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Saturday, December 27, 2014

China gay dating app featured in Businessweek reminds me of HP China

Thomas Kraemer HP China visa paperwork

PHOTO: Thomas Kraemer's visa paperwork, from the late 1980's, handwritten by Beijing, China officials during one of his visits to the Hewlett-Packard China research laboratory, which he founded at the personal request of the HP company cofounder Dave Packard who had previously served as the Assistant Defense Secretary under President Nixon and who was one of the businessmen that helped Nixon open up Communist China for trade with America. HP was one of the first America companies to do more than just exploit the low cost of labor for manufacturing in China. The research lab I set up initially employed researchers, many with Ph.D. degrees from American universities, who were paid the equivalent of $30 per month, which was the prevailing wages in China at the time, but when I mentioned these low wages to Dave Packard during a business plan review as being important to making a profit, he admonished me and reminded me that the reason HP was in China was not to exploit the low wages, but because he sincerely wanted HP to be a global business with an equal proportion of business, including manufacturing and R&D labs, in all countries. I still admire Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard's business ethics and I am not surprised that their company has survived so profitably and long after their deaths because of the ethics they instilled in the fabric of HP.

I was reminded of my time in China when I read the recent article by Christina Larson, "Technology: The Startup Winning Over China's Gays," BusinessWeek, Dec. 29, 2014 - Jan. 1, 2015, p. 31-33 posted online as "Technology: World's Largest Gay Dating App, Born in China, Now Attracts Global Investors," Dec. 10. 2014:

Ma Baoli worked as a cop in China's northern Hebei province for almost 20 years, until his colleagues heard about the gay online discussion forum he moderated in his spare time. Some of his work buddies "turned a cold shoulder" when they learned he was gay, Ma says. The police department forced him to make a choice: He could keep his job or keep running Danlan. org, one of the country's first gay-focused websites. When he abruptly resigned in March 2012, his confused parents showed up at the police station in search of answers: Ma hadn't come out to them.

The People's Republic has been slow to accept homosexuality. Consensual sex between two men or two women has been legal only since 1997. Until 2001, China's Ministry of Health classified homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder.

Gay dating apps Grindr, which originated in the U.S., and Jack'd, of Belgium, have signed up users in China, but they haven't kept pace with Blued. According to Ma, Blued has 15 million users, mostly in China, making it the world leader. (Grindr has about 10 million globally.)

. . .

China's smartphone revolution was in its infancy. Many Chinese without regular access to desktops or laptops were suddenly going online, and even longtime Web surfers found new possibilities in the privacy offered by handheld mobile devices. One 30-year-old civil servant in Beijing, who asked that his name not be printed because he isn't out to colleagues, says that he met his partner of 18 months on Blued: "When I was in my early 20s, I often went to gay bars to meet men. But now that I am a little older, I am more serious about my relationships." He says he likes Blued's timeline feature, where users can post daily messages and photos, because it provides a glimpse of the personalities of men he might meet.

Profiles on Blued include information on age, height, preferred sexual positions, and blood type (which is associated with compatibility in China), though most users use pseudonyms. The app has a geolocation feature that calculates the distance between two users' locations.

. . .

Ma says that after a year of agonizing over the direction of his life, he's "now much more at peace." He draws inspiration from Apple's (AAPL) Tim Cook. "As a successful CEO, he is changing the public's view of gay men in business," Ma says. Asked if he thinks China will ever legalize gay marriage, Ma says: "Definitely. It's a matter of time. Social change happens slowly."

(Quoted from Christina Larson, "Technology: The Startup Winning Over China's Gays," BusinessWeek, Dec. 29, 2014 - Jan. 1, 2015, p. 31-33 posted online as "Technology: World's Largest Gay Dating App, Born in China, Now Attracts Global Investors," Dec. 10. 2014)

I have been pleased watching the world open up to social justice and go from gay liberation activists of the early 1970's angrily criticizing Jack Baker's gay marriage activism as being contrary to the goals of sexual freedom and gay liberation, to a world with legal marriage in many places and an oppressive Communist state opening up to the idea of gay marriage, as well to see a gay CEO of Apple Computer Tim Cook. Likewise, it is heartening to see the work of American's work to remove homosexuality from the official American list of mental disorders be accepted internationally.

Year 2014 in review - nine years of blogging

Thomas Kraemer as Simpson cartoon character PHOTO: See previous post Thomas Kraemer as Simpson cartoon (8/7/07)

Thomas Kraemer 2014
PHOTO: Thomas Kraemer still alive and still merry at the end of 2014, but with more white hair and much blinder and weaker than he was last year!

Thomas Kraemer in front of snow covered Japanese garden Nov. 2010

PHOTO: Thomas Kraemer, in November 2010, sitting in front of his snow covered Japanese garden. This was a record early snowfall for Corvallis, Oregon. He was still able to enjoy the snowfall, despite having suffered a few months before an ischemic stroke in the posterior cerebral artery territory of his right brain that worsened his low vision blindness,. (See my previous post Signs and symptoms due to stroke (9/18/10))

Bill Gates and Paul Allen using Model 33 Teletype

PHOTO: My favorite photo in the history of computer technology is of Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen using a Model 33 Teletype machine connected via a 110 bit per second telephone modem to a central timesharing computer system. I guess the photo was taken in the late 1960s or early 1970s based on the age of the boys and the vintage of the computer technology. This photo made me recall how the term "booting up" a computer originated from the old adage of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" in reference to how computers had to be started up in the days of Teletype machines. Early computers had little if any permanent memory and they required a small program entered manually in binary via the computer's front panel switches, or by using the punched paper tape reader of a Teletype machine, so that the computer's operating system could then be loaded from a magnetic tape drive or hard drive. This short piece of punched paper tape was commonly called the "bootstrap loader program" because it resembled a leather bootstrap and it was figuratively being used to pull up the computer by its own bootstraps. The Teletype used mechanical fingers and electrical contacts to sense the rows of up to eight punched holes in the paper tape as it was mechanically fed through its reader -- each punched hole representing a binary bit and each row a byte. See previous posts My first blog posting (4/15/06) and Windows XP R.I.P. and Bill Gates using Teletype circa 1970's (4/12/14)

I started my first blog in 2006 Thomas Kraemer Blog and wrote 1,554 Posts through 2011, before starting my current blog in 2012, Tom's OSU blog, where I've written another 200 posts, including this one. I have been slowed down considerably by multiple ischemic strokes over the last few years and therefore hope and pray that I can continue posting long enough to celebrate my tenth year of blogging next year. As I've said before, I blog largely because it provides a wonderful Google searchable memory of interesting things I've read instead of blogging as some people do just for ego gratification.

This is my 200th post in this blog and in the event I am unable to blog throughout next year, I decided to list both my favorite posts of 2014 below, in addition to some links from previous posts made over the last 9 years:

Listed below are my previous annual reviews:

Some other posts from previous years:

Monday, December 15, 2014

All Social Security recipients received gay marriage benefits information for 2015

I lived to see Social Security recognize gay marriage!

Each year in December, every U.S. Social Security Administration beneficiary receives via the U.S. mail a single folded, custom printed page that states what is the automatic cost-of-living adjustment for the next year and what will be the new dollar amount for their Social Security payment, less deductions for Medicare insurance and other deductions, along with the date they should expect this dollar amount will be direct deposited into their bank account. (I am not sure if anybody receives an actual check in the mail anymore.) -- (At the bottom of the paper form that I received on Dec. 12, 2014 was the footer: "Social Security Administration Form SSA-4926-SM-DI (1-2015)")

I was surprised this year, given my low vision blindness, to see a prominent headline that read (Social Security) "Benefits for Same-Sex Couples," which stated underneath the headline, "We are now able to pay benefits to more same-sex couples. We encourage people to contact us to find out if they or their children are eligible for benefits or a different benefit amount. Learn more at, which I noticed automatically redirects to the page, "Important Information for Same-Sex Couples," U.S. Social Security Administration accessed Dec. 15, 2014:

"On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Therefore, Social Security no longer is prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages to determine entitlement or payment amount." (Quoted from "Important Information for Same-Sex Couples," U.S. Social Security Administration accessed Dec. 15, 2014)

More on the annual Social Security adjustment for inflation:

"Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015, the Social Security Administration announced today.

"The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $118,500 from $117,000. Of the estimated 168 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2015, about 10 million will pay higher taxes because of the increase in the taxable maximum. "

(Quoted from LaVenia J. LaVelle, Press Officer, "Press Release: Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2015," Wednesday, October 22, 2014)

Also see "Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2015," accessed Dec. 15, 2014.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My new kitchen chairs finally match my Herman Miller table

My Eames kitchen chairs and Herman Miller Table TV HP Touchsmart

PHOTO: A rainy Oregon day can be seen outside my kitchen window beside my new Eames Aluminum Management Chairs that finally match my previously acquired Herman Miller table -- a Twentieth Century design I have always admired and that seems to remain in fashion with TV set designers today. Even though i have become color blind, I picked the slate (bluish) leather to pick up on the light blue kitchen cabinets I have. For me, the chairs and table work well next to a wall-mounted HDTV (which I can no longer see, but I can listen to the TV news) and an HP TouchSmart computer with a touch screen interface to Windows 7 OS and integrated HDTV. I bought the HDTV and computers shortly before I had a stroke that legally blinded me, but fortunately not enough to be unable to post this photo. Behind the wall on the left is my laundry room, which I mentioned in my previous post New laundry room attic vent installed for Speed Queen Washer Dryer plus future cooktop (12/6/14), where I explained, "It seems like everything in my house is going obsolete and needs to be repaired or replaced. . . . For example, my kitchen chairs are breaking up and unrepairable, therefore I just bought a couple of designer Eames Aluminum Management Chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller, in Vicenza Leather with chrome legs (17171), which I hope to blog about after they arrive as promised next week." Done!

"When Charles and Ray Eames designed the Eames Aluminum Management Chair and Side Chair (1958), they created a revolution in seating that has lost none of its edge. These chairs were originally developed as a special project for a private residence being designed by Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard. Moving away from the Eameses' shell forms of the 1940s, the designers combined a newly affordable aluminum frame with a sling seat that subtly conforms to the body's shape." (Quoted from Eames chairs product information)

Fortunately, my bad luck with damaged shipments and poorly built designer furniture appears to have been broken this time -- the chairs came in perfect shape, undamaged and appear to have been built with excellent materials and craftsmanship. Caution, your mileage may differ.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oregonian book review of new gay marriage history book

ONE Magazine Aug. 1953 'Homosexual marriage?' cover headline PHOTO: ONE Magazine was ahead of its time when it mentioned the idea of "homosexual marriage" in 1953 long before "gay marriage" or same-sex marriage became a cause of some gay liberationists. Former Oregon State University Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture W. Dorr Legg was one of the major contributors to the ONE homophile magazine and he was a conservative who probably saw gay marriage as being a conservative value. (See previous posts Oregon same-sex marriage vote and Pope resigns hits front page (2/21/13), W. Dorr Legg OSU archives records 1935-1942 (7/31/10) and Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," printed to PDF from in 2010 is permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives @ OSU)

Given my low vision blindness, it will take me a few more weeks to read more than just a book review of a new book on the history of gay marriage (See book review by Judith Barrington, Special to The Oregonian, "Surprising scenes behind the successful marriage war," The Oregonian, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, p. 4 A&E Section, and posted online December 03, 2014 of the new book by Marc Solomon, "Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits--And Won," Foreedge 2014)

The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) Sunday newspaper reviewer Judith Barrington said, "I was pretty sure I already knew most of what would be in this book when I opened it. But as it turned out, there were plenty of surprises in Marc Solomon's 'Winning Marriage.'"

I'm guessing that a book written by the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry will focus on the more recent history of the battle for gay marriage equality, however, on Sunday I asked "The Oregonian" newspaper editor to publish the following bit of "ancient history" (as most newspaper editors dismiss it):

I noticed the Dec. 7 book review of "Winning Marriage" ignored the contributions of the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg (1904-1994) who in the 1950's published an academic research journal paper that predicted "homophile marriage" would be a natural consequence of gaining equal rights for gay people.

I was a member of the gay liberation group behind the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 1972, which let stand Jack Baker's legally performed same-sex marriage because Minnesota marriage laws at that time did not specify gender and Baker's marriage was never legally ordered dissolved by any court.

Sadly, I witnessed the first national gay rights lobbyists in the 1970's angrily reject the conservative values and genius of Legg and Baker because, along with women liberation groups, they viewed marriage only as a tool used by men to oppress women.

Thomas Kraemer
Founder, Oregon State University Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, The (Portland) Oregonian letters to the editor on My Oregon Public Blog, "Oregon gay marriage history," posted Dec. 8, 2014 3:16PM)

My physical hardback copy of the book is scheduled to arrive today and I hope to blog more after reading it, which as I said might take several weeks, especially now that OSU is out for Christmas break until after the new year starts. (This is a small college that literally empties out during college breaks, which is great for doing many things without any crowds!)

(UPDATE 12/12/12/14) My physical copy of the book arrived and between perusal of the index and the ability to search inside the digital copy of the book, I confirmed that the book doesn't make a connection to prior gay marriage activism in America, much less internationally --this would make a good Ph.D. thesis for somebody to write, hint, hint!

Oregon Obamacare versus Medicare comparison letter

My local newspaper printed my letter to the editor about my experience with the Oregon's new Obamacare website versus Medicare:

During the recent open enrollment for Oregon's Obamacare at I compared what it costs for a Corvallis early retiree at age 64 versus a 65 years old Medicare recipient with President Bush's Part D drug coverage.

I found 69 Obamacare plans offered in Corvallis Zip code 97330 that ranged in price from $420 to $938 per month.

Most Medicare recipients in Corvallis pay monthly premiums of only $104.90 per month plus approximately $30 per month for Part D drug coverage, however, Medicare prominently discloses that the government pays most of the actual costs equal to $826.60 for Medicare Part A and B plus approximately $63.40 per month for Part D drug coverage, as calculated using Bush's delayed cost method also used by Obamacare.

Shockingly, this adds up to annually over $10,000 per Medicare recipient without including the additional dollars spent on co-payments, deductibles and other uncovered medical costs.

Younger Republicans are furthering their agenda, of cutting Social Security and Medicare to lower taxes, by stoking resentment in young voters with the above facts and the propaganda that the Baby Boom Generation will bankrupt the system and leave them nothing.

If Democrats fail to convince voters that capitalism and free market competition will not control medical costs, then eventually only the wealthy will be able to afford medical care.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Soon, only the wealthy will be able to afford insurance," Gazette-Times, Dec. 8, 2014)

See the following links:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

New laundry room attic vent installed for Speed Queen Washer Dryer plus future cooktop

Vents in attic for laundry room dryer and kitchen stove top

PHOTO: Two new stainless steel vents are shown installed in the attic, one vent pipe (right) is from my laundry room for my new a new Speed Queen Washer and Dryer and the other vent pipe (left) was installed in preparation for a new downdraft cooktop I plan to buy as a replacement for my existing 20 years old Jenn-Air electric cooktop and down draft vent, which currently vents down and then back behind the kitchen wall before being routed up and over the laundry room to an outside porch built with a cathedral ceiling roof and open cedar rafters extending three feet above the laundry room wall and some existing holes cut for attic venting because the building code inspector would not allow the stovetop vent to exit underneath the floor and so close to the laundry room window as the installer planned to do. I'm glad the inspector insisted on the change, because it places the vent out of the way and it is protected from rain and the weather instead of having a hole cut into the concrete porch as my builder wanted to do. (See previous post Wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Washer Dryer replaces old Maytag stacker (7/7/14))

Speed Queen Washer Dryer and laundry room vent to attic installed 2014

PHOTO: My laundry room in 2014 after installing the new dryer vent (above and left) for my new Speed Queen - Speed Queen Model AFN51F Stainless Steel washer and Speed Queen Model ADE41F Stainless Steel electric dryer, which had to be custom ordered because they normally stock only the gas model that is demand most everywhere except places like where I live that have low cost hydroelectric power generators and a history of being all electric. (See previous post Wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Washer Dryer replaces old Maytag stacker (7/7/14))

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).

I recently wrote about having to replace my 20 years old dishwasher (see previous post Dishwasher projects time remaining on kitchen floor tiles (10/2/14)) and my nearly thirty years old washing machine (see previous post Wheelchair accessible Speed Queen Washer Dryer replaces old Maytag stacker (7/7/14)).

It seems like everything in my house is going obsolete and needs to be repaired or replaced. For example, my kitchen chairs are breaking up and unrepairable, therefore I just bought a couple of designer Eames Aluminum Management Chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller, in Vicenza Leather with chrome legs (17171), which I hope to blog about after they arrive as promised next week. I already own a matching 4-foot diameter Herman Miller office kitchen table that goes with these chairs, which I noticed have recently become popular with many set designers for anchor chairs on national TV shows. I have admired this chair's design for decades, but I have never been able to afford buying them until now. I've had bad luck before with designer furniture and I am very leery about the quality of these chairs' construction, even though I love the quality of their design.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dissertate before you procreate advice given to striking grad students

Headline 'Ready to strike for benefits' Barometer, Dec. 2, 2014, p. 1

PHOTO: Oregon State University student newspaper headline story, about the University of Oregon graduate student teaching assistants strike, by Claire McMorris, "Ready to strike for benefits," Baarometer, Dec. 2, 2014, p. 1,4. Also see the sympathetic Staff, "Editorial: U of O grad students deserve fair wages," Barometer, p. 7.

I first heard the story about University of Oregon graduate teaching assistants striking on a Eugene TV station located next to the U of O and my first thought was, WOW, are students becoming more leftist after a few decades of going more conservative and I wondered what has changed their direction.

Although the U of O tends to be more liberal than Oregon State University, I bet any unionization effort will fail because Oregonians have typically either not cared about unionization or they see unions as a problem. I believe unions can be good, even though the history of unions is checkered.

What made me laugh was the U of O student spokeswoman for unionization who told the TV news that she was upset by the advice from "around" the U of O to "dissertate before you procreate!" -- get your Ph.D. first before rocking the boat. She went on to talk about her concern that she could not get pregnant because it wasn't covered by the U of O health plan.

Although I've heard this type of advice before at all stages in my career -- put your head down and do your job before you rock the boat -- I hadn't heard this adage before about grad students procreating.

It made me recall that my own grandfather and father worked on their Ph.D. thesis while procreating and raising children. Thanks to my dad, I got to play at his knee while he worked on a chemical engineering program on the first computer at the University of Illinois in the 1950's.

I am sure the U of O student strikers will get a good education in the politics of unionization and I wish them the best of luck, but my advice to them would be to be prepared for a bare knuckled fight they might lose.