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Monday, October 5, 2015

TV phone seen at World's Fair in 1964 is recalled by AT&T's company historian in IEEE Spectrum magazine

Western Electric ad for crossing TV telephone IEEE Spectrum Aug. 2015

PHOTO: A 1960's print ad promoting "crossing a telephone with a TV set" by the Western Electric company, which was part of the old AT&T telephone monopoly, is recalled by Sheldon Hochheiser, the corporate historian of AT&T, in a professional electrical engineering magazine article. (See Sheldon Hochheiser, "Before Facetime or Skype, there was the Picturephone," IEEE Spectrum, Aug. 2015, p. 64 posted Jul. 31, 2015)

Cell phone and internet video telephone calls are common today, but the idea of a video phone call was greeted with skepticism in the 1960's when I first saw a demonstration of it at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. (See "Videophone, AT&T Picturephone: 1964" accessed Oct. 5, 2015 that says, "The more advanced Picturephone Mod I's early promotion included public evaluation displays at Disneyland and the 1964 New York World's Fair." Also see David Massey's non-commercial website created to help keep the memories of the Bell System alive: "Western Electric Picturephone (Video Phone)," accessed Oct. 5, 2015 says, "The first Picturephone test system, built in 1956, was crude - it transmitted an image only once every two seconds. But by 1964 a complete experimental system, the "Mod 1," had been developed. To test it, the public was invited to place calls between special exhibits at Disneyland and the New York World's Fair. In both locations. . .")

The picture phone was ahead of its time and it provides a quintessential example of research and development dollars spent on a product idea that did not yield any profits until decades later. This type of R&D spending is done today by every Silicon Valley venture capitalist who wants to fund the next "Unicorn" or "Deccacorn" startup company (companies are that are worth more than a billion dollars or 10 billion dollars in market valuation before they even have the revenue needed to support these valuations). Of course, the trick to being a successful venture capitalist, which is easier said than done, is to invest in only the product inventions that will yield a reasonable return on your investment, within your chosen timeframe. This is why venture capital investing is high-risk, but it can also pay off bigtime, if the product idea succeeds.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

OSU student who confronted anti-gay church goes off to law school

Oregon State University student Matt Enloe in Gazette-Times, Jun. 8, 2015

PHOTO: Oregon State University student Matt Enloe is profiled in the professional Corvallis, Oregon newspaper story by Bennett Hall, "Peaceful warrior: Matt Enloe has earned a reputation for defusing conflict at OSU," posted Jun. 8, 2015. The article describes how he organized on Facebook a response to the Westboro Baptist Church's protest at a memorial service for Philomath soldier Cody Patterson at OSU's LaSells Stewart Center in October 2013. On Facebook, he invited members of the community to help form a human wall to shield the Patterson family from the Westboro protesters, who have used military funerals as a platform for promoting a virulent anti-gay agenda. On the day of the funeral, more than 5,000 showed up to support the Patterson family. The Westboro Baptist Church was conspicuously absent. The newspaper's follow-up story says that Matt Enloe graduated with a Bachelor's in philosophy with a minor in psychology, and plans to go to University of Chicago Law School.

In my opinion, Matt Enloe should be a good fit for law school, especially after having been the President of the OSU student Advocates for Freethought and Skepticism and the OSU Philosophy Club. I wish him well in his future career at obtaining justice for all!

Listed below are some unrelated links for my personal notes:

Photo of OSU students streaking on Halloween night on the front page of The Barometer Nov. 3, 1975

PHOTO: OSU students streaking on Halloween night in 1975 as shown on the front page of the student newspaper The Barometer Nov. 3, 1975. (See previous posts OSU naked streaking in 1975 vs. nearly naked run in 2011 (6/26/11) and OSU students on Jetsons, gay marriage and streaking in the 21st Century (6/2/14))

Nudity by itself in Oregon is not illegal, but "public indecency" is illegal. For example, see the newspaper stories by:

Oregon has always had a reputation for being liberal to marijuana smoking, but now it is legal for recreational use, in addition to the previously legalize medical uses:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Same-sex marriage in 1877 of a woman to a female-to-male

Alan L. Hart, shown in 1943, grew up in Albany, Oregon as Alberta Lucille Hart PHOTO: Alan L. Hart, shown in 1943, grew up in Albany, Oregon (across the river from Corvallis, Oregon State University) as Alberta Lucille Hart and is considered to be an early example of an FTM or female-to-male. Early gay historians controversially categorized Hart as a lesbian instead of transgendered or other category. Even earlier, many people thought that women would dress as men to obtain male privileges common before the 1960's women's liberation movement started. (See previous posts Oregon FTM doctor's 1925 marriage and Baker case recalled by Portland gay newspaper (7/23/15), Albany, Oregon FTM Alan Hart 1890-1962 (9/3/11), Jonathan Ned Katz gay history pioneer (3/6/10) and Alan L. Hart (Wikipedia))

The 1970 marriage of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, which was the basis of the first U.S. Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage (Baker v. Nelson 1972), is the first known historical example of an intentional same-sex marriage between two people who both considered themselves to be congruent with their assigned gender identity and biological sex. (See previous post Baker on gay marriage in 1972 vs. 2015 reaction to Supreme Court ruling (7/17/15))

However, if you include transgender individuals, there are much earlier historical examples of same-sex marriages, such as the one documented in a blog post by Jim Burroway, "TODAY IN HISTORY: A Same-Sex Marriage in Nevada: 1877," posted Sep. 28, 2015, which references an earlier guest post on the same blog site by Homer Thiel, "A Same-Sex Marriage In 1877," posted Aug. 15, 2015.

In my opinion, the same-sex marriages of transgendered people are probably more common than thought, because such marriages can be done silently "on-the-down-low" -- the couples will have birth certificates that comply with various State laws that assume marriage is between people of the opposite biological sex.

In my experience, no FTM I know has ever said they adopted a male role to obtain male privileges -- all of them said that they were born that way and their acting male seemed to be more natural to them than dressing up as a girl. It is unfortunate that most people assume FTM's are motivated by male privileges, which was the assumption in the case documented above, because assuming this limits the understanding of FTMs and gender. Every FTM I know has said that virtually no man will fully accept their maleness and in their experience, many men will react to it with anger and feel threatened by it. I guess the heterosexual male ego is fragile as Freud thought a century ago!

For an example of females working in male roles see previous posts Gender bending OSU student recruits women into science and engineering (7/12/14) and Kim Kraemer auto mechanic 1980 (11/7/09) about how a female mechanic was worthy of a newspaper story decades ago. (Of course, today I still don't see too many female auto mechanics or engineers even though they have increased in number!)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nazi persecution of homosexuals traveling exhibit from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Berlin university students carrying away the library from the home of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld on May 6, 1933 for a May 10-11 Nazi book burning. New York Herald Tribune, May 17, 1933

PHOTO: Berlin university students carrying away the library from the home of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) on May 6, 1933 for a May 10-11 Nazi book burning, (New York Herald Tribune, May 17, 1933). See previous posts Magnus Hirschfeld Book notes 37 to 39 - final post (11/2/2010) and OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12)

My German ancestors often talked about escaping Germany in the 1930's as the Nazi's gained power, hut it wasn't until a few decades ago when I heard anything about the history of eugenics and gays in Germany during Nazi times and even later, the Schwules Museum in Berlin.

The mainstream American gay press is taking note. For example, see the articles by James McDonald, "The Lost Pink Triangles: An exhibition of Nazi persecution of homosexuals goes on display in NYC," Advocate Magazine, Aug./Sep. 2015, p. 21 posted Jul. 6, 2015, which mentions that this exhibit is now showing at "the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City," and a sister magazine article also by James McDonald, "Traveling Exhibition Explores Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals," posted May 28, 2015 that says, "The story of these victims, commonly known as the Pink Triangles, has begun attracting attention relatively recently . . . their stories have largely failed to penetrate mainstream Holocaust narratives. . ."

The history of this exhibit is included a book by Susan Ferentinos, "Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites," Rowman & Littlefield, Dec 16, 2014, p. 12. Susan Ferentinos notes that the Holocaust Museum opening coincided with the 1993 March On Washington for gay rights and in 1996 the Museum started to develop this traveling exhibit and opened it in 2002 before becoming a traveling exhibit led by the exhibition curator Edward Phillips.

"Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945," United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Traveling Exhibitions page includes a Link to Launch the Online Exhibition that goes to a frame-based interface with the following pages of text and photos:

(Note: The above list of links is to make it easier for me to access their site with my low-vision blindness. The frame Web page design's fixed column makes it hard to use with enlarged text and the menu text sizes do not scale with standard accessibility browser software.)

Is OSU building acronym for Learning Innovation Center lice or lick?

Andy Warhol Rolling Stones Sticky Finger zipper art showing white briefs inside

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) the original Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers (1971) vinyl LP record music album cover has the famous licking lips logo and also a real zipper (top) that can be zipped open to reveal white underwear briefs inside. The photo is signed by artist Andy Warhol and is widely believed to be a photo of the gay porn icon Joe D'Allesandro. (See previous posts Wojnarowicz, Warhol, Smithsonian censorship and the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers zipper art (12/18/10), "Album Cover Joe," Web site accessed Apr. 12, 2003 and David Coleman, "POSSESSED; 1970's New York, On an Album Cover," New York Times, posted Feb. 9, 2003)

A new classroom building at OSU incorporates all of the latest technology. (See James Day, "New classroom building at OSU set to open," posted and James Day, "OSU opens high-tech classroom building," posted Sep. 22, 2015)

I was curious why the new Oregon State University Learning Innovation Center had been given the official acronym of LInC, and my curiosity peaked when I read the "Editorial: Roses and Raspberries for Sept. 25," Gazette-Times, Sep. 25, 2015, p. A9 posted September 11, 2015 5:15 am, which insinuated that OSU was worried that the acronym LIC would be pronounced "LICE" and so officials made the official acronym LInC.

This story may be true, but it seems to me that a worse mispronunciation would be "LICK," because the word lick has all sorts of sexually suggestive double entendre as seen in the Rolling Stones Album artwork.

On a very loosely related note, there is a new cultural center on campus, OSU Ettihad Cultural Center, which is described in the OSU student newspaper in the full-page letter from OSU President Ed Ray, "Welcome to a new year at OSU! A letter from President Ed Ray," Barometer (Back to school edition), Mon. Sep. 21, 2015, p. 6 posted Sep. 23, 2015.

OSU President Ray says, the word for the new cultural center Ettihad is "Arabic for 'union," however, my Google search for define:Ettihad yields the definition of it as the national airlines of the United Arabs Emirates, and Google suggests a slightly different spelling, Etihad, that yields no clear definition.

I hope to look into the meaning of this word further and blog my notes, starting with the official list below from the OSU Diversity & Cultural Engagement page accessed Sep. 25, 2015 of all the OSU cultural centers, including the OSU Ettihad Cultural Center that says it is "a cross-cultural resource for OSU students who have a cultural or ethnic background in central and southwestern Asia and northern Africa. It's also open for those who are interested in learning more about those cultures and regions." This center was created shortly after several local incidents occurred concerning Islam and students from the Middle East. I assume the incidents refer to the Islamic student being accused of being terrorists.

Oregon State University Cultural Resource Centers:

See previous posts:

Friday, September 25, 2015

LED Pixi flat panel light replaces under cabinet fluorescent light over kitchen counter desk area

LED Pixi flat panel light replaces kitchen under cabinet fluorescent light

PHOTO: My kitchen counter desk's under cabinet fluorescent light was recently replaced with a LED Pixi flat panel light to help me see a little bit better. Except for having an "A" at the end of the model number and being a little bit brighter, externally this Pixie light looks nearly identical to the one installed in the adjacent laundry room ceiling light fixture that originally used a 60-Watt incandescent light bulb. (See previous post LED Pixi flat panel light replaces my laundry room light (4/10/15) for links to the manufacturer's data sheet and a photo of it installed in my laundry room.) Also seen in this photo is the replacement phone I recently had to buy because my twenty-years-old Northern Telecom phone started to have some electrical problems. I found it hard to find a new phone that was low vision accessible -- with large print key labels and with a caller ID display I could see. If I go any blinder, this new phone will also announce the calls via a built-in computer speech synthesis program, which amazingly works, most of the time, but not every time, because sometimes it speaks names with a strange pronunciation. (See previous post LED and CFL bulbs hard to see with blue-orange-yellow color blindness due to their higher color temperature (8/1/15))

I am enjoying my new kitchen counter desk light, but it wasn't easy to install because meeting both safety and electric code requirements required installing a UL-rated electrical box to be added inside of the kitchen cabinet. Surprisingly, the Pixie light fixture doesn't include a standard electrical box conduit clamp like the old fluorescent light had to safely run the 120VAC power wire into it, probably because the Pixie light designers wanted to make the fixture thin as possible. The manufacturer could have solved this problem with some optional spacer plates, which would also solve the other installation problem I ran into with the ground screw and power plug connectors being too thick to flush mount it to the ceiling with having to ding the drywall a tad.

As a side benefit, the new Pixie light is more energy efficient than either the previously used incandescent bulbs or the fluorescent lights. Everybody loves the bright light the Pixie puts out in the laundry room and how it looks aesthetically. However, normal vision people say my kitchen under cabinet light is much too bright for a kitchen desk area. In an attempt to solve this issue, I experimented using a dimmer switch in place of the existing simple wall switch loop. The manufacturer says a standard Leviton dimmer should work, but online reviews suggest some dimmer switch models work better than others at reducing any humming noise when it is dimmed. I also found the humming noise to be an issue and the manufacturer's list of approved dimmers overlaps, but not completely, despite the model number of them being identical, except for a "A" on the end of it.

The only other unknown issue I worry about is if the LED lights will last the 50,000 or more hours promised by the manufacturers, because there is no easy to replace bulb if the light burned out, and the whole fixture would need to be replace, which inovles the hassle of unwiring the 120VAC connection, which would require the services of a licensed electrician.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Front page OSU library flasher story bumps sexual assault story to page 3

Oregon State University library flasher on front page 9/18/15 and sexual assault on p. A3

PHOTO: Printed on the front page, of the professional newspaper serving my Corvallis, Oregon State University college town, was a story by Nathan Bruttell, "Porn video earns fine for ex-OSU student," Gazette-Times, Sep. 18, 2015, p. A1, A5, which unfortunately bumped off the front page the story of a physical sexual assault: Nathan Bruttell, "Corvallis woman reports waking up to intruder rubbing himself on her," Gazette-Times, Sep. 18, 2015, p. A3. According to the first story, an OSU student, who as a freshman student used the library to expose her breasts to the world on the internet and "used the video to help propel her fame -- she started using the Twitter handle @KSLibraryGirl in the months following -- and her webcam site states 'yes, I am that girl.'" The other and completely unrelated sexual assault story that got bumped off the front page quoted a police report that said, "she woke up and a male she did not know was on top of her rubbing his erect penis through his clothes and the covers against her body. . ."

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall watching the Gazette-Times editors discussing their decision to bump an actual sexual assault story off the front page in favor of a victimless crime story about a library flasher, which ironically gives her cyberspace sex work priceless free publicity -- I'm sure she thinks the $1,000 fine is more than worth the publicity. Yes, in all fairness, it is true that what the editors chose for the front page was the story that has become a national news story. However, it is unfortunate this editorial decision also minimized the importance of the sexual assault story, which I also agree is too common in a college town.

Front page headline 'Sex video raises furor at OSU' Gazette-Times Jan. 30, 2015, p. A1

PHOTO: Front page newspaper article by Nathan Bruttell, "Sex video raises furor at OSU. Former student filmed graphic scene inside library." Gazette-Times, Jan. 30, 2015, p. A1, A6 posted Jan. 29, 2015 as "Former OSU student's pornographic video getting national attention" See previous post OSU library tearooms mentioned in letter about sex video (2/4/15)