Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Local politics - jail should be built with record low bond interest rates

Tom's FBI fingerprints in collage - Old Dell PC (top) replaced by HP workstation

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) my scrapbook collage seen in the background of this photo includes a copy of my fingerprints that were taken by the FBI in order to obtain the U.S. Navy's top secret security clearance. (See middle right of collage and previous post Still alive after 'upgrade' to Windows 7 HP Workstation and Dream Color Monitor (1/26/14))

Tours of the existing Corvallis, Oregon Benton County jail are being offered as part of a local political campaign to get voter approval for a new jail. (See newspaper article by Bennett Hall, "Tours offer inside look at jail," posted Jul. 28, 2014, which says, "The Benton County Jail was built in 1976, replacing a facility that dated from 1929. It had room for 27 inmates and was intended as a stopgap measure, designed to last only until the state built a system of regional jails.")

Reading the above newspaper article brought back old memories that I shared in a letter to the editor supporting the new jail:

In 1977, Oregon State University administrators directed me to the then new Benton County jail for fingerprinting by the FBI so that I could obtain the U.S. Navy's top secret security clearance required to be employed as a graduate research assistant on my thesis advisor's project concerning digital sonar signal processing.

Amusingly, to enter the jail I had to ring a doorbell on its blank concrete sidewall and was greeted by a surprised jailer asking me why I wanted in!

The jail looked shoddily built, even when it was new.

Delaying construction of a new jail will likely cost taxpayers more money because historically low interest rates are expected to rise on government bonds issued to build it.

Coincidentally, many Corvallis retirees might buy these new-issue bonds to receive double tax-free income that is fairly safe from default.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: After all these years, it finally might be time to build a new jail," Gazette-Times, July 30, 2014, p. A9)

Critics of the new jail like to point out that jail officials have been very secretive concerning how many beds are actually needed. For example, see the letter by C. Hollis Jackson, "Letter: No one has yet offered any real justification for a new jail," posted July 24, 2014.

A more liberal and humanitarian perspective was given to support the jail in a letter by Max Mania, "Letter: Tour was an eye-opener about the need for a new county jail," posted Jul. 23, 2014.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gender bending OSU student recruits women into science and engineering

VIDEO: gender bending Oregon State University pre-Computer Science Student Savannah Kay Loberger started a summer camp called "Girls Get It" designed to recruit more women students into science and engineering at OSU is featured in a TV news report by Valerie Hurst, "Tired of being only girl on robotics team, Hillsboro girl does something about it," posted Jul. 8, 2014, viewed on KATU TV news broadcast July 8, 2014 4:48PM.

Fifty years ago, you could probably have counted the number of female students in engineering at Oregon State University with the fingers on one hand, and everyone assumed it was because of rampant sexism in society that expected women to be "barefoot and pregnant" in the kitchen taking care of raising the family.

Over the last 50 years, the women's liberation movement has been successful in bringing parity to most occupations, but not in the science and engineering professions, which are still dominated by men. The percentage of female engineers has risen, but not as much or as quickly as other academic fields. The one exception has been the fairly new discipline of Computer Science where relatively more women have succeeded than in the older engineering disciplines, such as Mechanical Engineering.

The reasons for this gender disparity are not clear because there has been much effort spent by college administrators, professional societies and corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard's college recruiting program that was redesigned decades ago to proactively help females or minority students obtain their college degree and start a successful career.

A foundational postulate of the women's equality movement has always been that all men and women are created equal and neither should be constrained in their choice of profession due to the traditional gender roles defined by society. For example, any man should feel free to become a hairdresser just as any women should feel free to become an auto mechanic.

The assumption has always been that workplace discrimination against women (and even men in a few professions) is only a social construction that can be changed -- and this is a theory that has been bolstered over the last few decades by the rising equality between men and women in many professions that were traditionally segregated by gender.

As a result, it has been politically incorrect for anybody to merely suggest that biological differences between humans might make one person more or less successful in certain occupations.

However, I believe that the gender axis (masculinity to femininity) is an independent variable from the axis of biological sex (male to intersex to female) and it is also independent from the axis of sexual orientation (asexual to homosexual to bisexual to heterosexual).

I am not ashamed to discuss the idea that biology may encourage some people to be attracted to certain professions depending on how butch or fem they are instead of it being related to their biological sex of male or female.

I have evolved to this opinion after decades of watching the gender dynamics of gay people, most of who will insist that they are fully male or female, except for wanting to love somebody of the same-sex. I have also noticed that the gay men, who get the angriest when somebody suggests they are an effeminate queen, are usually the most effeminate acting men and they have been teased about it all their lives about it. Given this sensitivity, I have always been careful not to further traumatize them by letting them know how everybody views them as a nervous nelly swishy hairdresser type.

My point is that gay men prove the idea that biological sex is an independent variable from gender behavior or expression, and the relative success of masculine-acting gay men versus effeminate acting gay men in professions traditionally associated with wither men or women might provide some useful insights for researchers.

My caveat is that what I am talking about are not binary (e.g. yes or no, on or off) variables and they are continuous variables, which makes every human a unique combination of masculine-feminine and gay-straight, but most people like to simplistically pigeonhole everybody into a binary description of being either gay or straight, and either male or female. However, good scientists know that studying continuous statistical variations between groups of humans can yield useful insights and a better understanding of human nature.

For example, it is well accepted that human intelligence can be statistically measured in many different ways to sort people into those who will probably succeed in college and those that might flunk out. However, it is also well known that self-educated individuals, who were cast as being stupid, have gone on to be considered geniuses later in life. Therefore, it would be a mistake to use such statistics to limit anybody, just as it would be to use statistics on masculine-acting individuals, whether male or female, and prevent them from becoming an engineer or auto mechanic.

Instead, I hope that advances in gender identity science will be used to make discoveries that can help everyone, but I realize and accept that this area of research is so controversial that it will take some brave and creative researchers to do make any breakthrough discovery.

Kim Kraemer shown working on a car engine in a newspaper business page story by Mike McCraken, 'Woman mechanic fits in well,' Gazette-Times, Mar. 13, 1980, p. 13

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) from 34 years ago, a newspaper article by Mike McCraken, "Woman mechanic fits in well," Gazette-Times, Mar. 12, 1980, p. 13. (See previous post Kim Kraemer auto mechanic 1980 (11/7/09). In the 1970's Kim started as a Mechanical Engineering major at Oregon State University, despite the fact that everyone around her tried to discourage her from trying to enter a "male profession."

UPDATE 7/18/14 -- after I wrote the extemporaneous blog post above on the continuous variable axis of sexual orientation and gender identity, a Portland, Oregon gay newspaper published two, more polished essays on the topic for trans women:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Former OSU professor discusses gay marriage in 1953 and 1963

Cover headline of ONE June 1963

PHOTO: the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg moved on after World War II to edit and publish a pioneering research journal, to help establish what he called "homophile," or we call today gay rights, titled ONE magazine, which in 1963 featured the cover headline "Let's push homophile marriage" that included discussion of gay marriage. See Jim Burroway, "The Daily Agenda for Friday, June 20," posted Jun. 20, 2014 who gives a good summary of the ONE discussion on gay marriages and a summary of current legal victories. (See previous post Gay marriage discussion in 1953 vs. 1963 and today (12/13/16))

ONE Magazine Aug. 1953 'Homosexual marriage?' cover headline PHOTO: the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg moved on after World War II to edit and publish a pioneering research journal, to help establish what he called "homophile," or we call today gay rights, titled ONE magazine, which was ahead of its time when it mentioned the idea of "homosexual marriage" in 1953 long before "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage" became a cause of some gay liberationists in the 1960s. See Jim Burroway, "The Daily Agenda for Friday, June 20," posted Jun. 20, 2014 who gives a good summary of the ONE discussion on gay marriages and a summary of current legal victories. (See previous post Gay marriage discussion in 1953 vs. 1963 and today (12/13/16))

See my previous posts and the following links:

Wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Washer Dryer replaces old Maytag stacker

Speed Queen AFN51washerADE41Fdryer installed July 3, 2014

PHOTO: my new wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Stainless Steel Washer Model AFN51F and Speed Queen Stainless Steel Dryer electric version Model ADE41F are both front load machines, with control knobs in the front, so that you do not need to reach over to a back control panel. Fortunately, I am still able to walk and talk, despite what neurologists think I should be having trouble doing based on my fMRI tests, and I don't yet need a wheelchair accessible machine, but since I was replacing my 26 years-old Maytag, I thought it would be wise to plan ahead for likely future need. (See Speed Queen Home Laundry Products accessed May, 2014 and the Speed Queen advertising brochures for the Speed Queen Stainless Steel Washer and Dryer AR08-100 - The Imperial Series Brochure AFN51F, ADE41F/ADG41F (PDF).

Laundry room shelf above front load Speed Queen washer dryer

PHOTO: UPDATE 12/27/14: I added a laundry room shelf, with a clothes hanger rod, above my new Speed Queen front load washer dryer pair that is next to a laundry tub. See previous posts Wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Washer Dryer replaces old Maytag stacker (7/7/14) and New laundry room attic vent installed for Speed Queen Washer Dryer plus future cooktop (12/6/14).

Maytag stacker washer dryer built 1988

PHOTO: My old Maytag stacker washer and dryer purchased in 1988, which only required a few minor repairs over the last 26 years -- hopefully my new Speed Queen washer and dryer will provide me with a similar quality experience in terms of reliability and dependability. I originally purchased this Maytag stacker washer and dryer when my employer moved me to the San Francisco Silicon Valley and I had to live in a small condominium, which only had limited space for a laundry room. Although I moved several times since then to full-sized houses, my old Maytag kept working and working so well that I didn't see any reason to replace it even though I had a full-sized laundry room.

User's manuals, installation guides and parts list for the Speed Queen Washer Model AFN51F and Dryer Model ADE41F electric version are listed below: