Monthly Archives: June 2012

Homophobia or Self-phobia?

I certainly do not wish to turn my creative blog into a gay issue place to visit. I really wish to get back to writing short stories that I hope people will enjoy reading. Unfortunately, in the real world work comes first and there must be some sleep inbetween which does not leave me much room for other chores like cooking dinner, cleaning the house, yard work, food shopping, school work and all the other normal things life brings to us.

But I could not resist adding this very important article written by Discover. Althought it is written for Homophobia it does raise the question of other phobias that we may have.

For those who have intense emotional, anti-gay reactions to homosexual groups, people or ideas, University of Rochester professor of psychology Richard Ryan hopes that new research prompts them to ask themselves, Why?

Four experiments conducted by Ryan and his colleagues at the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, concluded that people with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex exhibit more signs of homophobia.

“In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” Ryan told Newswise. “This study shows that if you are feeling that kind of visceral reaction to an out-group, ask yourself, ‘Why?’ Those intense emotions should serve as a call to self-reflection.”

The experiments also showed an association between homophobia and an authoritarian style of parenting. It’s the first study to conclude that both parenting and sexual orientation often form homophobic attitudes.

In the first experiment, students were shown a series of words and pictures of gay and straight couples on a computer screen. The words “me” and “others” flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds before each screenshot. The length of time it took students to connect the words “me” and “gay” versus “me” and “straight” helped the researchers determine sexual orientation.

Then, the students browsed photos of either sex, with researchers recording the amount of time spent on same sex versus opposite sex photos.

Researchers used a survey with statements such as “I felt controlled and pressured in certain ways,” “I felt free to be who I am,” “It would be upsetting for my mom to find out she was alone with a lesbian,” and “My dad avoids gay men whenever possible,” to gauge the level of homophobia in a household.

Finally, students filled in blanks after the word “gay” appeared on a screen for 35 milliseconds, and researchers tracked the number of aggressive words written.

“Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,” explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author.

Photo: Supporters of California’s Prop 8 hold anti-gay marriage signs during a demonstration outside the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Credit: Getty Images.



Posted by on June 26, 2012 in gay, Gay Marriage, Same Sex Marriage


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One Ring to Bring Them All: Eclipse Enchants

Ever see ringlets of sunlight playing in the shadows of a tree or a fiery ring of light in the sky? These incredible effects are the results of an annular solar eclipse like the one that occurred when the moon passed directly between the sun and Earth on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The event was viewable from Japan all the way across the Pacific Ocean to midway through the United States.

Because the moon travels on a slightly tilted orbit compared to the plane of Earth’s orbit around the sun, eclipses do not occur every time the moon comes between the sun and Earth. However, there are two points or “nodes” when the moon does pass through this plane. If either of these nodes coincides with a new moon (when the sun is illuminating only its far side), a solar eclipse will occur. If a node is reached during a full moon, Earth will block the sun’s light, casting a shadow onto the moon causing a lunar eclipse.

An annular eclipse occurs when the moon is too far away from us to completely cover the disk of the sun. This results in an annularity: the ring-shaped outline of the sun that can be seen surrounding the dark new moon. Because of the surreal look of the “ring of fire,” annular eclipses are some of the most impressive celestial events visible from Earth.

This eclipse passed over some of the U.S.’s most famous national parks with the full annularity visible from 33 parks, while an additional 125 parks witnessed a partial eclipse. The NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and the National Parks Service took advantage of this rare event and joined forces to facilitate safe viewings for as many people as possible.

Several NLSI scientists traveled to the Grand Canyon National Park and used the superimposition of our two most prominent celestial objects as an opportunity to explain to several thousand visitors about some of NASA’s past, current and future projects relating to the sun and moon. These include the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which will orbit the moon in order to characterize its atmosphere and the lunar dust environment, and the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, (IRIS) ,which will make detailed measurements of the flow of energy and plasma through the sun’s atmosphere and heliosphere.

The NLSI team gave presentations to three full-house audiences in the park’s theater and hosted an exhibit in its main visitor center. Samples of moon and Mars rocks and meteorites that people could handle were on display, as well as a model of a LADEE.

“Multiple missions to the moon in the past five years have revealed our nearest celestial neighbor is a fascinating place,” said NLSI director Yvonne Pendleton, who spoke at the event “The Apollo-era views, rich in geological insights from samples that continue to be studied today, have been enlarged to reveal detailed topography, composition and a bombardment history that will fascinate researchers for many years to come.”

More than 2,000 people viewed the eclipse at the event. Safe viewing equipment was also sent to other national parks and another public viewing was held by one of the NLSI teams at the University of Colorado football stadium in Boulder, where 10,000 people viewed the partial eclipse.

“Nature has provided us with a unique opportunity to capitalize on the huge public interest in the sun and moon,” said NLSI Director of Education and Public Outreach Brian Day. “It is an excellent opportunity to engage with the public and explain what we are doing at Ames.”

Although there have been a number of partial eclipses in recent years, May 20, 2012 was the first time in 18 years that we have been able to see the moon pass directly across the center of the sun from the U.S. James Schalkwyk
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.


Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Earth Changes, NASA, Science, Space


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