|"The Grey" nominated for the 2012 Scat Award|
Monday, January 30, 2012
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the USS Monitor’s launch from the Continental Iron Works, Greenpoint, New York. The USS Monitor was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the US Navy and on March 9, 1862 fought the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, Virginia, only a day after Virginia had ravaged the Union fleet blockading the James River. Less than nine months later, the now-famous Monitor was under tow, heading south to Beaufort, North Carolina, when, in heavy seas, the vessel sank, taking sixteen of its crew with it.
John D. Broadwater, author of USS Monitor: A Historic Ship Completes Its Final Voyage, (Texas A&M Press, March) was the manager of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, where he directed seven major expeditions to the remains of the Civil War ironclad warship. Not until 1973 was the inverted hulk located, and in 1995, partial recovery of the wreck began under the auspices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the US Navy. The story of the subsequent protection and management of the historic resource, and the raising of major hull components including the gun turret, add another layer of history to the Monitor’s fascinating story.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
“As a professor of public administration, I wholeheartedly support efforts to make the bureaucracy more efficient. But as a professor of public administration history, I am apprehensive that the president is making some fatal first steps.” –Lee
Over the past hundred years, every president from Taft to Johnson has proposed reorganization of the executive branch, and Lee believes that if President Obama were to study up on these histories, he could learn two valuable lessons. One, the president needs supporters in Congress to push for his bill, despite the opposition of parochial committee chairs and the external support of a civic constituency to neutralize the frantic lobbying of special interest groups and two, the president needs to make clear that the main purpose of reorganization is not to cut costs (efficiency), but to improve public administration (effectiveness).
Lee who holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University, is a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Previously, he served as a state senator as well as legislative assistant to a U.S. Congressman and is the author of Institutionalizing Congress and the Presidency: The U.S. Bureau of Efficiency, 1916–1933 and Nixon's Super-Secretaries: The Last Grand Presidential Reorganization Effort (Texas A&M University Press).
The Watergate scandal of 1973 claimed many casualties, political and otherwise. Along with many personal reputations and careers, President Richard Nixon’s bold attempt to achieve a sweeping reorganization of the domestic portion of the executive branch was also pulled into the vortex. Lee asserts that Nixon’s reorganization effort represents a significant event in the evolution of the managerial presidency and public administration, Nixon’s Super-Secretaries presents the most comprehensive historical narrative to date concerning this reorganization attempt. The author has utilized previously untapped original and primary sources to provide unprecedented detail on the inner workings, intentions, and ultimate demise of Nixon’s ambitious plan to reorganize the sprawling federal bureaucracy.
Lee’s complete Op-Ed can be found in following link.
The New York Times recently highlighted recurring interest in the site. Cruise ships still sail to the precise spot in the Atlantic where the ship went down.
The down side to these fascinating excursions? The site is becoming littered.
“It could get real crowded out there,” said James P. Delgado, director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Despite the legitimacy of wide public interest, he added, “there are some things that shouldn’t happen,” like dumping trash and leaving behind equipment.”
Delgado heads the NOAA division responsible for monitoring the Titanic site. He is also author of the forthcoming book, The Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine (Texas A&M University Press, March). In 2001 while vacationing on Panama’s Pacific coast, the maritime archaeologist came upon the hulk of a mysterious iron vessel. Locals did not know where it had come from. Some said it was the remains of a sunken Japanese “suicide” submarine from World War II. Others said it was a poison-laden “craft of death” responsible for the pearl beds decades before.
Upon investigating the hulk further, Delgado discovered it was the remains of one of the first successful deep-diving submersibles, built in 1864 by Julius H. Kroehl. The invention ultimately led to Kroehl’s demise.
In November of 2011 the movie A Dangerous Method starring Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender was released. The screenplay was adapted by Academy Award-winning writer Christopher Hampton from his 2002 stage play The Talking Cure, which was based on the 1993 non-fiction book by John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method: the story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein. The movie takes place in 1904 and details the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Carl Jung (Fassbender), a disciple of Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), is using Freudian techniques to treat Russian-Jewish psychiatric patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) at Burghölzli Mental Hospital. But the deeper Jung's relationship with Spielrein grows, the further the psychiatrist and his highly respected mentor drift apart. As Jung struggles to help his patient overcome some pressing paternal issues, disturbed patient Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) sets out to test the boundaries of the doctor's professional resolve.
Although the movie is a fictitious representation, the lives and studies of Freud and Jung are still continuously explored and studied today. If you are interested in Carl Jung or Jungian theory, check out the book Finding Jung: Frank N. McMillan Jr., a Life in Quest of the Lion (Texas A&M University Press, March) by Frank N. McMillan III ─ the personal story of McMillan Jr.’s life-long quest for meaning. McMillan, a country boy steeped in the traditional culture of rural Texas , began reading Carl Jung’s Collected Works upon hearing impressionist artist Forrest Bess’s description of Jung as a master psychologist, soul doctor, and healer. McMillan went on to establish the world’s first professorship to study the field of Jungian Psychology.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
It was a cold winter night, our fifteen month old was finally asleep and my husband, Peter, and I sat down on the couch to watch a film that we had had on our list for quite some time, 127 hours. The movie is based on a true story about a young man who went out into the wild for some exploration, as he had many times in the past, and literally got stuck in a life threatening situation.
Peter and I sat there with jaws wide open as this young man got his hand wedged between a rock and the wall of a canyon. He tried what he could to release himself... he pulled desperately at his arm, he tried to lift the rock and he chipped away at the rock with his knife. At one point, I looked over at Peter and his eyes were huge, he was holding his breath and he was pulling nervously at his bottom lip. He was stressed and the story had nothing to do with him. Or did it?
To complicate matters, the movie’s character had not told anyone where he was going or when he should be expected back home. He was literally stuck between a rock and a hard place with no hope of rescue. The “moral of the story” message to me was: Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
Both Peter and I are both comfortable in the outdoors and enjoy escaping into the greenery of the woods when we have free time. However, we have also caught ourselves in situations, that because of circumstances outside our control, we ended up relying on someone that we told about our plan and location for the day. These situations can happen to anyone no matter his or her skill or comfort level in the natural world. We all need reminders.
Regardless of how busy life gets or how light we want to pack our bags–there are some survival axioms that should not be compromised:
1. Always tell someone your plan (where you are going, what you will be doing and when that person should expect you back).
2. Travel with someone.
3. Wear appropriate clothing (for the weather, terrain and activity).
4. Pack for both adequacy and potential mishaps such as getting lost or colder than usual weather (map and compass/GPS, extra clothing, warm layer, rain jacket/trash bag, first aid kit, water and purification system, non-perishable food, pocket knife, waterproof matches, space blanket, mirror (signaling), flashlight or headlamp, whistle, sunscreen/glasses/hat and bug spray).
5. Know the area where you are going and check the weather before leaving for the trip.
6. If you get lost, stay calm and stay put.
These considerations sparked an excellent discussion at home the other night, in which Peter reminded me how important it is to practice. Practicing survival techniques may help you stay calm in an emergency situation. For example, pack what you believe you would need for a variety of survival situations, hit up a nearby park and allow yourself to get comfortable with survival skills before you are faced with a backcountry situation.
What would you add to our list based on your life experiences?
Eager to learn more? Check out:
Books: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Lost in the Wild by Cary J. Griffith.
The film: 127 hours (This movie does have some graphic scenes and may not be fit for young audiences. Please use discretion.).
Websites: National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) and Nature Skills.
The YouTube video: “How to Make an Alcohol Stove – Step by Step” (This video has great directions. The music is used as a filler and is not necessary. Feel free to listen without sound if desired.).
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The good news for beach lovers is that it is not too late to do something to protect our beaches. On January 13, 2012 at 10:00 am Adopt-A-Beach is holding a Marine Debris Summit at Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston. Adopt-A-Beach is an organization that strives to raise public awareness, educate citizens about the sources of debris, and to generate public support for state, national, and international action to clean up coastal waters.
“Panel discussions will be on topics such as how to reduce the trash that comes with people driving on the beach — a protected Texas tradition — as well as how to stop the rising tide of dirty diapers, among other things.” The Daily News
World-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, chair of the Advisory Board for Texas A&M University’s Harte Research Institute and Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, will be the keynote speaker.
Earle has also contributed to several Texas A&M University Press books including, Coral Reefs of the Southern Gulf of Mexico and Texas Coral Reefs. http://www.harteresearchinstitute.org/
If you are interested in the Gulf Coast beaches please check out our book Sea-Level Change in the Gulf of Mexico by Richard A. Davis Jr. Sponsored by the Texas A&M University Harte Research Institute, this book is a must-read for Gulf Coast scientists, naturalists, and residents.
Monday, January 9, 2012
My love for the outdoors and wildlife competed strongly with my passion for horses when deciding a career path, but a fresh 18 year-old doesn’t always know what will make them happy in the long run. I ended up choosing the path that led to agriculture rather than wildlife.
I will spare you the details of the series of events 11 years ago that launched my new fate. That is perhaps for another blog post. At the end of that year, I found myself a low-paid, over-qualified, living-with-my-dad, can’t-find-work-in-my-field member of society. While working at one of my two, unfulfilling part-time jobs I realized that I had had enough.
So, naturally, I decided to explore my passion for wildlife and set out searching for graduate programs studying forest carnivores. Email after email went out as I studied for the GRE. One day, I received a reply from a professor specializing in wolves. My hopes fell when I read that his waiting list for taking graduate students was two years long. I thought, “Is this normal? What is so special about wolves?”
He recomended an internship position he had an opening for live-trapping whitetail deer and tracking wolves as a way to gain experience and increase my marketability in the grad program search. It sounded like good advice, as I had little field experience related to wildlife. With my hopes falling daily, I wanted to see if this new path was worth thousands of additional dollars spent on schooling.
Turns out, my new internship supervisor, Dr. L. David Mech (pronounced Meech), was pretty well known. My Dad even owned one of his books. Confidence in my choice swelled and my preparations for moving to Ely for the winter began with excitement. I would settle for wolves if it meant I could then move on to my true love, pine martens.
Ten years later, reflecting on my experience as a field technician intern for Dr. Mech (winter 2002, fall 2002) and an education internship (Jan-June 2003) at the International Wolf Center, I can’t imagine my life any other way.
Internships changed my life. As a mid-twenty-something college graduate 10 years ago, I had been pessimistic that I would find any affordable way to change my career. The short duration of the position meant if the job wasn’t a good fit, I wasn’t stuck. Couple that with the incredible amount of information I absorbed, internships satisfied my need to branch out and explore what really fit for me. The pay was sufficient to cover student loan payments, food and the occasional social outing.
All too often, I feel that adults get stuck in a rut once they find a job that they can tolerate which pays the bills and then some. My message to people in that place is to take a chance. Internships are an opportunity to dip your toes into a new career path and possibly find something that is fulfilling and motivates you to learn more. At the very least, you may discover a new skill or passion, make new friends and have a new life experience to build on.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started thinking about if an internship is right for you: