Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Double Standard

This year in my basic statistics classes, after I give the announcements I begin class by giving them two pieces of information.

  • Something interesting about myself.
  • The number of the day.
The purpose of the first is so that the barrier between professor and student can be breached. Getting to know me as someone that has a life outside of work and does things that are fun and interesting can help build a connection with students that I never had.  Today, I went to the skeletons in the closet, and informed them of something I'm not proud of for the purpose of showing them I'm human and I can overcome difficult times. 

Today's "Did You Know" segment of the two times in my life, one at age 18 and one at age 23, when I spent a night behind bars.  I didn't go into specifics, but I could tell they did find this information very intriguing. 

The number of the day was 50, which is a percentage of Americans who answer NO when asked, "When people claim to be Muslim and commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, do you really believe they are Muslim, or not?"  This came from the Public Religion Research Institute and was included in their article, "Americans' Double Standard on Religious Violence." 

The double standard becomes apparent when you ask Americans the other question, switching Muslim/Islam with Christian/Christianity.  Then, 75% answer NO.  This is very interesting.  

When I present such data I need to be careful.  Instead of drawing any kind of conclusion, I remarked on how it made me think of how I would answer the question (using Christian/Christianity or Muslim/Islam) without having read about the study previously.  Would I answer yes to one and no to the other and have a double standard? Or would I be consistent in my answer and say either yes to both or no to both?  

Indeed, this is a difficult question to answer.  I can find in both the Bible and Quran passages that would condone and encourage acts of violence, so I could see somebody using those verses and thinking they are acting as a true Christian or Muslim.

However, I feel all of these verses are antiquated and do not deserve merit. The modern day and reasonable Christians and Muslims understand this, so to act out in violence in the name of either is an act of ignorance of what being a modern day and reasonable Christian and Muslim means.

It is complicated, but it deserves thought.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Biking the Beermuda Triangle

The Biermeister for the Greater Topeka Hall of Foamers emailed me with a subject line "Bike the Beermuda."  He was interested in setting up a bike ride that visits the three breweries in Topeka.  This sparked my interest because of two things:

  • Bike Riding
  • Beer
This email came to me early on a Friday. I'm faculty. I was like... 

So I hit the trail.  Less than 5 miles in, I'm at Happy Bassett brewing wetting my beak with an Irish Red and a juicy Wit. 
Time is a ticking, so I'm off for the longest leg of the ride that will take me across town, past the Capitol Building, over the Kansas River to NOTO (North Topeka for those that aren't from around here), and to the Norsemen Brewing Company. 
The Odin's One EyePA was a great calorie booster on this crazy adventure.  After sucking that down, it was back across the bridge, through the detours, and then on the Shunga and Landon Nature Trail for good (so in case of falling over it wouldn't be in a street).  Almost at the end of the Landon Nature Trail, I had a steep climb to my last brewery visit of the day: Blind Tiger. 
I enjoyed a Henry's Bitter more quickly than I normally would (hey, there is daylight we're racing here folks), and got back on the saddle. There was only 7 miles of trail riding until home. 

The trial ride was worth every moment. It was a little over 28 miles of riding for me. Since 3 of those miles were from my house to the triangle and back, I'm advertising the Beermuda Triangle at 25 miles. 

Interested? Bring your bike. You know where I live.

Update on 2017 resolution to ride 2017 miles in 2017: I have 1837 miles to go. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Weird But Not Uncommon Excuse

In Jonathan Vieker's wonderful post, Does Failure Encourage Compassion for Others?, he mentions a student excuse for not going to class anymore. 
I missed biology a few times. I meant to start going again, but I was really embarrassed about walking into the classroom after missing a week and a half. So I just ... didn't go back. 
That is what will happen to my blogging if I don't come back.  I'll just stop.

One of my unwritten resolutions of 2017 was to blog an average of 1.5 times every 2 weeks. There were several reasons why I did not write it down.

  1. I already have a pretty solid, exhaustive list that will keep me busy.
  2. Originally, by "Blog Post Ideas" list grew more quickly than I could write blogs. At the time of writing my resolutions, this list was shrinking more than growing. In short, I was a scaredy-pants. 
  3. Quitting Facebook was my first blog post after quitting Facebook. I think I knew in the back of my head that blogging more was going to help me make that transition, and I didn't know what would happen once that transition was complete.
  4. One of my resolutions involves studying and passing the MLC exam. This requires a LOT of intense study time. 
  5. My blog doesn't have much structure.  I'm torn between liking that fact and just going with it, and building more structure so that I could possibly build my readership. 
To give myself a much easier and much more attainable resolution for 2017, I think I will resolve to write at least twice a month: on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday. 

Now it is written!  I'm accountable to you, so keep me to it.  

Off the record, I will probably write a little more. The idea of the twice a month is to begin adding some structure. I want to write at least one blog a month in the form of a newsletter and let my readers know what is going on our lives. The other blog that month will rotate among my different passions.  

You may hear about personal development, beer brewing, problem solving, or my take on current events. Who knows?  Stay tuned to find out.