Friday, February 05, 2016

Odds And Ends - Central American Peaks, 99 Year Life Ends, Race, Police, And Headlines

A colleague has driven from Seattle to Mexico in the hopes of climbing the highest mountain in each Central American country.  (I actually have a book of the highest peaks in all the US states, but doubt that at this point I'll reach the tops of too many of them.)  Anyway, Sharman's blogging the trip and some of you might like to follow along.  Her partner Mike made it to the top of Mexico's highest mountain Citlaltépetl, but Sharman decided not to fight the altitude and only went part of the way.

Frank at 99
My step-mother's husband died the other day. (She married him after my father died.)  We saw them Here's a video I made of the two of them in 2008, with more biography of each.
in early January.  Frank was 99.  He grew up in Czechoslovakia, speaking Hungarian and Czech and was in Nazi work camps during WWII.  His younger brother Larry got out of Europe before WW II to study at UCLA.  Larry died a couple of years ago.

Time speeds along.  The Anchorage IRS advocate (I didn't know each state had one.  Sen. Murkowski's office contacted her on my behalf.) called yesterday to let us know she's working on the case and will get back to me.

I probably should have mentioned yesterday for folks not in Anchorage that the library steps are getting torn down to reconfigure the entrance. We aren't tearing down the library.  The fact that money was found for this is a positive sign.   The old entrance was a compromise between the original architectural design and lack of funds to do it right.  That led to the main entrance being on the second floor with a big staircase.  Not terribly accessible, especially in the winter when the steps got covered with snow.  So they built a cover.  But now they are planning to put the main entrance on the ground floor.  I haven't seen the detailed plans.

I still have video from the racial equity summit Monday and Tuesday. (And from other encounters as well.)  A regular reader also send a link to an interesting article about researchers demonstrating subconscious responses that show racism based on very quick (less than a second) views of people.  Clever techniques to figure this out.  Interesting article.   Here's the beginning.
"Jennifer Eberhardt presented her research at a law enforcement conference, she braced for a cold shoulder. How much would streetwise cops care what a social psychology professor had to say about the hidden reaches of racial bias? Instead, she heard gasps, the loudest after she described an experiment that showed how quickly people link black faces with crime or danger at a subconscious level. In the experiment, students looking at a screen were exposed to a subliminal flurry of black or white faces. The subjects were then asked to identify blurry images as they came into focus frame by frame.

The makeup of the facial prompts had little effect on how quickly people recognized mundane items like staplers or books. But with images of weapons, the difference was stark—subjects who had unknowingly seen black faces needed far fewer frames to identify a gun or a knife than those who had been shown white faces. For a profession dealing in split-second decisions, the implications were powerful." [To read the rest]
This is particularly interesting in light of Mike Dingman's commentary in the ADN today about police reaction to the Mayor's intent to diversify the Anchorage police department.  The headline was:
"Mayor calls for diversity in APD, and some folks get the vapors"
But then again, I'm seeing more and more sensational headlines these days.  When you read the article it doesn't seem as extreme as the headline.  Like this teaser on the cover of the ADN today:
"In sharp clash, Clinton and Sanders swap barbs and views
In a brutally caustic debate Thursday night . . ."
Really?  If the Clinton/Sanders exchange was 'brutally caustic' how would you describe the recent Republican debates.  In the article (link is to original NY Times article) it tells us that Clinton said,
". . . months of criticism by Mr. Sanders over her taking speaking fees from Wall Street banks amounted to a suggestion that she was corrupt — or, as she put it, a 'very artful smear.'
Is this an attempt to be even handed?  To make the Democrats look as belligerent as the Republicans?

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