Polaris Beta Testing – Week One

Polaris began its beta testing on February 22, 2017. Over the past two weeks, over 250 students, duty crew members, duty administrators (DA), and weekend coordinators have started using Polaris. From such as diverse group of users, I have received much valuable feedback and made adjustments to Polaris accordingly. In this week’s blog post, I will detail some of the user responses and how they are addressed.

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Abstract Liberalism

According to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva a famous sociologist, there are four major ways in which accusations of racism are dismissed today.  The first one is called abstract liberalism. This idea links the other three and is the most important. It is not liberalism as in liberal vs. conservative.  It’s using liberal ideas of meritocracy and equality to justify racist social outcomes.  For example, people will say that affirmative action is not a good idea because it creates an unequal footing giving people of color an unfair advantage.  This opinion blatantly ignores the history of the united states.  Throughout every aspect of American history, people of color have been the objects of the unjust enrichment of white lives, most notably, slavery, Jim Crow, purposeful systemic exclusion from government programs including but not only The New Deal.  Today we see housing discrimination, hyper-incarceration, job discrimination, unequal segregated schools, unequal pay, to name a few systems of oppression.  The abstract liberalist view, in order to function, needs to wholly ignore this American history.  Rather decreeing that white on people of color oppression ended with the civil rights movement.  This is most certainly not the case.  Racism has morphed to fit our times.  What is clear is justice rather than equality is needed to end racism.

The Lake Project: A Busy 2 Weeks

I have not updated this blog in over two weeks, and in that time, a couple of things have happened. I can break them down into three main parts: 1) My mentor, T. Tim, gave me a lot of interesting information regarding birds around the lake and which ones I should specifically be on the lookout for in my catalog; 2) I met with T. Ted Lutkus who, as one of the previous heads of the science department and a former biology teacher, would take students to the North Woods and analyze one meter “bio-plots,” and; 3) I went down to the lake and had an awesome interaction with a big red-tailed hawk.

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A Shift in Focus

It’s gotten to the point where I need to move onto the planning stage of my own study. This does not mean that I am going to stop reading and researching, just devote a little less time to it. Now I wanted to use this blog post to dive into my initial planning and next steps for my own research study. Continue reading

La La Land-Appreciating its Simplicity | Cynthia Ruan

I decided to write about La La Land by Damien Chazelle this week. It is a L.A. love story between a jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring young actress, Mia (Emma Stone). The brilliant, Oscar-winning (YAY) Chazelle delivered the story in the form of a musical. It’s very nostalgic; Chazelle pays tribute to many classic ninetieth musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, but the story itself is modern and Chazelle definitely made it into his own style.

I have to say that I’m truly surprised by how much I’m in love with this film. I’m not a fan of musicals and am pretty cynical when it comes to romantic dramas, especially ones like this where everything is just so over-the-top romanticized. So it may seem like besides Ryan Gosling’s beautiful face, there shouldn’t be any reason for me to like this film at all. But in the midst of all the dancing and singing and floating in the planetarium, La La Land really touched me, evidenced by my crying hysterically for the both times I watched it in the theater and the many times on my laptop.mv5bzduynzuymwmtyjc2zc00yjixlthlodktyjrmzmizmzllotqxl2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjawmdu5mtu-_v1_sy1000_sx1000_al_

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Progress Update: Building My Non-Profit dedicated to Sex Education

I am incredibly passionate about many things, however the current state of Pennsylvania’s sex education is particularly troubling.

Over the past year, I’ve been developing a plan to research, organize, and build my non-profit, named Keystone CASE (Coalition for Advancing Sex Education). It’s tasked with spreading awareness for comprehensive sex education and lobbying PA politicians to enact this legislation.

America is a nation that glorifies sex — sometimes too much.  In a country that seemingly holds sexuality on a pedestal, it would seem natural to equip our youth with a toolbox full of ways to understand such a society. However, in many states, including Pennsylvania, this is not the case.

From my previous posts, you’d know how lacking PA sex education is. If you’ve missed them, get updated here: I have attached an in depth look at Pennsylvania’s requirements so you can see for yourself!

Keystone CASE is the solution. I am committed to enacting bipartisan legislation that advances sex education in Pennsylvania. But, I need all the help I can get.
Building a nonprofit costs money. Beyond legal expenses, Articles of Incorporation, and other start-up costs, I would like to also build a website and have a professional logo. I first set a bare bones goal of $1,500.00 to get this non-profit started and what happened next blew my mind.

Last Friday, I purchased $25 dollars worth of supplies (Notebooks, Envelopes, ect.) at OfficeMax. I was afraid that I may not raise enough to cover the cost of just those supplies. I should not have been worried.

Tons of my friends and family (and even strangers!) rushed to my GoFundMe and donated. In less then twenty-four hours, I blew past my initial goal. Since, I’ve raised my goal to $3000 dollars by March 25th hoping to improve the quality of my startup.

I am committed to transparency, so I released the financial breakdown of my goal. This can be viewed here! In addition to the breakdown, I am making a promise that all of my financial records regarding Keystone CASE will be quarterly uploaded onto my upcoming website in initiative to create total transparency.

I asked people to support this non-profit because I firmly believe that CASE will help educate adolescents to make informed decisions. As an incentive, all initial donors will receive early access to materials and legislation before anyone else, and will also be invited to a monthly conference call with updates.

To readers interested in supporting my venture, you can access my GoFundMe with this link:

www.GoFundMe.com/KeystoneCASE

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Featured Photo citation: “#069 – Progress (Essentialism Pt 19) [Podcast].” First Things, firstthingsproductivity.com/progress/.

 

Airlines as Cultural Representations

It’s been a long time since my last post…Good to be back here to talk about commercial aviation. I have previously mentioned, in my first blog, that different airlines can be seen as distinct agents that represent the cultures of their home countries. I made this point totally out of my observations. When I boarded my first few flights almost a decade ago, I started to notice different seat decorations of different carriers. It was not until later years that I figured out some meaning out of these ostensible differences. For example, hidden behind the cloud-shaped figures imprinted on seats of Air China is the oriental philosophy that promises happiness and tranquility; ANA’s signature boarding music Another Sky brings a taste of traditional Japanese music, ongaku, to its passengers. Yet as I think about the subject deeper, I have found out that the footprint of an airline’s culture extends far beyond explicit manifestations of national symbols. As you will see in the three case studies below, both the indigenous, regional culture and the internal corporate atmosphere have huge impacts on almost every dimension of an airline’s operation and the product it delivers. The cumulation of every little cultural detail, in turn, shapes the identity of airlines and helps them differentiate from their competitors.

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ANA Onboard Japanese Meal Selection from Tokyo Narita to Shanghai (Picture taken by myself)  Continue reading

What I Wanted To Hear From My President on February 1st – India

 

On the first of the month, Donald Trump held a breakfast and “get-together” to celebrate Black History Month in the White House. The video below is from that meeting. My comments on the video will make the most sense if you watch the video first.

While I recognize that this was just the first day of Black History Month and there is (hopefully) more celebrating and conversations to come, I am saddened with the way that Trump started off. Not only was he reading from a script with the most basic information about Black History, but within the first 60 seconds of the meeting he begins talking about false racist accusations against him and tries to clear his name. It actually happens many times throughout the meeting that the subject is changed to something that has to do with him and while I am not sure of the exact intentions of this meeting, I do not think that we need to be taking that much time to talk about Mr. Trump (or rather him taking that much time to talk about himself). It comes off as if he is doing this all for the press or for his image. It does not feel genuine in my opinion.

Another thing that Trump fails to do in the introduction is say the words “race” or “racism” or “systemic racism” (but I wasn’t expecting that last one), which I feel is extremely problematic as the quote that I have been using from Joe Feagin’s Racist America basically states that, “Structures of domination shape everyday existence, but an insightful understanding of these structures and their recurring contradictions can assist people in forcefully resisting racial oppression.” He instead says that he wants to better schools, create more jobs and better wages, and safer communities. All great things, but why is this problem a problem in the first place? Name the problem, Mr. President!

While Feagin’s remarks and my statement may feel unrelated to Trump’s meeting or Black History Month in general, I firmly believe they are related. If we cannot address or even name the major problems we are having, how can we begin to fix them? While potentially unintentional, it seemed as if he is trying to cover up or talk around the greater issue of systemic racism in our country. We cannot “resist racial oppression” if we cannot name that it is there and as we move on in his presidency, I would like to dig deeper into why he is doing this and where his motivations lie.