Daily Archives: May 12, 2008

Frequency Of Female Fire Fighter Fewer Than Four Percent

i-68791d03e685bd374c7a13d28e7f6b52-women_firefighter.jpgIn the 1970s and 80s, a number of law suits and other actions began to change the rules for hiring firefighters. There was a moment in the 1980s when a documentary was made (starring the very annoying John Stossel) pieces of which I still use when teaching on Gender. It shows Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, and others arguing in favor of women being firefighters, and others (including, of course, one woman who is already a fire fighter) arguing against. One of the interesting things about the film is the way it is biased against women being fire fighters while at the same time trying really hard to seem the opposite.Well, today, we’ve come a long way. Almost four percent of fire fighters in the US are women! Continue reading Frequency Of Female Fire Fighter Fewer Than Four Percent

85% of Americans Want a Presidential Debate on Science

Despite the fact that the presidential candidates will not accept the invitation extended by Science Debate 2008 for a nationally broadcast science forum in May there is ample evidence to suggest that they should: A new poll … a real poll .. indicates that 85% of US Adults agree that there should be a debate.The poll results can be found here.i-8beaa33a490bc677a40038d3357b0f06-sciencedebate.jpg.gifHere is a summary of the poll: Continue reading 85% of Americans Want a Presidential Debate on Science

Tricoloured Mega-colony Saved


Audubon California has announced that it has reached an agreement with a farmer to safeguard a single colony of about 80,000 Tricoloured Blackbirds Agelaius tricolor – nearly a third of the world’s population of this Endangered species.The estimated global population of Tricoloured Blackbirds is 250,000 to 300,000 birds, with at least 95% of these occurring in California. Tricoloured Blackbirds have declined dramatically in the past century as native wetland habitat has been lost and the species has consequently been classified as Endangered. Tricoloured Blackbirds form just a few large nesting colonies each year, and in most cases these occur in crop fields. This puts the colonies in grave danger when farmers cultivate the field before young birds are able to fly.”This is really a great victory for conservation, and an example of how conservation and agricultural interests can work together to find real solutions”, said Graham Chisholm, director of conservation for Audubon California. “The Tricoloured Blackbird is an important part of California’s natural beauty, and this agreement, combined with other conservation measures, will help to ensure that it has a healthy future.”

Details here at BirdLife International.

Art and Bodies: Deconstructed and Constructed and Abused

Deconstructed and Constructed, but not in the same sentence.i-c5c23c3bf54a8577dc5533762f158769-Guston.jpg

Philip Guston’s “Sea,” a lithograph on handmade paper from 1980, the year the artist died.
Students at Cornell have constructed an exhibit of the art of human body disassembled or otherwise rearranged called Exquisite Corpus: Interacting with the Fragmented Body which is on exhibit through June 15th (details here).

“In contemporary art right now, there are no limits, no boundaries,” Hirsch said. “We wanted to show contemporary work, and show that art can be anything, maybe even vulgar.”The title and concept refer to the Exquisite Corpse, a Surrealist exercise in which three artists independently draw a section of a body: head, torso and legs. In “Exquisite Corpus,” viewers are also welcome to play.

Now, you now what this is, right? It’s that pallor game where you pass around the paper, each person draws a body part (in order from head to feet) folding their contribution out of sight and passing it on to the next person. …i-dda7bbd7914834af4bbb00a39e86ddd9-tunick1.jpgMeanwhile, in Austria, Cristo With Flesh artist Spencer Tunick has gone ahead and draped a major sports stadium in Austria with naked human bodies.

The latest work by New York photographer Spencer Tunick gathered 1,840 people, baring it all in Austria’s Happel Stadium on Sunday.”Stay very still. Don’t move,” the Austria Press Agency quoted Tunick as telling the crowd as he went to work.Much of the hours-long photo shoot had little to do with soccer, with naked volunteers assuming different poses at the behest of the artist. But at least one of the photos had them with the ball, men first and then the women.i-ff2c921f40a77340af71e4601782f03d-tunick2.jpgThe stadium will host seven of the Euro 2008 soccer championship matches being staged by Austria and Switzerland, including the June 29 final.Tunick has made a name for himself with his works featuring hundreds of naked people at unusual venues. He described Sunday’s shooting on his Web site as combining “the spirit of sports, the grand sweeping waves of stadium architecture and the abstract relation of the human form to modern structures.”[source]

Continue reading Art and Bodies: Deconstructed and Constructed and Abused

Tornadoes in perspective

With all the interest in tornadoes, I thought it would be helpful to provide some contextual data (focusing on US tornadoes).i-05587e07f839227cdc360210493e0812-st_peter_tornado.jpg

Damaged houses along Grace St. in St. Peter. (Photo courtesy of St. Peter Kiwanis)
One thing that has to be said is that tornadoes are very powerful, but very small and short lived meteorological phenomena. They are like bullets being fired from cheap handguns by incompetent shooters. There are many stories of two gang bangers aiming their rods at each other at short distance, emptying them out, and failing to harm each other. In the mean time, a stray bullet from a drive by shooting can enter a home and kill an innocent young girl sitting at the table doing her homework. Continue reading Tornadoes in perspective

7.8 Magnitude Earthquake In China: Thousands Dead

It is estimated that between 3 and 5 thousand people have been killed by an earthquake in Beichuan County, Sichuan Province, China. That is about one in ten residence of this county.ADDED: This number is increasing quickly.In at least three cases, schools appear have collapsed trapping hundreds of students. About 900 students were trapped in a school in Dujiangyan city.

Teenagers buried beneath the rubble of the three-storey Juyuan Middle School building were struggling to break free, while others were crying out for help, state news agency Xinhua reported.Parents were watching as cranes excavated the site. Villagers rushed to help with the rescue.Two girls said they escaped because they had “run faster than others”.*

It is said that the earthquake was felt as far awaya sPakistan, Vietnam and Thailand.[more info]