Open Thread Thursday: Annie Jump Cannon

Annie Jump Cannon was an astronomer who helped to calssify stars.

Annie Jump Cannon (/ˈkænən/; December 11, 1863 – April 13, 1941) was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C. Pickering, she is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures and spectral types. She was nearly deaf throughout her career. She was a suffragist and a member of the National Women’s Party.[2]

Learn more about this amazing scientist and trailblazer here.

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Open Thread Thursday: Greta Thunberg

Continuing with the theme of Women’s History Month, I present a young woman of growing renown who will continue to have an impact on the world stage: Greta Thunberg.

Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg FRSGS (Swedish: [ˈɡrêːta ˈtʉ̂ːnbærj] (About this soundlisten); born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish environmental activist who has gained international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis arising from climate change.[3] Thunberg is known for her youth and her straightforward speaking manner,[4] both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she criticizes world leaders for their failure to take sufficient action to address the climate crisis.[5]

Thunberg’s activism started after convincing her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint. In August 2018, at age 15, she started spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on climate change by holding up a sign reading Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate). Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organised a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were multiple coordinated multi-city protests involving over a million students each.[6] To avoid flying, Thunberg sailed to North America where she attended the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit. Her speech there, in which she exclaimed “how dare you”, was widely taken up by the press and incorporated into music.

Her sudden rise to world fame has made her both a leader[7] and a target for critics.[8] Her influence on the world stage has been described by The Guardian and other newspapers as the “Greta effect”.[9] She has received numerous honours and awards including: honorary Fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and the youngest Time Person of the Year; inclusion in the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (2019)[10] and two consecutive nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize (2019 and 2020).

Learn more about this amazing young woman here.

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Open Thread Thursday: Women’s Suffrage

It’s another installment of our Award Winning series Open Thread Thursday! This week, Women’s Suffrage. Read on to learn more!

Women’s suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the late 19th century, besides women working for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting laws to allow them to vote.[1] National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts towards that objective, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (founded in 1904 in Berlin, Germany), as well as for equal civil rights for women.[2]

Women who owned property gained the right to vote in the Isle of Man in 1881, and in 1893, women in the then British colony of New Zealand were granted the right to vote. In Australia, women progressively gained the right to vote between 1894 and 1911 (federally in 1902).[3] Most major Western powers extended voting rights to women in the interwar period, including Canada (1917), Britain and Germany (1918), Austria and the Netherlands (1919) and the United States (1920). Notable exceptions in Europe were France, where women could not vote until 1944, Greece (1952), and Switzerland (1971).

Leslie Hume argues that the First World War changed the popular mood:

The women’s contribution to the war effort challenged the notion of women’s physical and mental inferiority and made it more difficult to maintain that women were, both by constitution and temperament, unfit to vote. If women could work in munitions factories, it seemed both ungrateful and illogical to deny them a place in the polling booth. But the vote was much more than simply a reward for war work; the point was that women’s participation in the war helped to dispel the fears that surrounded women’s entry into the public arena.[4]

Extended political campaigns by women and their supporters have generally been necessary to gain legislation or constitutional amendments for women’s suffrage. In many countries, limited suffrage for women was granted before universal suffrage for men; for instance, literate women or property owners were granted suffrage before all men received it. The United Nations encouraged women’s suffrage in the years following World War II, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) identifies it as a basic right with 189 countries currently being parties to this Convention.

Want to know more? Read more here.

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Open Thread Thursday: Women’s History Month

Last month was Black History Month in the United States and I dropped the ball in recognizing that. So, in order to avoid being the bumbling fool I am for a second straight month, I present today’s Open Thread Thursday topic: Women’s History Month.

Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.[1]

Learn more here.

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Open Thread Thursday: African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

It’s another Open Thread Thursday! I really should’ve done this one sooner, as February is Black History Month. Apologies all around for dropping the ball on this. Today’s topic: the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center!

The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is a library located at 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the United States. A branch of the Broward County Library, it opened on October 26, 2002.

Learn more here: African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

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Fear and the Working Man

Fear is a powerful motivator. It can keep us safe, surely, but it also holds us back. Fear can stop us from attaining our goals or living our lives as proudly as we wish. Don’t get me wrong, fear has undoubtedly helped human evolution in many ways and it’s a good thing we feel fear.

The type of fear I’m referring to, though isn’t fear of being eaten or of the dark. It’s fear of change. It’s fear of The Other, those different from ourselves. Our enemies, or those we think of as our enemies.

We see this manifested in fear of LGBTIQA+ people, of Muslims, of Black and other people. These phobias, these fears, are holding us back. Not every gay man wants to sleep with you. Nor does every gay man find you attractive. The same is true of lesbians. You simply aren’t as attractive as you might think you are.

Likewise not all Muslims are out to commit jihad against you. The vast majority of Muslims are peace loving, peaceful men and women who just want to live their lives in peace and be left alone.

The same is true of racial minorities. Not all Black men are thugs. Not all Black men are thugs. I wrote that sentence twice to make sure my point has been made.

Transgender people don’t want to watch you pee. They just want to pee, wash their hands, and leave the restroom same as you. (You do want to wash your hands before you leave the restroom, right?)

Politicians make it a point to tell you, to scream at you, that this group of people, whichever is the Flavor of Bad Guy this week, is bad and is stealing your job or your government benefits. Politicians make themselves rich and stay in office selling you the idea that those who are Other are out to get you and only they can protect you from Them! They rely on your fear to stay in power.

As voting members of society, it’s our responsibility to approach the issues of the day with a clear mind and an understanding of the issues. Reject fear based propaganda and THINK for yourselves. Weigh the issues. Think things through.

Fear can be a powerful motivator. It should be. But it should also be put aside and we can do that by embracing logic and forethought.

Don’t dwell in fear. Embrace change. Embrace difference. Our differences make us stronger and our strength cannot be broken.

Stay strong.

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Open Thread Thursday: VT-22

It’s time for another Open Thread Thursday. Today’s topic: VT-22, the mighty Golden Eagles!

Training Squadron 22 (VT-22) or TRARON TWO TWO, known as the Golden Eagles, callsign “Blazer”, is a U.S. Navy strike jet training squadron stationed aboard Naval Air Station Kingsville, flying the T-45C Goshawk. The Golden Eagles are one of four strike jet training squadrons in operation today, and are under the command of Training Air Wing Two.

Learn more here: VT-22

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The Tranquility of Silence

When I was a kid, I’m talking high school age now, I hated, HATED, mornings. I guess it was from having to get up and go to school. More likely I hated school which is why I didn’t do very well; no interest and thus I didn’t care. If I could change the past. . . .

These days, as I begin my last year of my forties, I find that I value mornings. I like the quiet before the rest of the house wakes up. It gives me time to think, to plan the rest of the day, and to enjoy the tranquility of silence.

In a lot of ways I’m fortunate that my current employment allows me to work in the evenings, leaving my mornings free. I say this, of course, and things will change, but, for now, this is the way things are.

What do I do with my mornings? Some days I write. Some days I watch Netflix, and others I just sit quietly or catch up on my reading. I know there will come a day when this isn’t possible, but, for now, I will enjoy my mornings.

Maybe it’s part of growing older, or just maturing, that such a shift in perspectives can offer. Maybe I always loved mornings, just hated that they were co-opted by school and not something I chose to do with my time.

Which leads me to think that the reason I don’t fit in so well in society is that I tend to live my life on my terms and don’t bow to societal pressure when it comes to what I’m “supposed to do.”

After all, by now at age 49, I’m supposed to own my own house, have kids, have a healthy bank account, and start my mid-life crisis next year by buying an expensive sports car, have an affair, and wonder where my hair went.

I don’t plan to have any of that. I’ll never own my own house, have kids, have a healthy bank account, or start my mid-life crisis, which precludes buying an expensive sports car or having an affair (I’m too lazy, honestly). I am wondering where my hair went, though. So, one out of six? If you have to fail at something. . . .

I’ve always loved silence.

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Open Thread Thursday: Pantyhose

It’s time for another Open Thread Thursday. Today’s topic: pantyhose. Enjoy!

Pantyhose, called sheer tights in the United Kingdom and a few other countries, are close-fitting legwear covering the wearer’s body from the waist to the toes. Mostly considered to be a garment for women and girls, pantyhose first appeared on store shelves in 1959 (Allen Gant’s product, ‘Panti-Legs’)[1] as a convenient alternative to stockings and/or control panties (which, in turn, replaced girdles).

Like stockings or knee highs, pantyhose are usually made of nylon, or of other fibers blended with nylon. Pantyhose are designed to:

Be attractive in appearance,
Hide physical features such as blemishes, bruises, scars, hair, spider veins, or varicose veins,
Reduce visible panty lines,[2] and
Ease chafing between feet and footwear, or between thighs.
Besides being worn as fashion, in Western society pantyhose are sometimes worn by women as part of formal dress. Also, the dress code of some companies and schools may require pantyhose or fashion tights to be worn when skirts or shorts are worn as part of a uniform.

You can read more about pantyhose here.

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The Riddle of Friendship

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I don’t have a lot of friends. If you were to look on my Facebook friends list, you’d see 83 friends, as of this writing. That sounds like a lot, but when you stack that against an allowed total of 5,000, it’s minuscule.

Of course, the quality of friendship is the most important aspect to counting a person as “friend.” At least to me. I’d rather have 7 close friends than 500 acquaintances.

Being a good friend is something I’ve struggled with. I think, in large part, to my struggles with mental health. My own paranoia, depression, general anxiety, and (I’d like to think) low-grade narcissism often get in the way of my becoming close friends with anyone, save those with whom I’ve been acquainted with for many years.

So it comes as no great shock to me when one friend or another gets irritated with me for not being there for them in their time of need. I am too much in my head to stop and help others. Don’t get me wrong, I would help were I able, of course. I just can’t get out of my own way in order to help. This makes me a bad friend.

I make no apologies for this because I cannot help others if I am not in a position to help myself. In order for me to help anyone, I have to offer that help from a position of strength.

Still, I try to, at the least, listen if a friend is having difficulties. My tendency is to offer advice, but, in most cases, simply listening is the one thing people in distress really want. This is cathartic and helps the person feel like someone cares. And I do care.

Sometimes the only thing I can do is listen. I don’t have the means to do much, if anything, else. I can’t solve the problem for them. All I can do is listen.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always succeed at even listening. I’m human. I screw up. All I can do is apologize and hope I don’t screw up in the future.

So if you’ve needed or asked for help from me in the past, and I didn’t provide it, I’m sorry. Life is hard and I’d doing the best I can.

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