Tag Archives: Thoughts

“Geek Chic” Girl Shirt

geekchic

I have to say, I am pretty impressed to see this shirt was being sold at Target in the girls clothing section. It has pink and lace on it, but it doesn’t have some reference to not being good at math. In fact, it says “Geek Chic” on it. Amazing.

Disciplinary Problems In Our Education System

I recently wrote about my thoughts on how a schools response to a young girl’s science experiment reflected racism and the expectation that women should not cause trouble, but this is not the sole issue behind the overreaction of the school. There is certainly a farther-reaching problem with our school disciplinary systems that affects everyone. Students are being punished for the wrong things all too often. I emphasize the wrong things because I don’t always see students getting disciplined when it needs to happen.

The overreaction

I want to think my fellow bloggers and commenters for alerting me to many recent ridiculous disciplinary actions at schools. I will post a few of these instances below:

Forming the Thread wrote an excellent blog post called “The Idiotic Message We Send Our Kids About Violence,” which includes several recent incidents of disciplinary actions and lack thereof.

Fifty Four and A Half wrote a post about guns in schools versus current gun legislation called “The Danish Connection.”

The Infrequent Atheist alerted me to a Kindergartender who was interrogated until he peed his pants, and was then suspended for 10 days.

The under reaction

Time and time again we hear of stories where bullies and rapists are not getting the proper punishments through schools. When we ask why we don’t see punishments for these crimes, a common response is “why aren’t these crimes handed over to the police?”

What an excellent question. Why should schools be faced with the heavy burden of suspending and expelling rapists and bullies? After all, it’s not like they are punishing students for petty crimes or fake guns.

Oh, hold on a second. Something seems off here…

My Free Time: Dandelion Wine

What? Engineers and scientists don’t have free time. They just sit in labs all hours of the day and think up conspiracies like global warming.

Well, that’s partially true. However, every now and then we venture outside the lab. Actually, in most cases we venture away from the desk where we read and write papers, but I like it better when people think I am doing some kind of mad science.

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Recently, I came home and found the yard littered with dandelions. I don’t need to provide a link on what those are. Everyone knows they are those annoying yellow weed flowers.

Someone recently mentioned to me that you could eat the dandelion leaves. So, being the moron scientist that I am, I had to try this. Naturally, I went for one of the biggest, brightest, flowering weeds I could find, and it tasted hideously bitter. I later found out that you have to find the newly developing leaves with no flowers, otherwise the plant is bitter. I tried a newer plant as well. It wasn’t bitter but it still tasted like crap. The same person who told me about the edibility of dandelions also mentioned that wine can be made from the flowers.

I can’t resist an experiment that involves me getting gloriously drunk in the end…

I’ve never brewed anything in my life, but I’ve wanted to try. Why not start with making dandelion wine? If it sucks, I can just blame it on those crap flowers. Plus, making wine from weeds sounds like about the most hippie thing one can do after raising awareness about global warming and feminism.

In researching this on the Internet, I found that dandelion wine is actually a thing. I came across a book written by Ray Bradbury called Dandelion Wine. I also stumbled upon this beautiful song by Gregory Alan Isakov called “Dandelion Wine.”

I got to work picking dandelions and buying some cheap brewing materials. My favorite part was taking a knife to the damned flowers and slicing the petals from the flower stem. It was like beheading the epitome of annoying.

photo

Beheading dandelions: should I feel happy or sad about this?

For this project, I did not delve as much into the science. I used the basic principle that yeast+suger=alcohol. Brewing wine and beer seems like an absolutely fascinating and complex field though, and I hope with time I can explore this more in depth. Here is an interesting article from how stuff works about brewing beer to quell your curiosity about the process.

In the mean time I get to wait and see what happens. I’m not sure if I will be daring enough to try the results. Only time will tell…

No, actually a gun isn’t going to protect me from rape

**Trigger warning for discussion of rape incidents and victim blaming

One of the perks of being an undergrad at my university was that every time there was a police report about a rape or sexual assault in a dark ally, a university wide email would go out with tips on how not to get raped. The emails contained very “useful” information like “don’t walk around alone at night.” Giving women tips on how not to get raped seems to be a popular thing to do these days.

The only issue is that it is absolutely useless and ridiculous. For most women, these tips are just a routine part of life, not new advice. Many of us try our damned hardest not to put ourselves in any situation where we would be “at fault” for getting raped. Even though most rapes don’t occur from strangers in the dark night, we still follow the unwritten law that darkness and alone are a bad combination for women, as we are told this again and again. It goes to the extent where some women at my university avoid late night study groups or review sessions just to avoid getting stuck having to get home late at night. Sending out an email to all of us telling us something so useless is just demeaning.

This leads me to my next point on victim blaming. It’s the self-defense argument. Recently there has been a lot of gun hype on my current university campus in addition to the huge hype that is in the media about gun control. Those who have a conceal and carry permit are now allowed to carry guns on my campus. There was an article about it the local paper, and a female student was interviewed. She said it was important for her to carry a gun because she had a late evening class and had to walk home alone. I can understand her fear, and I am sure it is empowering to feel that you are defending yourself. In fact, as female students, we are usually bombarded with advice telling us not to walk alone at night, so I can see when there is a glimmer of hope where we might be able to ignore this unwritten rule, it would be taken up. However, I don’t think a gun solves the problem of rape. It doesn’t even come close.

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Victim Blaming

What finally triggered me to write this article was a picture going around in response to the comment made by Joe Salazar. A male friend posted it. Not only is it a disgusting image of a woman being victimized, it gives the wrong impression that guns magically ward away all rape. The image is shown below.

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE IMAGE.

[Trigger Warning, image contains depiction of sexual assault]

The real rape statistics

The things I want to say to people passing this picture and similar ideas around

I want to ask the supporters of this image some questions about rape, since they seem to think rape can be used as a valiant argument for gun owners.

Just how often do you think rape occurs in a dark alley from some scary stranger? If I am walking alone at night and there is some guy walking behind me, should I reach into my purse and put my hand on my gun just in case? What if a man is walking towards me? Should I pull out my gun to let him know that I am not going to get raped tonight? After all, I probably wouldn’t know that he was out to rape me until it was too late.

How would you feel if you were walking down the street, and you walk up to some woman to ask her directions and she reaches into her purse to make sure she has her gun handy? After all, if she doesn’t, and you happen to be a rapist, it would be her fault for not trying to defend herself, right?

But let’s just throw that whole random stranger thing away for a minute. In a recent CDC report, only 13.8% of women who have been victims of rape reported that it was from a stranger. Now consider that a percentage of these stranger rapes were committed in situations where the victim was drugged or incapacitated and would not have the ability to defend themselves with a gun. In the small percentage that is left over, how often do you think a gun would really work? This article contains two stories of gun owners who were victims of rape. (Trigger Warning for the link).

Now, let’s talk about the 86.2% of rapes that are committed by someone that the victim knows. Do you really think women are going to make sure their gun is right on them when they are hanging out with an acquaintance? Furthermore, even if a female is carrying a gun on her, do you think if her acquaintance is making a move on her that she is going to shoot first and ask questions later? Don’t you think maybe she might be trying to process the situation instead, or be trying to think of ways to decline her acquaintance, or be in a state of shock or disbelief?

I don’t believe I know anyone who would be able to shoot a perceived friend that is trying to rape them. Not only because of the victim is trying to process the situation and determine what exactly is happening, but also because murder to most people seems like a very last resort, like something that would be used in a situation where if you don’t shoot now you will be killed immediately. Furthermore, as a society, we don’t deem rape as a very bad crime. The time done in jail is relatively short, and it definitely does not come anywhere near a death sentence. In fact, rape is so difficult to prove that it is estimated only 3% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. Using those statistics, can you imagine how difficult it would be for a woman to prove she was trying to defend herself against a potential rapist she shot at, who had not yet committed rape?

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Guns might be a way for you to put your mind at ease when you are walking home, but in the end, rape is not some simple scene from a bad action film where a rapist jumps up behind an armed women with a gun already in hand, ready and loaded.

The reason we have rape is not because women aren’t defending themselves, or walking alone at night. The reason we have rape is because we have rapists.

Happy New Year and a Vacation from the Internet

This is the sun. The earth completes one revolution around it in the approximate time it takes the earth to spin around on its own axis 365 times. Modern day humans enjoy celebrating each time the earth completes a revolution around the sun.

These next two weeks I will be travelling about. During this time I will have limited access to the Internet. Please forgive me if I don’t approve comments/post much/visit your blogs. I’m coming back…I promise!

In the mean time, have a wonderful new year!

My Thoughts As a Woman

I sit hear scanning papers, clicking on my computer, scanning papers some more, thinking about the mathematical equations and how they can be used to solve problems. I hold the academic papers like a tomb of truth from which information can be gleaned and used to discover more things about the world.

When I started this blog a very short time ago, I wanted to share facts about things I found interesting. I also wanted to bring attention to things within our society that I think need to be changed. I’m struggling with the best way to do this. There was this part of me that was hesitant to share my own thoughts and experiences while stepping away from the safe word of facts and academic publications I am used to. One personal experience does not make a fact. Yet, I’m finding through reading many other brilliant blogs, that personal experiences are so important to shaping the views of society. Through each other we connect, and we see underlying problems that need to be fixed within the society wherein we live through our similar accounts.

In an equal society, this blog title would be called my thoughts as a human. Unfortunately, being a female engineer has shaped my experiences in a way that reminds me I am a woman. I wish I could say that it’s only being in a male dominated field that reminds me of this, and that I can just focus on that, but when I step into the world I also must be ever cognizant that I am a woman. If I forget, there will be something or someone to remind me of what I am, and sometimes this can be dangerous, so I must never forget.

During my younger years, I didn’t understand the meaning of being a woman. I didn’t see a difference between my male classmates and me. I remember being in an advanced math group in my class and working with another male student. There was nothing to even consider about this situation. It was just two students who enjoyed math, studying math together.

When I was 12, my family moved to a very conservative town. By the time I had graduated from high school, it had been made very clear to me that I was a female, and that, far beyond the different body types and sexual attractions, females are supposed to be different from males.

The reasons why there is this imposed difference in the way men and women are treated need to be addressed. I’m seeing different aspects at each level of the female life that may pose barriers to success and happiness. These obviously vary with severity from person to person and in different areas of the world. I will do my best to bring to light the things that are within my reach, and I will continue to read about the things that are within yours.