The big political episode. Can you handle it! Actually it wasnt all that crazy. We went ‘lightning round’ and tore through topics in ‘town hall’ style. Here were the hot topics we covered:
Gun Control – Matt and John are pro gun and therefore anti gun control. Mark hates guns, but realizes that the laws are pretty dumb and will never achieve anything
Death Penalty – John and Mark are pro. Matt wasnt sure.
Family/Child Support/Adoption – Matt started us off by saying our adoption rules cause potential couples to adopt children from other countries rather than here. Mark agreed – Parental rights are important, but we go too far. The child has rights too. John took it more as a child support therefore a govt support issue and you KNOW how he feels about that…
Immigration – We all agreed that we should just let more people in. As for amnesty, we were all against. Let more people in but only legal immigration.
Gay Marriage – Why does anyone care? Two people love each other and pay their taxes, their gender shouldnt matter. John says marriage can be defined as a union of a man and a woman but only by religion, not by the government.
Foreign Policy – Why do we give money to so many other countries. We all agreed that this did not achieve much. Matt did not want military bases around the globe but Mark and John disagreed. We all felt that the recent wars in the middle east are/were unwinnable.
Abortion – We are all against in our hearts of course. Mark felt it was murder. We all agreed however that any law forbidding abortion would cause more trouble than good. John did not feel that the government should pay for it.
Marijuana – No brainer. It is no worse than alcohol – make it legal. So much effort goes into enforcement, so many people arrested and so much potential tax revenue wasted.
We actually agreed for almost everything. Go figure. It was a great time. Also moments and a great opening parody song.
We finally brought in an expert! Dr. Bob Cook, professor of Computer Science at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Bob has been teaching college students about technology for over 35 years! In addition to GSU, Dr. Bob has taught at Ole Miss, UVa and the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Cook’s take on the issue of women in science and engineering was an eye opener. He started by reminding us that in the later part of the 20th century, we (the USA) were building GREAT things like nuclear power plants, interstate highways, and bridges. There was also the space race. These were inspiring projects that drove a lot of people into technical fields. He suggested a few inspiring projects that might reignite the spark and drive new engineers of both genders back to school. He best idea (I thought) was an underwater city. Sort of like a moon colony, but somewhere in (under?) the Pacific. Dr. Cook also suggested that the way we teach science pre college might be a factor. He suggested more ‘hands on’ learning in the technical fields such as experiments and field trips.
We also talked a lot about ‘Nature vs. Nurture.’ This is an age old question. Bob was more on the side of nurture, suggesting that part of the problem was that we hand our daughters dolls right away and dress them in pink. Certainly this is a factor, but Mark and Matt felt that mother nature’s influence was stronger. We have both seen boy children gravitate to cars and hammers while girls will gravitate towards dolls and kitchens. This is simply based on observation of my own children and their friends. Certainly these are not hard and fast rules, just gender statistical tendencies. To be on the safe side though, you might want to give your daughter a calculator to go along with that ‘polly pocket’.
Then Mark went to nsf.gov (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/digest/theme4.cfm) and read off some statistics. Women made up a huge percentage nurses, dietitions and teachers and an incredibly small percentage of engineers. This is the heart of the issue. How do we fix this? Is it really a problem or just indicative of gender differences? Matt felt that any sort of strong manipulation (read – affirmative action) was simply social engineering. Mark agreed. John was smart and stayed silent. I think we could all agree that:
There certainly should not be any barriers to women in technical fields. We need to make SURE of that
We as a country (and a race) need to get our act together and start building some cool, inspiring stuff!
Pre college teaching methods for math and science could use some help.
Regardless, it was a GREAT episode and fun was had by all. Thanks to Dr. Cook for joining us. Thanks to YOU for downloading. Thanks for subscribing. Thanks for giving us 5 stars on iTunes, but MOST OF ALL – Thanks for spending an hour with us!