Geography and History

September 20, 2018

If there is time left over in the classes I tutor, I try to get the students to list as any somethings as they can in a limited amount of time. I typically break them into groups and see which group can name the most states, countries, NM counties, presidents, capital cities, etc.

It is amazing how many of the students can only name 10 or 15 states, and how many can only name a handful of countries.  For the most part, they can name the countries that have been on the news:  US, Russia, Mexico, China, North Korea, Afganistan, Syria, and that is about it.  Some of them get South Korea, and some think there is a Korea in the middle of these.

I don’t know that not being able to name countries is in itself a bad thing, as simply memorizing country names has little value.  However, having some concept of the countries that exist and how they interact is useful information.

I don’t know how this is taught in school, or if it is taught in school…

Thank you for reading my post.

 

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Evacuations and Gun Bans

September 13, 2018

During the approach of Hurricane Florence, many millions of people evacuated their homes.

From a freedom standpoint, a mandatory evacuation is unconstitutional.  It is my life, property and liberty, and if I choose to stay (foolishly), that is my problem.  I do think that during a major evacuation, if you stay behind, you cannot expect to be rescued, either.  I will discuss the ethics of evacuations in another post.

One thing that I read about during these evacuations was the overreach of some small-minded busy-bodies in one town.  According to this article, the town of Leland, NC, attempted to say that people being evacuated were forbidden from taking their guns with them.

What?

Thankfully, there was enough of a backlash against this stupid policy that they altered the code to exclude legal gun owners.

The idea that I am forced to leave an heirloom firearm in my house to be destroyed by the hurricane, or looted by those who did not evacuate is absurd.  The idea that the police should be arresting people for legally transporting a firearm in their vehicle is also absurd.

The government should not be able to simply declare an emergency and then be allowed to violate rights.  Emergencies are not a moratorium on rights.  No emergency should be allowed to give the government power over my life, liberty or pursuit of happiness.

Good work, for all of you who spread this around social media and helped create the backlash.

Thank you for reading my post.

Why the Nike Boycott Won’t Work

September 10, 2018

It is stupid to destroy things you already own.  Nike already has that money.  You aren’t scaring them or sending them any sort of message.  You are just destroying stuff you already bought, and your money, Nike has already spent.

Nike is doing what lots of struggling companies do- they advertise controversy.  They figure that “all news is good news” and that getting their name mentioned, positively or negatively, is good for business.  I don’t know what a commercial on CNN costs, but now they are on the front page of the website every day.   It’s all free advertising.

What should you do if you want to boycott Nike?  Don’t talk about them.  Don’t buy their stuff, and don’t give them any attention.  Their analysts knew this commercial was risky, and they’ll know why their sales dropped (if they do).

Thank you for reading my post.

Why Movies and Intersectionality Don’t Mix

September 2, 2018

I like movies, for the most part, and I think I like most everyone.  I’m pretty easy to get along with (though this blog may make you think otherwise).

I liked the original Ghost Busters movies from the 1980’s.  And, admittedly, I did not see much of the 2016 version.  However, I can almost guarantee it will be awful.  The five to ten minutes I saw was awful.  The people who tell me I should like it, or I am a sexist misogynist are awful.

Why would I say these things?

If you require a guilt trip to sell your movie, it is probably an awful movie.  If you have to call people names for not watching a movie, then it is probably an awful movie.  That’s what happened with the 2016 version of Ghost Busters.

The movie replaced the four original Ghost Busters with four female characters.  And that alone was why we were supposed to watch it.  Why can’t women bust ghosts?

They can (I mean, if any of this were real).  But if you have a real movie, with a real plot and real dialog, you won’t rely on us viewers counting who is what.  Instead, this movie relied on people “having to” like it, else be labeled sexists.  It took well-developed characters and a fun plot, then replaced the characters and repackaged the plot.  It’s like the TV version of a blockbuster movie.

But, maybe I am a sexist for not watching this movie.

Oh wait, but then there was Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  The two main characters were a black man and a white woman.  GREAT MOVIE!  Why?  Because they didn’t beat you over the head with accusations of sexism and racism.  Instead, they relied heavily on a plot, dialog and special effects to make the movie worth seeing.

I also watched about ten minutes of Black Panther.  It looks like a GREAT movie as well, and I will watch it at some point.

If you have to rely on the race, gender, sexual preference, etc of your acting instead of a plot, your movie will do horribly.

Thank you for reading my post.

MBTI Types

August 25, 2018

I always get bummed when I deal with personality types, and this semester is no exception.  Each semester, we have our design class students take a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test, which is a type of personality test.  The students become aware of their personality types, and their strengths and weaknesses when working in groups.

One example of the test can be found at 16personalities.com.  You answer a series of questions, and it calculate four indicators:

E or I:  Extroverted or Introverted
N or S:  whether you use iNtution or the Senses to gather information
T or F: whether you make decisions based on Thinking or Feeling
J or P:  whether you use Judgement or Perception (rigid plans vs. flexibility)

Because I teach in engineering, most of the students fall into a few of the 16 types.  In general, they are typically Thinking over Sensing, so T type, and often Judgement over Perception, or J type.  Many of them are Introverted as well.  Overall, the dominant type is INTJ, with a few scattered INTP, and ISTJ.

The problem is that I am none of these.  Instead, I am an ENFP.  As a comparison, INTJ’s have potential careers in engineering, and share a personality type with Tesla, Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, Ayn Rand, Elon Musk, Thomas Jefferson, and Colin Powell.  There’s even a convincing argument that Bruce Wayne/Batman is INTJ.
Read more at: https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/famous-intj/

INTP have potential careers in engineering as well, and share a personality type with Einstein, Pascal, Descartes, Adam Smith, Abraham Lincoln and Bill Gates.  They get Yoda, too.  Read more at: https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/famous-intp/

ISTJ have potential careers in medicine, accounting and data analysis, and share a personality type with George Washington, Henry Ford, Jeff Bezos and Stonewall Jackson.  They even get Alan Jackson and George Strait.  Read more at: https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/famous-istj/

ENFP, on the other hand, have careers in teaching, politics, and customer service.  We share a personality type with…well actors, musicians and so on.  For the most part, I don’t even LIKE the actors.  For example, we have Bill Cosby (sex offender),  Katie Couric (blech), and Rachael Maddow (kill me now).  The politicians are even worse: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Muammar Gaddafi, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
Read more at: https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/famous-enfp/

Why do I bring this up?  Those who can (ISTJ, INTJ, INTP), do, those who can’t (ENFP) teach.  I hate it, but it’s true.  I’m in the right profession – I was never very good as an engineer.  I can’t build anything, and I kinda suck at any activity that is real.

In Ayn Rand’s books, the heroes are typically INTJ, like her.  The villains vary, but they are all close to ENFP, and all of them are xxFx.  This is because Objectivism is based on using Thinking as a source of ideas, not Feeling.  There could never be an “F” Randian hero.  An ENFP accepting Objectivism is to forever accept their own lack of abilities and the recognition that we belong in the trash.

Here’s a few more ENFP’s for you to ponder.

I always wanted to be the Professor (INTJ) from Gilligan’s Island.  I ended up being Gilligan (ENFP).  It’s called Gilligan’s Island because Gilligan always screws up and ruins everything.

I wanted to be more like the Brain (INTJ) from Pinky and the Brain.  These two mice try to take over the world in every episode.  Brain comes up with a plan, but then Pinky (ENFP) ruins it.

Ozzy Osbourne is said to be ENFP as well.  At least there’s a musician who I can tolerate on my list.  What is he known for at this point?  Incompetently bumbling through a life of too many drugs and too much alcohol.

At some point, evolutionarily speaking, we will probably be eliminated.  We serve no actual purpose.  If it wasn’t for other creatures who are smarter, more competent and more capable, we would all die.

Anyway, I hate my personality type, but it is unchangeable.  I am stuck with it.  If I could do enough drugs to change it, even if it would take years off my life, I would.  Instead, I’ll bumble along as an incompetent ENFP for far too long.  The mere fact that I am blogging about this is more evidence that I am an ENFP.

South African Land “Redistribution”

August 17, 2018

Just remember, it could happen here, too.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-44278164

The land is being “taken back” from white farmers.  My favorite line in the entire article sums up the attitude, “Africa is for black people. Period. We need our land back and we’re going to take it by force.”

You think it won’t happen here.  You think that what happens there happens in a vacuum?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/reparations-black-americans-slavery_us_56c4dfa9e4b08ffac1276bd7

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/29/the-cost-of-slavery-reparations-is-now-within-the-boundaries-of-the-politically-acceptable/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f4b9b49bcd28

https://qz.com/1012692/this-is-what-reparations-could-actually-look-like-in-america/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/04/04/why-we-need-both-a-national-apology-and-reparations-to-heal-the-wounds-of-racism/?utm_term=.eb5809e337cd

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/40/text

…just to name a few.  People are already planning it.

Thank you for reading my post.

Road Trip

August 4, 2018

I think that taking a good cross-country road trip should be an important part of every American’s life.  Plenty of us think the United States of America is awesome, but how many of us have experienced all 50 states?  I have been to 48 thus far, and we are currently en route to taking our son to his 47th.

Even driving around your home state will give you a broader perspective of how many people and places there are in this world.  If you remain isolated in your own house and your own routine, you will miss out on all of the things the world has to offer.

It is easy in this political climate to think in terms of isolating yourself from the rest of the world.  However, if you stop and look around you, you will see that our way of life is worth fighting for.

Thank you for reading my post.

In Defense of Generation Z

July 26, 2018

It’s really easy to pick on Generation Z.  They spend all of their time connected to screens.  They are lazy.   They are delicate little flowers that need pampering.  They offend easily.  It’s easy to shake our canes and fists at them in disapproval.

But, it is really their fault?

They spend all of their time on electronics.  Yes, that is true.

We’ve taught them “stranger danger” and that every man is a potential rapist/child molester/racist/etc.  It is dangerous, we say, to interact with others.  It is much safer to watch the screen.

We’ve taken away achievement from their academics and competition from their gym classes, all in the name of self-esteem.  By doing so, we’ve removed the only things that build self-esteem.  Then, we are shocked that they would rather play a game on their phone that has them chase fictional characters and look for hidden achievements.

They are lazy.  Maybe.

While you check your email from 9-5, say things like “TGIF” and long for your vacation and retirement, these kids are connected ALL OF THE TIME.  They don’t “check” their email, it’s there with them, every second.  They respond to messages as they arrive, not during assigned windows of time.   A Generation Z’er will reply at 3 am on Saturday evening from their bed.

Also, the “good jobs” they were promised by simply earning any college degree are not there.  They’ll work part time here, part time there, and run gigs everywhere in between to make ends meet.  You’ll see them work 20 hours for you, and think they sit at home the rest of the time (like you would, when you aren’t at your career).  Meanwhile, they will drive for Uber, tutor online, and run an Etsy account between their two 20 hour a week jobs.

They are delicate little flowers, easily offended.

As I already mentioned, we have taken away achievement, and replaced it with victimhood.  Instead of parents discussing actual achievements amongst each other, we instead discuss who is the bigger victim.  The longer your list of missing privileges, the more likely you are to win.   To highlight how you are a victim- whine.

If you don’t like this generation, consider where they learned it.

Thank you for reading my post.

#MeToo Movement and Package Deals

July 12, 2018

The #MeToo movement, while well-intentioned, may be the package deal of our time.  Its original intent was to highlight the high rate of sexual assault in our communities.  The idea is that sexual assault isn’t just a once-in-a-while occurrence, but that it happens every day, in our own town.

Sexual assault is pretty clear- you physically bother someone when they have said, “no thanks.”

Sexual harassment is also encompassed in the #MeToo movement, and it is a little bit more dicey.  The dictionary definition of sexual harassment is:

“harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.”

I am actually impressed that Feminist.org actually has an objective list of harassment definitions.  I agree on all counts.

This should all seem straight forward.  You can’t ask for sexual favors of your employees as a condition of employment.  However, let’s turn to the internet and see what is considered sexual harassment.

I keep seeing #MeToo tags covering things that are neither sexual assault, nor harassment.  These are things like, “He asked me out, gross” or “he was making me uncomfortable.”

The first one IS sexual harassment if he continued to harass her after she turned him down.  The second one is only sexual harassment if you have objective reasons.  Your feelings are NOT an objective measure of harassment, or anything else for that matter.  If you say, “it made me feel uncomfortable when he (fill in the blank with a objective charge against him)”  then it is harassment.

Why would I say that?  Why aren’t her feelings evidence?  Because how you feel about something is NOT under another’s control.  Because how you feel should never be what costs someone their job or freedom, just as how they feel should never cost you yours.  I’m sure plenty of suburban white folks felt “uncomfortable” when African Americans became more affluent and moved to their neighborhoods.  The feelings of the neighbors should never interfere with the rights of the African Americans who just wanted to legally purchase a home.

Well isn’t it more important that we protect women from unwanted advances than to worry about the rights of a few harassers?   No.  Let me give an example:

Teenage boy likes teenage girl.  Boy asks girl out.  Girl is not interested at all, and feels uncomfortable that he should even ask.  Boy is broken-hearted but does not ask again.  However, because the girl felt uncomfortable, he is accused of sexual harassment.  He is suspended from school, moved classes, etc.  His entire future is changed simply because he dared to ask a girl out who was not interested.

Granted, had he continued bothering her, it would be a clear-cut case of harassment, and I would agree with the administrative response.  However, our “fictional” scenario happens frequently.  Using only her feelings as a guide, we can severely ruin a young man’s career before it even starts.

Do you want to know why more men haven’t supported the #MeToo movement?  Is it because we are all secretly rapists?  No.  It’s because every one of us was once an awkward teenage boy that asked a girl out who was not interested.  We wonder if that was harassment.

You may say, “but that’s not harassment!” and I would agree with you.  However, even the accusation of harassment is enough to deter many of us.  How many high profile folks have lost jobs over harassment accusations?  Let alone the rest of us!

The package deal is that all of these things are lumped together under sexual harassment.  An honest interest and sincere request for a date is lumped in with back-of-the-alley rape.  The rejected requester may have to prove his innocence, which is impossible, if the only evidence offered is her feelings.

So, ladies, next time that cute guy quietly sips his drink at the bar and doesn’t ask to buy you a drink, it might be because he doesn’t want to be accused of harassment.   Maybe it’s simply not worth it anymore.

Thank you for reading my post.

Separating Families…Again.

July 10, 2018

I decided to revisit this topic as I hear more about it.

I mentioned before that the poster child of the separated families movement was not actually separated from her parents.  I have been told by numerous people that “it doesn’t matter that she was not actually separated, she is a symbol” of the situation.

Here is the problem:  if this is so widespread, it should be easy to find another “symbol” who actually was separated from her family.  If one wants to show the environmental impact of an oil spill, they show a duck covered in oil from the oil spill; they don’t find a random duck, cover it in oil and use it for the photo.  If a tornado hits a town, the reporters don’t get to take a stock image of another tornado and call it a “symbol” similar to the one that struck the town.  It’s ridiculous and dishonest.

Here’s the real beef, however.  I’ve heard that somewhere around 3,000 families have been separated at the border.  That is tragic.  Yet, how many families right now are separated due to divorce, drugs, jail, abuse, and so on?  While you scream over a symbolic photo, I can see a homeless teenager from my train almost every morning.  And I don’t even live in a huge city.  While you applaud Time Magazine’s cover with Trump and a symbolic screaming girl, a real girl is being sold into sex slavery.  While you yell at the border patrol, a divorced father is granted no visitation of his kids.  While you cry for this symbol, a real child is abandoned in the streets of your city.  Where is your outrage?

In my city, there are an estimated ~2500 homeless teens.  I volunteer at a boarding school for homeless teens that can house 36.  We typically only have funds for around 20 at a time.

This is all manufactured outrage at the current president, and has nothing to do with actual separated families.  This has been going on for ages- all of it.  Where was your outrage in the past?

If you actually cared, if you actually wanted to see families together, you would work towards that.  Instead, you carry signs calling all of your opponents “Hitler.”  If the thousands of protesters donated the time and money that they used in protest towards ACTUALLY keeping families together, what would that look like?  What if instead of spending hours each week arguing on Facebook about separating families, we actually spent the time volunteering at an orphanage, what would that look like?  You claim to want to keep families together, and yet you spend most of your time trying to divide people further.

Thank you for reading my post.