Deployment Conversation: Maid Brigade Edition

(by mikedunford) Apr 24 2012

Me: Pick up your room so the housekeepers can vacuum tomorrow.
Boy: Awwww. Why'd we have to get maids anyway?
Me: Because after the first deployment you mom told me that if the house ever got that messy again she'd throw all the stuff on the lawn, set it on fire, and claim PTSD when the MPs show up.
Boy: And you believe her?
Me: We're talking about your mother.
Boy: *starts putting toys in baskets*

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RIP

(by mikedunford) Apr 23 2012

CW2 Nicholas Johnson, CW2 Don Viray, SPC Dean Shaffer, and SPC Chris Workman died on Thursday, April 19th when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan while en route to pick up Afghan National Police officers who had been wounded in a suicide bomb attack at their checkpoint. They were assigned to A Company, 2/25 Aviation.

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My Wife's War: Worry, Wait, and Guilt

(by mikedunford) Apr 22 2012

Yesterday was a worry day; today is a waiting day. If my luck holds, tomorrow will be a guilt day. This is the first of these sequences for this deployment. It’s unlikely that it will be the last.

It’s another beautiful day in Honolulu. Most of the 117 days since my wife got on the plane to go back to Kandahar have been beautiful. Most of the next 250 or so days will also be beautiful.

Thursday night was not a beautiful night in Afghanistan. It was, as Snoopy would type, a dark and stormy night. First reports suggest that this was likely a factor in the crash of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Helmand Province. The helicopter was one of two that were on a CASEVAC mission. They were en route to an Afghan National Police checkpoint that had just suffered a suicide bombing that killed four police officers and wounded seven more. The first news reports indicated that survivors were considered “unlikely”. Later reports confirmed the deaths of the four American soldiers onboard.
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Picture of the Day: Community Policing

(by mikedunford) Mar 21 2012

I'm not the greatest photographer on the planet, but every now and then I get lucky.

Community Policing

Picture taken in Waikiki on St. Patrick's Day.
Canon 7D
1/200 f/4
cropped version of original

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What the law is: Karl Llewellyn, Goldilocks, Sonia Sotomayor, and Baby Bear

(by mikedunford) Mar 18 2012

This one gets filed under "Everything I need to know I learned from Sesame Street".

Go find a five year old. Go on, do it. I'll wait.

When you do, ask the five year old what a judge does. Did the answer have something to do with locking up criminals? I'm guessing it did.

Criminal law is where judges usually appear in the public consciousness. It's where judges usually appear in public culture. It's the image we're all familiar with - the black-robed figure behind the bench, looking down at the participants in the drama. Most of their dialogue consists of lines containing the words "sustained" or "overruled". (There's probably some sort of Writers Guild requirement involved somewhere.)

And it's good for kids to know that there is a justice system there to help keep us safe. It's good for them to know that there are people whose job it is to figure out if the person accused committed the crime and punish them if they did. But it's not enough.

And that's where the protagonists of this little post come into the picture.
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Law School: The reading list

(by mikedunford) Mar 13 2012

I feel like such a high schooler. My law school admission came with a summer reading list. OK, technically it's an optional list of recommended reading, but I'm not going to let that technicality interfere with the joy of the intellectual firehose of youth I'm gulping from.

In addition to putting the reading list in this post, I'm going to set it up in its own page to make it easier to find. I'll use italics to mark off the title of anything I'm currently reading. I'll use bold for the books I've finished. I'm going to try to review books once I'm done; I'll add links to those reviews as they appear.

I'm going to add a second section under the 'official' reading list. These are also books relevant (at least I hope they are) to my shift to legal reasoning and education. Some of these are books I've found on my own; others have been recommended by regulars at a discussion forum that I frequent. These will also be marked off with italics while I'm reading them, and boldface once I'm done.

The lists can be found below the fold.
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And now, a brief semi-scientific interlude.

(by mikedunford) Feb 29 2012

IMG_3038

Rainbows are beautiful. They're also a great way to see the effects of optical phenomena in the atmosphere. Light entering raindrops is refracted, reflected, and refracted again. The red wavelengths are bent less than the blue. If you stand (or sit, or drive) so that the sun is behind you and the raindrops in front of you, and the circumstances are right, the effect is a gorgeous band of colors arcing across the sky.

Rainbows have been important in mythology, art, and culture all over the world, and throughout history. They've been used to symbolize many things, mostly involving a connection between the heavens and earth.

Rainbows are often seen in Hawai'i (that's why they call us "the Rainbow State"). Here, in addition to being beautiful, they actually provide us with some knowledge that can be extremely useful in the short term future. Specifically, if you are driving toward a rainbow, it should remind you to close the moon roof.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go finish drying the car.

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School, Career, and Family Life (and my Sugar Mama)

(by mikedunford) Feb 29 2012

Scientopia Guest Bloggers Nicole and Maggie have a post up that's got a lot of relevance to my current family situation. They found a post on the Get Rich Quick Slowly blog that provides the perspective of a woman - a self declared "sugar mama" - who is financially supporting her husband while he attends college. Nicole and Maggie note that this kind of arrangement doesn't always end well:

One thing I would caution for women in general is not to sacrifice their own career goals for their husband’s education. As an academic, I know plenty of couples where the woman worked at what she considered to be a temporary job to put her husband through school, but rather than return the favor later (as implicitly promised), they got divorced. Sacrificing one’s own ambitions puts a lot of stress on the marriage, no matter which spouse is doing the sacrificing.

This is something that sounds a lot like a good chunk my life trajectory. I guess a little background is in order here.
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Why I love the law

(by mikedunford) Feb 28 2012

Yeah, I know, the blog went quiet again pretty quick after that last post about moving from a science career path to a legal one. I kept trying to write a post that explains why I'm so confident that the law is a better choice for me than science. I kept trying, and I kept coming up blank. It's not that I don't know why, it's just been hard finding the right words. A few minutes ago, 1000 words (or the metaphorical equivalent thereto) dropped into my lap:

Homecoming kiss

There it was. Right there in front of me the whole time.
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Switching Tracks - Blogging to Blawgging.

(by mikedunford) Feb 14 2012

You might have noticed that my blogging output has, for want of a better word, taken a plunge over the last few years. There were a lot of reasons. Inertia, lack of inspiration, burnout, family and work time pressures, a personal life that had drifted away from academia - all that played a role in moving me away from regular blogging.

The primary cause was something different. At some point in the last few years, I realized that I no longer had a clue where I fit in with this broad scientific community that most of us inhabit. I'd started my PhD with every intention of doing phenomenal research, writing some great papers, and pursuing a career as a full-time scientist. When we left Hawai'i in 2007, I had every intention of picking up my degree work again at the earliest opportunity. When we returned to Hawai'i last summer, I had no intention of jumping back into the lab life.
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