Ask culture vs. guess culture

This came to my attention from BdiJ. The following was an easy cut and paste way for me to provide the basic concept (from The Atlantic): Let’s say your husband or wife has a friend who will be coming to your city for two weeks on business. This friend writes to you and your spouse,Continue reading “Ask culture vs. guess culture”

An original meter

Keywords: meter, standards, metrology In my post Metrology is not about the weather. Part I – How to weigh a potato, I mentioned that international standards used to be based on physical artifacts. I just came across this short article, The Last Original Standard Metre by Atlas Obscura. The cover picture is of one ofContinue reading “An original meter”

Systemic racism: A concise history

Keywords: racism, war on drugs, inequity, incarceration A friend pointed me to this 18 minute video by Phil Vischer the creator of Veggie Tales that very concisely overviews the history of how the U.S. got to the current point of social inequity. It starts with the end of slavery then continues through Jim Crow laws,Continue reading “Systemic racism: A concise history”

Lucy Diggs Slowe

Keywords: women’s’ studies, civil rights, feminism, mea culpas I came across Lucy Diggs Slowe in a N.Y. Times article Overlooked No More: Lucy Diggs Slowe, Scholar Who Persisted Against Racism and Sexism. From that article: “She influenced broad campaigns for racial equality, feminism, personal freedom and peace activism. She made it a priority to createContinue reading “Lucy Diggs Slowe”

Maria Sibylla Merian

Keywords: caterpillars, butterflies, women’s studies, women scientists, scientific method I first became aware of Maria Sibylla Merian decades ago at an exhibit of her artwork (in L.A.) She made meticulous and beautiful drawings of insects in their different life stages. I was more interested in her artwork at the time than her other accomplishments, butContinue reading “Maria Sibylla Merian”

If you’re not Christian, why call it Christmas?

Keywords: Solstice, secular holidays, the “nones” Here’s a letter I had published in the Register Guard on Dec 30, 2019 with the title: Solstice is for everyone. It is an argument against the concept of a “secular Christmas”. As a reminder, roughly 30% of the U.S. and 70% of the world’s population are not Christian.Continue reading “If you’re not Christian, why call it Christmas?”

Racism in technology – cameras

Keywords: technology, photography, Shirley cards One of the difficulties of recognizing systemic racism is that it can be very subtle and deeply ingrained – even in technology. One reason people may be reluctant to acknowledge systemic forms of racism is that they are not always a consequence of conscious efforts. (Some are, but not all.)Continue reading “Racism in technology – cameras”

Things I should have doubted: The Thanksgiving story

(A key part of starting from doubt is changing your mind when confronted with new evidence. I find having this happen to be both frustrating and exciting: frustrating that I was wrong, exciting that I’ve learned something new.) The USA Today network published an article today on the history of Thanksgiving. I saw it inContinue reading “Things I should have doubted: The Thanksgiving story”

The Venus de Milo’s Arms

Keywords: drop spindle, spinning, cloth making, history of textiles, women’s history Not surprisingly, many pieces of art are much more impressive when seen in person than when seen as a picture. For me, this was especially true for the Venus de Milo. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece of art – even without her arms.Continue reading “The Venus de Milo’s Arms”