Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rock Star Joel at the Science Fair

Yesterday Joel spent the day at BYU's Harmon Center at the regional science fair. His project-What Shape is Your Parachute--was selected to move up  the ladder of competition at both Brookside Elementary and then at the district competition in Spanish Fork. He had to explain his project to several different judges. One of the judges told Joel he was from Dubai and that people like to parachute there. He then told Joel that he probably didn't know where Dubai was and Joel told him that his dad had shown him photos of Dubai (He should have told him I skied there too). Joel then told him that he had lived in Jerusalem. I don't know how impressed the judge was with the science project, but I bet he was impressed to meet a boy who knew something about the Middle East. Later that day, Joel and Marie went on line and found out that Joel would be getting an award that night. I went with Joel to Timp VIew High School for the awards ceremony. Marie stayed home with Will who was home from school for the second day with a fever. Sarah was ice skating with the Young Women.

After a few special awards they started calling out the name, school and project title for the twenty or so fourth place winners. Joel's was the first name called.
It took about an hour to get through all of the trophies on the table. Joel is second from the right.
In addition to the trophy he got a certificate and a $15 check.
He also got this Rock Star t-shirt for participating.
This list of other rock star scientists is quite impressive.

Sex and World Peace


In 2001, BYU Political Science professor Valerie Hudson (now at Texas A& M) approached me about joining her in a new project looking at the status of women in the world. We had become friends and colleagues through BYU's Kennedy Center as we jointly tilted at windmills trying to defend and save various international endeavors at BYU. Her offer was great timing. Newly implemented BYU travel restrictions meant that I could no longer conduct field research in Israel/Palestine--which had been my main focus of research for over a decade. Our efforts resulted in the establishment of WomanStats ( which is an amazing on-line database concerning women that is comprised of over 300 variables for 174 countries. That data base has been painstakingly compiled through the work of dozens of dedicated BYU students who are passionate about improving the status of women worldwide. Over time we added several other co-PIs (Primary Investigators) to our project including Mary Caprioli from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill who recently retired as the director of BYU's now defunct Women's Research Institute. We met each summer to work on projects including three journal articles I helped with: 

Hudson, Valerie M., Mary, Caprioli, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Rose McDermott, Chad F. Emmett, “The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States.” International Security. Vol. 33, No. 3 (Winter 2009) 7-45. 

Caprioli, Mary, Valerie M. Hudson, Rose McDermott,  Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Chad F. Emmett, S. Matthew Stearmer.  “The WomanStats Project Database: Advancing an Empirical Research Agenda.” Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 46, No. 6 (November 2009) 839-851.

Caprioli, Mary, Valerie M. Hudson, Rose McDermott, Chad F. Emmett, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill. “Putting Women in their Place.” Baker Journal of Applied Public Policy. Vol. 1 No. 1 (2007), 12-22

We then turned to a book in hopes that our message--treat women better and the world will be more peaceful--would reach more people. In July 2009 we four authors met at the University of Minnesota-Duluth for several days to outline and plan the book. A month later our family left to teach at the BYU Jerusalem Center for a year. I packed up digital and paper files of my WomanStats research to take with me. During the rare spare days or evenings during January-April 2010 I worked on my sections of the book. My main efforts were focused on describing the maps in the beginning of chapter three and explaining many of the bottom up efforts of chapter six and some of the top down efforts in chapter five--especially those relating to the Islamic World.


My wonderful Co-Authors (l to r) Mary Caprioli, Valerie Hudson and Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill  during a windy July 2009 evening in Duluth Minnesota where we all met to plan and out-line our book.

Based on the title (more precisely it should be titled Gender and World Peace, but hey, sex sells), some may open the pages hoping to see something revealing. Not here. The only illustrations are eleven maps (we had to pay to have them included) including these two (thanks to Mark Jackson from the BYU Library Geospatial Services for making them). Copies of all of the other maps can be found at the WomanStats web site. 

What follows is a page from the Columbia University Press web site:

Sex and World Peace

Valerie M. Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, and Chad F. Emmett

April, 2012
Cloth, 304 pages, 11 color maps, I figure, 17 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-13182-7
$26.50 / £18.50
Columbia University Press

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Sex and World Peace unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war.

The authors compare micro-level gender violence and macro-level state peacefulness in global settings, supporting their findings with detailed analyses and color maps. Harnessing an immense amount of data, they call attention to discrepancies between national laws protecting women and the enforcement of those laws, and they note the adverse effects on state security of abnormal sex ratios favoring males, the practice of polygamy, and inequitable realities in family law, among other gendered aggressions.

The authors find that the treatment of women informs human interaction at all levels of society. Their research challenges conventional definitions of security and democracy and shows that the treatment of gender, played out on the world stage, informs the true clash of civilizations. In terms of resolving these injustices, the authors examine top-down and bottom-up approaches to healing wounds of violence against women, as well as ways to rectify inequalities in family law and the lack of parity in decision-making councils. Emphasizing the importance of an R2PW, or state responsibility to protect women, they mount a solid campaign against women's systemic insecurity, which effectively unravels the security of all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

West Mountain

Last Friday five Deacons and three Teachers, plus leaders and five of the leaders' younger sons went camping on West Mountain. The main dirt road up to the transmitter station and observatory was barricaded so we four-wheeled it up and around on some pretty sketching roads. My 15 year old Subaru Outback served us well. We camped on a nearly treeless knoll. The Young Men all piled under two junipers to sleep.

Of the five leaders there, I was the only one without a big truck and some form of camo. I am also the only one who does not own a gun.

Sunset over the southernmost section of Utah Lake.

Will came along and had a blast. Joel had a soccer scrimmage and a Primary class party.

It was a very warm day, but the evening winds on West Mountain were cold and strong. We didn't dare light a fire so we used the grill to cook our hot dogs.

 Our home and ward in Springville sits below the deep cut in the mountain just a little right of center.


Sunrise over the south end of Utah Valley

Mt. Timpanogos

Young Men President David Lange raises white homing pigeons. His flock is getting too big so he released 10 that morning who had yet been trained to fly home, hoping most would not find there way home. By Sunday afternoon three had found their way across the valley to Springville.

Off they go. You can hire his white doves to fly at weddings and funerals.

Egg McMuffins in the making.

YM president Lange with five layers of clothing. Ill prepared deacon Noah with only one layer of clothing. He said he wasn't cold.

Fire building contest-Survivor style. First one to build a big enough fire to burn the twine wins.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Opening night photos of the Springville Jr. High production of Oklahoma. It is the junior version, which is only 90 minutes long and has no killing or kissing (although director Mrs. Walker added a few kisses given the willingness of Curly and Laurey to put up with all the cat calling from their fellow students in the audience). Aunt Eller is sitting in one of our ladder back chairs that we inherited from mom and dad.

Sarah's first scene--Everything's up to date in Kansas City. There were so many students wanting to participate in the musical that the chorus was divided in to two groups that alternated scenes so that the stage would not be too crowded.

Sarah's partner and several others in the chorus missed their entrance (the music started before they could all get on to the stage) and so Sarah is puzzled about what to do without her dance partner.
So she improvised and started to dance alone
Finally her partner arrived in time for a final swing.
Sarah's second scene was "Oh the farmers and the cowboys should be friends"
Being one of the shortest means you sometimes get to be out front.

All of the parents volunteer to help out. Last Monday night I helped paint the benches brown.
Her final scene was O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A.

Her final pose, since there were not enough boys to go around, was jumping into the arms of Haylee--her 5" 11" friend (a foot taller than Sarah). Unfortunately this favorite bit of choreography for Sarah was behind too many people to be captured on film. It was a delightful, well done production. 

The Lundbergs came to offer their support. Cousin Amanda is also a former SJHS chorus girl.

For closing night the next week, Bill and Lorie, Katie, McKinley and grandma Emmett drove down to watch. At the end of singing Oklahoma Sarah jumps into the arms of her foot-taller friend --you can see Sarah's arm and lavender dress behind the old man in the hat.

final bows