Friday, June 27, 2008

in my mailbox this morning

"We were impressed with your application.../.... and would like to schedule an interview".

At least some people think some of the stuff I have done isn't totally uninteresting… and I have an interview. Let’s hope I have time to prepare good answers to all those questions they are bound to have.

The thing I am nervous about? It’s going to be a phone interview… and I who like to read body language…

Ah well, what’s the worst that could happen? (don’t answer that!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

A wish about raising boys

If I had one wish come true regarding the whole gender-equality debate, I think it would have to be ”Please raise your sons to have a good relationship with their father and give them opportunities to express and feel emotions, not being scared and suppress them.”

Maybe then it wouldn’t be quite as hard for a man to loose and cope with loosing his father.

It will be an early “go home” day today, have things to do (the fact that I have done this a few times now so I know the practical things that happens when people die, at least that is something – I can help a little)– as a women who is used to communicate and express thoughts and feelings. I just wish that some would do the same and not hold back the tears and deny the feelings. Hopefully, all in due time. There is no stress in grief.

Enjoy the weekend people and I’ll be back with more thoughts on the world and things next week.

Monday, June 09, 2008

what should I be....

You Should Get a JD (Juris Doctor)

You're logical, driven, and ruthless. You'd make a mighty fine lawyer.
What Advanced Degree Should You Get?

hm, ruthless? After only five questions that comes up? huh. Imagine that.

reading skills in women...

This link from Science shows a study about gender gaps and math skills…and this link (although in Swedish but it gives good links in English) gives some more thoughts about equality. (In short, the gender gap might be less in math but when ranking the difference between genders and reading skills they don’t seem to lessen as math skills do).

This brings me to the (not new to me) thought that maybe step two in the gender battle (or equality battle or what ever one should call it?) would be to try and encourage boys to be more open into to “traditional female areas” as we have tried to move girls into more “traditional male areas”? I know that this has been tried in the whole debate, talk about men being home with children and trying to work it out how to make it more appealing for men to turn into women areas… and that it has been hard… but still, reports are numerous (at least in Europe when looking at Academia and universities) that women are the majority of the students now and that boys are often in the lesser quartile in high school.

This in turn gives way to the “poor boys we need to look after them more as lonely PhD students” as I think I have mentioned before? Anyway, I would like to think that we will all be better off when the time is when we can focus on what each and every child and person would like to do and not stop and reflect on which gender we are in order to treat the symptoms.

And in the end of this rant, since it is late and I am tired and maybe a tad bit incoherent, I would try to raise my boys (when or if I have them) to read and be more open to feelings without necessary dosing them in pink, fluffy dresses and my girls (same disclaimer) to calculate and not only wear blue working pants and breaking their arms climbing a tree… just trying to do and expect the same from them and let them know the different avenues that are open to them in life.

Considering this said, I don’t think I am as much as a cynic as some would portray me to be…. And I am not delusional and think it will be easy, but I think it would be harder to try the “traditional” route, at least in my heart.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Secrets are necessary

“She wanted to turn away, as one does if accidentally intruding on someone in a private moment. One says nothing, and both parties pretend it did not happen. It was the only way to make civilized living possible. There are things one does not see, words one does not voice, and if they slip out in a moment of heat, they are never repeated. Secrets are necessary.”

“…is that one’s person’s protection, may be another person’s imprisonment; or one person’s idea of freedom another’s idea of license. If we refuse to look at anyone else’s pain because it is different from ours and makes us feel uncomfortable – or because it is the same and embarrasses us – then we are neither a liberal nor a generous society, and we will slowly suffocate ourselves to death.”

From “Half moon street” by Anne Perry, “A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt” novel, set in 19th century London.

It is interesting to read these novels set in mid 19th century London where the author brings in lots of old history as a back drop for the crimes happening. Really, stating it is a backdrop is quite unfair since more than half or the charm of the novels is the fact that it brings the life and society of old times to mind. And in several of them the dealings with liberalism, voting for the poor and crucial happenings for women and their lives are the main frame and not unusually the actual motive for the crimes investigated.

I love reading books that make my mind work and challenge me to think about ideas and statements that we may or may not take for granted today, especially the lives of the wives and women in history. What things that were considered normal and “as a matter of fact” where indeed we now have come to discard a whole heap of them as “superstitious” and “discriminatory”, not to mention “cruel and very unjust indeed”.

It also brings a certain discomfort – in the light of previous discussions this week – that so little has changed in minds and lives of many people. That it is obvious that history still has a firm grip of us and our senses of liberty and freedom (or lack thereof). I guess it may sound pompous and pretentious but if nothing else it makes me understand why it is so important to continue and challenge (my own) preexisting notions and facts.

As said by a third character in the book: “The image that has the power to disturb is the only one that has the power to change. Growth is often painful, but to not grow is to begin to die.”

Although, I might not fully agree I think there is a risk in complacency and that stagnation sooner or later results in decay and turning back to the way things were when maybe they were not better but rather worse.

If nothing else this has been more and more obvious when I look at some of the laws and regulations that will be passed (or hopefully I shall say, will Not be passed) in the Swedish parliament very soon before the summer vacation. Namely the so called “FRA law”, which will allow a governmental agency to sift through and screen all electronic communications crossing the nation’s borders in search for whatever (that means general screening without a court order and general meaning anyone). The idea is for security reasons, and more than anything it reminds me of the proverb “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” [and may I add, the naivety of trust in ourselves and the people ‘governing’ us to do what is perceived to be “the right thing”.]

I guess it doesn’t matter for the time being that I started out thinking about the history of “women’s liberation” and ending up with “people’s freedom”; it is two sides of the same coin. It might not be that all people are doing what they should do or even what is good for themselves but really, it might be better for everyone if we allowed the freedom to doom ourselves rather than protecting and suffocating the lives of a few who might be oppressed by the good intentions of what is believed to be the “right way of doing things”? Sometimes I feel like we exchanged the society ruled by nobility to a society ruled by “who ever holds the cash”, i.e. the power to do what they think is right for the rest of the people.

In the end, I wonder about the truth of the saying “Real [true] power is never given. Real power has to be taken.” I guess it might be in the lines of Machiavelli, Marxism or plain anarchy? Needless to say, I miss my old university nights with red wine and night time discussions about freedom, liberation and philosophy in order to keep myself from feeling alone and powerless about the boundaries of the world I live in today.

It may seem strange to say that today has been one of the best days for a really long time and I am still smiling and feeling something very close to profound happiness. Even I can’t phantom why, but I’ll be satisfied with keeping this feeling and moving on to the other chores I need to do. And of course, try to understand how much of this is based on the fact that last night turned out to be a marvelous evening in the lab… talk about being high on research.