Friday, April 24, 2015

Cross-cultural Communication, Books that Changed my Life

I saw discussion about a book that changed your life. There's a series of books that changed my life, relevant to this week's discussion on culture, history, and decolonizing STEM:
There are two more in the series, that I haven't read:
The stories are about interstellar space travel, contact between and among alien races. There's a school, called "StarBridge," with three learning tracks: Translator/Interpreter, Telepath, and Interrelator. From "Silent Dances":

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Authenticity and space history

Yesterday, I saw an article on LinkedIn, about the strangest interview question they had ever heard. The interviewer actually asked her, "How do I know you're not lying?"

Is that, actually, a thing people do? Lie, in a job interview? It doesn't seem like the route to a good career.

But I have to admit, when I was a Freshman looking for cooperative education opportunities, it felt like I had to prove why I went into Electrical Engineering, if I really was interested in Aerospace? For that matter, why Engineering and not, say, Astrophysics?

I've discussed my reasons in the past (I'll add trackback links later.)

With time on my hands, I've been reading and reflecting. That's also meant looking through old scrapbooks. In an era of "pics of it didn't happen," here's a handful of photos:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thirty-Meter Telescope on Hawai'i

What I've been trying to work my way up to, this week, is discussion of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. It's... complicated, to say the least.

One of the first principles of intersectional work, is that anti-oppression should be led / centered by the voices that are directly affected by it. That being said, this is my blog / my space. So I'm going to begin with this great list of links:

And this Storify that Janet Stemwedel (@docfreeride) put together. My own analysis / processing will be below the cut.

Pay attention, in this Storify, to who are the kanaka maoli, the pre-European Hawaiian voices:

My own processing is below the cut, in two parts: 1) Who I am / Why I care, and 2) What I think.

This is a long post.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Evangelism, power, and Eclipse

I have written about living near the Columban Fathers headquarters, a missionary society, in the 1980's. I grew up hearing about El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and calls from the pulpit at mass for the closing of the School of Americas (now renamed).

That was one of those political topics where, as a military family at the time, we listened and kept silent. Sometimes we could sign the petitions on tables after Mass (I think we usually signed the Pro-Life ones), and sometimes we did not.

Things change when a family becomes civilian. Some changes were obvious: not living in military housing, no longer surrounded by military families. Other changes took more time: figuring out who I really am and what I believe for myself, and then learning how to articulate it and use my constitutional Freedom of Speech.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Systems View of Safety and Engineering Design

I'm pulling together my plan for blogposts this week, and it may prove a good capstone of the recent months' material. This weekend I caught up on the Safety Engineering portion of MITx 16.00 Introduction to Aerospace Engineering: Astronautics and Human Spaceflight.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I had dealt with software safety concerns in a previous position. Those concerns inspired me to study both IE 558: Safety Engineering and IE 577: Human Factors in Engineering. And yet I found myself disappointed, that they primarily focused on earth-based factory and office work, and barely got into the integrated (human-in-the-loop design) stories of major industrial accidents like the Union Carbide Bhopal disaster.

I was pleased to see that this MOOC takes the Systems View of Human Factors, System Safety, and Software Safety. I would encourage any engineers to connect to this MOOC just to watch the Unit 5 videos, if nothing else, because of the important discussion.