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Saturday, October 31, 2015

New head of OSU EECS sends letter to alumni promoting interdisciplinary research perfect for Magnus Hirschfeld Fund

Ad for new head of OSU EECS IEEE Spectrum Dec. 2014, p. 67

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) A full page display advertisement used to hire the new head of the Oregon State University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science that ran in the professional society magazine IEEE Spectrum, Dec. 2014, p. 67. The recent replacement of the EECS department chairman has taken years to finish. (For more on the signal processing research background of the new head, Professor V. John Mathews, See previous post OSU soap opera ends with new head of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (8/6/15)) The ad's position description brags about the OSU college of Engineering being founded in 1889 and having graduated over 30,000 engineers. The ad says 25 percent of the students come from out of state and 8 percent are international students. The EECS has over 50 tenured or tenured track faculty members with 9 million dollars of funded research. The more than 200 Ph.D. students in EECS make up over 10 percent of all Ph.D. students at OSU. The head of the search committee was Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Professor and University Honors College Dean, Dr. Toni Doolen, who started her career at HP San Diego working on the manufacturing of HP plotters and inkjet printers, before transferring to the HP Corvallis inkjet division and then leaving HP to work at OSU.

Just when I was wondering when I would get one, I finally received a letter in the U.S. Mail dated Oct. 20, 2015 from the new head of the Oregon State University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Professor V. John Mathews. (See previous post OSU soap opera ends with new head of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (8/6/15))

The gracious one-page letter from Dr. V. John Mathews introduced himself and highlighted his last thirty years on the faculty of the the University of Utah where his research focused on digital signal processing, which coincidentally was the topic of my Master's Degree research nearly 40 years ago. Dr. Mathews bragged about the growth of OSU over the last few years and noted there are now 3000 undergraduate and graduate students in the EECS programs. He says six new faculty members were hired this fall and he has plans to hire several more this year. He lists OSU's area of research expertise in analog and digital circuits, artificial intelligence, big data and computational biology, cybersecurity, sensors, signal processing, and software engineering. He gave his email address and invited people to come by Corvallis and say hello.

I hope to inform Dr. V. John Mathews of the possibilities of interdisciplinary research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity, which I have set up research funding to do. I hope to blog more on these interdisciplinary research ideas later. (See previous post OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12))

On a loosely related note, here are links to several things of interest:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dear Abby advice on FTM pronoun etiquette printed opposite comic page read by children

Gazette-Times, Oct. 12, 2015, p. B4-B5 Dear Abby advice on FTM pronoun etiquette printed opposite comic page read by children

PHOTO: Astonishingly, my local "family newspaper," as it has been called by both its professional newspaper editors and its readers over the years, directly opposite the comic page, which of course is read by many children, printed a Dear Abby advice column concerning the etiquette of a lesbian and her female-to-male transgender partner correcting somebody about the proper pronoun to use when referring to him. I say "astonishingly" because it was only a few decades ago when this newspaper was inundated with angry letters to the editor, including some threatening to cancel their subscriptions, after the newspaper printed in 1976 an article about two women who wanted to be married. The person asking Dear Abby for advice admitted to accidently using the wrong pronoun for her FTM friend and then she asked Dear Abby, "I told them their correcting me bothered me. All weekend I could tell they were irritated with me, and I felt it was uncalled for." Abby sensibly replied, "How else is a person to learn that a mistake was made if it isn't pointed out?"(See Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, "Dear Abby: Old habits linger in gender transition," Gazette-Times, Oct. 12, 2015, p. B4-B5)

Given how newspapers are usually laid out in an outline form, it is likely the editor did not see how the "Family Circus" comic strip looked like next to a FTM sex advice column, however, I still find this layout significant because as recently as 15 years ago the editor of this newspaper was still skittish about publishing any mention of homosexual sex acts due to her fear of offending readers, especially those with children who would read the newspaper.

Jan. 9, 1976 feature article by Anne Wood, 'Gay women: Coming out of the closet in Corvallis, 'Now I want to marry this woman,' on p. 7-8 of Corvallis Gazette-Times

PHOTO: A 1976 feature article by Anne Wood, "Gay women: Coming out of the closet in Corvallis, 'Now I want to marry this woman,'" Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jan. 9, 1976, p. 7-8. One of the women profiled in the article came out in a letter to the editor of her student newspaper and she was active in early gay women's groups at Oregon State University. (See previous post Gay 1976 newspaper controversy (5/3/06))

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mormons vs. anti-gay religionists' defense of 'religious liberty'

LDS Mormons are commendably treating others as they wish to be treated -- for example, in reference to the recent case of county clerks refusing to issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples to defend their "religious liberty," a Mormon leader, and former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, made a very interesting proclamation:

". . .Mormon leader Dallin H. Oaks declared. . . religionists should not seek a veto over all non-discrimination laws that offend their religion, and the proponents of non-discrimination should not seek a veto over all assertions of religious freedom. . . . The Mormons chose Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that guides The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to give the speech . . . a former Utah Supreme Court judge who also once served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren on the U.S. Supreme Court, church officials said. . . The "fairness for all" approach now advocated by the Mormons is essential to protecting religious liberties in an open society where different religions co-exist, Oaks asserted. This question isn't academic, but personal, he added: His great-grandfather served time in a territorial prison for breaking a federal law intended to punish him for his religious beliefs, and his wife's great-great-grandfather was murdered by an anti-Mormon mob." (Quoted from Brady McCombs, Associated Press, "Mormon leader: Avoid 'culture war' on gays," Gazette-Times, Oct. 21, 2015, p. B9)

The words used by the Mormon leader Dallin H. Oaks, religionism and religionists, defined as those who follow a religion with piety and excessive religious ardor or zeal, are very apt words for describeing the county clerks who refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses based on their religious beliefs. I had never heard either of these two words before reading the Mormon's statement above, but I quickly found out that both words had been around forever and I would like to research their deeper meaning in the future. For example, I learned that the common Republican slur of Democrats being "socialists" is countered by Democrats smearing Republicans as being fascists, defined as somebody holding extreme right-wing views, similar to the "Fascism" seen during the rise of Hitler's Nazi Party in Germany, which eerily supported conservative values nearly identical to those held by Christian Republicans in the U.S. Unfortunately, after World War II the word "fascism" has been redefined by most dictionaries to be a dictator like Hitler, but this is not the historical meaning or complete etymology of the word.

In related news, the Mormon's LDS Church decided to continue supporting Mormon Boy Scouts, despite the Church's earlier discord over the acceptance of gay Boy Scout leaders. Corvallis has a large Mormon population and the stereotypical Mormon Boy Scouts have always had a large presence in local charity drives.

See previous posts:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LED track lights for my home office computer room

ceiling mounted LED track lights for home office computer room

PHOTO: The lights in my home office computer room previously consisted of a standard single bedroom fixture that I recently replaced with an energy efficient LED track light, shown above, which generates little heat while focusing six bright individual lights onto my standard office metal file cabinet, my antique oak roll-top desk, my old-fashioned drafting board, my office copy machine scanner network printer, my storage closet and my computer work table. Although I still often need to see, given my low vision blindness, a flashlight magnifier along with other vision aids these new 2700 degree Kelvin color temperature LED lights have made things easier for me (I can't see very well with the higher color temperature LED lights). I also installed identical track lights over both aisles along my kitchen counters, and so I am now fully committed to using this technology for at least 20 years -- I pray it will last for the rest of my life without any maintenance or reliability issues. The manufacturer rates their LED units as having a life of 35,000 hours, which given my average usage should last for more than 20 years. The reason I wanted to have identical LED lamps in both my kitchen and office is so that I can easily store a few spare fixtures I can swap in if one or two fail prematurely. (To see the other sides of my office, see previous post Still alive after 'upgrade' to Windows 7 HP Workstation and Dream Color Monitor (1/26/14))

See previous posts:

See following links to the manufacturer's specification sheets:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

OSU Queer History Month hits front page of student newspaper

Pride Center Celebrates Queer History, OSU barometer Oct. 8, 2015, p. 1

PHOTO: Front page of the student newspaper featured the Oregon State University's OSU Pride Center annual OSU Queer History Month celebration. See Julie Cooper, "Pride Center celebrates Queer History," OSU Barometer, Thu. Oct. 8, 2015, p. 1, OSU "Pride Center Programs, Queer History Month (October)," accessed Oct. 8, 2015 , Pride Center Programs page accessed Oct. 9, 2015 and "Oregon State Queer Archives is screening a documentary film made by our friend Kiah McConnell about the history of OSU's LGBTQ+ community. Come watch it on the 5th floor of the Valley Library TODAY starting at 4pm! See you there!," Oct. 7, 2015. The student newspaper article quotes, "PJ Harris, a second year theater major and Peer Facilitator at the Pride Center addressed the historically sensitive nature of the term "queer," and the LGBTQ+ community's recent reclamation of it. . . 'We recognize that a lot of people, especially depending on generation, location, background, and experience, have issues with the word "queer," said Harris. "We do want to be sensitive to that. However, queer is a word that we feel that the LGBTQ community is trying to take back for itself. A lot of people identify as queer. And we also love all the puns that we can make out of that, such as 'Queervallis.'" (See official OSU press release: Natalia Fernandez, Oregon State university multicultural librarian, "Oregon State Queer Archives to preserve, share history of LGBT experience on campus," posted Sep. 30, 2015))

Oregon State students MasQUEERrade2014 Rainbow Continuum

PHOTO: still frame of "Oregon State University Rainbow Continuum students MasQUEERrade2014" as shown in the OSU student documentary film about the queer history of OSU. See video at about 28:40 minutes: From Natalia Fernandez, "OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film by Kiah McConnell, 2015," Oregon State Queer Archives accessed Oct. 14, 2015. The documentary shows the first gay student meeting notice printed in the student newspaper in 1976 (at about 26:39 minutes) and Stina Goetter, Rainbow Continuum Director 2013-2004, proudly notes that OSU has the oldest college student organization in the Pacific Northwest continuously meeting since 1976, and says with pride, "It is still going!" (About 26:50 minutes) The cultural importance of history and traditions to students, even though they may not fully appreciate the importance, has been known for centuries by successful student groups, such as fraternities and sororities. Ironically, one of the longest traditions at OSU, which is popular with all OSU students, is the annual drag show that is described by a student participant in the film (about 28:40 minutes) -- I say this is ironic because before the Stonewall riot occurred in 1969, the stereotypical gay bar always had a drag queen performer and heterosexual people would commonly confuse drag performers with transgender and gay people. To counter this confusion, Stonewall era gay liberationists tried to publically distance gay people from "drag queens," while secretly enjoying drag performances. This old political concern is not as great today because mainstream society has become much better educated about the continuum of sexual orientation and gender identity as being different from the ancient theatrical art of drag performers. (See official OSU press release: Natalia Fernandez, Oregon State university multicultural librarian, "Oregon State Queer Archives to preserve, share history of LGBT experience on campus," posted Sep. 30, 2015))

On a loosely related and sad note, the student video reminded me of the continuing issue of queer students not feeling free to be themselves, for example, the Native American OSU student who said she could express both of her identities in the OSU Pride Center, but she felt funny about saying she was gay in the Native American student center. Recently, a former OSU freshman (in 2004) committed suicide after being raised by a father and family who are members of an anti-gay church. I must remain silent to avoid any libel because my current opinion is based only on many publically observed facts and I am not privy to any insider information. (See "Corvallis man found dead on Lincoln County beach," posted Oct. 12, 2015, "Obiturary: Thomas R. Heresco," Gazette-Times published Oct. 14, 2015 and Thomas R. Heresco August 9, 1986 - October 9, 2015 Tribute Wall

See previous posts:

Oregon State University Cultural Resource Centers:

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: