Feds. In one of the examples you provided it was officials who were making allegations and they legal action all the time.

My disagreement with you is that you think that majority of H1-B workers are "skirting DMV procedures" as you put it.

My other problem with you is the salarly ranges of 30k-40k that you keep bringing up. Zukerberg and other Silicon valley companies pay more than 100k to mid level IT professionals. It is not hard to get a salary like that in Research Triangle Park in NC, forget about Silicon Valley where companies are involved in poaching each other's candidates.

I guess we have come a full circle and i would drop this here.


"I hope you code better than you argue."
That made me chuckle though :D
If it wasn't for your prayers and well wishes i couldn't find the post button on this webpage and post this message ;)


I think we disagree yet. Ottomans blocked the printing press and Shah Ismail's aversion to using modern artillery lead to his crushing defeat at the hands of Sultan Selim. They seem more like Ming dynasty elites plotting to burn Zheng He's fleet than people catalyzing Renaissance in Italy.

This is a putative quote from Al-Razi (c. 700-1000 CE)

“By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: 'produce something like it?!'”

A person like Al-Razi wouldn't have lasted too long in these allegedly Seljuk lands where you think free thought survived. He wouldn't last at all today in Turkey or Iran in year 2015 forget about Ottomans or Safvids.


Ok i just noticed that in your reply to LeaNder you have discounted Ottomans and Safvids as part of free thought continuum and you think the interest in western ideas resurfaced around WW2.

IMO, that could just be explained with less complicated reasons (Occam's razor)

1) Exponential increase in communication and inter-continental contact.
2) Soul searching after military defeats.

Both these reasons are self reinforcing and we have seen them at work in China and India as well. In fact in India this started right after collapse of 1857 rebellion.


I think i understand your concern in light of the analogy you gave in your post regrading Wall Street and sigint.

The answer to that, based on my experience is that it all depends on how mature IT in an enterprise is. An enterprise with moderate capability maturity level (CMM) will never expect developers or coders to have the domain knowledge (economy or pol sci in your examples). Their job will only be to understand and implement the design patterns that will be provided to them by architects.

It is the job of architects to create designs that align business/domain processes and IT processes. They are the ones who are supposed to work closely with actual business process owner, understand the domain related implications and come up with a design that would not crash the stock market in your example.

But again it all boils down to, if the organization has competent stock brokers and economists or political science analysts that can validate and verify such designs.

Usually such domain experts and architects work under the ambit of groups called "center of excellence" e.g. IBM's SOA center of excellence.

Standing up a mature architecture group and center of excellence that has the competency to align domain knowledge with IT takes time and experience. If people involved in stock markets and SigInt invest in such organizational constructs then there is a good chance they will avoid a lot of problems.

Just my 2 cents

Babak Makkinejad

Again, I am commenting on Muslim intellectual history - in which none existed among Arabs and other non-Seljuks.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not believe that the #1 and #2 explanations are correct.

Only Iran and Turkey annually translate about 3000 or so titles into Persian & Turkish respectively.

No other Muslim country comes close.

I am not familiar with the intellectual scene in India or in China.

Having spent years in US universities, I can state that in my experience there was a dearth of students from non-European countries who studied Western/American History and Western Philosophy/Religion.

You had the usual engineers, with a few science majors and that was about it.

In conversations with Hindus, it was clear that they did not believe that any other religion or system of religious ideas had any interest or merit.

Likewise for Muslims.

Chinese students were interesting because their point of view was this: "Man is alive by bread alone." and thus studied only that which would lead to a meal ticket.

Babak Makkinejad

I am not suggesting Seljuk period being the analogue of Renaissance Italy - only that the only intellectually vital part of the World of Islam today and for many previous centuries seems to have existed within the borders of the former Selejuk Empire.



I have been lauded (accused?) of know exactly how to place the rhetorical blade.



Zuckerberg et al are not the only ones hiring, but he is the face of the group trying to buy Congress to hire more serfs.


There is no STEM shortage, just a shortage of people in America willing to be indentured servants to zillionaires.


There is a difference between researchers, system architects, computer scientists, and code monkeys. This is like saying "hey, any dental hygenist, or even a dental admin, can fill teeth. How hard can it be?". Or, "hey, any high school graduate can design a house". It may look like that from the outside, but you wouldn't want to live there. For a good instance of what happens when you let the code monkeys do system architecture, try applying for a U.S. patent online.


Thanks Babak,

"As part of that campaign, they brought Shia Doctors of Religion from Lebanon - Al Jabal Amal - to teach the new converts the religious doctrines and laws."

Yes, I recall that something surfaced in the later Lebanon context too, which made me aware that matters where more complex then I thought. Patrick Bahzad has a much more solid grasp of the region.

You mentioned this before, but not bad to repeat it. May make is stick better:

"I do not believe there was any interest in exchange of ideas with West (assuming you meant Christendom) or the (multiple) Easts (China, India) during the Seljuk period or even under the Safavids and Ottomans."

Well, I would assume resistance against other religious systems at that time too. But I wouldn't like to reduce exchange to that...

Apparently there was a symposion that looked at:

"Double Headed Eagle – Byzantium and the Seljuks in Anatolia between the late 11th and 13th centuries

The conquest of Anatolia by the Seljuk Turks right after the battle of Manzikert in 1071 marked a new era both in Byzantine and Turkish history. From the end of the 11th century on the Seljuks were not only the eastern neighbours of Byzantium but also their territorial successors, with a substantial portion of Greek inhabitants. This new situation gave Greeks and Turks the opportunity for a co-existence, which enabled a considerable cultural and artistic exchange in Anatolia. According to the written sources, members of the elites, diplomats, merchants and artists from Constantinople and Konya came into close contact during this era and played an important role regarding this cultural interaction. The culmination of this is subsumable in the many architectural monuments and art objects.

This international and interdisciplinary symposium aims at bringing together leading scholars from different countries to discuss the different facets of the Byzantine-Seljuk relationships without excluding neighbouring regions. The principal goal of the symposium is to establish a new horizon for the evaluation of the artistic heritage of Anatolia during the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries."

Let's leave it here. But thanks.

William R. Cumming

GCP! The USA still has no effective management of those overstaying their visas!

William R. Cumming

Terrific comment IMO!

William R. Cumming

A largely unenforced system IMO!

William R. Cumming

Completely agree and the 1987 Wall Street meltdown almost became a catastrophic failure until the FED bailed out the STREET and banks!

William R. Cumming

Although somewhat distantly related to this thread it should be pointed out that the IT world has scammed the federal government for billions and perhaps trillions since about 1970! Just as the CIA worried that computers hardware and software would enhance Soviet central planning few knew or understand that much of the vulnerability to fraud and corruption has plagued the USA as well as contributed to Soviet decline.

CUMMING PRINCIPLE: The world of bytes and bits difficult to control and regulate by anyone.


"barbaric Turks, like the barbaric Germans,"

if I may invade this exchange. I would prefer the use of Germanic tribes.

I had the same problem when reading Bernard Lewis.

I think we should be precise in this context, since after all 19th century studies in what was once called the Indo-Germanic-language-family has a historical load of its own.

I didn't like it when Bernard Lewiswouldn't have simply shifted from European-European quite easily to a Persian - German parallel with his ist - ast. It needs further knowledge that helps to not simply connect contemporary Germans with 19th century studies of language by Germans, as a dominant scientific nation.

I once got a GDR two volume Sanskrit-German dictionary for a friend who was interested in it based on Yoga. Not one of the Westerners in search of Eastern masters otherwise, as far as I can tell.

But yes, I wonder if ethnolinguistics had already existed it would have made me somewhat more interested in linguistics. ...

Babak Makkinejad

Seljuks and its inheritors, to this day, live in the World of Aristotle - as though all that has happened in philosophy since Ibn Rushd had never existed.



I think the problems that I see are rather fundamental to the "less mature industries," where the "domain knowledge" and "technical know-how" are not well-integrated, and in fact, even at odds with each other. Somewhat ironically, the real "Silicon Valley" (i.e. the established users of technology, whether in actual Silicon Valley or not) is probably the least likely to be affected, since they know where technology fits into their enterprise. But nowadays, everyone wants to use fancy technology without really knowing how they fit into their core mission and a lot of people are eager to promise things that they can't deliver, or even make sense in the big picture sense. (see examples above) But this is where a lot of growth in tech applications in recent years have been (at least those that I see--but that might be the function of what I do for living, though.)

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