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Friday, October 24, 2014

OSU Pride Center activism 'Queering the Archive'

It occurred to me in a dream last night that "queer theory" is like research on Einstein's unified general theory of relativity, because it is embraced by theoretical physicists and mathematicians, but ignored as being only an intellectual curiosity by mainstream scientists and engineers who are usually focused on making discoveries or inventions that real people can understand, feel, or touch. In my dream I also saw the two academic camps of "social constructionists" vs. "biological essentialists" as being similarly split between those who want the equivalent of a mathematical theory, even if they don't express it that way, vs. those who seek a research methodology of using a scientifically testable experimental hypothesis that can observed, for example, finding a genetic modification or change in the development process of an animal, that measurably changes its minority sexual orientation or gender identity. (NOTE: I am NOT making this observation as a condemnation of either point of view, but rather as an observation of the different types of intellectual learning methods used over time.)

What made me think about this was probably the following event in Corvallis that I wish my health enabled me to attend. Here is a quote from a local alternative newspaper:

QueerHistory Queer History Month ContinuesOregon State University's Pride Center continues its Queer History Month festivities this week with "Sexy Talk About Safe Sex." The Pride Center is the hub for LGBTQQIA activities at OSU and a staple for queer programming and progressive thinking in Corvallis.

A steady stream of Pride Center-sponsored fall events have included a community BBQ and an event with free coffee in the quad. These get-togethers are intended to build conversation for a new thrust in Pride Center activism: "Queering the Archive."

"We've been working all summer to have a list of events that meets the common theme of 'queering the archives,'" said Pride Center leadership liaison Stina Goetter. The theme reflects an ongoing attempt by the Pride Center to reach into both the future and the past and document the lives and stories of queer people in Oregon.

Students at OSU have long celebrated the right and ability to publicly choose alternative relationships. Despite its origins as a conservative ag school surrounded by small town culture, the university began offering classes exploring homosexual love as early as 1975. The university's first gay student group was founded in 1976. The Pride Center, which opened in 2001, functions as a safe space for LGBTQQIA students, and an active voice for inclusiveness at OSU.

The Pride Center has already had a significant interest in helping queer narratives take root on campus. Professors can request storytellers to come and present queer narratives to the class, a service called pride panels. This month's activities are intended to expand that effort.

Outside campus, queer narratives are being brought to light through literature published by groups like the Gay and Lesbian Archive of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) and the Corvallis Queer Film Festival.

The Pride Center hopes to expand the conversation by eventually creating an online archive of queer stories from the university. The archive will attempt to maintain a public record of the stories of queer OSU students-past, present, and future.

Goetter hopes that the Pride Center can help OSU envision its queer narratives of both the future and the past. "It's all about keeping a record of queer stories now, and also going out and finding queer narratives under the surface of recorded histories."

A number of the Pride Center's Queer History Month events are open to the public, including the upcoming annual drag show, held on Friday, Oct. 24 at LaSells Stewart Center. The Pride Center is located at 1553 SW A Avenue, just north of Western Boulevard.

(Quoted from Joel DeVyldere, "Queer History Month Continues," corvallisadvocate.com posted Oct. 16, 2014)

It amuses me that the only thing constant since ancient Greece is the theatrical art of drag!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OSU lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Allied communities, as well as those who identify as Same Gender Loving, Two Spirit, Asexual, Pansexual, and Poly-Amorous

screen shot OSU LGBTQ web page Oct. 2014

PHOTO: UPDATE 10/14/14 the above screen capture of the Oregon State University LGBTQ@OSU oregonstate.edu/lgbtqqia/ was added to the post by John Aravosis, "We are now LGBTQ (depending who you ask)," americablog.com posted Oct. 9, 2014 -- John told me in a personal communication that as experienced as he is, he had to look up the term same gender loving to find out how it is defined.

Content warning: People, such as right-wingers who hate gays, can cherish this post and will probably misuse it as an example of university liberals being too "politically correct," but more mature individuals I hope will find it simply amusing.

"Just when Americans were starting to understand what the term "LGBT" meant -- it's the new term for the gay community -- the organization formerly known as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has now changed its name to 'The National LGBTQ Task Force,'" (Quoted from John Aravosis, "We are now LGBTQ (depending who you ask)," americablog.com posted Oct. 9, 2014, which Aravosis wrote in response to the explanation of the name change by Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, "Op-ed: Why This Major Organization Is Changing Its Name. Being your authentic self is a revolutionary act for millions of LBGTQ people. Here's why one major organization is going to do the same." advocate.com [psted Oct. 8, 2014)

I'm old enough to recall when the word "gay" was embraced after the 1969 Stonewall riot by both men and women as being a unifying theme meant to be positive while rejecting the old terms of "queer" and homosexual. Previous word changes had failed, such as the term "homophile" that was supported for years by the former OSU Professor W. Dorr Legg who promoted it probably because he was an intellectual purist who hated the mix-up of Greek and Latin words -- and others like using the word "homophile" because they hated the overemphasis on sex in the word "homosexual." (Note that the word "gay" had been a slang term used well before Stonewall often used by men wanting to meet other men.)

I also recall how when women liberationists in the 1970's started to complain about the misogyny of gay men, who I agree were misogynists just like their heterosexual fathers, and as a result many lesbian women demanded the classical word lesbian be added, which led directly to choosing the name the "National Gay and Lesbian Task Force" (NGLTF) and a man decided to put the "G" first.

I recall when gay men were beaten down by the AIDS crisis in the 1980's and how heroic lesbians nurse them -- this was when the letter "L" started being put in front -- perhaps gay men were being grateful and respectful -- or were they too sick to care? In any case, the etymology of gay would make a good Ph.D. thesis, which I will leave for some energetic student to do.

Even today, the "LGBTQ@OSU" webpage at Oregon State says,

"Welcome, our office serves to meet the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Allied communities, as well as those who identify as Same Gender Loving, Two Spirit, Asexual, Pansexual, and Poly-Amorous." (Quoted from Quoted from oregonstate.edu/lgbtqqia/ accessed Oct. 9, 2014 at Oregon State University)

The above official OSU administrator's page includes a link to the page of Jeff Kenney, Coordinator of LGBT Outreach & Services who notes that his "Office of LGBT Outreach & Services is the professional office that advises and supports student groups, clubs, and organizations."

I suspect that the word "professional" was carefully chosen, given OSU President Ed Ray's recent public comments about being surprised he had been at OSU for 10 years before he realized that none of his cultural center staff were "professionals." (When I ask about this politically incorrect subject, every OSU staff person gets that deer-in-the-headlights look and refuses to talk about it!)

Of course, the real dreamers of all eras want to see the day when gay people are totally assimilated by the culture and they do not need to identify as such. I have dreamed of gender identity being this way someday because gender non-conformity is usually at the core of gay discrimination.

I've given speeches about this before and have also written on this issue -- as I get older, I get less interested in talking about it, but I can't resist. For example: a meeting announcement at OSU written by women in 1976 said only gay people: "November 18, 1976 Gay people - 7 PM - Center for Women's Studies. Meet to plan social and educational activities." Also, I wrote in "November 1999 Oregon State University "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Alliance" (LGBTA) votes (10-8) to change its name to the "Rainbow Continuum" in order to be more inclusive of all sexual and gender identities. Many group members preferred the name "Queers and Allies" (Q & A) as a way of taking back the word "queer" from people who use it as an insult. Some thought it would be confused with Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow group. The Rainbow Continuum student group name was still in use as of 2010 perhaps because gay students like its "on the down low" profile" (Quoted from a copy of Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1964-2002," printed to PDF from OutHistory.org in 2010 is permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives@OSU)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sunday comics nut cup joke in 'Baby Blues' uncensored

Sunday comic 'Baby Blues' Oct. 5, 2014 nut cup joke

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) a standard "Bike" branded athletic supporter with a cup shown to the right of an uncensored "Baby Blues" comic strip by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott as printed in the Sunday Oregonian newspaper, Oct. 5, 2014 (See facebook.com Baby Blues Comic Strip (Official) October 5 at 6:00am) and also the babyblues.com website. The father in the strip tells his son at a sporting goods store, "While we're here, we're also going to get you something else -- A cup." To which the son asks, "A cup of what?" After the father pauses and replies, "Just trust me. It's very important." The clueless son then suggests, "In that case maybe we should get a quart."

I was surprised a nut cup joke would appear on a Sunday Comics page read by many children who are now probably asking their parents to explain the joke, although, the strip did skillfully make fun of parent's uneasiness with answering this question.

The reason I am surprised is because of the homophobia and prudishness that most parents experience in dealing with matters that might have a sexual component with their children.

I recall first learning about the idea of a jockstrap, or "athletic supporter" as they were called by the prudish gym coach and school officials who demanded I wear one for gym class underneath my official school's logo-imprinted gym shorts and t-shirt. My parents remained silent on the subject, although I had caught my dad once putting on a jock before he went to an athletic event and I overheard him muttering to my mother about washing his "supporter" next time.

I understand today that very few children are still being required to undress in front of other children and to wear special gym clothes, supposedly because most school districts can't afford it and so they make parents buy their sons standard briefs and shorts for playground activities. However, I suspect this sociological change has more to do with the fact that people are now aware that some gay boys might be turned on by the sight of their son, which they find disgusting due to their homophobia. In fact, new male locker rooms are commonly being designed and built for more privacy, unlike the gang showers of the middle and early 20th Century.

Ironically, my gym classes required boys to undress and be naked in front of each other for gang showers and also fully naked for the entire one-hour long swimming lessons, even though I grew up in a prudish era that censored anything gay and the U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy was demanding FBI investigations into gays and Communists!

In that era, nobody recognized the existence of homosexuals and it was taught that boys should never be seen naked in front of girls, but it was a badge of manhood to be naked amongst your male comrades in gym and in the military barracks, while at war -- this ethic was even demonstrated by the ancient Greek paintings we were shown in class (perhaps I can show some of these in a future post).

Needless to say, perhaps I was more terrified than many other boys were by being required to undress in front of 40 other boys, but my fears were confirmed the first day of my 7th Grade gym class when another boy became erect and he was ruthlessly bullied by the other boys, while the homophobic gym coach intentionally ignored this bullying and tacitly allowed it by walking back to his office, which he apparently did to teach us boys that only queers would get excited by other boys and queers are so disgusting they should be terrorized and killed.

As I became older and more mature, I learned that many other men, both heterosexual and homosexual, had shared my fear of getting an erection while in front of other naked boys and their fear made it difficult for them to enjoy participating in sports or the military. I also learned that many gay men acquired a sexual fetish for jock straps and nut cups because it epitomized the masculinity of their friends who had turned them on sexually. Historically, jocks and jock straps have been at the center of a common genre of gay porn and fantasy books used for masturbation.

IRS IRA distribution substantially equal payments method

HP-12C calculator and manual next to HP-41 scientific handheld calculator

PHOTO: A standard gold Cross pen sitting on top of the cover of a manual for the Hewlett-Packard Model HP-12C financial handheld calculator manufactured circa 1982, which I used to calculate the fixed amortization amount for my IRA required by the IRS starting at Age 70-1/2. It is shown to the left of a slightly older HP-41C scientific handheld calculator that was so advanced it could be interfaced to the internet cloud still in use today. See previous posts Fixed amortization option for IRA distribution versus required minimum distributions (8/6/13) and HP 12c financial calculator history (6/21/06)

I am at the age when the IRS will soon be requiring me to withdraw money from my Individual Retirement Account and pay ordinary income taxes on it. Most people use the required minimum distribution method starting at age 70-1/2 based on the idea that keeping the money growing tax-free in an IRA as long as possible will minimize taxes paid.

I have also considered using the IRS-approved IRA distribution method of taking "substantially equal payments," in lieu of taking the "required minimum distributions" starting at Age 70-1/2.

Although it no longer applies to me, I had previously considered using IRS rules that permit a penalty-free early IRA withdrawal, by using the same "substantially equal payments" method I am considering using today, however, this has some other restrictions that will not apply to me because I will be starting withdraws from my IRA after age 59-1/2.

IRS guidelines describe a "fixed amortization method" for calculating the "substantially equal payments" amount by using the IRS "life expectancy table" that states a 59 year old should live 37.8 years longer and a 60 year old will live 36. 8 years longer. The law requires the calculation be reasonable and one IRS Bulletin says the interest rate used must be less than 120% of the "Federal Mid-term Rate" for either of the two months before the early distribution begins, if the distribution is started early before age 59-1/2.

Below is an example calculation using an HP 12-C financial calculator to figure out an IRA distribution amount's equivalent interest rate:

  • Given an IRA balance on Apr. 30, 2014 of $452,437.25 before the IRA distributions of $14,076 per year were started at age 59-1/2 with a 37 years life expectancy:(be sure to use yellow button to clear financial registers before entering any numbers listed below)
  • n = 37 years number of annual payments based on life expectancy at age 59-1/2
  • PV = $452,437.25 present value of IRA Apr. 30, 2014
  • PMT = -$14,076 annual distribution from IRA = $1,173 per month x 12 months per year
  • FV = $0 future value of IRA after 37 years assuming complete payout
  • Press the "i" button without entering any amount and the HP-12C calculates:
  • i= 0.76% amortization interest rate

For reference, assuming a 0% rate at age 59-1/2, and a May 30, 2014 IRA balance of ($461,484.05 / 37 years life expectancy) / 12 payments per year = $1,039.38 per month versus the above chosen distribution = $1,173 per month (or $14,076 per year).

The IRS life expectancy table ranges from 27.4 years at age 70 to 1.9 years at age 115 and over, which will change the IRA distribution values calculated above for every year it is done, unless the substantially equal payments method is used.

Some ley links to IRS instructions and documents for calculating IRA distributions:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

OSU Pride Center celebrates 10th Anniversary

OSU Pride Center 10th anniversary Facebook page screen capture Oct. 4, 2014

PHOTO: screen capture of the Oregon State University Pride Center's announcement of their "Happy (almost) Anniversary to us!" facebook.com posted Oct. 3, 2014 and their "10th Anniversary Brunch: The Pride Center Family Reunion," Saturday, October 11 at 12:00pm in PDT at Oregon State University Pride Center in Corvallis," Oregon State University Pride Center facebook.com accessed Oct. 4, 2014, which so far 35 people say they will attend. UPDATE: 10/14/14 - Check out these posts "Screening of the original OSU Queer Resource Center documentary at our 10th Anniversary Brunch," Oregon State University Pride Center Facebook page, posted Oct. 11, 2014 and "Some photos from last Saturday's 10th Anniversary Brunch! ," Oregon State University Pride Center Facebook page, posted Oct. 13, 2014, accessed Oct. 14, 2014

UPDATE: 10/14/2014 - although the student newspaper did not print my following letter to the editor, and my health prevented me from attending the event, I was told that the 10th anniversary drew a good crowd, including OSU President Ed Ray, Vice Provost Sabah Randhawa, Director of equity and inclusion Angelo Gomez, and Associate Dean of Science Julie Greenwood.

I wrote the following letter to the editor of the OSU student newspaper about the 10th anniversary of the OSU Pride Center (UPDATE: 10/14/14 - although the student newspaper didn't publish it, they did run some good pieces before the Pride Center's celebration, including Editorial Board, "Some fights for rights take too long," Barometer, Oct. 7, 2014, p. 7 and Chris Correll, "Pride Center serves students," Barometer, Oct. 7, 2014, p. 1):

Ten years ago this month, on "National Coming Out Day" Oct. 11, 2004, Oregon State University President Ed Ray cut the ribbon to officially open the OSU Pride Center.

President Ray's support is significant, given that only 100 years ago a gay OSU Beaver football player was arrested under an Oregon law against homosexual behavior.

Ray also inspired me to endow the multi-million dollar OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research on humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity, e.g. the gay sheep and fruit fly research done at OSU.

Pioneering research on "homophiles" was first started by the former OSU Professor W. Dorr Legg, who served as a Christian minister for soldiers at the nearby military Camp Adair during World War II before moving on to start the present-day gay Log Cabin Republicans.

For more, read the accessible PDF copy of my history of OSU, which is downloadable from the OSU Libraries' Scholars Archives and also linked to from the OSU Pride Center's history page.

Thomas Kraemer, OSU Class of 1977 and 1978, Founder, OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, Barometer Letter to editor, unpublished, submitted Oct. 4, 2014))

See the following links:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dishwasher projects time remaining on kitchen floor tiles

Bosch projects the time remaining on the kitchen floor tiles

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) my new Bosch dishwasher projects the time remaining on the kitchen floor tiles using an unspecified technology that I am guessing is also made by a German company, Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH, using their optoelectronic semiconductors and LED laser projection technology instead of the older Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector technology that uses a digital micromirror device. (See "Osram creates a milestone with laser diodes for projectors," osram-os.com Jun.17, 2014 accessed Oct. 2, 2014 and "Digital Light Processing," Wikipedia accessed Oct. 2, 2014, Laser diode," Wikipedia, accessed Oct. 2, 2014, "OLED," Wikipedia accessed Oct. 2, 2014 and "Laser Pointers," RP Photonics, accessed Oct. 2, 2014)

An earlier version of this Bosch dishwasher display used only a light on the floor to indicate where it was in the cycle. I was impressed by this new time light display because it was one of only a few dishwasher displays that I could see with my low-vision blindness and it is esthetically cleaner and easier to use than models with a TFT display on the front of the machine (all of the controls on my dishwasher are hidden capacitive touch LED lit buttons that can be reached by opening the door slightly, pressing them to start and select the wash cycle that starts after the door is closed).

` The only problem with the Bosch user interface is it tried to be too friendly with fuzzy logic controls that make us analytical types nervous because they want direct control of machine that does exactly what we asked for instead of the type of Bosch controls that require a complicated table in the manual to describe all of the options, including a range of behaviors and variable times depending on the incoming water temperature, etc.

Likewise the Bosch machine's service computer reboot and its method to change the low-level default options looks like an embedded systems engineering erd from the 1980's wrote the firmware for it. Nonetheless, after much research, I was able to pick one cycle that I use all the time and I have been happy with the results and the ability to know how much time is remaining, if I account for the fuzzy logic time that shortens the cycle depending on what has happened.

It seems like all of my twenty year-old appliance have to be replaced this year. See previous post Wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Washer Dryer replaces old Maytag stacker (7/7/14).

The Bosch Dishwashers product page accessed September, 2014 included the following:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Apple watch apes 1970’s HP watch

HP-01 calculator wristwatch advertisement from 1977

PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard model HP-01 calculator wristwatch advertisement from 1977. See previous posts HP calculator wristwatch 1977 vs. Timex 1994 (11/9/10) and Google Android Sony SmartWatch apes HP-01 LED watch from 1977 (7/1/12).

I had to laugh at the recent news of Apple introducing a watch because over thirty years ago Steve Jobs made lucrative job offers to Hewlett-Packard's Corvallis Division engineers, who had designed HP's first watch and personal computer, which motivated one HP engineering project manager to join Jobs in inventing the first Apple Macintosh computer.

The HP-01 watch's battery life was much too short, just like Apple's is today, because it used an LED display, and its poor sales caused the cancellation of a more practical version using LCD displays that were still under development in Corvallis for HP calculators.

Today, a cloud-connected watch is still not technically practical (e.g. Apple requires a cellphone tethered to each watch) and the technological inventions required have only recently started showing up in academic engineering and science journals available in the Oregon State University library.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Long, Ago Jobs tried to get HP to develop a computer watch," Gazette-Times, Fri. Sep. 26, 2014, p. A9)

See my previous post Patent laws being abused by Apple iPhone claims (8/28/12) that includes the text of my previous letter to the editor where I said, "Motorola described their soon-to-be-released cell phone invention in a 1982 Bell System Journal technical paper. In response, as an HP research project manager, I initiated a partnership with Motorola to integrate cell phones with already existing HP handheld computer technology. . . . After HP cancelled my project, I personally showed a prototype cell phone computer to Apple founder Steve Jobs at a trade show in Silicon Valley while he was successfully recruiting a few key HP engineers to start up his Apple portable product line. (I was too stupid to take his job offer!)”

Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview with BusinessWeek described how Apple was moving from a model of functional departments (e.g. product research, marketing, etc.), which Steve Jobs acted as the orchestrator over (a model he had copied from his idols Bill and Dave, founders of Hewlett-Packard) to one of a more business team model where each team is responsible for both the technical and end customer experience (something HP struggled to do later in its history). Cook also said:

With the watch, most companies -- you can just tell from what’s out there in the marketplace --they just take what’s there, like a phone UI [user interface], and strap it on the wrist, and it becomes a smartwatch. And we knew that wouldn’t work. The screen is too small. It obstructs the view. And so a lot of thinking went in about how to solve that issue. And I think we have come up with a way that not only makes it usable, but it makes it brilliant.

I love operating my Apple TV from the watch. I don’t have to worry anymore about the remote falling through the cushions of the sofa. . . .

(Q: You’ve said that you wanted to move the default of the company to open. What does that mean, exactly? )

My opinion was that our default [setting] was closed on everything. I’m not talking about closed operating system. I’m talking about closed in the communication area. And so it was, “Just be quiet. Just say nothing, and only talk about things that are completed.”

My view is that that doesn’t work in things involving social responsibility. On social responsibility things, only talking about them after they occur because some are long-term journeys. So we’ve been very open and communicating loudly about our views around the environment, around human rights, around diversity, around gay rights, which is a part of human rights, . . .

(Q: Did you meet any internal resistance when you published your diversity report?)

There was quite a discussion about whether we should do that or not. And my view was, “Wait a minute. I’ve said I’m going to be 100 percent transparent on all these things that are not about future road maps.” You know, future [product] road maps, I’d like to find a way to be more secretive. You know? Unfortunately the rumor mill goes a little beyond me. But yes, there was a view that we shouldn’t. I didn’t agree at the end of the day, and I feel great that we published. It clearly says we’re not perfect. We’re not a perfect company, and we’ve got work to do. And that’s fine.

(Q: What specifically are you doing to rectify the gender imbalance at the company?)

We promoted Denise Young Smith to run HR because she’s the best. We recruited Lisa Jackson because she was the best to run our environmental initiatives, and she’s superb. She’s off the charts. And so the number of females at the top of the company’s changed dramatically.

We just brought Sue Wagner on the board a few weeks ago.

(Quoted from Brad Stone and Josh Tyrangiel, "Q&A Tim Cook Q&A: The Full Interview on iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch," businessweek.com businessweek.com posted Sept. 19, 2014)

See the following related links of interest:

An an unrelated note (I’m too lazy to write another post, but the defunding of OSU during the Republican Reagan era continues and a recent interview with OSU President Ed Ray discusses this issue along with comments on how the cultural centers are intended to help increase the graduation rates amongst a more diverse student population. (See James Day, "Q & A with OSU President Ed Ray," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 18, 2014)

Of course, this raises the question that nobody likes to discuss out loud, which is does OSU lower its standards to increase graduation rates because it is good for business? When the college was state funded, anybody could attend, but only those worthy of a degree got one. In fact, in the engineering college, which was mostly male professors and students, there was a certain macho pride that came from the fact that the majority of freshman students would not graduate in engineering -- in fact, many department secretaries kept out stacks of transfer form to s change majors from engineering to liberal arts!

Amusingly, and coincidentally, an amusing letter to the editor touching on the subject of OSU becoming more like a corporation, instead of a public university, was published by Michael Coolen, "Never mind ‘Town ‘n’ Gown’; we’re seeing rise of ‘Town ‘n’ Suits,’" gazettetimes.com posted September 17, 2014.