Friday, April 17, 2015

Women in STEM as Inspiration

I'd like you to watch this video, and think about what Stella Young says.



I want you to think about the concepts of "inspiration porn" and "attitude" a little further. This post isn't about disability, exactly. What I say might be related to mental health, but it's not going to be about physical abilities.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

About Layoffs

Not surprisingly, I've been thinking about the fact that my father was the age I am now, when he was separated from the Air Force. In part, my memories are triggered by conversations on Twitter, about South Bend's argument over a casino, and this article by the Boston Globe, about being poor at an Ivy League school.

This may surprise some people, but Purdue University is not actually in the Ivy League. It is a state school in Indiana, part of the Big Ten. It is still a big-name school for engineering.

The rest of this post draws on a post I wrote 4 years ago, on my old blog. I guess I haven't gone into my story much in the past year or two. On one hand, moving on is a good thing, it means I don't need to re-tell it. On the other hand, it also means that new readers may not be aware of where I came from.

---
I was 15 that summer, when my dad came up for promotion again. As a military officer, he had two chances to promote up before he was discharged. This was the second time, and he was not promoted.  That was also the summer when Mom was expecting my Dear Brother #3 (DB3).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Culture, criticism, and power dynamics

Yesterday I wrote about the military child, particularly military daughters. I referenced Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress. I don't know if you clicked on the link, if you read the blurb. Two sentences stand out to me:
Wertsch employs extensive research to probe the consequences—both positive and negative—of being raised in a family characterized by rigid discipline, nomadic rootlessness, dedication to military mission, and the threat of war and personal loss. With its clear-eyed, sometimes shocking depictions of alcoholism and domestic violence, and its empathy for military parents caught up in an extremely demanding way of life, Military Brats provides catharsis, insight, and a path toward healing.

Last week I wrote about the Power of Children, how so much of modern history traces back to World War II. I pondered how we can stop hate and genocide from happening. Lao Tse had something to say about that, 2500 years ago, connecting wars among nations to violence in the home, and conversely peace at home leading to peace among the nations.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#ToTheGirls, Month of the Military Child, and #Tableflip2015

#ToTheGirls is trending on Twitter, and it's wonderful.

April is the Month of the Military Child, and I keep thinking about the connections between how I grew up with the US Air Force, and moving here, outside an active Army base.

There's a book, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, first published in 1991. Excerpts are available on Google Books. The parts I have read, she seems to be writing about an earlier generation of Brat, perhaps my parent's time, and yet there are many aspects of Brat culture that were still in place when I was growing up. Still, chapter 4: "Daughters of Warriors," hit home.
"In fact, to be a daughter inside the Fortress is to be a kind of hovering spook: a weightless creature without power, without presence, without context, whose color is camouflage and whose voice is unheard."
The world is changing. There are many more women in the U.S. Armed Forces today. Just last year, Admiral Michelle Howard was promoted to 4-star Admiral. This interview from Forbes is worth reading.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Replanning & Update on my MOOC progress

A few weeks ago, I wrote about MOOCs and the ones that I was interested in at that time. In the interests of accountability (to myself, if no one else), I thought I'd post an update.

Spring break threw me off a little bit, I only worked on one class that week, and several more started up.

Also, I'm learning my limits for how many MOOCs I can take at a time (that is, 2 or 3). I have so many interests, that it's tempting to take them all "now." I need to resist that, and focus on what is doable.

First, a recap on last week, and then an update on my MOOC progress.  Last week:

Friday, April 10, 2015

What can we do against such hate?

Yesterday, I commented that everything seems to keep coming back to World War II, and last week I promised to come back to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis' exhibit on The Power of Children. The Children's Museum exhibit has been in place for at least 7 years, with one shutdown to reconfigure the exhibit.

We've gone through it several times when Dear Son (DS) was too young to register what it was about. The exhibit recommends it for children 8 and up, so Spring Break was the first time that DS visited for himself.

The exhibit profiles three children who faced intolerance and hate. Anne Frank, whose World War II diary has become part of the literary canon. Ruby Bridges, who desegregated New Orleans schools as a first-grader. And Ryan White, the Indiana youth who contracted AIDS through his hemophilia medication.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Political culture and the military-industrial complex

Throughout my childhood, I heard references to the Military-Industrial complex. Growing up military, I usually heard them from the Left, from environmentalists and pacifists. Imagine my surprise when I took International Space Politics & Technology, and discovered that the phrase came from a Republican. President Eisenhower, in fact, and a World War II General.  (Everything seems to come back to World War II.)