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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, which I was able to see despite my low vision blindness as it passed over Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon at 10:16AM. The total eclipse is shown at the center of the photo and the minutes before and after it are shown to the left and right, which matches the shapes I saw using the special glasses I bought for the occasion. See the story by Anthony Rimel, "On OSU campus, hundreds cheer totality," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. A5 and "Editorial: Eclipse lived up to its billing," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. B5 gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 21. 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).

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) youtube.com 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" gazettetimes.com 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)" wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 11, 2017, who hosts the cable TV program "'Bloomberg Technology,'" wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 11, 2017, and "Sheryl Sandberg" wikipedia.org 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) youtube.com 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 exploreone.com or explorescientificusa.com 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 exploreone.com accessed Aug. 6, 2017 includes links to an article by Professor Michael D. Reynolds, "An Eclipse Primer," Free (PDF) www.explorescientificusa.com 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," iso.org 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 dailybarometer.com 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 dailybarometer.com July 31, 2017. (A Facsimile of the printed newspaper dated Jun. 31, 2017 edition for Aug. is available at issuu.com)

The main NASA site for this eclipse, "Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 Aug 21" eclipse2017.nasa.gov includes links to the NASA Interactive Google Map that has been temporarily moved to the NASA, "Eclipse Maps" eclipse2017.nasa.gov 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," gazettetimes.com 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," gazettetimes.com 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 dailybarometer.com 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 dailybarometer.com 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)