civil service

ummmm???? do people forget that hitler’s rise to power didn’t START with the holocaust??? like it wasn’t like day one he became chancellor and said “okay from now on, all jews are going to be put into camps”. it started so much more subtle than that. he started with quietly and subtly removing jewish people from civil services, from government positions, then from the entertainment industry, then from being on radio, then from medicine and sciences, then from not letting them go to university, THEN the nuremberg laws that officially classified jewish people as outcasts. THEN Kristallnacht. THEN ghettos. and then THEN the rounding up into camps. this all happened over a span of YEARS.

dictatorship doesn’t arrive with a slimy red bow, dripping with venom. it comes promising to make your country better by putting the blame conveniently on the backs of people that are easy targets and slowly raises the temperature on them until it reaches a boiling point. make no mistake. these ARE the signs of fascism. don’t pretend that there’s an overreaction when there really REALLY isn’t.

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Alternative movie posters

10 Questions About the 2017 Astronaut Class

We will select between eight and 14 new astronaut candidates from among a record-breaking applicant class of more than 18,300, almost three times the number of applications the agency received in 2012 for the recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978.

The candidates will be announced at an event at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas at 2 p.m. EDT on June 7. You can find more information on how to watch the announcement HERE.

1. What are the qualifications for becoming an astronaut?

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application.

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. 
  • Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft
  • Ability to pass the NASA Astronaut physical.

For more information, visit: https://astronauts.nasa.gov/content/faq.htm

2. What have selections looked like in the past?

There have been 22 classes of astronauts selected from the original “Mercury Seven” in 1959 to the most recent 2017 class. Other notable classes include:

  • The fourth class in 1965 known as “The Scientists: because academic experience was favored over pilot skills. 
  • The eighth class in 1978 was a huge step forward for diversity, featuring the first female, African American and Asian American selections.
  • The 16th class in 1996 was the largest class yet with 44 members – 35 U.S. astronauts and 9 international astronauts. They were selected for the frequent Space Shuttle flights and the anticipated need for International Space Station crewmembers.
  • The 21st class in 2013 was the first class to have 50/50 gender split with 4 female members and 4 male members.

3. What vehicles will they fly in?

They could be assigned on any of four different spacecraft: the International Space Station, our Orion spacecraft for deep space exploration or one of two American-made commercial crew spacecraft currently in development – Boeing’s CST-199 Starliner or the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

4. Where will they go?

These astronauts will be part of expanded crews aboard the space station that will significantly increase the crew time available to conduct the important research and technology demonstrations that are advancing our knowledge for missions farther into space than humans have gone before, while also returning benefits to Earth. They will also be candidates for missions beyond the moon and into deep space aboard our Orion spacecraft on flights that help pave the way for missions to Mars.

5. What will their roles be?

After completing two years of general training, these astronaut candidates will be considered full astronauts, eligible to be assigned spaceflight missions. While they wait for their turn, they will be given duties within the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center. Technical duties can range from supporting current missions in roles such as CAPCOM in Mission Control, to advising on the development of future spacecraft.

6. What will their training look like?

The first two years of astronaut candidate training will focus on the basic skills astronauts need. They’ll practice for spacewalks in Johnson’s 60-foot deep swimming pool, the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, which requires SCUBA certification. They’ll also simulate bringing visiting spacecraft in for a berthing to the space station using its robotic arm, Canadarm2, master the ins and outs of space station system and learn Russian. 

And, whether they have previous experience piloting an aircraft of not, they’ll learn to fly our fleet of T-38s. In addition, they’ll perfect their expeditionary skills, such as leadership and fellowship, through activities like survival training and geology treks.

7.  What kinds of partners will they work with?

They will join a team that supports missions going on at many different NASA centers across the country, but they’ll also interact with commercial partners developing spaceflight hardware. In addition, they will work with our international partners around the globe: ESA (the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

8. How does the selection process work?

All 18,353 of the applications submitted were reviewed by human resources experts to determine if they met the basic qualifications. Those that did were then each reviewed by a panel of about 50 people, made up primarily of current astronauts. Called the Astronaut Rating Panel, that group narrowed to applicants down to a few hundred of what they considered the most highly qualified individuals, whose references were then checked.

From that point, a smaller group called the Astronaut Selection Board brought in the top 120 applicants for an intense round of interviews and some initial medical screening tests. That group is further culled to the top 50 applicants afterward, who are brought back for a second round of interviews and additional screening. The final candidates are selected from that group.

9. How do they get notified?

Each applicant selected to become an astronaut receives a phone call from the head of the Flight Operations Directorate at our Johnson Space Center and the chief of the astronaut office. They’re asked to share the good news with only their immediate family until their selection has been officially announced.

10. How does the on boarding process work?

Astronaut candidates will report for duty at Johnson Space Center in August 2017, newly fitted flight suits in tow, and be sworn into civil service. Between their selection and their report for duty, they will make arrangements to leave their current positions and relocate with their family to Houston, Texas.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

The Keynote (1915). William Arthur Chase (British, 1878-1944). Oil paint on canvas. Tate.

After attending the Regent Street Polytechnic Art School, Chase entered the Civil Service and became an Inland Revenue Officer but continued his painting and exhibited at the Royal Academy and several leading galleries. When he came to Bristol in 1908 at the age of thirty, he was already a well known portrait painter and a specialist in flower paintings.

Encouraging post.

I want to write this in high hopes of encouraging other people out there. I was in a bad place about 3 years ago, when my heart was broken, shattered completely by my dream job being ripped away from me. When I was 12 I began researching into a career in veterinary medicine, wanting so much to become a vet. Later on, in my teens, I knew that my grades would always be against me. So, I put the idea of being a vet aside, and went for a degree in Psychology instead, hoping to help people. But my dream of wanting to work with animals never left me. 

The a few years ago, I tried out for veterinary nursing, getting the college course, but finding it impossible to land a work placement in a surgery. No one would take me on, even after doing some voluntary work. After that I began putting my CV into vets; over and over I tried to get a job in a surgery, even if just working on reception or as a cleaner. I desperately wanted in to the veterinary profession. 

Then I got an interview with one company and the manager seemed very impressed with me. I kept calling back, asking for feedback on my interview and to see if I’d moved to the second stage which was a work trial. A month later I had the work trial. I, again, impressed the manager. However…they didn’t have actual hours for me to work. In her words,”I am so keen to have you, but we don’t have the hours.” This was a new surgery, yet they didn’t have hours for me to work as a veterinary assistant. I kept calling back, trying to get hours until the head vet flat out told me that they were working on skeleton crew and did not intend to take anyone on. It killed me. Emotionally and mentally I was a wreck. 

I prayed again and again that the day would come when the door would opened and I could step into a vets and work with animals. But it never happened. 

Instead, I went for an interview with the Civil Service working with a new team which are sent into various government departments to help with surges in work and crises the country may face. Reluctantly, I took the job when it was offered. 

And now, two years later, I’m still working there. But I’ve travelled to many destinations across the country and helped in many departments. In a week I’ll be working in London with an area of work that I absolutely love the look of. My managers noted down my enthusiasm for this and chose me, along with four others. 

And this job, behind the scenes, has brought in the finances to help me travel, giving me confidence in myself and my abilities. I’ve done things I would never have done if I’d have been given the veterinary assistant job. I wouldn’t have found my love of travelling, been to New York, be facing a holiday to New Zealand or be a more confident person in who I am and what I want in life. And now I’m starting driving lessons, which I put off for many years through my lack of confidence. 

If anything, all of this has strengthened my faith. When I thought it would all break, it actually made it stronger than ever and has helped me trust God more. 

So, my message to you is this: blessings don’t always come in the way we expect. You may be given something you don’t want at first, but with it comes other opportunities. Think of it as one big present and once opened, lots of smaller parcels are inside. 

I hope this has encouraged you. :) Be blessed, folks. 

Growth and Failure

The longer the story, the more failures there should be and the greater the change that should occur.

This is the case for anything you write, but the more episodic the series is, the more this holds true. TV series, ongoing web series, and web comics are the most obvious examples of this.

Basically what this means is that your characters can’t succeed at everything they try to do. One thing about shows like Supernatural (the early seasons) is that you as the viewer know that, for the most part, by the end of every episode, the Monster of the Week will have been defeated and everyone you care about will still be alive and healthy. There are overarching plots, but they are tangential to most episodes and don’t affect much.

In Stargate SG-1, on the other hand, they spend eight season facing one major enemy (the Goa’uld), and they spend many of the episodes fighting the Goa’uld in some form or another. And sometimes they fail and the Goa’uld win, and sometimes they win and that later helps the Goa’uld win, and sometimes they don’t fight the Goa’uld at all, and those missions may be either successful or not to a lesser degree. Beyond that, there are lower level failures: they try to make a spaceship and it almost kills some of them, they try to make a new spaceship, it doesn’t work as hoped at a pivotal moment and they almost lose the entire planet, they build a giant spaceship and it gets stolen (briefly), they build more giant spaceships and one gets shot down over a planet and then later they need to get that spaceship home and it (temporarily) gets stuck in a giant sentient gas cloud. All of this means that sometimes they don’t have a spaceship that can do what they need even though they’ve been trying to build one for most of the show, but at the end of the show, they end up with spaceships whose capabilities and weaknesses play a pivotal role in the show.*

My point in recounting all of that (other than to get you all to watch Stargate) is to show that, especially when you have a long series where you want to show a great deal of growth (and I’ll explain why you need that in a second), you can’t just have them win every time they try to grow or every time they try to defeat an enemy. You have to have them fail, too, or there will be no stakes and it will be hard to suspend disbelief.

So…why do you need growth?

Basically, if you end up in the same place that you started, what was the point of your story?

Well, you cry, they defeated the major enemy. Isn’t that enough?

And to that I ask (because I like holding imaginary teaching sessions): If they could defeat the major enemy (or if they could get the girl/boy/non-binary person, or if they could get into the school they wanted, or if they could do whatever else they want to do) with the capabilities they had in the beginning, why didn’t they? There is no need for a story if your characters have everything they need to succeed when the story starts.

And as for why you need failure? Here are three reasons.

One, failure is realistic. Things rarely work well on the first try, especially more than once, which means that the more things a character (or group, organization, etc.) is trying, the more they should fail. If you think about someone trying to learn a language, they basically never (without an eidetic memory) remember all words the first time they see/hear them, or use grammar perfectly on the first try, or pronounce every word correctly. They will get some, but they will rarely get all. The same should go for someone who is trying to learn how to fight, for example. Even if you get everything right the first time you are shown it (which may or may not happen), you’re not going to get it right every time. You might fail more at some things than at others, or fail at the same thing over and over. Sometimes it’s because you don’t understand how to do it, sometimes it’s because your brain and your body aren’t communicating well, and sometimes it’s because your muscles just aren’t strong enough or your body isn’t flexible enough for it to work. Those are all failures that can and do happen in real life.

Two, failure raises the stakes. If you know the main characters are going to succeed at everything they try, or that their failures aren’t going to have any consequences beyond that episode (or chapter, etc.), there are no stakes. There is no concern for whether the character will do well or whether they will be ready in time, because they always are. There is no risk, because there is no failure.

Three, failure is interesting. As we see in Stargate, entire episodes can be built around failures. Failures make for interesting storylines, and sometimes successes that turn into failures can turn into even more interesting storylines. You defeat the Big Bad only to have a Bigger Bad rise up because of it? That’s a great storyline, and shows what was ultimately a failure by the characters. You stop someone for personal reasons at the expense of stopping someone for strategic reasons? Great storyline, because it not only prolongs and changes the conflict, it also adds an opportunity for personal growth and/or conflict into the mix.

With that, failures can also cause really interesting interpersonal interactions. Let’s so all of the characters are counting on Bob to pull off one part of the plan, and despite trying his best, Bob fails. Now everyone blames Bob (or maybe some subset of them blame Bob, depending on their personalities) and it causes tension in the group. Maybe this tension ultimately leads to Bob leaving because he can’t take the blame anymore. Now you have a splintered group all from Bob’s one failure.

What types of growth and failure can you have?

(I’m glad you asked, me.)

Here are some examples (primarily for militaristic/adventure type stories, but there’s a mix)**:

  • Building an army (or a group of people)
    • Not be able to convince people to join
    • Have traitors in the midst
    • Have large numbers die/be killed
    • Have people defect
    • Have ideological/strategic differences with allies
  • Building a new form a transportation
    • Not have it ready in time
    • Have it not go far enough
    • Have it not go fast enough
    • Have it fail mid-journey
    • Have it explode mid-journey
  • Building a weapon
    • Not have it ready in time
    • Have it not work
    • Have it explode in testing
    • Have it fail during use
  • Learning to fight
    • Not be ready in time
    • Hurt self while training
    • Not have the strength
    • Not have the endurance
  • Learning magic
    • Lose control
    • Not have the magical capacity
    • Not understand the theory
    • Not perform key rituals
    • Perform key rituals wrong
    • Not have key materials
  • Learning a language
    • Forget vocabulary
    • Forget grammar
    • Not understand grammar
    • Be unable to pronounce words
    • Be unable to understand spoken words
    • Misunderstand nuances
  • Translating/decoding something
    • Misunderstand nuances
    • Mistranslate words
    • Know the wrong dialect
    • Have the wrong key
    • Looking for something
    • Follow misleading clues
    • Have someone else find it first
  • Taking territory
    • Not have sufficient forces
    • Not have sufficient ability to break walls
    • Lose too many forces
    • Be unable to hold territory
  • Getting a romantic partner
    • Cheat
    • Make bad decisions while intoxicated
    • Forget significant dates/events
    • Say inappropriate or mean things
    • Misunderstand what is being said
    • Miscommunicate
  • Getting a degree
    • Not having enough money
    • Not studying enough
    • Not getting good enough grades
    • Not having the time
    • Having other life issues that distract from it
  • Forming a government
    • Have ideological splits
    • Have political splits
    • Have factions form
    • Have coup attempts
    • Be unable to govern
    • Be unable to create a working organizational structure
    • Be unable to create adequate civil service (police, roads, etc.)

*Of course, Stargate has some of its own issues with this, like the fact that Daniel has been brought back to life more than once, so the viewers stop believing that Daniel is ever actually dead.

**When I use the term failure, I don’t mean that it is the fault of the character or organization (necessarily, though in some cases it might be). I just mean that it is not-success.

Pledis always freaks me out

“Primitive Christianity abolishes the state: it forbids oaths, war service, courts of justice, self-defense and the defense of any kind of community, the distinction between fellow countrymen and foreigners, and also the differentiation of classes.”

—F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §207 (edited excerpt).

Public Service Announcement

I already said stuff but I want to go into it further. The way the fans acted in Shawn’s recent charity event was not okay at all

I was just standing there waiting for shawn to walk by and take pictures, since he was. THEN BOOM! I was pushed against shawn, someone broke my shoe and the fans were screaming and not listening to shawn. I was so worried about him because he had little to none security and the fans were acting barbaric. I have bruises on my legs and I feel so bad for being pushed into shawn, I said sorry like 100 times then I pushed my way out of the crowd before I was trampled. Throughout the video I’m calm but in the inside at one point I was like “wtf is shawn, Geoff and I going to make it out of here alive??”


RESPECT SHAWN WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO DO?

PEOPLE WERE INJURED AND SHAWN LOOKED LOWKEY TERRIFIED. AMERICA NEEDS TO SHAPE UP! RESPECT! BE CIVILIZED!! Wtf why does this conversation need to happen. Shawn is an amazing kid and all those fans take advantage of him, if you were one of those fans who pushed their way I hope you’re disappointed and ashamed of yourselves

My Wishes for Obama’s Parting Shots

President-elect Donald Trump is accusing President Obama of putting up “roadblocks” to a smooth transition. 

In reality, I think President Obama has been too cooperative with Trump. 

In the waning days of his administration, I’d recommend Obama take the following last stands:

1. Name Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President power to fill any vacancy during the recess of the Senate. The Supreme Court is no exception: Justice William Brennan began his Court tenure with a recess appointment in 1956. Any appointments made this way expire at the end of the next Senate session. So if Obama appointed Garland on January 3, the appointment would last until December 2017, the end of the first session of the 115th Congress.

2. Use his pardoning authority to forgive “Dreamers.” With a flick of his pen, Obama could forgive the past and future civil immigration offenses of the nearly 750,000 young people granted legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Without an immigration offense on their records, they could more easily apply for legal status.

3. Impose economic sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election – including blocking all loans or investments by Russian nationals in all real estate ventures in the United States.

4. Protect the civil service from the Trump transition. Instruct all cabinet departments and agencies not to respond to any Trump transition team inquiry that might intimidate any individual members of the civil service.

5. Issue an executive order protecting the independence of all government fact-finding agencies: Included would be the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Energy Information. (Trump could repeal the order, but that would be politically costly.)

6. Issue an executive order protecting the independence of all Inspectors General in every cabinet department and agency. (Ditto.)

7. Issue a report on the outcomes of Trump’s and Republican’s proposed tax cuts and benefit cuts, showing which state’s citizens will most benefit from tax cuts going to the richest Americans and largest corporations (overwhelmingly the citizens of blue states), and which will lose the most from cuts in Medicaid and repeal of Obamacare (overwhelmingly red states), along with estimates of such gains.

Heading in for week two of jury duty this morning.
Myself and an elderly gent were the last two on my bus.
He asks, “Where are you off to sweetheart?”
I answer, "High Court.“
He giggles, "What did you do?” And I laugh, getting ready to leave the bus.
He continues. “What are you in for? Stealing the hearts of men?”.
I smile modestly. “Manslaughter.”