Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Letter from 1922 U of Minnesota alum on Technolog Magazine and mechanical TV

Letter Nov. 28, 1974 from Marty Wichman U of Minn EE '22 born 1894 with first 1920 issue of U of Minnesota Technolog Magazine

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) I am sorry I did not respond to the letter I received dated Nov. 28, 1974 from Marty Wichman who was a 1922 alum in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota because I was distracted (see below) by an anti-gay bully. Marty included an original copy of the very first November 1920 issue of the University of Minnesota Technolog college magazine, which I was the editor of during 1974-1975. Also included was a 1928 article on mechanical television (see below). Marty was born in 1894 (he said he mailed me this letter on his 80th birthday). Marty told me the story of his founding and naming of the Technolog magazine after a previous version had gone broke, forcing the faculty to pay the bills. The Technolog was well funded when Marty started it up again and funding continued for decades later from large corporate sponsors who paid for ads to recruit engineering graduates in similar engineering college magazines across America, including at the University Of Minnesota Institute Of Technology. I could not find out if the Technolog magazine is still in existence today, but Google located a university funding request form for the magazine that was dated 2006 and other links suggesting that it was still alive around 2006. It appears today that most college newspapers, yearbooks and other traditionally printed campus media have quit printing physical hard copies and are instead being published in the digital cloud on the internet.

Mechanical TV transmitting and receiver apparatus by George Swenson EE 21 U of Minn Technlog Feb. 1928, p. 140-141

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) a 1928 mechanical TV transmitting and receiver apparatus that used a disc rotating at 1,062 RPM that had holes cut in a spiral around the edge to scan the equivalent of 50 pixels by 50 pixels of picture information at 17.7 framed per second, which could be transmitted over telephone lines, with 40 kilohertz of bandwidth, to a receiver that had a similar disc rotating at a synchronized rate illuminated by a neon tube that dimmed and brightened. Witnesses marveled that faces and even facial expressions could be recognized in the television image. The article was written by George Swenson, a 1922 E.E. alum and assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, and it appeared in the Minnesota Technolog magazine, Feb. 1928, p. 140-142, 154, 162. My dad always talked about trying to build a mechanical TV in the 1930s. (See Mechanical television (Wikipedia) and "Mechanical Television, Mechanical TV Sets of the 20s and 30s," Early Television Museum 5396 Franklin St., Hilliard, OH)

Male Teletype ASCII art pinup and computer plotter breasts U of Minn Technolog, Nov. 1974, p. 30

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) an advanced for its time computer plotter output based on a mathematical equation (top) and a male pinup that I created by hand in ASCII art, which used standard computer characters at that time that could be printed out on the Model 33 Teletype machine that was commonly used back then as the user interface to minicomputers and mainframe computers. As the editor, I printed it under the guise of being non-sexist and something that the predominantly heterosexual male engineering students could enjoy as well as the couple of female engineering students. It was printed in the University of Minnesota Technolog, Nov. 1974, p. 30.

Electric slide rule illustration made out of plastic gears for HP calculator article U of Minn Technolog, Oct. 1973, p 8-12

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) a photo illustration showing a fictional "Electric Slide rule" made of toy plastic gears that I created for an article I wrote for the Technolog (Oct. 1973, p 8-12) on the new Hewlett-Packard calculators, including the HP-35, introduced in 1972, and the newer HP-45 scientific calculator. Mechanical slide rules were mandatory for engineering students to complete homework assignments and for taking engineering tests until the HP-35 made slide rules obsolete. Professors thought calculators led to poor understanding of engineering calculations because calculators were too precise and easy to use. In fact, professors adapted by making homework assignments and tests require the use of more general mathematical formulas, which calculators at the time couldn't handle, instead of just calculating the right number result with a slide rule. Also, in the Nov. 1974 issue on p. 6-7 there was a full page ad for the Hewlett-Packard HP-35 and HP-65 available for sale through the engineering bookstore. The company address was still listed in Cupertino, CA. This was just a few months before the HP calculator division moved to Corvallis, Oregon. I am sure the article I wrote helped get the ad placement by HP and it later helped me get me hired, after I graduated, by the HP calculator research and development engineering department at HP to design new calculators.

cover illustration of Newton Burger instead o Quarter Pounder, U of Minn Technolog, Feb. 1975

PHOTO: a cover photo illustration I created (for the University of Minnesota Technolog magazine, Feb. 1975) of a "Newton Burger" for a story on the conversion of American engineering standards to the use of metric units instead of English units. It parodied the famous MacDonald's Quarter Pounder because a Newton of force is the metric equivalent of approximately a quarter pound. Note that the more commonly used metric unit of kilograms is a representation of mass, not force. Only nerdy mechanical engineering and physics students appreciated my joke.

Thomas Kraemer on front page of University of Minnesota Daily newspaper, Dec. 3, 1974

PHOTO: today I regret not being able to respond to Marty Wichman, a 1922 alum of the University of Minnesota who wrote a letter to me in 1874, because I was being threatened with suspension after university officials decided I was at fault, instead of an anti-gay bully, for his relentless bullying of me and the disruption it caused in my college dormitory. Fortunately, an openly gay attorney help defend me and I was able to transfer all my college credits and complete my graduate degree in electrical engineering at Oregon State University. The meme of "blame the bullied victim instead of blaming the bully" has been all too common in the history of sexual orientation and gender discrimination. I experienced it firsthand. See previous post My 'it gets better' story nearly 40 years later (6/1/2011)

Also, see these links Google found in my attempt to see if the Minnesota Technolog was still being published:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gay victim of bully blamed, not bully, in 1961

Opie shows his black eye to father Andy and Barney in Andy Griffith TV show 1961

PHOTO: Opie Taylor, played by actor Ron Howard, proudly brags about getting a black eye from standing up to and fighting a bully at school after he had been instructed to do so by his Sheriff father Andy Taylor and the Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife in the TV show The Andy Griffith Show "Opie and the Bully" Original Airdate October 2, 1961. The cable Comcast TV Guide listing description of the show in 2013 said, "Opie must find the courage to face up to a bully who keeps taking his lunch money -- and Andy must find the courage to let him. (Comedy 30 mins.)" "The Andy Griffith Show" was televised by CBS between October 3, 1960, and April 1, 1968. Andy Griffith portrays the widowed sheriff of the fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina. His life is complicated by an inept, but well-meaning deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), a spinster aunt and housekeeper, Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), and a precocious young son, Opie (Ron Howard). See List of The Andy Griffith Show characters.

The 1961 TV show episode "Opie and the Bully" epitomized the homophobic culture that gay men faced fifty years ago. The 1950's era code of manhood made it clear that all "real men" would fight anybody who challenged their dominance or manhood because if they didn't fight back it would mean they were weak and effeminate or in others words they were a fag, a queer, or a homosexual -- gay or transgendered in today's words. Also, fathers who had not instructed their sons in how to fight and stand up to a bully would be accused of being bad fathers because their failure to teach their boy the code of manhood would cause the boy to grow up and be gay.

Throughout history, nearly every gay or queer boy has been a victim of a bully who targeted the boy probably because the boy was perceived to be gay. In my experience, boys who were bullied often got blamed for it, instead of the bully, by adults and school officials for "causing it" by acting gay and for not having fought back like a man. Fortunately, today the anti-bullying programs have raised awareness and it is now more likely that gay boys, who are a victim of a bully, can more easily find help and the bully's behavior is less likely to be tolerated by adults.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Advocate says Poppers are dead like comic books

 Poppers are dead article Advocate Feb. 2013 and 1986 Poppers comic book cover

PHOTO: (left) magazine article by Jesse Archer, "Poppers are dead: Long Live Popers. Is alkyl nitrite the gay peyote or just a vestige of a different time that we no longer need?" The Advocate, Feb.-Mar. 2013, p. 26-27 posted online anuary 15 2013 next to (right) cover of gay comic book by Jerry Mills, "Poppers Gay Comix #9, Winter 1986-1987. (See previous post Jerry Mills 'Poppers' gay comic (3/13/10))

Jerry Mills 'Poppers' cover of Gay Comix number 9 Winter 1986-1987 PHOTO: cover of comic book by Jerry Mills, "Poppers Gay Comix #9, Winter 1986-1987. I only saw this comic book for sale in a San Francisco Castro district magazine rack -- I doubt it was ever sold from the same racks where kids bought comic books. Later, I saw it being sold in an adult shop that catered mostly to straight men. (Also see previous post Jerry Mills 'Poppers' gay comic (3/13/10))

I only tried using poppers once in college (when I was given a free sample) and so my opinion is based solely on what I've heard from actual users. In addition to the slight high or rush feeling poppers can provide, in my experience, inexperienced bottom boys often said they were using poppers to relax their muscles right before penetration and then they would take an additional hit right before orgasm to get an extra rush feeling. When I took a hit (legally when I did it), I just felt like I was inhaling paint thinner and it was making me dizzy. Given the health risks, especially when it was being blamed for AIDS before HIV was discovered, I never pursued poppers. I bet there are still health risks to using poppers.

For more on gay comics see previous post Howard Cruse, gay marriage 1976, Gay Comix 1980-1998, publish on demand (3/7/10).

On a loosely related note, "The Advocate" magazine is now a bimonthly magazine (previous subscribers were still getting a monthly issue mailed to them bundled with a copy of Out magazine). Read Matthew Breen, "Editor's Letter: Our Mission Continues," The Advocate, Feb.-Mar. 2013, p. 8, who says "big changes are afoot. The Advocate, after several years away, is returning to the newsstand and will now be publishing bimonthly. Our media landscape is changing, and The Advocate has always changed with the times to offer our readership the content they desire in the format most befitting that content."

However, I wonder if "The Advocate" will be available at newsstands in Corvallis, given that most magazine newsstands and bookstores in Corvallis went out of business a few years ago and I bet the remaining grocery store newsstands will not carry it. I am not sure if the OSU Bookstore still sells magazines or not, but they might carry it.

For more on the history of "The Advocate," see previous post Advocate 40th anniversary issue (9/11/07)

Even more loosely related is the article by Matthew Breen, "Gayest Cities in America, 2013," The Advocate, Feb.-Mar. 2013, p. 36-45 (See Salem, Oregon #14 on p. 39 and Eugene, Oregon #7 on p. 42), but Corvallis didn't make the cut. Also, Diane Anderson-Minshall, "It's in your genes. Can Your Genes Explain Sexual Orientation? Genetic testing can explain many things. Is your sexual orientation one of them?," Advocate, Dec. 2012 - Jan. 2013, p. 49 ( (buy a saliva test kit online)) and Michelle Garcia, "Meet the Class of 2013," posted Jan. 3, 2013.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Corvallis plastic bag ban and gay marriage

Plastic ban letter next to gay marriage letter Gazette-Times, Jan. 8, 2013, p. A9

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) A coincidental, but amusing editor's layout of a letter by Roger Paul, "Opponents of gay marriage are employing faulty logic," Gazette-Times, Jan. 8, 2013, p. A9 right next to my letter on the Corvallis plastic bag ban: Thomas Kraemer, "Poulation growth still biggest environmental problem we face," Gazette-Times, posted Jan. 8, 2013, p. A9. I am usually the one writing the letters on gay marriage! UPDATE 1/12/13: somebody else thought this layout was good and said it made a good case for gay marriage: Aaron Brown, "made convincing case for same-sex marriage," Gazette-Times, posted Jan. 11, 2013 -- also a crazy letter by Chuck Wenstrom, "Letter: Same-sex marriage proponents set man’s laws above those of God," Gazette-Times, posted Jan. 11, 2013

I am celebrating still being alive in 2013 and still able to write a few things despite my worsening stroke symptoms, including low vision blindness. The new law in Corvallis banning paper grocery bags is one of those feel-good environmental laws that are hard to take seriously because they ignore the root problem and do little for the environment. Coincidentally, the 1970's idea of sustainable population growth was the topic of a talk mentioned in the article by Staff, "Earth Year: How do we find a sustainable path to follow?" posted Jan. 2, 2013. These two events covered in my local newspaper prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

The ban on plastic bags in Corvallis is not going to significantly alter my behavior because I always asked for paper bags and reused them to bundle my other paper recyclables, such as newspapers and letters, before tossing them in the curbside collection tub. I'll grudgingly pay a nickel to keep doing this because it prevents litter flying away from loose papers when the robotic grab arm tosses the recycle tub's contents into the garbage truck.

Paper bag fees are another example of nickel and dime nuisance fees being increasingly passed onto customers, such as airline fees, which were previously included in the service. Fees accomplish little other than enriching a few and irritating everyone, because they ignore the root problem of unsustainable consumption due to excessive population growth.

Zero population growth used to be a widely supported goal, but it is opposed by greedy Wall Street plutocrats who also reward companies for building products that must be thrown out frequently. If legislators sincerely cared about the environment, they would require manufacturers to sincerely make products that were supportable and repairable for decades.

I am old enough to recall when the word "sanitized" was still printed on grocery bags before society became overly dependent on antiseptics and antibiotics, which has tragically led to resistant strains of pathogens. I bet most reusable grocery bags will become dirty and a vector for diseases. (Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Poulation growth still biggest enviromental problem we face," Gazette-Times, posted Jan. 8, 2013, p. A9)

A previous letter writer made a similar point: Milt Weaver, "Bag ban will bring a load of unintended consequences," Gazette-Times, Jab. 2, 2012, p. A7.

The newspaper editor also published the following comment that a checker at Safeway told me she loved reading:

"RASPBERRIES to the people who are taking out their frustrations over Corvallis' bag ban on local cashiers. They are not the ones who enacted the ban on plastic check-out bags at stores that have more than 50 employees. Working directly with the public is among the most difficult of tasks on any day, but even more so when you are in charge of implementing a plan you had no hand in crafting. Please remember that, and remember to bring in your reusable bags when you shop. Keeping them in a container in the trunk is a way to keep them clean and handy." (Quoted from "Editorial: Roses and Raspberries," Gazette-Times, Jan. 4, 2013)

Also see the following:

One thing I haven't heard yet is the likely increase in ergonomic injuries to grocery store checkers because the customer supplied bags may not be designed right to prevent injury given their workstation height, etc.

UPDATE posted Jan. 20, 3013:

black collapsible crate (left) next to red browsing baskets sold by Demco library supply in back of car

PHOTO: Although I will continue buying paper grocery bags to put my other paper recyclables in to keep them from blowing away when the truck picks it up, I decided to buy a commercial grade shopping basket that I could use for small purchases. I bought it at a professional library supply house because I already had an account there to buy supplies for my home library. I bought one of the Collapsible Crates sold by Demco for $21.94 (See Interlibrary Loan products at Demco) and two of the Browsing Baskets sold by Demco for $18.54 (See Patron Browsing products at Demco) Demco Madison, WI 53707 Phone 1-800-279-1586 that are made by: The Big Basket Company GoodL Corp., P.O. Box 337, Lavergne, TN 37087 -- The Big Basket Company (Download PDF Brochure)

I wrote the follow up letter on the ergonomic injury issue, faced by grocery clerks, which the bag fee will probably aggravate:

It is sadly ironic that an Albany paper mill, which made stock for paper grocery bags, shut down production and eliminated local jobs shortly before the City of Corvallis banned plastic grocery bags.

We Corvallis liberals, who religiously "buy local," are anguished that the mandated five cent per bag fee is discouraging the use of locally made, environmentally correct, recyclable paper bags. Worse, the five cent bag fee is causing some to irrationally waste gas by driving to Albany or Philomath, where being pro-choice is more than just about abortion.

More seriously, I believe the Corvallis plastic bag ban will lead to an increased incident of repetitive stress injuries among Corvallis grocery store clerks because stores won't be able to replace check stands with ones ergonomically engineered to prevent RSI with the wide variety of reusable bags owned by customers. RSI is a real problem for workers, despite the fact that company health insurance plans often treat it as a mental disorder or an act of malingering worthy of being fired.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Bag ban ill-advised," Gazette-Times, Jan. 20, 2013, p. C5)

Also, see the following links:

Sam Champion gay marriage 2012 vs. 1970 Jack Baker

Sam Champion's gay marriage featured on Good Morning America Dec. 24, 2012

PHOTO: ABC Good Morning America TV weatherman Sam Champion is married to Rubem Robierb (top) and later congratulated by his GMA co-hosts while on the air (center) Dec. 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM. Champion then walks over to report the weather conditions across the U.S (bottom) including a 3 degree (actual not wind chill) temperature in the City of Minneapolis, which coincidentally is the home of the gay marriage pioneer Jack Baker, who was married in 1970. (See Andrea Mandell, "'GMA' anchor Sam Champion marries his partner.The couple will follow up with a bigger bash in Miami on New Year's Eve," USA Today, Dec. 21, 2012 and Patrick Condon, "Jack Baker And Michael McConnell, Couple In 1971 Minnesota Gay Marriage Case, Still United," posted Dec. 10, 2012)

Having witnessed the gay marriage of Jack Baker in 1970, it was especially heartwarming for me to witness Sam Champion's marriage in 2012 on Good Morning America, a TV show I starting watching when it first went on the air. (See previous post Magnus Hirschfeld, Jack Baker, University of Minnesota and Oregon State University gay connection (1/21/12) plus piece by Patrick Condon, "Jack Baker And Michael McConnell, Couple In 1971 Minnesota Gay Marriage Case, Still United," posted Dec. 10, 2012)

May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace

PHOTO: May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker were married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace. See previous post Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08).

Baker et al. v. Nelson, United States Reports, Volume 409, Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court, October Term, 1972, Oct. 10, 1972 'dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.'

PHOTO: the first court case on same-sex marriage was initiated by University of Minnesota law student Jack Baker in 1970: Baker et al. v. Nelson, Oct. 10, 1972, "United States Reports, Volume 409, Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court, October Term, 1972," U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974, p. 810. The Appeal was "dismissed for want of a substantial federal question." Notice how this same phrase was used to dismiss scads of other cases. The court seemed to be using it as shorthand to say a case was a matter of state law and not federal law. See previous post Baker v. Nelson 1972 Supreme Court order on gay marriage (7/22/09)

See Thomas Kraemer's previous blog posts on Jack Baker and gay marriage activism:

Although Jack Baker was the first person to champion (pardon the pun) gay marriage, the Rev. Troy Perry also helped to promote the concept by performing religious marriage ceremonies for gay couples. Perry's religious past and potential future contribution to gays and religion was discussed in a recent article by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, "Do gays need a church of their own anymore?" printed in Gazette-Times, Jan. 2, 2013, p. A8, posted on Jan. 1, 2013.

Reverend Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony. Life Magazine Dec. 31, 1971, p. 70. PHOTO: Reverend Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony in 1971. Google photo collection from article "Homosexuals in revolt: The year that one liberation movement turned militant," Life Magazine, Dec. 31, 1971, p. 70. (See my previous post Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08))