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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year 2017 in review - 12 years of blogging -- not yet too blind to blog!

Thomas Kraemer selfie photo 2017
PHOTO: I was too embarrassed to ask for help with taking my annual, year-in-review selfie photo of myself. I need help because of my worsening low vision blindness that has made it nearly impossible to use even a simple camera, therefore let me apologize in advance for my photo above that I took of myself in Dec. 2017, which I assume is poorly lit and composed. The reason I was too embarrassed to ask for help with taking it is because friends of mine love to rib me by proclaiming that blogging, by itself, is narcissistic enough without a photo. My excuse for including a selfie photo is primarily to give my friends and family forwarning of how I look, especially as my hair goes gray and falls out, so that they will recognize me the next time we meet. Today, I love to rib my friends back, including those who are real Trump-tards, that real narcissists have moved away from blogging to using social media, such as sending Facebook messages or Tweeting on Twitter, just like the commonly narcissistic celebrities do it along with their favorite celbrity President Donald Trump. In all seriousness, I have never blogged as a way to socialize or for the fame and fortune of it, but I have blogged only as an easy way to create my own digital notebook in the cloud of interesting things I've read online. By writing my notes as Blog posts, on the Google Blogger website, allows me to search my notes with Google, which has amazed me by the things Google can find that I wrote years ago, but had forgotten about. A Google engineer told me why they support my blog for free is because it provides free content to Google and it enables Google to provide better search results for everyone by seeing what real people are reading,writing and linking to in blog posts. I've never put advertising in my blog, which Google will share the advertising revenue with you, but I do the work to produce free content for Google, and in return they store and search my blog for free, which seems like a fair trade to me. The biggest advantage to writing notes in my Blog about interesting things I've read is that I can include hyperlinks to the original pages, as well as full citations to the original paper documents, which can be used to refind things years later when link rot has occurred due to webpages being moved or taken down. A friend of mine has thanked me for doing this because both he and I have used these full citations to find things years after I had posted a blog page with working hyperlinks, which had been later broken. (Of course, he is probably biased because he is a retired professional librarian -- I am similarly sure that my high school teacher, who taught me about the importance of reference notes, would also appreciate it!)

My recent post I hope to resume writing new blog posts (12/15/17), explains why I am so glad to be writing this post in review of last year. In my annual review blog post last year, I asked if I was too blind to blog due to my worsening low vision blindness and paralysis. (See previous post Year 2016 in review - 11 years of blogging - Am I too blind to blog? (12/24/16)) Fortunately, my vision recovered enough to allow me to use the standard low vision accessibility tools that are built-in to the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and operating system, along with some other accessibility aids needed to compensate for my disability. I first talked about building in accessibility to MS Windows, for HP customers, directly to the Microsoft Founder Bill Gates in the 1980's, which he embraced, and so more recently, I was happy to hear directly from the current Microsoft CEO Sayta Nadella, who explained his personal commitment to providing accessiblity to Microsoft products, given his personal experience raising his two "differently abled" children he has at home.

Unfortunately, as my vision and other physical abilities weaken, even all of these Microsoft tools are not enough, for example, I am unable to see the colored grammar and spell checking flags in MS Word, despite trying out all of the various accessibility settings, and therefore I am unable to proof read my work as I touch type, and so many spelling errors and typos have been creeping into my posts, which I would like to apologize for not being able to proofread and fix very fast.

Despite all of my current physical limitations, I am still grateful to God that I have survived the AIDS epidemic, despite having been living and working in the San Francisco Silicon Valley during the 1980's when the AIDS virus was first discovered, but Republicans, including the U.S. President Ronald Reagan, were politically exploiting AIDS as a reason to discriminate against all gay people, ironically including Lesbian women who later proved to have suffered a virtually zero HIV infection rate. I am similarly grateful to have survived the anti-Communist and anti-gay witch hunts of the 1950's led by the U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy, which help to inspire the modern homophile and gay liberation movements. After McCarthy, I witnessed the movement of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party because they were upset with the Democrats for passing the Civil Rights act and forcing the racial integration of schools in the South. I watched as these new Republicans added their anti-gay agenda to the Republican Party Platform, and almost succeed in passing an ammendment to the U.S Constitution that would have made same-sex marriage illegal nationwide, by trumping state marriage laws in favor of same-sex marriage.

Despite all of my past experiences with bigotry and discrimination, I remain confident today that social justice will always trump bigotry in the future, even though I might not be around to see complete justice in my lifetime because things might even go worse for a while as President Trump and his Republican legislators stuff the U.S. justice system with too many so-called "social conservatives," who are anti-gay theocrats or plutocrats who support only the governmental interests of religion of business.

My favorite news story from last year was published in the OSU student newspaper (see photo and linkes below) because it lifted my spirits when I saw how a small group of gay OSU students were able to start a fraternity in the Greek system on campus -- a system that historically has been violent toward gay men, especially when I was in college nearly half a century ago when I would have loved to have been part of a friendly gay frat on campus. Instead, I was forced to put up with being physically harassed by a college varsity soccer player and fraternity brother, who I was told was doing nothing wrong, at least according to University administrators who blamed me for being openly gay, which "caused" this soccer player to be disgusted by me and cause him to lash out against me in self-defense. This story is just one example of why I have hope for the future, despite the fact that there may be setbacks due to Presidnet Trump and the Republican Party leadership of America back toward social injustice.

Gay Delta Lamda Phi frat frat boys Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez at Oregon State University are interviewed by Cory Zimmerman on a student TV station computer game show circa Aug. 16, 2017

PHOTO: The Oregon State University student-run KBVR TV station (the station's call letters were chosen to match the school's Beaver mascot), is broadcast in Corvallis both online and via the local Comcast Cable TV system and it recently ran a TV show hosted by a gay OSU student Cory Zimmerman that discusses computer gaming, and in one show he interviews two of his gay fraternity brothers, Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez (shown above) who are all are part of a recently colonized gay fraternity Δ Λ Φ (a.k.a. Delta Lambda Phi). See previous posts OSU student TV show by gay Delta Lamda Phi frat boys (10/25/17) and OSU gay frat Δ Λ Φ organized by student Cory Zimmerman (11/3/16) -- note this is the same OSU student I previously wrote about -- see previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15)

I was also glad to see the further development of gay research archives at the University of Minnesota (see below):

Headline 'Tretter Collection makes purchase of Magnus Hirschfeld Li family estate' Jan. 2007 p. 1 cover

PHOTO: cover of newsletter story by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, "Tretter Collection Makes Purchase of Magnus Hirschfeld Li Family Estate," Tretter Letter, Jan. 2007, p. 1,3 (PDF). See the home page of The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota Elmer L. Andersen Library. Also see The Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany and the Schwules Museum, Germany. Also see previous posts Magnus Hirschfeld, Jack Baker, University of Minnesota and Oregon State University gay connection (1/21/12) and PBS Minnesota LGBT history, Oregon Lt. Col. Pam Mindt donor to U of Minnesota Tretter Collection (12/21/16) Also see University of Minnesota Tretter Collection -- "The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies," University of Minnesota Libraries, Elmer L. Andersen Library accessed Dec. 16, 2017 that includes "Finding Aids - Search the Collections" such as McConnell - Michael McConnell Files, 1965-2014 and Endean - Steve Endean Papers, 1972-2006. The Schwules Museum, 1948-2004, undated that was created by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter. The Spear - Senator Allan Spear Papers, 1937-2010 are of a state Senator that I dated once. I hope to post in the future about the recent retirement of a key archivist of this University of Minnesota collection. I've blogged before about the University of Minnesota Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, and their publication "The Tretter Letter ". I just reveived the latest issue (Jan. 2018, Vol.13, No. 1 received Dec. 14, 2017 (PDF) not yet posted as of Dec.24, 2017) that reported the University of Minnesota archivist Lisa Vecoli retires and Andrea Jenkins leaves the archives this year.

Below is a list of links to some of my key blog posts from last year.

See my annual reviews of my blog posts from previous years:

UPDATE Jan. 6, 2018 - due to my low vision blindness, instead of risking writing a new blog post, I decided it would be easier to add to this blog post the following, which might be my last letter to the editor of my local newspaper because I am having great difficulty using a computer today.

My local newspaper printed the story by Associated Press New York, "The growing emoji language," Gazette-Times, "The growing emoji language," Dec. 30. 2017, p. B5 (also hosted at BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer, "Will we get a smiling poop emoji? Well, there's a process," posted Dec. 29, 2017) to which my local nesapepr printed my reply:

The Associated Press story, "The Growing Emoji Language" (Gazette-Times, Dec. 30, page B5) correctly linked emojis to Japanese cellphone makers in 1999, but it did not mention how "emoji" icons were inspired by the prior art of "smileys" that were first used in the 1970s by early computer researchers, including a few at Oregon State University and Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, Oregon, to solve the problem of text messages on early computer networks being misinterpreted because facial expressions were not being transmitted.

I still own a paperback book, "Smileys," published in 1993, showing hundreds of examples of what the authors say, "... some call 'emoticons,' which presumably means icons expressing emotions."

The first smiley looked like a smiling face when turned sideways, and it could be typed out using three standard characters, a colon, hyphen and parenthesis, on a standard computer monitor or printer, including the even older electro-mechanical typewriter interfaces.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "OSU had role in emoji rollout," Gazette-Times, Jan. 5, 2018, p. A8 posted Jan. 4, 2018)

(Also Search for previous Gazette-Times Letters to the editor by Thomas Kraemer)

The book I mentioned in my letter Dale Dougherty, "Smileys compiled by David W. Sanderson," O'Reilly and Associates, 1993 was published by a famous computer industry technical writer and it appears to have had many different editions printed aover a number of years that had different copyright dates.

END OF UPDATE Jan. 6, 2018

Friday, December 22, 2017

Comic page homophobe honors George Weinberg who coined homophobia

homophobe comic GT 12/22/2017 p. B9

PHOTO: "I'm a homophobe," declares a character in the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine," to explain why he fears going home for the holidays. It was published on the comic page of the Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper, Dec. 22, 2017, p. B9, just in time for Christmas. It might just be a coincidence, but this comic strip is a nice honor to George Weinberg, who coined the word "homophobia" nearly half a ccentury ago. (See previous post George Weinberg who coined 'homophobia' died at age 87 (3/25/17))

Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols and George Weinberg riding on Heritage of Pride float

PHOTO: I had the honor of getting to know all of these famous gay rights activists nearly a decdae ago, who are seen above (left to right) Dr. Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols, and Dr. George Weinberg being honored as Grand Marshalls of New York City's 2004 Heritage of Pride Parade. George Weinberg, who is the scholar that coined the word 'homophobia,' died this year at the age of 87. (See previous post George Weinberg who coined 'homophobia' died at age 87 (3/25/17)) - Photo courtesy of Randy Wicker.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Stop the presses! Gay newspaper kills its print edition in Portland, Oregon

Just Out Jun. 2012 cover

PHOTO: after going out of business, Portland, Oregon's longtime gay newspaper came back to life with the June 2012 issue of "Just Out" in a glossy magazine format. (See JO Editor, "Just Out Hits the Stands," blog posted on May 31, 2012 ) and see previous post Just Out is back June 2012 (6/2/12), where I note, "Reports of the death of gay newspapers due to the internet have been greatly exaggerated."

Gay newspapers were critically important to the gay rights movement of the twentieth-century, because around the time of the 1969 Stonewall riot, nearly all publications avoided any mention of homosexuality for the legitimate fear of being ostracized or in some cases legally censored by a court of law for publishing obscene subject matter -- U.S. Supreme Court decisions that are still in effect today say "obscene material" is not protected by the Free Speech Rights granted to citizens by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Fortunately, several other landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions allowed gay newspapers to publish serious articles concerning gay politics, science and medicine, provided they were not "lacking of any socially redeeming purpose."

In the early 1970's, decades before the Internet and the World Wide Web were invented, my first experience with gay newspapers came when my University of Minnesota dormitory Resident Assistant or RA, who happened to be gay, showed me where gay newspapers were sold in a large magazine store in downtown Minneapolis. This is where I first saw the New York City "Gay" newspaper, which was published by the famous activists Jack Nichols and Lige Clark. It is also where I bought my first copy of "The Advocate" newspaper, from Los Angeles, which helped organize gay people across America and it is still being published today as a glossy magazine and an online Web site.

When I was a poor college student in 1973, I was able to scrape together enough money for a subscription to "The Advocate" newspaper, which as a standard practice at the time was mailed to my dorm room in a "plain brown envelope" to avoid censorship or harassment of the recipients, who were often not fully out of the closet.

Yes, it had serious articles about gay politics and science, but the section everybody actually read was "the Advocate Classified" ads, which were printed in a separate pull out section so that you could show the serious articles to your mother. (This section was later printed as a separate glossy magazine, which allowed it to publish more risque color advertisements for gay 8mm movie films, later xxx-rated video tapes or DVD films, and also sex workers who technically were advertising illegal services.)

The reason the classified ad section of "The Advocate" newspaper was so popular in the 1970's was because it included classified ads from real people across America who were seeking pen pals or contact with other gay people in their hometown. Similar ads in local gay newspapers were also a major source of revenue for thier publishers. Today, internet social media sites, such as Facebook, have replaced the need for this function.

Until the invention of the World Wide Web in the early 1990's, I still received, in a plain-brown envelope, the printed copies of the Portland, Oregon gay newspaper, "Just Out." (It later became PQ or Proud Queer Monthly). When "Just Out" started posting their articles and a PDF copy of the printed paper online, I started reading it mostly online because it was a hassle to pick up a printed copy in cities distant from Corvallis. Consequently, I was not overly surprised by the publisher's announcement that PQ would no longer be available in a printed form and available only online in the cloud:

"Brilliant Media LLC is excited to announce that Proud Queer Monthly and El Hispanic News will both be fully transitioning to web as of November 2017. El Hispanic News has been printed and distributed in the Pacific Northwest since 1981, and Proud Queer Monthly was added to the Brilliant Media family in 2012.

"We are proud of our legacy in the world of printed media, and it is with great affection and respect that we say goodbye to our print run; but, like many other publications in today's media climate, we have decided the time has come to prioritize the vast opportunities digital content offers over the tradition of ink and paper. . . ."

(Quoted from Staff, "Brilliant Media Announces Digital Transition," PQ Monthly posted Dec. 7, 2017)

I vividly recall how after the World Wide Web was invented in the early 1990's that the dream was to go all paperless with print publications. However, since then I have seen the dream shift to a more nuanced one, where the printed newspaper and magazine formats are still used, but to publish only the material that can take advantage of each type of media -- paper or the cloud. In fact PQ as part of their going digital plan announced it will still be publishing paper books with their best content.

I was also amused to read about the electrical engineering college background of the owner of Portland's gay newspaper, because it explains why I have always loved her logical analysis of things:

"Owner Melanie Davis talks about the history and future of Brilliant Media LLC -- as Proud Queer makes its transition to web: When I moved to Portland, Oregon in 1992 from Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend Portland State University, my objective was clear-secure a job and get my electrical engineering degree. While searching for a job I distinctly recall my grandmother Clara Padilla Andrews (former Secretary of State of New Mexico), who had moved here with my grandfather after her term ended, sharing with me that a local bilingual newspaper called El Hispanic News needed a sales person. I connected with Juan Pratts who founded the publication in 1981, and he hired me on the spot.

"Back then, we were printing black and white with few pages in a tabloid format. It was Juan's goal to grow into a four-color broadsheet printing format, because in his words, "then our community will be taken seriously." Back then industry dictated who was a "real newspaper" . . .

"For some years El Hispanic News produced and published the "Official Pride Guide" for (gay) Pride NW, making sure to include in our marketing budget funds to insert the Pride Guide into other racially diverse publications like The Asian Reporter and The Portland Observer. This made the Pride Guide wildly successful, and many mainstream Portland publications are still vying each year to outbid each other to produce the "Official Pride Guide" for Pride NW. . . and took the opportunity to launch PQ (Proud Queer) Monthly, a publication whose mission is to ensure "Every Letter & Every Color is Represented," in February of 2012. . . .

"I am thrilled to say that with the support of our readers and advertisers, effective immediately El Hispanic News, PQ (Proud Queer), and Tankside will be 100% digital. Secondly, we are also happy to announce we are in the process of publishing annual books that will reflect each media outlet's best content. Each book published will have a revenue sharing model built into it that will directly benefit each contributor. As you all know, I am a firm believer that the road to equality is equity!"

(Quoted from Melanie Davis, Owner, Brilliant Media LLC, "From the Owner," posted Thursday, December 7, ?2017)

Friday, December 15, 2017

I hope to resume writing new blog posts

Note from Thomas Kraemer: "I hope to resume writing new blog posts for my personal 'Tom's OSU blog' page after I recover from some additional death of neural cells in a dispersed area of of my brain (as observable in a MRI brain scan of the posterior cerebral artery or PCA region). The brain death is being caused by indeterminable reasons and doesn't have any established cures or treatments, but it has physically disabled me further and worsened my low vision blindness to a point where Web surfing and writing blog pages has become almost impossible to do, even when using the good accessibility features built into the Windows Operating system and in some standard Windows internet browsers."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

OSU student TV show by gay Delta Lamda Phi frat boys

Gay Delta Lamda Phi frat frat boys Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez at Oregon State University are interviewed by Cory Zimmerman on a student TV station computer game show circa Aug. 16, 2017

PHOTO: The Oregon State University student-run KBVR TV station (the station's call letters were chosen to match the school's Beaver mascot), is broadcast in Corvallis both online and via the local Comcast Cable TV system, recently ran a TV show hosted by a gay OSU student Cory Zimmerman that discusses computer gaming, and he interviews two of his gay fraternity brothers, Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez (shown above) who are all are part of a recently colonized gay fraternity Δ Λ Φ (a.k.a. Delta Lambda Phi) that says it "focuses on creating a space for men of all sexual orientations and gender expressions to have the traditional Greek experience on campus." During the TV show, the frat brothers emphasize that just because they are chartered as a "male-only" fraternity in order to fit within the traditional Greek system on campus, they would be happy to consider accepting frat brothers of any biological sex or intersex, who sincerely identified as being male or did not want to identify as being one of the traditional binary gender categories. I know well a gay FTM (female-to-male) person who would have loved to have been part of a gay male frat in college, but was rejected from many male-only college educational classes because colleges routinely rejected admittance to all-male classes, based on the student's female birth certificate, depite the fact that the student had lived life as a man since birth. Amusingly, during the interview, one fraternity brother remarked how his frat brother next to him was such an "old" man to be 24-years old, compared to the typical 18-years-old college freshman. They also joke about how the video game "Daddies" they were reviewing has a name and content with nothing about gays or sex in it, but they still found it funny because they fantasized about the stereotype of a hot masculine top daddy as often seen in gay porno videos. Their discussion made me laugh because my first relationship with a man occurred with a guy who was 26-years old, when I was merely 18, and at the time I thought this "older" man was so old and mature, and he inspired me to match his maturity, but today when I see anybody below 50 years old they look very much like an immature baby who I would never have any interest in having a relationship with! The boys also describe thier love of drag performances, which gay history shows has always been poular with gan men. When I came out in the Stonewall era, drag was not appreciated by many younger activists, who dismissed it as being an artifact of an older generation of gay men from a former era when gay men were forced to stay in the closet. They also rejected it because they wanted to make the political point that gay man are like all men and therefore deserve equal rights, without being treated as second-class citizens like women were treated unequally in 1969 before Stonewall and the Women's Liberation Movement was successful. Today, both men and women have achieved equal rights, and the theatrical art of drag is still popular amongst most gay men today. I am finally able to appreciate it! For more about this gay OSU frat, see OSU Office of Student Life, Center for Fraternity And Sorority Life Web page, "Delta Lambda Phi," accessed Oct. 21, 2017 and OSU DLP website plus their DLP Facebook page for social media contact with the Delta Lambda Phi Colony - Oregon Facebook page. Also, my see previous post OSU gay frat Δ Λ Φ organized by student Cory Zimmerman (11/3/16)

I accidently ran across the above gay student TV show while channel surfing cable TV one day, but I was also able to find it on the student's Youtube channel version they mentioned during the show -- see below:

VIDEO: "Delta Lambda Phi Plays Dream Daddy || LGBTQ Representation," OSU KBVR TV posted Aug. 16, 2017. This OSU student run KBVR TV station program is available on Comcast Cable TV and online. The show's description says, "Join us as we sit down with Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez from the LGBTQ+ fraternity here at Oregon State University -- we talk about gay representation in games and pop culture while we play Dream Daddy." Delta Lambda Phi is the gay fraternity at OSU.

Monday, October 23, 2017

OSU Queer History Month 2017 and OSU library copy of my history

An Oregon State University student newspaper story by Sydney Sullivan, "OSU celebrates Queer History Month," OSU Barometer, posted online Oct. 16, 2017, says, "According to Cynthia Konrad, director of the Pride Center, Queer History month has been celebrated since the mid-1990s and was built around National Coming Out Day, which occurs on Oct. 11.. . . The events this year at OSU will be hosted by and in collaboration with numerous groups including, LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network, the Ettihad Cultural Center, the Women's Center, the OSU Queer Archives, the Rainbow Continuum student organization and the Pride Center, according to Konrad. . . Queer History Month should also be set apart from Pride month, according to Lucielle S. Balls, a community organizer, drag legend and queen of the beaver 2012. . ." I will have more to say on the history of student drag performances in a future post. (Also see previous post OSU students support drag, gay marriage and anti-gay newspapers (10/25/12))

The student newspaper story also says, "Natalia Fernandez, curator and archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives and OSU Queer Archives, works with the OSU archives towards conserving queer history for future generations." She also says, "The OSU Queer Archives is one small part of the broader history of Oregon and of queer history in the United States. Our vision is for OSQA to highlight the stories within the university and its local communities and to also be a reflection of statewide and national issues and themes." Since its establishment in the fall of 2014, OSQA has strived to highlight LGBTQ+ stories already within the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center. The OSQA oral history collection alone has over two dozen interviews and counting. (I'll have more to say about the OSU Oral History Collection in a future post.)

Due to my worsening low vision blindness and disability, I have been unable to meet with Cynthia L. Konrad, director of the OSU Pride Center, as I have done with previous OSU Pride Center directors, however, I recently was able to send her an email request to update the two history pages on the OSU Pride Center website, so that they will both link directly to the OSU Library page that has a link to a PDF copy of my OSU history, instead of these two pages pointing offsite to a webpage that might change or even disappear in the future. Specifically, the two pages are -- "Our History" and -- "Welcome to the Pride Center! About Us" -- only one of the pages links directly to the OSU Library page below:

Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," printed to PDF from in 2010 permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives @ OSU

My history documents the first gay student group at OSU to be formally recognized by OSU administrators, which was formed in 1976 and has been continuously running under different names since then. It focuses on the history of queer students and staff located on the Corvallis Campus of OSU, but it also mentions activities in Corvallis and elsewhere to provide a historical context. It is not meant to be a history of Corvallis as some people have mistakenly thought by reading the short histories on two OSU history pages above.

See previous posts:

The Oregon State University Cultural Resource Centers ( accessed Oct. 23 2017) list the following Centers:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Voters should be wary OSU enrollment can decline as well as grow

headline 'H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs' Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2

PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard's plans to build a handheld computer research lab and calculator manufacturing plant in Corvallis is described in a newspaper article by John Atkins, "H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs," Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2. (See previous posts Don't Cali-fornicate Oregon and HP annexation history (6/14/12) and Apple demolishes old HP site in Silicon Valley to build 'spaceship' headquarters (3/17/16))

The local newspaper story by reporter James Day, "Corvallis annexation policies discussed," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Oct. 10, 2017, p. A3 posted Oct. 9, 2017 as "Economic development board backs annexations review", prompted me to write the following letter to the editor on the history of annexation laws in Corvallis, which is the small college town where the main campus of Oregon State University is located:

Some of the proposed changes to the requirement all annexations to Corvallis be approved by voters could reestablish the problems that made taxpayers angry enough to demand it in 1976.

After World War II, Corvallis quickly doubled in size and real estate developers were allowed to profit greatly, while sticking taxpayers with the bill for inadequate public services, such as sewer, water and streets.

It all came to a head in 1975 when Hewlett-Packard built a research lab and manufacturing plant in Corvallis, ironically just a few years before growth stalled out during President Reagan's administration due to high interest rates and declining enrollment at OSU after the Baby Boom Generation graduated.

The recent doubling in OSU enrollment has again led to growth problems in Corvallis, such as the lack of affordable houses, but voters should be wary that enrollment could drop again in the future, and the problems associated with unoccupied dwellings are even worse.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis faces growth issues," Gazette-Times, Oct. 17, 2017, p. A8 posted online as "Corvallis faces issues with growth" also see Link to previous Thomas Kraemer GT Letters)

Over four decades ago, I recall my OSU graduate school thesis advisor, who had lived in Corvallis since the 1940's, complaining about the problems with growth in Corvallis after World War II, and how other citizens actively supported the 1976 annexation law that required all new annexations be approved by voters. In fact, an old boys club of real estate investors were stymied by the new law and they were forced to pay for the costs of growth instead of the public. Even though the City of Corvallis has doubled in population over the last 40 years, developers have been forced to plan their new subdivisions to be compatible with the the city's growth plan. This has led to a much nicer city. The decline in OSU enrollment at OSU in the 1980's led to unoccupied dwellings. I saw how absentee landlords would often leave them to rot or attract sketchy tenants who probably raised the crime rate in sleepy Corvallis. Adding to these problems was a downsizing of Hewlett-Packard before personal computers and inkjet printers sales took off in the late 1980's.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Businessweek prints first gay marriage in Germany

 first gay marriage in Germany printed in Businessweek magazine Oct. 9, 2017, p. 9

PHOTO: The first same-sex marriage legally recognized by Germany was included in a miscellaneous list of news items from Europe in the print edition of Businessweek magazine dated Oct. 9, 2017, p. 9, which I could not find posted in their free online site. See story by Reuters Staff, "First "I do" as same-sex marriage comes to Germany," posted Sep. 30, 2017, which says, "Same-sex couple Karl Kreil and Bodo Mende get married at a civil registry office, becoming Germany's first married gay couple after German parliament approved marriage equality in a historic vote this past summer, in Berlin, Germany October 1, 2017."

See previous posts:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jack Baker & Michael McConnell in ad for LGBT History Month shown on cable TV

Jack Baker and Michael McConnell Comcast TV ad for LGBT History Month Oct. 2017

PHOTO: still frame of a TV commercial shown during a Corvallis Comcast Cable TV local ad insert during the "Rachael Maddow Show" on MSNBC at 6:53PM PT Oct. 9, 2017 that listed gay marriage pioneers Jack Baker & Michael McConnell as part of a promotion forLGBT History Month by "Equality Forum", which says it ". . . is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus -- Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit. . ." (See "About LGBT History Month," accessed Oct. 10, 2017 and "Jack Baker & Michael McConnell," accessed Oct. 10, 2017) It is unclear if this ad was run coincidentally, or not, during Maddow's show (Maddow is a lesbian) and if it was run by Comcast as a public service, or if somebody else asked for it or paid Comcast to run it.

See previous post Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15).

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Obamacare repeal fails and penalty remains for not having health insurance

The failure of Republicans to repeal Obamacare prompted me to write the following letter to the editor of my local newspaper, and it was coincidentally printed the day after a 60 Minutes" show aired making the same point as me that the Obamacare penalty remains in force:

When taxes come due April 15, I bet many taxpayers will be extremely upset after finding out they owe thousands of dollars in tax penalties to the Internal Revenue Service because they did not sign up for Obamacare this year, based on the false promises it would be repealed by President Trump and Republican legislators.

In my experience, the IRS is legally bound to follow the Obamacare law until either Congress or a tax court ruling changes it.

Yes, I heard firsthand Trump verbally promise to issue an Executive Order, but my tax advisor is unable to find a legally issued copy, nor obtain a statement from the IRS how they will enforce the Obamacare penalty.

President Obama and Democrats are equally guilty of making false promises, for example, an age 60-65 years old family member was not allowed to keep a $136 per month Lifewise health plan, as promised by Obama, but worse, in order to keep seeing a longtime Corvallis doctor, as also promised, the cheapest Obamacare plan costs an unaffordable $659 per month for 2017, or $579 by changing to a Salem doctor.

I am sick of Obamacare boosters telling me I am wrong by disingenuously quoting only the much cheaper Obamacare rates available only to younger people.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Broken promises on Obamacare," Gazette-Times, posted Oct. 9, 2017 (also see Link to previous Thomas Kraemer Gazette-Times Letters)

See previous post Oregon Obamacare final rates and Republican's Health Savings Accounts proposal is not insurance (12/19/16) and Obamacare rates in Oregon hurt many voters just in time for the Presidential election (10/8/16), in which I quoted a good letter to the editor by Kim Wilson, "Letter: The root problem with insurance," Gazette-Times, Oct. 11, 2016, p. A7 posted Oct. 8, 2016, who mentioned the proposed Obamacare rates and made the case that the demand for healthcare is inelastic, because everyone wants to live at all costs, and the supply of healthcare is limited, therefore basic economic theories predict the cost should go towards infinity.

An interesting idea for healthcare financing was described in an opinion column by Paul F. deLespinasse, "As I See It: Make health care a regulated utility," Gazette-Times, Sep. 28, 2017, p. A6 (also published online as Paul F. deLespinasse, "Time to Regulate the Med-Pharma Complex Like a Utility," posted Sep. 26, 2017).

I agree with his premise that regulation would be one way to control heathcare costs, but this would not solve the problem of how would society ration healthcare, which is a politically incorrect way to say it because it sounds so mean and ugly, but ultimately essential because there is an inelastic demand for healthcare -- if someone had a pill to cure me, then I owuld be willing to pay anything for it.

As an investor in utility companies, I fully appreciate why utilities are regulated monopolies, however what is different with health care from the demand for utility services is the fact that a person does not have an infinite demand for electricity. However, most people have an infinite demand for medical care that would save their life, because most people would be willing to pay anything to live longer.

The author of the above opinion piece is today a Corvallis resident, Paul F. deLespinasse (see his "Biography," accessed Sep. 29, 2017), who was a Professor at Adrian College, located in Michigan and a private, co-educational college of liberal arts and sciences related to the United Methodist Church. He writes regular opinion pieves for my local newspaper.

Another letter by Nadine Sandbo, "Letter: Profits shouldn't drive health care," Gazette-Times, Oct. 1, 2017, makes the point "Prevention is not the focus, profits are," which I agree with, but don't think more prevention would solve the problem of inelastic demand.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Gay married Mormon OSU PhD is hired by Intel and featured in mailing to donors

article 'Surviving Graduate School' profiling OSU Ph.D. graduate Gustavo Albuquerque in The Oregon State Engineer received 9/28/17 undated and unnumbered on p. 26-27 of 40 pages plus cover

PHOTO: A gay married, Mormon, Ph.D. graduate of Oregon State University is featured in a magazine article by anoymous. "Surviving Graduate School," The Oregon State Engineer publication of Oregon State University College of Engineering (no photo captions, no page numbers or dates and online copy not yet available). It was mailed to OSU alumni and donors and I received a copy of it in the U.S. Mail on September 28, 2017 inside of an expensive clear envelope, printed on 48 unnumbered pages of a paper size bigger than the standard 8-1/2 x 11 inches and printed on a very expensive heavy stock of paper, but curiously it did not have a date of publication nor a copyright date! On pages 26-29 (counted unnumbered pages not including the covers) was the anonymously written article, "Surviving graduate school," about a recent OSU Ph.D. graduate, Gustavo Albuquerque Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, now with Intel Hillsboro, Oregon Semiconductors (See his that I accessed Sep. 29, 2017). He summarizes his research work as developing "Continuous microwave-assisted synthesis of Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) . . using this patented method. . ."

Having followed the rise of gay marriage since the days of Jack Baker's pioneering case he brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1972, I was surprised to see an out, Mormon OSU Ph.D. student, who now works for Intel in Oregon, and who is in a same-sex marriage, be featured as part of a marketing publication for Oregon State University donations. It is an example of the progress same-sex marrage had made in the last few decades.

See previous post Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15)

"Faculty and Staff," Oregon State University College of Engineering accessed Sep. 29, 2017

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

OSU EECS Faculty Directory

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Intersectional feminism and building renaming fads come to OSU

Barometer Sept. 15, 2017 p. 10-11 and p. 14-5 Cultural Centers Women's and Pride

PHOTO: The Oregon State University student newspaper's welcome back move-in issue for Fall, 2017 featured a two page spread of a map (center) highlighting the OSU Cultural Centers, such as the OSU Pride Center for LGBT students and Women's Center (Daily Barometer, Sept. 15, 2017 p. 10-11) plus the stories by Avalon Kelly News, "Women's Center works with all gender identities," OSU Ddaily Barometer, Sep. 15, 2017, p. 14 and Melinda Myers, "Pride Center provides safe spaces," OSU Daily Barometer, Sept. 15, 2017, p. 15.

Oregon State University Engineering Benny Beaver decal (10 cents) was sold circa 1975 and it was ''' to apply to a car window shows Benny carrying a slide rule and T-square, which are both obsolete engineering tools.

PHOTO: Oregon State University Engineering Benny Beaver mascot decal was a fad nearly half of a century ago when it was sold for ten cents to be applied on a student's car window. See previous posts Artist of OSU Benny Beaver engineer mascot decal used it for other schools (6/6/15), Slide rules, T-squares -- obsolete engineering tools (1/19/09), and OSU Benny Beaver Engineering Decal (12/9/06)

Anybody who has been around academia for decades has witnessed firsthand examples of how a few college fads will spread across across the nation, and sometimes even around the world, because the fad captures the imagination of students. Some fads prove to last and make permanent changes, such as the fad for "gay liberation," which slowly evolved to establish equal rights for LGBT people, but other fads will fade away and replaced by new fashions.

Two recent nationwide college fads that have risen in popularity at Oregon State University include the concept of "intersectional feminism" and researching campus building names to expose the unenlightened past of the people the buildings were named after, and then citing this research to request that university leaders change the names of the buildings named after racists or slave owners, etc.

The annual Fall welcome to OSU move-in issue of the student newspaper featured a series of stories describing campus resources, such as the OSU Pride Center for gay community members in the story by Melinda Myers, "Pride Center provides safe spaces," OSU Daily Barometer, Sept. 15, 2017, p. 15. She reports, "The Oregon State University Pride Center is a campus safe space intended for the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual) community. . . The Pride Center is a physical space, staffed by students, that provides connection to resources, community, and support for LGBTQ+ people and education for non-LGBTQ+ who want to be better allies"

Logically adjacent to the OSU Pride Center story, in the same Fall Term, welcome to OSU, issue of the student newspaper, is another story by Avalon Kelly News, "Women's Center works with all gender identities," OSU Ddaily Barometer, Sep. 15, 2017, p. 14. This story quotes Whitney Archer the associate director of Diversity and Cultural Engagement, and assistant director of the Women's Center, saying, "While our name is the Women's Center, we work with students from all gender identities and we strive to focus our work on gender justice through a lens of intersectional feminism." Also quoted in the story is Miriam Wojtas, a student leadership liaison at the Women's Center, saying that their mission is "continually fostering community that is intersectional - that way it serves as many folks as possible."

I have only casually followed the concept of intersectional feminism and my recent Google search led to an article by Alia E. Dastagir, "What is intersectional feminism? A look at the term you may be hearing a lot," posted Jan. 19, 2017, which lists how feminist scholars explain the meaning of intersectionality in their own words.

I first heard about intersectionality while reading the blog posts of a gay scholar, Wayne Dynes, "Identity," posted Sep. 11, 2017 who noteed how "The concept of identity politics is evoking current controversy . . . now it is thought that, we can be host to a basket of autonomous identities. That way the demon of intersectionality lies."

In an earlier blog post, Wayne Dynes, "Looking back at my career realistically," posted Jul. 21, 2013, Dynes commented, "The general understanding of these matters is being fundamentally transformed by two factors: intersectionality and the trans perspective."

Another earlier post by Professor Emeritus Wayne Dynes, "Vagaries of the word queer," posted Jul. 16, 2017, declares the "queer" word to be obsolete and says, ". . . Queer Theory is collapsing, together with its postmodern cousins in the academy. No one that I know of speaks of queer rights or queer marriage. So the q word has not, despite the aspirations of some observers, become the overall label of choice. That function has been assumed by LGBT - not in my view the ideal solution, but it has in fact become the answer." However, after some analysis he notes, ". . . there is still a use for the queer label. In the current assimilationist climate there is a danger that our heritage (if I may use the term) of outlaw/outsider affirmation will be swept away. . . the word queer should still be employed for this, dare I say, heroic affirmation of the outsider tradition. But the q word is contraindicated as a generic term, and those of us who object to its hegemonic deployment are justified: it does not apply to us." Prof. Dynes was a participant of the homophile movement as well as a witness to the Stonewall era. (See his biography "Wayne R. Dynes" From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia accessed Ju. 17, 2017) (See previous post Wayne Dynes declares 'queer' word obsolete plus Dan Savage on 'straight' truth (7/19/17))

Another recent nationwide campus fad, which is for student activists to research the origins campus building names, has come to Oregon State University in a manner similar to what has happened at other campuses, and it has led student activists to demand that the names of some buildings be changed because the person they were named after was a slave owner or racist, etc. While I see nothing wrong with doing this type of research to expose the racist past of OSU, I also think the activist students could make a more lasting contribution than just demanding the renaming of a building -- a name that could be changed again in the future if a large donation is made, such as what happened when the OSU football stadium was renamed "Reser Stadium" after a $40,000,000 donation was received from the founder of the Reser food company named after himself.

The professional Corvallis, Oregon newspaper, which is printed in the college town where Oregon State University is located, reported the reluctance of the Oregon State University President to change OSU building names because it would be insensitive to history (See the newspaper story by Anthony Rimel, "OSU announces series of meetings to evaluate building names," posted Aug. 31, 2017). The OSU buildings being reviewed include: Arnold Dining Center, which is named for a former Confederate soldier who became an OSU president; Avery Lodge, named for Joseph Avery, a Corvallis founder who the university said owned a pro-slavery newspaper; Benton Hall, which the university said was named for Benton County, which itself was named for white supremacist U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton; and Gill Coliseum, named for longtime basketball coach Amory "Slats" Gill, who student protesters have claimed refused to integrate his team. (A university historian has said there is no evidence Gill refused to integrate, but he only had one black player for part of a season.)

The University's administration leadership page says more on the subject: "Building and Place Names" Oregon State University, accessed Aug. 31, 2017, and also the regular page of OSU President Ed Ray quotes that is printed in every issue of the OSU alumni magazine mailed out to hundreds of thousands OSU Alumni members three times per year: Ed Said: Talk about renaming buildings is part of a crucial conversation. accessed Sep. 7, 2017 (PDF) printed as "Ed Said: Talk about renaming buildings is part of a crucial conversation" Oregon Stater, Fall 2017, p. 8 (PDF) inside of the OSU alumni magazine issue of "Oregon Stater," Fall 2017 Vol. 102, No. 3, p. 8. OSU President Ed Ray asks, ". . . what do you do? Do you put up a plaque with some background information that acknowledges the past . . ." and he also states, ". . .it's important in these cases to be more cognizant of history, to not always just erase a name and forget about it, but to put up plaques and share narratives, so we don't forget."

I agree with the OSU President's plaque suggestion, while I also believe that more can and should be done in a way to make a longer lasting contribution than to just "rename it and forget about it," as President Ray cautions, because who knows, it could be renamed again in the future, especially if a big donation was made, such as what happened after a a $40,000,000 donation was made by the founder of a food company who wanted the old OSU Parker football stadium to be renamed to "Reser" after himself.

Given these real possibilities, I have urged student activists to consider doing something that will be of a more lasting of contribution, which I also submitted as a letter to the editor of the OSU student newspaper:

Oregon State University will hold a series of meetings in September and October to evaluate four historic campus building names, which perhaps are named after racists or former slave owners.

I do not support renaming any building based only on contemporary cultural standards, even as somebody who was directly inspired in the 1960's by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to join his fight for racial equality and in 1970 by Jack Baker at the University of Minnesota to support gay marriage equality.

Although admittedly not an exact analogy, many OSU buildings were named after anti-gay individuals, and in response, with the help of a former OSU Pride Center director, plus OSU students and alumni, I wrote a history, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004" (link in the OSU Scholars Archive).

It documents a gay OSU football player arrested for violating an anti-gay Oregon law a century ago, and it describes how OSU students first came out as being gay in the 1970's, before evolving toward using LGBT for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, while also taking back the derogatory usage of the word "queer" for homosexual.

While I applaud the recent research work of student activists, I believe they should leave the names alone and seize this opportunity to make a more lasting contribution by creating educational programs that teach about OSU's unenlightened past, which could be given during orientation sessions, campus tours, and in relevant classes at OSU.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "INSERT LETTER HEADLINE," OSU Barometer, submitted and not publised as of Sep. 16, 2017)

The local professional newspaper has also printed reactions to OSU building name changes on their letters to the editor page, including one by Susan C. Hayes, "Letter: Report the facts about OSU names," posted Sep. 5, 3027 who states that ". . . Benton Hall . . . was named for the citizens of Benton County . . . It was the community's commitment by the citizens in 1885 to raise the $25,000 required by the Legislature to erect a building on the college farm that secured the state agricultural college for Corvallis. That building was originally called the Administration Building and, in 1947, renamed Benton Hall in honor of this citizen effort."

Another published letter to the editor is by P.M. deLaubenfels, "Letter: Don't change OSU campus names," Gazette-Times Sep. 8, 2017, p. A8 posted Sep 6, 2017 who asks, "Should Thomas Jefferson be dumped because he had slaves?" The letter writer P.M. deLaubenfels is a conservative who has an active Google Blogger page -- "Thinking About Music, Bicycling, Politics. . . .and a Little Science" blog by Paul F. deLespinasse -- (CORRECTION CLARIFICATION ADDED 10/4/17 Paul F. deLespinasse is not P.M . deLaubenfels) Paul F. deLespinasse Web site at He notes his age of 77 years in his post: Paul F. deLespinasse, "My new status, regular columnist at NewsMax," posted May 14. 2017, which links to Paul F. deLespinasse "Talking About Politics" Blog and his other conservative writings. Dr. deLaubenfels is a retired emeritus professor from a small college in Michichagan, affiliated with the Methodist Church, who currently lives in Corvallis.

Unfortunately, all of the arguments against changing any buildings that are named after racists, including my reasons for not renaming any building, can be twisted by true racists as being support for their racists position, which is why I think it is important to make sure that OSU's unenlightened past is not forgotten so that OSU can continue to improve social justice by not forgetting its past.

See previous posts

A side note about the usage of the word "queer" as an identity. Many OSU students had adopted the "queer" identity by the 1990's and the controversy over it has largely vanished and it has become so common it has been declared dead in the blog post by Professor Emeritus Wayne Dynes, "Vagaries of the word queer," posted Jul. 16, 2017, who essentially declares the "queer" word to be obsolete and says, ". . . Queer Theory is collapsing, together with its postmodern cousins in the academy. No one that I know of speaks of queer rights or queer marriage. So the q word has not, despite the aspirations of some observers, become the overall label of choice. That function has been assumed by LGBT - not in my view the ideal solution, but it has in fact become the answer." However, after some analysis he notes, ". . . there is still a use for the queer label. In the current assimilationist climate there is a danger that our heritage (if I may use the term) of outlaw/outsider affirmation will be swept away. . . the word queer should still be employed for this, dare I say, heroic affirmation of the outsider tradition. But the q word is contraindicated as a generic term, and those of us who object to its hegemonic deployment are justified: it does not apply to us." Prof. Dynes was a participant of the homophile movement as well as a witness to the Stonewall era. (See his biography "Wayne R. Dynes" From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia accessed Ju. 17, 2017) (See previous post Wayne Dynes declares 'queer' word obsolete plus Dan Savage on 'straight' truth (7/19/17))

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Michael Petrelis quits Blogger and moves to social network on Facebook and Twitter

The San Francisco gay activist Michael Petrelis announced that he quit posting on his Google Blogger blog page and has moved to social networking on Facebook and Twitter, just like our U.S. President (no insult intended!) See the post by Michael Petrelis, "It's been ages since I posted to my blog . . ," posted August 22, 2017 where he links to his new social media hangouts at:

Michael Petrelis Facebook page "Silence=Death" accessed Sep. 2, 2017


Michael Petrelis @MichaelPetrelis Twitter feed "Act & fight back! Proud queer advocate," San Francisco, CA Joined January 2013 accessed Sep. 2, 2017 Still acting up!

I've linked to the Google Blogger blog posts by Michael Petrelis before, for example, see previous post Michael Petrelis, female condoms, PEG-ES enemas for gay men 3/14/09) that links to the post by blogger Michael Petrelis, "Anal Condom is No Pain in the Ass; FDA Approval Omits Sodomy," posted Mar. 13, 2009. Michael Petrelis was one of the first activists to push for adoption of other safer sex methods than just the original campaign of "use a condom every time."

With my low vision blindness, I have been unable to do much exploring in the current gay bar that is in fashion --- Facebook and Twitter --- in the social netowrking and social media area, but I have used Facebook for conversation with close family members, but never tried twitter because I am too verbose! However, if I was younger and in better health, I can easily imagine why I would be using both of them.

Over a decade ago, I was contacted by the Google Blogger developers, who were all excited about the then new and then still emerging social networking and social network applications, and they made some major enhancements to Blogger to make it more "social," but apparently these features are too complicated to be visible to casual users. In any case, I never was that interested because today I have had to narrow my social circles on purpose because I physically am unable to keep up the basic daily activities of living, to use the technical jargon medical doctors have taught me! Instead, I've turned my blog page into an low vision assistive device where I can use it take ntoes and search then using the low vision accessiblity features of Microsoft Windows. I am not blogging for the fame or fortune of it, and so I am happy with the fact that only a few of my best friends and family read my blog, although I've had a few controversial posts that have drawn big traffic according to Google Blogger stats.

For background information, see:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I was able to see Solar eclipse despite low vsiion blindness

Time lapse of solar eclipse on front page of G-T Aug. 22, 2017, p. A1

PHOTO: the Aug. 21, 2017 solar eclipse as shown in a front page time lapse photo by Anibal Cortiz, "Shadow and Sun. Mid-valley thrills to spectacular solar show," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. A1 -- I was able to see it despite my low vision blindness as it passed over Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon at 10:16AM, a time which is shown at the center of the photo. The shape of the moon as it passes by over the sun can be seen in the minutes before and after the total eclipse, as is shown to the left and right in the photo. These shapes and path in the sky matched what I saw through the special eclipse glasses I bought for the occasion. See the Corvallis professionsl newspaper story by Anthony Rimel, "On OSU campus, hundreds cheer totality," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. A5 and editor Mike McInally, "Editorial: Eclipse lived up to its billing," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. B5 posted Aug. 21 updated Aug. 22, 2017. Also, see previous posts Glasses for total solar eclipse Aug. 21 and OSU student newspaper story (8/8/17) and Total solar eclipse will pass over Corvallis and OSU (6/11/17).

Also, see the OSU student newspaper account of the solar eclipse by Sydney Sullivan, "'Totality' perfect, City, State, university officials reflect on eclipse expectations vs. reality," OSU 'The Baro,' Aug. 28, 2017, p. 4 or posted Aug. 28, 2017

See previous posts:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Google engineer fired after suggesting biological reasons for fewer women in engineering

Emily Chang interviews 'James Damore on his dismissal from Google,' Bloomberg Technology Aug. 10, 2017 2-3 PM Comcast Cable Channel 743

PHOTO: The question of why there are fewer women in software engineering than men is discussed by former Google engineer James Damore, who had been fired after writing an essay suggesting biological reasons, in an interview of him by a respected San Francisco Silicon Valley Bloomberg TV reporter: Emily Chang interview of former Google Engineer James Damore "Bloomberg Technology," as watched on Bloomberg TV Corvallis Comcast cable channel 743 2-3PM Aug. 10, 2017 -- online as, "Fired Engineer James Damore: I Feel Google Betrayed Me," (8:40) posted Aug. 9, 2017

Sex discrimination against the employment of females in historically male dominated fields, such as engineering, has been an issue for decades that both universities and companies have tried to eliminate. Despite all of the successes, over the last fifty years, in increasing the number of women in engineering, there are still a significantly fewer number of females than males graduating with a degree in engineering or working in engineering. The above story of how this issue has surfaced at Google, prompted me to write the following letter to the editor of the professional newspaper in my college town of Oregon State University, which has a large shool of engineering:

The respected San Francisco Silicon Valley Bloomberg TV reporter Emily Chang recently interviewed a former Google engineer, James Damore, who was fired after writing an essay suggesting there are fewer female engineers due to biological reasons.

Damore insists he is not spreading alt-right propaganda and he intelligently raises the valid, but controversial, question asking how much does nature vs. nurture lead to the fact today that fewer women than men work in science, technology, engineering or math.

Damore believes that even though nature causes most men and women to be born with obvious physical differences, most people can do any occupation, including ones traditionally dominated by one sex, given the necessary nurture.

In reaction, the female Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that changing the underrepresentation of females is limited by the fact that only 16 percent of software engineering graduates are female at the universities where Facebook recruits new hires, which is a lower percentage than it was a decade ago.

Even if genetic reasons are discovered in the future for the lower percentage of females in S.T.E.M., it should be used only to improve educational and recruitment processes, instead of as an excuse to discriminate.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "It's no excuse for discrimination," Gazette-Times, Aug. 17, 2017, p. A6 and posted as "Letter: Improve processes, don't discriminate" posted Aug. 14, 2017 updated Aug. 15-17, 2017 also see Link to previous Thomas Kraemer GT Letters)

The real reason behind this firing of an employee by Coogle will probably never be made public due to employment privacy laws that make it risky for companies to disclose too much detail. In my decades of management experience at Silicon Valley technology companies I have seen many cases where the real reason is not what the employee publically claims the firing was due to, but the real reason for a firing was due to the employee being unable to work productively with other people. However, the "group think" and political correctness that the fired Google engineer complains about is also real in my experience, and I have seen this lead to so-called "affirmative action" hiring programs that fail to pick the best candidate for the job. In my opinion, affirmative action, defined as intentionally discriminating in hiring to make up for past discrimination, can be useful, but it should be done only with a court order asking a compnay to do it after the company has been found guilty of illegally discriminating in the past. This doesn't mean that companies should do nothing. For example, instead of discriminating intentionally to hire more women, the compnaies I worked for would proactively recruit new hires at universities with a larger population of minority students, such as Howard University, or with active programs encouraging women to major in engineering. I found that this often resulted in finding some really good engineering talent that was being overlooked by other companies who would hire students only from the universities where they had recruited at in the past.

For more background see, "Emily Chang (journalist)" accessed Aug. 11, 2017, who hosts the cable TV program "'Bloomberg Technology,'" accessed Aug. 11, 2017, and "Sheryl Sandberg" accessed Aug. 11, 2017, who is chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook. In 1987, Sandberg enrolled at Harvard College. She graduated in 1991 summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in economics.

VIDEO: Emily Chang, "Fired Engineer James Damore: I Feel Google Betrayed Me," (8:40) posted Aug. 9, 2017. Former Google Engineer James Damore has caused an uproar in Silicon Valley. This after he authored an internal 10-page memo asserting there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry. Damore, says he is "exploring all possible legal remedies," and that problems with the company's culture prompted him to write the memo. Bloomberg's Emily Chang caught up with Damore for broadcast exclusive. She started by asking about his reaction to Google letting him go.

See previous post Trump harms military readiness with misogynistic transgender ban (7/27/17)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Glasses for total solar eclipse Aug. 21 and OSU student newspaper story

solar eclipse glasses OSU student newspaper Jul. 2017 p. 1

PHOTO: the perhaps (instructions don't say if these are) folded backward cardboard and plastic framed glasses, required for viewing the solar eclipse Aug. 21, which I bought at a Corvallis Fred Meyer grocery store for $1.99 each on Jul. 28, 2017. The glasses are manufactured by Explore Scientific, LLC or spearheaded by founder and President, Scott Roberts, who has spent over 30 years in the astronomy optics industry. The sales page for the Sun Catcher Sunglasses (2-Pack) $ 2.49 accessed Aug. 6, 2017 includes links to an article by Professor Michael D. Reynolds, "An Eclipse Primer," Free (PDF) and a test report documenting the safety of these glasses per the standarad set by the International Organization for Standardization, "ISO 12312-2:2015, Eye and face protection -- Sunglasses and related eyewear -- Part 2: Filters for direct observation of the sun," Publication date : 2015-06 accessed Aug. 6, 2017. Also, shown is the cover of the student newspaper that included articles by Erin Dose and Sydney Sullivan, "Solar Eclipse Aug. 21, 2017," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 3, 8-9 July 31, 2017 posted online as "One million people to visit Oregon for celestial spectacle" and Sydney Sullivan, "Eclipse impacts on personal level," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 9 posted July 31, 2017. (A Facsimile of the printed newspaper dated Jun. 31, 2017 edition for Aug. is available at

The main NASA site for this eclipse, "Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 Aug 21" includes links to the NASA Interactive Google Map that has been temporarily moved to the NASA, "Eclipse Maps" accessed Aug. 7, 3027 due to high demand, at the link NASA Eclipse Interactive Map. A simple JPEG NASA map of Oregon Eclipse is also also available. NASA's calculation says my location at Oregon State University will start seing the partial eclipse Aug. 21 at 16:04:55.2 and start of the total eclipse at 17:16:54.1 ending at 17:18:38.6 in the morning.

The professional Corvallis newspaper also published a story by JENNIFER MOODY Albany Democrat-Herald, "Eclipse damage: Doctors can't help," posted Aug. 7, 3-17 with a quote from a doctor about the eye safety concern and the ISO standard mentioned above. It also mentions that "According to NASA, the moon's shadow will start creeping over the sun about 9 a.m. that Monday. Totality will hit the coast about 10:15 and in the mid-valley area a minute or two later." The editorial page included a photo of hardboard glasses to illustrate an opinion piece warning by the editor Mike McInally, "Editorial: Beware fake glasses for eclipse viewing," posted Aug. 6, 2017.

The student newspaper story said:

. . . according to Randall Milstein, an astronomy professor at OSU and an astronomer-in-residence for the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. . . . while there is an eclipse somewhere in the world approximately every 18 months, a total solar eclipse has not crossed the entirety of the contiguous United States since 1918. . .

In Corvallis, the eclipse will start at 9:05 a.m. and end at 11:37 a.m. The moment of totality will occur at 10:16 a.m. and last for one minute and 35 seconds . . .

Another large event coinciding with the eclipse is 'OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience,' the first of many events that will occur over the course of the 2017-2018 academic year in celebration of OSU's sesquicentennial. Attendees will have the option of renting residence hall rooms for the weekend of the eclipse. One-person rooms in Wilson Hall, Callahan Hall, McNary Hall and Finley Hall are available for $265 for the weekend, while two-person rooms are priced at $375. Family-option rooms offered in Tebeau Hall, the International Living-Learning Center and Halsell Hall have already sold out, according to the festival's website. . .

(Quoted from Erin Dose and Sydney Sullivan, "Solar Eclipse Aug. 21, 2017," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 3, 8-9 July 31, 2017 posted online as "One million people to visit Oregon for celestial spectacle")

Another student newspaper story said:

Richard Watson, who serves on the board of directors for an amateur astronomer's club associated with the local Corvallis community, the Heart of the Valley Astronomers, has sought out four solar eclipses in his lifetime, traveling as far as Cabo San Lucas to see these spectacles. However, for the upcoming eclipse he will not have to leave his own home. . .

Tom Carrico, the head of the Heart of the Valley Astronomers, is helping the Corvallis community to prepare for these brief seconds of totality happening in August.

Though retired from human resources a couple of years ago, planning for the solar eclipse has become more than just a part-time job. According to Carrico, lessons that the Heart of the Valley Astronomers teach at the Corvallis public library have been selling out in a matter of minutes. . . .

In 1979, Randall Milstein, an astronomy professor at OSU, said he was able to witness a partial solar eclipse happen over the mainland United States while he was living in Michigan.

"That's the one thing I remember from seeing, not even a total eclipse, a partial eclipse in 1979, was that it was dead quiet. Everything just stopped. And that struck me as the most eerie thing," Milstein said. . . .

Like Carrico and Bradshaw, Milstein is putting on workshops throughout Corvallis and other cities around the path of totality in order to remind everyone this event can be very life-altering. According to Milstein, his workshops are intended to remind people totality will only be in Corvallis for a minute and 40 seconds and it will not be repeated.

"There are people who witness a solar eclipse and laugh, other people will sob, or literally fall backwards on the ground and just sit there with their mouth open. Some people will sing or hum, or there will be just dead silence," Milstein said.

(Quoted from Sydney Sullivan, "Eclipse impacts on personal level," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 9 July 31, 2017 posted online as)

Corvallis was on the edge of a total solar eclipse on February 26, 1979 and I recall watching it from upstairs in Hewlett-Packard's building 4 -- the first of two buildings completed at that time. There were no other buildings or large trees to block my view, and the open office plan allowed me to look south toward Eugene to see bright sunlight while turning my head to see the the windows turn dark on the north side of the building. All of my coworkers briefly paused to watch before going back to doing the engineering research and development work for handheld programmable computers (i.e. business and scientific calculators) plus HP's first personal computer and thermal printer.

I hope to see the Aug. 21st total eclipse in Corvallis, provided neither rain nor my low vision blindness prevents me from using the protective eyeglasses I bought for $1.99 at a grocery store on Kings Blvd.

Solar eclipse path Corvallis GT May 21, 2017, p. A1

PHOTO: The path and time of the total solar eclipse over that will be seen over Oregon State University and Corvallis, Oregon was printed in a graphic for the newspaper story by Bennet Hall, "Summer of the eclipse," Gazette-Times, Sun. May 21, 2017, p. A1, A4. Corvallis is set for Aug. 21, 2017 at 10:16AM lasting about 1 iminute and 40 seconds. The last eclipse in Corvallis occurred on Feb. 26, 1979. See previous post Total solar eclipse will pass over Corvallis and OSU (6/11/17)