Harvard made local LGBTQ history last weekend by hosting the first campus-wide LGBTQ conference ran entirely by students. On the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School came together to host the conference, assembling an impressive ensemble of speakers and events.
For a first run, the event ended up with a very broad reach and brought in students 350-400 students and faculty from just Harvard institutions. Additional students from 30 other schools ended up attending as well, along with a multitude of celebrity speakers. Prominent speakers from the LGBTQ community included Ash Beckham, a public speaker whose TEDx talk “Coming Out of Your Closet” went viral, and former RNC chairman turned marriage equality activist Ken Mehlman, who switched gears after coming out as gay in 2010.
The event was a success, and student organizers hope that it can become an annual tradition where ideas can be shared to move the LGBTQ community forward. The event does have an official website, and though videos of the speaking events and interviews haven’t appeared yet there are some interesting posts on Twitter from attendees under the hashtag #HarvardLGBTQConf.
A few years ago, Michael Ramscar, a linguistics researcher at the University of Tübingen in Germany, came across a paper saying that cognitive decline starts as early as age 45. He was 45 himself and felt he hadn’t yet peaked. He remembers thinking: “That doesn’t make sense to me; 99 percent of the people I look up to intellectually, who keep me on my mettle, are older than I am.”
The paper concluded that a person’s vocabulary declines after age 45, and that finding really made no sense to him. The researchers were trying to measure how quickly people remembered words, he says, without even considering the quantity of words they had stored in memory.
Ramscar began to wonder who has the better memory: the young person who knows a little and remembers all of it, or the older person who has learned a lot and forgets a little of it?
Vortex shedding frequently happens in the wakes of non-streamlined bodies as a result of flow around the obstacle. Newton’s third law states that forces come in equal and opposite pairs, meaning that the vortex shedding behind an obstacle is accompanied by a force on the obstacle. For a fixed cylinder, this is not always apparent, but for a pendulum, like the ones demonstrated in this video, this vortex-induced vibration causes significant motion. This same effect can make traffic lights and industrial chimneys sway. You’ve likely experienced it yourself as well, if while swimming you’ve ever spread your fingers underwater and spun in place. Try it sometime with your arm out and you’ll feel the vortices make your arm vibrate up and down as you spin. (Video credit: Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations)
In an interview with Salon, the chairman of President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign says he personally apologizes to people who “were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved.”
At the time, he expressed regret that he didn’t push back against the Bush campaign’s support for a federal anti-gay marriage amendment and anti-gay marriage initiatives on state ballots.
“I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally,” he said
Now he’s gone a step further:
“At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the effort,” Mehlman said. “As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”
While GOP presidential candidates uniformly oppose gay marriage, it’s becoming less of an issue among rank-and-file Republicans, and the general public is increasingly supportive of gay marriage.
Laura Bush and her daughter Barbara have both campaigned in support of same-sex marriage. Former Bush solicitor general Ted Olson worked to overturn California’s gay marriage ban. Former vice president Dick Cheney, an early GOP supporter of gay marriage, lobbied Maryland lawmakers on the issue this year.
Playing Dead Level: Expert
Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!
Author Lewis Carroll was born 182 years ago today near Denton, England, the hat-making capital of that country. He was likely familiar with the phrase “mad as a hatter” when he created the abrupt and irrational Hatter character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Hat makers in the mid-1800s, when Carroll’s book was published, were often seen as irritable and peculiar. Sadly, many were suffering from mercury poisoning caused by the hat-making process.
Learn more in The Power of Poison.
Tomorrow we talk to journalist McKenzie Funk about “‘The Booming Business of Global Warming,” the topic of his new book Windfall. We’ll talk about how climate change is affecting the economy—in shipping passages, surge gates, and buckling infrastructure.
image of Canadian coastguard icebreaker via Businessweek
Cuddle time with Bean and Kiwi. I always have the uncontrollable urge to squeeze the stuffing out of these two.
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