Japanese pensioners offer to tackle nuclear meltdown

A group of retired Japanese people have volunteered to tackle the problems at the Fukishima nuclear power station. They reason that they should be the ones exposed to the radiation, not younger people. The group has been organised by Mr. Yasuteru Yamada, who says “I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live. Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer. The government has thanked the group, but has not yet given them permission to enter the power station. You can read more here.

Fellowship for junior women philosophers

See the following announcement and consider applying or at least looking.  I never know what such announcements mean by “young,” which is a tricky thing in academia.  Still, fellowships are good!  This is a fellowship which began last year, as previously announced.

Via Sally Haslanger:

* * * * * * * * * *

 National Humanities Center Offers Fellowship for Young Women in Philosophy

 The National Humanities Center has endowed a fellowship in philosophy in memory of the late Philip Quinn. It will be awarded to young women in philosophy, preferably untenured assistant professors. The first award has been for the academic year 2011-12, and the fellowship will be awarded annually thereafter. The fellowship will support a year in residence at the National Humanities Center with a fellowship stipend of $50,000 plus travel expenses. The application deadline is October 15, 2011.

 Applicants should submit the Center’s standard form, available online at nationalhumanitiescenter.org/fellowships/appltoc.htm   .  Candidates eligible for the Quinn Fellowship will automatically be considered. For the purposes of this fellowship the Center will waive its normal expectation that recent Ph.D.s not be revising dissertations.

(For further information see also the News Release on the Quinn Fellowship from 2010.  Apparently Susanne Sreedhar was the awardee in the first year of the fellowship (Philosophy, Boston University), Gender and Contract in Early Modern Philosophy.)

How few blacks are there in philosophy?

Following on from this article about the tiny numbers of blacks in British academia, Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman has called attention to the staggering lack of black philosophers.

1. Only 50 out of 14,000 professors in Britain are black 
The data in item #1 is reported here http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/27/only-50-black-british-professors?intcmp=239, and here http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2011/may/27/black-professor-shortage-failure-to-nurture-talent. To my knowledge (and I am a citizen of Britain), none of these 50 black professors specialises in philosophy.
2. Fewer than 125 out of 11,000 members of the American Philosophical Association are black

3. Fewer than 30 out of 11,000 members of the American Philosophical Association are black women
The data in items #2 and #3 are drawn from Kathryn T. Gines. Being a black woman philosopher: Reflections on founding the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers. Hypatia 26(2): 429-43.
Together, these facts add weight to the conclusion that there is a global lack of blacks in professional philosophy. I urge the philosophical professioriat to take immediate and positive action to combat this global lack.
From here.

Defying the driving ban in Saudi Arabia

The Arabic text says "We're all Manal Al-Sharif"

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving a car. This means that women either have to get a chauffeur to drive them, get a male relative to do so, or get a taxi, which is not so safe (public transport is ruled out too, due to the gender segregation rules). The ban is not only annoying and expensive, it can also cost lives, for instance when an emergency happens and someone needs to get to the hospital asap, but no male driver is available.

It’s not a minor offence either, and it’s been heavily criticised, but to no avail as yet. Manal al-Sharif is a Saudi activist who openly defied the driving ban and posted a film on youtube where she’s seen to be driving. She got arrested for it and was held in custody for a few weeks. Official reports say that she has confessed and repents her deed. The latter is not very likely.

Manal is one of the organisers of a protest on June 17 (more here, one source of many). There will be no marches in the street: women will just do what they can and want to do, which is drive their cars.

Needless to say that a campaign has been raised to whip the woman who will drive and various sheikhs who made it their personal mission to make sure no Saudi woman will drive. But Manal and many others are not deterred.

The Huffpost compares her to Rosa Parks. I like that. I hope her actions will be as effective.