Episode #41 – Women in Science w/ Special Guest – Dr. Bob Cook!

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!

TTFN

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 41

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Dr. Bob with the grandkids – Alex, Molly and Luke

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Episode #37 – Sibling Rivalry

Matt and I were arguing about who would write this, but I (Mark) won…HA!  Its mine… All mine!  (I am doing the final edit … it’s mine (Matt))

Sibling rivalry is not simply when your children are competitive, it is when they bug each other senselessly and thus argue and thus annoying you, the parent.  We listened to some funny examples of this!  Of course they are only funny in retrospect.  Rivalry is a real pain, especially for parents of children close together in age.  Here are the solutions we came up with:

  • Let them work it out – If you can stand it, this is a good option (ear plugs are cheap).
  • Separate them – This is not always possible, but when you can it is nice.
  • Watch secretly so you can see who the instigator is – The instigator will likely get all lawyer on you and say ‘I was only waving my arms near her’.  Stick with the intent and not the law.  If one child was essentially starting the whole thing, they should get in trouble.
  • Let kids keep ownership of their possessions – This is a touchy one.  The fighting commonly occurs when one child has something the other wants.  Still, if one child ‘owns’ the desired toy, you have to let them judge whether to share.  (Here you can listen to John moan about his boss mustang hot wheels car that Mark ruined…)

As always, we did not solve all the problems relating to sibling rivalry, but we worked through it and gave some good advice I think.

Rants, moments, etc.  And lots of fun was had by all,

Thanks for listening – give us a like on facebook (Engineering Fatherhood) or subscribe on iTunes.  Also – send us a guest rant.  We love those…

Mark

Episode #33 – Bill Curley from the Swamps of Jersey!

Bill tells us about having an only child and Matt and Mark mock him for how ‘hard’ it must be.  Bill is also inundated with pets…  I hear changing a hermit crab’s diaper can be dicey…

We learn how to avoid over drama.  Why we don’t let our daughters get tattoos and that iPhones can be left out in the rain.

Good times are had by all!  John rants about banning sugary beverages in NYC.  Matt rants about impatience at the baggage claim and Mark rants about stupid political adds…

Secret bonus rant by Mark – you cannot really gag a person by putting duct tape over their mouth.  YET IT IS IN SO MANY MOVIES!!!

Also – secret hermit crab tip of the week.  You have to listen to hear it.  It will blow your mind!!!

All that and moments!

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 33

Closing song – Rosalita by Bruce Springsteen

Episode 32 – Paying for College

College costs way too much!  There is the sticker price and then the real price, just like cars.  Is the traditional college approach worth it?  Is it really the parent’s responsibility to pay for it?  Aren’t some majors totally dumb!  Government subsidizes colleges heavily.  Should they?  What are the effects.

This was a great discussion and although we don’t give any real deep financial advice on how to get your kid through college, we sure had a great time.  It was fun to be back together to hit this hot topic.  John had recent experience with Zack (very successful!) and Matt and I are struggling on whether and how to save.  Hopefully we hit on all the issues an ‘engineering father’ would want to hear.

Oh and we went through a list of the highest paying undergraduate degrees and SEVEN OF THEM had the word ENGINEERING in them.  Go nerds!

Rants

John – Diversity.  We all want diversity, but are we willing to choose employees, prospective students, etc. based on this?  We all think that is a bad idea.  Diversity is just another word for affirmative action which is another word for racism.

Matt – Motor Cycles in the HOV lane.

Mark – Crumbs in the butter and police fundraising calls.

All that and MOMENTS too.  Tune in if you want to hear the scary story about poor little Emily!

Thanks,

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 32

Episode 21 – Down Syndrome Awareness

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day is March 21.  We celebrate this with our guest, Jason Cosky.  Mark and Jason both have children with Down Syndrome so this is a topic near and dear.  We go through some basic facts about DS:

  • Officially Trisomy 21 – An extra copy of the 21st chromosome.  Hence the date 3-21.
  • Most common genetic disorder.  1 in ~700 births.
  • Children with DS have higher incidence of certain medical disorders and mild to moderate cognitive delay.
  • Over the years many of the medical challenges have been overcome and people with DS live longer, more normal lives.
  • Better therapy methods including early intervention have drastically improved the outlook for children with DS.
  • Exciting new research may produce drugs capable of addressing some of the cognitive delay!
  • Research is WAYYY underfunded compared to other genetic disorders.  We pimp the DSRTF!

Mark and Jason share stories about Luke and Dexter (photos below) while John and Matt give the layman’s perspective.  Here are some links to get more info:

Final thoughts from Mark and Jason went something like

Having a child with DS does set you up for some extra work (therapy) and possibly some medical issues, but in the end they will be just as weird and wonderful as any other kid.

We conclude with rants and moments as always.  Jason had been saving up rants for 20 episodes so we let him vent a little extra.  If anyone has any additional rants to share, just add a comment on this page and we will read it on the air.

Thanks for listening,

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 21

Scramble with Friends for iOS

I Saw God Today by George Strait

Dexter with big sister Eloise!

Luke Reading the Hobbit!