professional-experience

p-dots  asked:

I was wondering if you knew anything about the situation with Billy the Asian Elephant at the LA Zoo? I just received an email from the Zoo that a city council motion was filed to remove Billy from the zoo, and they're still trying to fight to keep him. A lot of people claim he appears stressed which is why there's been a big fight to get him moved. I don't really know a lot about elephants so I don't really know what side is best to take or what sources to take seriously (other than the Zoo).

I’ve been following the story of Billy pretty closely. I’m glad you asked - it’s the sort of thing I think is really important to talk about, because people need to understand what’s going on behind the nicely framed stories about animal activism you hear in the media, but I’m never sure how much of that sort of animal industry politics followers are interested in reading. 

The reason this specific instance is so important is because it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than ‘sanctuary vs zoo, which is better for the animals’. The decision to go after Billy - and only Billy, and only right now - looks to me like a really strategic political decision from the animal rights movement, and it falls in line with what I’ve been researching the history, evolution, and MO of the animal rights movement. As I’ve been learning more and more about how animal rights organizations and their partnered sanctuaries conquer and divide to achieve the change they want to see, a very specific pattern of action has started cropping up and this situation exemplifies how they’ve learned to use legislation, the legal system, and the good intentions of the general public to remove animals from zoos. This explanation is going to seem a little bit like jumping at shadows, but this method of petitioning cities to seize zoo animals as assets - and the really conveniently timed fallout that would result from their success - is textbook animal rights organization planning. 

So here’s what you need to know - if Billy is sent to a sanctuary, the LA Zoo would lose their AZA accreditation. They’d likely then be subject to the new wild animal performance law that’s got major support in LA right now, because only AZA institutions would likely have an automatic exemption. The combination of loss of accreditation, potential inability to do public education and outreach, and the ability of the AR groups to spin the situation as ‘AZA kicked them out for being abusive to their elephants’ would massively damage the viability of the zoo as an institution for the foreseeable future… at which point AR groups could easily petition the city to seize more animals from the collection and send them off to sanctuaries, because it’s now “well known” what a horrible institution the LA Zoo is. That would normalize the idea that animal rights organizations and city officials with no professional animal experience know more about animal welfare than the best zoological institutions in the country, and would set a scary precedent regarding what sorts of institutions the public will accept the animal rights organizations condemning and removing animals from. With that sort of potential fallout - and all of the pieces of the puzzle having been successful, individually, within the last decade or so in regards to other animal rights campaigns - this really is not about a single elephant at all. 


AZA has this one really important rule in their accreditation standards, and it boils down to: any zoo they accredit must be considered the experts and have final say over the care of their animals. If anyone external to a AZA accredited zoo overrules that zoo’s choice of care for their animals in any way, that zoo loses their AZA accreditation because they are no longer viewed as having ultimate control over the welfare of their charges. This is really important when it comes to elephants, as the Toronto Zoo lost their AZA accreditation over exactly this situation: animal rights activists caught wind of TZ’s plan to transfer their elephants to a facility in Florida where they’d live in a bigger herd, and petitioned the city council to send the elephants a the Performing Animals Welfare Sanctuary (the same one they want Billy to go to, which has a known history of uncontrolled tuberculosis infections on the property to this day). The Toronto Zoo is a municipal zoo - which means its animals were city property - and the city council chose to claim the elephants as assets, ignore the evidence of animals with active TB already living at the chosen facility, and then overruled the Toronto Zoo staff’s due diligence about what choice would provide the best welfare for their elephants and sent them away to PAWS. Having been overruled by the city council and having lost control of animals in their collection, the Toronto Zoo lost their AZA accreditation. (They later reapplied and were re-accredited). 

So, if the animal rights activists can convince the city council to claim Billy as an asset and remove him to PAWS, it would really damage the LA Zoo as an institution. Their credibility in the eyes of the public would be destroyed, they’d lose exemptions from federal legislation due to losing their AZA status; they’d be forced to pull out of multiple major SSPs (because only AZA institutions are allowed to house animals in the Green level programs, of which LA zoo has number); they’d likely lose grant funding. What’s more, the zoo would then be subject to the recent law banning the use of any exotic animal in “entertainment”in LA, because if has the same structure as similar legislation we’ve seen in other states, only AZA facilities get an exemption. If true, that would mean the zoo would no longer be able to do education and outreach programs with their animals (and this law was backed by PAWS, the organization that runs sanctuary they’re trying to send Billy to). 

There’s a very specific reason that this whole campaign centers on Billy, not all three elephants, which is part of what makes it so clear this is a campaign with an end goal of damaging the LA Zoo’s AZA accreditation. Billy’s two elderly companions, Jewel and Tina, would be far better candidates to be sent to a sanctuary if welfare is really the concern driving the advocacy. They’re rescues from a private owner who were massively underweight and had chronic medical conditions, and it’s not as important for them to stay within AZA’s management as other elephants because they’re too old to contribute to the Asian Elephant SSP. The LA zoo has previously been willing to send older elephants to the PAWS sanctuary without needing intervention from the city council (that story is discussed below), so why is this newer campaign ignoring the elderly females and bypassing the zoo entirely by going to the city council when their welfare would likely be more improved by that sort of move? Jewel and Tina don’t belong to the LA Zoo - they’re officially part of the San Diego Zoo collection and on loan to LA - which means the city council can’t claim them as assets and forcibly remove them. The only elephant at the LA zoo that the LA city council has the ability to control is Billy, and so it’s pretty clear this is about getting the city council to overrule the zoo’s choices in caring for their collection and not about which elephants would benefit most from leaving the zoo environment. 

This is an attempt by the animal rights industry to undermine the LA Zoo as an organization - that much is clear. Billy is just a convenient figurehead and an animal that the public will empathize with while being completely unaware of the the ulterior motives behind the advocacy effort. It comes at a delicate time, too, as the LA Zoo is currently in the process of developing a new master plan for the future of the facility. That’s a future that would be massively impacted by a loss of accreditation and all the potential fallout that would go along with it. 


So that’s the context to the Billy situation, and why people are fighting so hard on both sides of the issue. But what the public really cares about here isn’t the politics, it’s the animal welfare, so here’s a look at history and the welfare of the elephant at the center of all this furor. 

Billy at the LA Zoo. (Photo Credit: San Diego Blogs)

Billy is one of three elephants at the LA Zoo - he’s the youngest, at 32, and the only male. Billy is kept separated from his two elderly female companions, Jewel and Tina, because he’s young enough to still want to reproduce and would injure the elderly ladies if he tried to mount them. However, while the elephants are always separated by a barrier, the exhibit was designed with heavy-duty wire fences that meant the elephants could always be able to see, hear, and touch each other through it. The LA Zoo Asian elephant exhibit is one of the biggest elephant habitats in the United States at 6.5 acres (with almost four acres of yard space), and was opened in 2010 - the construction of a state-of-the-art habitat was part of the resolution from the first time animal rights activists demanded the elephants move to a PAWS sanctuary. 

In 2006, an elderly Asian elephant named Gita died at the LA Zoo. It’s not clear what led to her ending up in position she did, but she was found laying on her back legs with her front legs stretched in front of her. Nothing they did could entice her to stand back up, and she eventually died as her body weight crushed her own tissue and the toxins released during that process overloaded her kidneys. (While this sounds brutal, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is likely how many elderly large animals die if they lay down for the last time in a position that puts their weight on their own body). Animal rights activists had already been agitating for the LA Zoo’s elephants to be sent to a sanctuary, and they used Gita’s death as momentum to push for Billy and the other female housed there at the time, an african elephat named Ruby, to be transported to a sanctuary where it was claimed her welfare would be much higher than at the zoo. The LA Zoo eventually caved to public pressure and chose to send Ruby to PAWS (keeping their AZA accreditation by doing so voluntarily) where she was immediately housed with other animals without a proper quarantine period, exposed to animals who were TB positive and were not diagnosed until after death, and eventually died herself in 2011 from an unknown disease that looked suspiciously like TB (PAWS declined to send out samples for testing, despite what appeared to be physical symptoms observed during the necropsy). 

Gita at the LA zoo in 1999 in the old exhibit. ( Photo Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Billy remained at the LA Zoo after Ruby left, and the organization undertook a 42-million-dollar elephant exhibit renovation with the intention of bringing in another breeding male and a number of females as part of the Asian Elephant SSP. In 2007, local activists sued to halt construction of the exhibit with the goal of removing elephants from the LA zoo permanently and forcing Billy into a sanctuary - after a case that was drawn out for a number of years and repeatedly stalled exhibit construction, the judge assigned instead that the LA Zoo was allowed to continue exhibiting elephants but was required to exercise them frequently, make regular exhibit improvements such as tilling the soil, and banned the use of tools such as bullhooks and guides at the facility. When the new elephant exhibit opened in 2010, the LA zoo decided to put breeding plans for Billy on hold in order to house a pair of bonded female Asian elephants - Jewel and Tina - who had recently been removed from a private owner who had neglected their medical care. 

The three elephants share access to the large, heated elephant barn and have 24/7 access to five unique outdoor yards. Each yard has a substrate of soft sand that is tilled regularly to keep it from becoming compacted and hard - the shifting motion of the sand helps keeps the elephants in shape as they walk over it - and each yard has unique features like puzzle feeders, bathing pools and waterfalls. 

Browse and treats are placed at unique locations around all the yards each day, encouraging the elephants to explore their environment anew each morning. In addition, a comprehensive environmental enrichment program makes sure the elephants always have novel objects and stimuli to interact with and a daily training session (which the public is able to watch as a demonstration most days a week) keeps them mentally engaged by practicing foot care, grooming, practice for any veterinary behaviors that might be needed, as well as strength- and balance-focused exercises.

The AZA accreditation standards - which cover general animal policy in 34 pages, and use another 12 to cover animal interactions with the public or use in education programs - have dedicated 32 pages specifically to the regulations regarding elephant husbandry, training, nutrition, body condition, enrichment, and welfare assessments. As a large AZA-accredited zoo that frequently falls under the celebrity-studded, critical eye of the local populace, it’s inconceivable that Billy’s care (and that of Tina and Jewel) is not in accordance with these highly detailed requirements. 

Photos of the new LA Zoo elephant exhibit. (Photo credits: The Portico Group).

The LA Zoo’s elephant exhibit, finished in 2010, was designed by The Portico Group, a design firm founded in Seattle, WA in 1990. The Portico Group’s exhibit designs consistently awards every year within the industry for their incorporation of the newest animal welfare science and management technologies as well as educational and interpretive options. Their design for the LA Zoo is on par with the quality of the rest of their designs, and features a similar amount of yard space for the elephants as the design they created for the widely-praised Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Africa expansion that opened in 2013. 

Billy in his habitat at the LA Zoo. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Vogel)


One of the biggest reasons people express a concern for Billy is a head-bobbing behavior he’s been known to perform his entire tenure at the LA Zoo. The public is aware that repetitive behaviors (called stereotypies) can be signs of low quality welfare, and often worry that means that Billy isn’t being well taken care of at the zoo. However, one thing that isn’t commonly known about sterotypical behaviors is that once developed, they rarely go away once the animal is in a better welfare situation - which leads guests to often misunderstand an animal’s behavior as it relates to their current care. 

The LA Zoo has studied Billy’s head bobbing behavior over the years, and concluded that it appears to be an anticipatory behavior rather than one brought on by stress, as it mainly occurs when the elephant is awaiting the arrival of food, expecting a keeper interaction, or getting ready for movement into another area of his habitat. They also found that Billy had been noted to be displaying the head bobbing behavior when he came to the zoo at age 4 and that it was not something not something he developed during his life at the facility. 

Just because the behavior doesn’t mean that Billy has low welfare in his situation at the LA Zoo doesn’t mean the staff just want to leave him to bob and sway: to help decrease the amount of head-bobbing Billy does and engage him in a range of other behaviors, the keeper staff change their husbandry routine slightly each day and provide enrichment at different times in order to keep him investigating his environment instead of standing and waiting for regular occurrences. 


At the end of the day, Billy’s welfare does not appear to be the impetus pushing this current furor around “rescuing him” - he’s a convenient figurehead for what appears to be a well-coordinated attempt to undercut the LA Zoo’s credibility and accreditation status. 

But even though the actual welfare of the elephant is irrelevant to the organizations pushing this agenda, the general public is now very invested in understanding Billy’s welfare in regards to the outcome of this situation. 

The sanctuary animal rights activists are recommending Billy be sent to has multiple issues with basic elephant husbandry and medical treatment. PAWS was unable to evacuate their elephants in when threatened by a massive wildfire in 2015, due to their policy against doing even the most basic husbandry training with their animals that would have allowed them to be walked into a trailer or crated for transport. Instead, the animals were sheltered on site as the fire came within a few miles of the facility, putting them through massive amounts of stress and resulting in probable smoke inhalation. PAWS frequently take in animals that are reported as healthy upon transport, only to report having to euthanize them within a few years due to crippling chronic conditions. Most concerning is that PAWS appears to be plagued by frequent tuberculosis outbreaks among their elephants, potentially with multiple strains of the disease, despite their stated adherence to biosafety protocols -and that they have had at least one animal die while sick with active, contagious TB infections that were only discovered post-mortem. 

Billy is currently housed in a modern elephant habitat that was created in accordance with best practices for elephant management by outstanding architects - a remodel that was done specifically in response to the original welfare concerns about LA Zoo’s elephants in the late 2000′s. He has access to state-of-the-art veterinary medicine and is cared for by a dedicated team keepers who practice medical treatment behaviors, like foot care, with him daily to ensure that he can quickly receive treatment in a stress-free setting if it becomes necessary in the future. LA Zoo’s elephant keepers work hard to keep Billy active, mentally stimulated, and make sure he has plenty of positive social interactions with both the human and elephant members of his herd. 

If the goal of the general public is Billy’s welfare, he is far better off in a habitat designed for him to inhabit with the staff he has known for a better part of two decades than being sent across the country to a facility with massive red flags in their elephant management program just to fulfill a political movement’s agenda of damaging the facility that holds him. 


Citations under the cut. 

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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 best thing shadowhunters did was cast harry shum jr as magnus bane, to choose someone with professional experience as a dancer to play the part of a man who is known for his elegance. harry brings such a level of class to magnus, he really does walk around the room as though he owns it, the way he manages his magic is fluid and graceful. everything about magnus bane is highlighted because of the dedication harry brings to it, physically, emotionally, mentally. all of it. he gives magnus bane the aesthetic ive always wanted, and the emotions i never thought i would be able to see with magnus. 

A Guide to Writing Your Resume

I recently took a very helpful youth professional development course and learned some great things I’d love to share with everyone. This post will be especially helpful for first time resume writers, but there might be something in it for everyone. 

1. What is a Resume? 

A resume is a brief summary of your abilities, experience, and skills. It’s essentially a personal advertisement for your professional career, an opportunity to convince the employer that you are worth interviewing. 

  • The average employer will only take about 15-20 seconds to read your resume.
  • It’s important that your resume is neat so the reader can find important information quickly. 
  • Limit the resume to one page. 
  • Standard font size is 11-12, but you can play with the font or margins to fit everything. 

2. Headings 

  • Start with your personal information at the top of the first page (name, address, phone number, and email address). 
  • Keep the header centered and your name on top in BIG LETTERS.

3. Education 

  • If you are still in school or have little professional experience, this will likely be the first section in your resume. 
  • Document your education and graduation year.
  • Include the location (city, state), but do not include the school address. 
  • If you attend a school with a College Preparatory Curriculum, you may list that as a bullet underneath. If you are taking Honors or AP classes (or an international equivalent), feel free to list that as well. 

4. Professional Experience 

  • List your work experience in reverse chronological order - start with your most recent experience, and work backwards. 
  • Include the employer name, city, state, and position title for each. Again, no addresses.
  • Record your dates of employment consistently, using a format like June 2016 - August 2015, or 6/15 - 8/15. Staying consistent will make your resume professional. 
  • Place current jobs in the present tense, past jobs in the past tense. 
  • Write short phrases, not full sentences (”performed experiments”, not “I performed experiments”). Start each description with an action word that describes your skills, responsibilities, or accomplishments. 
  • Make sure you are specific about your responsibilities and don’t undersell yourself!

5. Skills 

  • Most commonly listed skills are computer programs and softwares you are comfortable with, and languages you are fluent/proficient in. 
  • Be honest! If you say you’re fluent in Spanish and you’re not, but your employer hires you for your Spanish abilities…. someone isn’t going to be pleased. 
  • List skills that are relevant to your job - patience might be a good skill for working with children, while organized might be more suitable for an office setting. 

6. Honors & Awards/Extracurriculars

  • List any honors or awards you have earned, including a brief explanation if the nature of the award is unclear. 
  • List any activities that you have been involved in, making sure to include years of participation (again, be consistent with formatting). These can be in-school or outside-of-school activities.

7. General & Miscellaneous

  • Some safe fonts: Times New Roman, Garamond, Calibri, or Book Antiqua.
  • Make sure your email is professional! This has been repeated to death but it’s so, so, so important. 
  • Likewise, if you list your personal cellphone number, make sure your voicemail message is appropriate. When in doubt, just revert back to the standard voicemail greeting. 

I hope this was helpful for anyone just starting out with their resume. Please share this for those who need it. Best of luck! 

- Ellie 

I want to talk today about why Why Animals Do The Thing is done educating on behalf of the wolfdog community. This doesn’t mean I won’t be doing education about wolfdogs if the subject comes up, and I still encourage people to utilize @packwestwolfdogrescue as a source for wolfdog-related information, but WADTT will no longer be advocating for the private-ownership wolfdog community or collaborating with them. I know WADTT readers have really appreciated the previous education surrounding wolfdogs, and I apologize for not being able to continue on a topic that garners so much interest. This is a not a choice I want to make, but one that is necessary, as it has been made clear there is a fundamental incompatibility between their ethos regarding education and public outreach and mine. My ethos for WADTT has always been to create accurate, fact-based education drawn from comprehensive research and to foster a community that encourages dialogue and active collaborative efforts; it is time to disengage from supporting a community whose approach to education is spreads misinformation, attacks learners looking to engage with it, and actively supports harassment.

I’ve been in the various wolfdog Facebook groups since Pack West and I began discussing collaboration about a year ago, because they’re the best source of general education for people interesting in learning about phenotyping and wolfdog behavior. I learned a huge amount from those groups - both about wolfdogs and about the general mentality of the people who own them and participate in discussions about them online. As an educator, it was hard to watch and as someone who wanted to learn it was even harder to engage in.

The education done there of new members was consistently combative and hostile - with threads often devolving into lambasting people for not doing more research before asking questions - and occasionally threads would be created about the new members and how much their attempts to contribute to conversations before they knew everything were a problem. The only people who were considered credible when discussing wolfdogs were those who had owned wolf content animals for most of their lives - which meant that the input of anyone with relevant professional experience was ignored, if not often outright denied as being valid. This meant that the actual education accomplished in the groups was really vitriolic and frequently inaccurate: some posts would invite people to try to phenotype animals for education, but the same people involved would immediately turn around on other posts and condemn people for phenotyping animals they hadn’t met; the discussions about wolfdog behavior I observed were full of urban legends and misunderstandings of dog behavior, and awareness of recent research or even understanding of basic behavioral science concepts was frequently absent; training wolfdogs was not considered unimportant and frequently discouraged, and it seemed that using preventative training strategies to safely manage typical wolfdog behaviors wasn’t even on the radar. Education from the groups in general required being able to discriminate between mythology and fact and the ability to weather the constant unpleasantness that pervaded the threads. I chose to stay because I didn’t want to ask Pack West to be my only wolfdog primary source, and it was important to me to engage with the community I wanted to assist as an outside educator.

Last week, I published an article on what people should know about one of the most internet-famous misrepresented wolfdog, Loki. I’ve talked about Loki in posts a few times on this blog, and while I was at Pack West in January it became clear from our discussions that a larger article was necessary due to the frequency of questions received about him. When the article was published, while the response on tumblr was fairly positive, it brought on a deluge of harassment from the wolfdog community on Facebook that has not yet ended at the time of writing this post. It is the response to that article, specifically the pieces of it that they chose to attack, that finalized my choice to disengage from the private-ownership wolfdog community and helping with their outreach efforts.

I originally shared my article on the groups I was in as an offer of an outside resource that could be utilized, since I had asked the groups for assistance finding sources when I began writing it two months earlier. In the time I had been part of the groups, Loki had been a frequent topic of discussion and irritation, and I assumed that it might be useful for them to have a link to offer people rather than having to reiterate the facts so often.

In response, I was swamped with enough comments to shut down my ability to use Facebook for a couple days: how I don’t have enough experience to write anything education related to wolfdogs, how it’s completely unthinkable to publicize even a well-agreed-upon phenotype on an animal I have never personally met, how I should get sued for writing such a character attack, how I’m not actually an educator and just a person with a vendetta, etc. In addition, multiple threads discussing how appalling it was that the article existed at all and everything wrong with it showed up in the groups, because the fact that they were visible to me didn’t matter. I engaged with a few of them in a similar matter to how I respond to critique on the blog, explaining my reasons for writing and my sources. The comments and the private messages got nastier once I made it clear I wasn’t willing to capitulate to taking the article down. I was eventually kicked out of the main group without any communication or explanation from the mods as to what I’d done to violate the rules. It was exhausting and it hasn’t calmed down: I’m still getting passive-aggressively tagged in things on the groups I haven’t left to give my “expertise”. I recently received a letter from the board of the National Lupine Association, whose phenotyping pamphlet I linked to in the text of the post as further reading, officially requesting that I remove any reference to their association from my blog post. It’s awful and it’s exhausting, but the harassment isn’t why I’m no longer willing to support the private-ownership wolfdog community - it’s because of the type of feedback given regarding how they want education regarding wolfdogs to be done.

These are the major points made by the private-ownership wolfdog community (meaning they were repeated multiple times by different people) in response to my article that elucidated how incompatible the reasons I do education are with that community:

  • My article was not approved by the general community and therefore should not exist. The private-ownership wolfdog community hates messaging they cannot control, especially if they do not agree with it. Some of the well-respected members had told me not to publish when I first brought it up in January, and they were furious that I had not obeyed.
  • My article might have created blowback against the wolfdog community by Loki’s owner, which meant silencing me was more important than educating the general public. The private-ownership wolfdog community is terrified of aggravating Loki’s owner, as they believe he has threatened to use his fame to go anti-ownership, and are desperate to do anything to prevent that occurring. No matter how many animals are killed or left in horrible welfare situations because of the exact type of misrepresentation Loki and his owner perpetuate, it is more important to the majority of the Facebook community to not risk having someone popular speak out against them than to accurately educate the public to prevent other animals suffering in the future.
  • My article contained a phenotype I did not have enough “experience” to be giving, no matter where I sourced it from, so the article could not be credible. Even though I had produced educational content for the wolfdog community regarding phenotyping before, did research into Loki’s parents and kennel of origin, and discussed his phenotype at length with an expert before writing, my lack of personal wolfdog ownership discredited the validity of any educational material produced.
  • My article mentioned having been in contact with a government agency as part of my research, which is a cardinal sin. I contacted USDA regarding the existence of an exhibition permit for Loki - the private-ownership wolfdog community does not believe anyone should ever interface with any authorities regarding a wolfdog, no matter what the situation. (In some ways, this is a reasonable concern, as people have historically reported animals to the government and gotten them taken or killed. However, as Loki is internationally famous, he is not an animal that animal-related government agencies would not already be aware of. Moreover, Loki lives in a wolfdog legal state, USDA considers wolfdogs domestic animals by their own regulatory definitions, and USDA is primarily concerned with enforcing licensing and registration in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. Inquiring as a journalist about the existence or lack thereof of a specific permit would, at worst, get Loki’s owner fined and forced to get the permit.)
  • My article told the truth about rabies law as it applies to wolfdogs, and it was inappropriate for the general public to be aware of that information.

That is not the education I believe in doing. I do not believe in advocating for people who allow vague threats to keep them from speaking out about an issue that regularly gets animals they care about killed. I do not believe in being told not to do thorough research because it might involve a regulatory agency. I do not believe in being told that it’s inappropriate to educate the public about laws that both protect our pets and could also get them killed just because the truth isn’t pretty or straight forward. And I really don’t believe in supporting a community that is willing to attack and discredit any advocacy on their behalf that they don’t control.

I’ve chosen to remove the Loki post from the WADTT side indefinitely. I abhor letting the bullies win, but the choice comes down to the fact that this is not the hill I want to die on. What I’m trying to build with WADTT is bigger than this and I’d rather fold on this single piece of writing for now to facilitate what I want it to become in the future. The blog has been completely dark for over a week, which hasn’t occurred since I started it two years ago, because this has impacted my mental health so drastically. The folk supporting the WADTT patreon and WADTT’s future are supporting me so I can be present and do daily education, so for now, that’s what I’m choosing to prioritize.

Regular posting and the queue should resume in the next couple of days.

A few of the mods of this blog have been talking, and we’ve been becoming increasingly concerned about a trend that we’ve all noticed in the DID community here. We’ve tried to address it in the past, but we feel that it’s important that we try again and acknowledge that it’s much bigger than we communicated before.

What systems need to understand is that it isn’t healthy for anyone to allow their life to revolve around or significantly focus on their alters and / or inner world. It’s one thing to work extensively with alters in order to try to stabilize and heal. Similarly, if a small group of alters works together to manage daily life, of course this requires some degree of internal interaction. What concerns us is seeing that many people in this community act like internal happenings are just as or more important than external events and responsibilities, like internal relationships are just as or more important than external relationships, or like having DID is one of the most important things about someone.

It’s important to get along with your alters. It’s important for every alter to feel respected and heard. It’s important for alters to feel safe and content because your alters are part of you (or, to be more accurate, your alters and you are part of the same overarching system). Your alters need to be doing well for you as a whole to be doing well. Their physical, emotional, and intellectual needs are no less or more important than yours or any other alters’.

What isn’t healthy is focusing on alters’ surface needs at the expense of working on what the system as a whole needs. For example, while child alters can feel more safe and accepted when they’re given toys and allowed to play, it’s the safety and acceptance that they really need. Giving child alters safe play time can help them to reach a realization of safety, but the toys and play time alone aren’t sufficient. Child alters aren’t literal kids that you’ve been tasked with babysitting. They, like every other part of you, were created and shaped by trauma, and they aren’t uniquely immune to its effects. What they need most is for you as a system to heal.

You may not be ready to face your trauma now. Instead, you can start with making sure that your external environment is safe. You can work on symptoms of other mental health conditions that you have. You can find and practice healthier coping mechanisms. You can learn what healthy relationships look like. You can learn to ground yourself when you’re dissociated and even to prevent yourself from dissociating. What you cannot and should not try to do is focus on exploring your system and alters indefinitely at the expense of working towards actual progress. Learning that your child alters feel safer when they have a stuffed animal to hug can be a great realization! Spending days, weeks, months, or longer trying to learn all of your alters unique preferences, however, is a distraction.

It is not healthy to focus on alters’ desires at the expense of external life. While giving alters time to do what they enjoy can help the system to internalize that every part matters, this shouldn’t interfere with academics, your job, or your goals in life. Just as self care is important, giving alters some time to themselves can make for a more stable and happier system. However, just as self care shouldn’t become an excuse to never try to get anything done, making your alters happy shouldn’t become the same. Alters documenting their existence on Tumblr isn’t more worthwhile than meeting up with friends, going somewhere fun, or learning a new skill. Giving alters time out isn’t a more pressing issue than getting your homework done, making sure that you understand what you need to do for your job, volunteering, working on a personal project, or doing something else meaningful or fulfilling.

Similarly, relationships with alters should not take precedent over external relationships. While, again, it’s important for all alters to get along, you shouldn’t prioritize alters dating each other or being friends with each other over looking for, forming, and supporting external friendships, romantic and / or sexual relationships, and general connections. Keeping to yourself because you have your alters for company is not the same as meeting someone new or reaching out to old acquaintances. External loved ones can introduce you to new ideas, teach you new things, support you through hard times, and help you to grow as a person in ways that alters, as part of you, can’t. External loved ones should never make you feel bad about having alters or try to turn any of your alters against each other, but you in turn should try not to neglect them in favor of focusing on symbolic relationships between your alters.

What happens in your internal world will never be a good replacement for external life. Focusing on the jobs that alters have can never be as fulfilling as succeeding academically or in a job of your own. Internal families, partnerships, and friends can never be as fulfilling as finding or making your own family, partner(s), and friends. It may be difficult for you to achieve what you want to externally right now, and that’s okay! If spending time thinking about your internal world helps you to feel calmer, more confident, or more prepared to deal with your actual life, that can be okay. However, you need to be very careful that your internal world doesn’t become a crutch. Remember, distraction can be a coping mechanism, but if taken too far, it’s just another pathological response that’s standing between you and healing.

Another concern is that by focusing too much on your alters and how they feel like separate individuals, you can lose sight of how you all fit together. It can be harder to heal from trauma if you can’t acknowledge that it happened to you, all of you, and not just to specific alters. It can be harder to learn to handle triggers, face your fears, or respond appropriately to other intense situations and emotions if you always lean on specific alters to do so. It can be harder to rely on your abilities if you believe that only specific alters can accomplish your goals. It can be harder to really grasp and work towards your potential if you never acknowledge that your alters’ strengths belong to the system as a whole even if you can’t all access those strengths evenly right now.

There’s also the risk of getting so caught up in alters’ presentations that you give them more weight than the system’s reality. For example, an alter’s age cannot determine what age individuals the system should be with; an alter that presents as a minor in an adult system cannot be romantically or sexually involved with actual minors, just as an alter that presents as an adult in an underage system cannot be romantically or sexually involved with actual adults. An alter presenting as a certain race or ethnicity does not truly understand what it’s like to actually be a member of that racial or ethnic group. An alter presenting as disabled or with conversion disorder does not truly understand what it’s like to actually be permanently disabled in that way. An alter being a doctor or therapist internally does not give the system the medical or professional knowledge and experience of a doctor or therapist. Alters’ internal realities are never as concrete as external reality.

Finally, there’s all of the issues inherent in making a disorder a key part of your identity. Remember that you as a person have so much more going for you than what internal world jobs or abilities your alters have. You’re worth so much more than a list of alter names and associated traits. There’s so much more that’s interesting about you than that you have DID, how many alters that you have, or how your alters present. Some people might struggle with internalizing this, and that’s okay. Even if you’re one of those people, working towards understanding yourself as a whole is worthwhile. Like everything else here, it may take time, effort, and a large change in how you view and understand your system and DID as a whole, but it’s so much healthier in the long run, and every little bit of progress counts.

To reiterate and to make sure that this is absolutely clear, working with your alters is important for healing! It’s okay to acknowledge that your alters can be different from you in important ways. It’s okay for alters to want to spend time doing things that they enjoy, working towards their own interests and passions, or forming their own relationships. It’s okay to not be sure yet what your system’s overall goals, talents, or traits are. It’s okay for several alters to be important parts of your daily life and to have no intention of changing that. Where the line needs to be drawn is allowing your DID, your mental illness, to overshadow your external life. While it may feel comforting now, it’s overall limiting, and you deserve better than that.

-Katherine of Those Interrupted


(Note: I used “DID” throughout this post because OSDD-1 systems don’t seem to have this problem as often. However, this post can apply to all systems.)

the-pasta-pack  asked:

Hey, I've respected the work of Pack West Wolfdog Rescue for a while and am honestly a bit surprised to see that you're not going to be working with them directly anymore. Can you expand on the issues with the organization itself, which you referenced previously, that led you to this decision? Thanks!

I’m very hesitant to answer this question, but yeah, I can. I’ve been torn for a while about addressing this on the blog - I don’t want to undermine a growing organization, but I do think there are some things that, in the context of an organization I hadn’t personally worked with, I would feel that people should know. Since there are a couple of things that are serious enough that I’m no longer comfortable being involved with them until they’ve been addressed, I think they need to be talked about.

These issues were either not present or not readily apparent when I started working with them, but have occurred or become noticeable in the interim. It was not until recently that I put together the individual issues I was uncomfortable with into the larger picture that led me to choose to distance myself from them. I believe I’ve voiced my observations regarding all of these issues to Pack West either in person or by chat, so these are not unknown issues. 

My concerns are based on personal observation of how the facility functions during the two week-long periods I have spent at their facility and my personal online communications with them during the period between visits. My feelings on why these issues are problems stem from over a decade as a dog trainer, a degree in behavioral science, and six years of intense study of, and participation in, exotic animal management and welfare.The below is true to my knowledge as of January, 2017 - I would love to hear that things have since changed, and would happily reassess my opinion based on that. 

Pack West does not, to the best of my knowledge, have any liability waivers or training protocols for volunteers to complete before having access to the animals. This is very unusual for an exotic animal rescue allowing volunteers - a quick google makes it clear that most places require volunteers to sign liability forms and go through training processes to prove they understand the behavior of the animals and can interact with them appropriately. If Pack West is allowing people to have contact with animals who are potentially dangerous - and whose rabies vaccinations don’t protect them under federal law -  I’d want to see them really think through what a volunteer program would entail and how they’d protect both the volunteers and their animals. I’d also want to see how those considerations would alter their practice of having their ambassador animals interact with the public without a signed waiver or muzzles on the animals. Accidents happen, and I worry their current practice would end in tragedy someday in the future.

Pack West does not, to the best of my knowledge, have either a professional behaviorist or anyone with professional animal training and management experience on staff or on retainer. As far as I am aware of, there is not anyone with a professional background in canid or domestic dog behavior involved with the intake of new rescues or with assessing the dynamics between cohoused animals. This also means that, when I was there, there was no established training protocol for managing the wolfdogs living on site, nor were there proactive management plans created to prepare for potential emergency handling needs. I believe this played a significant role in resource guarding and cabin fever escalating to the point of a fight between Cabal and Ivar while I was on site in January - as far as I know, they are no longer housed together as a result of the fight. 

I am aware that for a new rescue professional oversight may be expensive and hard to access. I believe that, nevertheless, it should still be one of their highest priorities as it immediately impacts the welfare of their animals and the safety of their staff. To be truly comfortable engaging with them again, I would want to see the members of the facility gain personal academic or professional experience in animal behavior, management, and training if they can’t afford to hire an extant professional to consult regularly. From my first-hand experiences, this currently doesn’t seem to be a priority for them - I got the impression that hands-on experience with the specific animals was considered equally as relevant as any potential academic and professional background. I feel that rescues, as professional organizations, are obligated to go above and beyond that mythology.

Pack West does not, to the best of my knowledge, have any on-site housing for their rescue animals other than a single 750 square-foot (110 foot perimeter) outdoor enclosure. I did not observe the containment to be locked at any time during either of my visits, even when nobody was on the property, nor does it have secondary containment (which is vital when housing animals known for being escape artists) other than the surrounding yard, which has a low gate and a fence that was visibly compromised in multiple spots as of my last trip. To the best of my knowledge, this enclosure is the permanent home to two large adult male wolfdogs, and for the duration of my January visit additionally housed the resident GSD or another rescue wolfdog. As of that visit, the containment furniture was comprised of two dog houses, a tire, an above-ground pond, and an overhang - there was no indoor area for the animals to use to escape the weather, no waterproof substrate or manmade flooring that would give them an escape from moisture, and no alternate space in which the animals could get a break from each other if needed. The animals were allowed time in the larger yard on site when observed, but during my trip they still spent all of their nights and many daytime hours in the single containment. By contrast, the standards set by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (an organization considered on par with AZA for regulating rescue and sanctuary environments) for an appropriate enclosure type for multiple large canids require “a minimum of 5,000 sq. ft. (465 sq. m) for large canids housed as pairs or trios (…) and a minimum of two rooms or one indoor room and one shift yard per pair of compatible canids”.

Again, I understand that for a small rescue building more containment is expensive and hard to do. Pack West stated before they acquired Ivar (close to a year ago) that they were hoping to sell the property they are currently based on and relocate the rescue, and I think as such they have chosen to not build any new enclosures due to the resources that would be lost during the move. However, as rescue organizations take in unknown animals, I feel it’s crucial that they have multiple enclosures in which they can quarantine animals, do introductions, give residents breaks from each other, and allow incompatible animals to live separately. I don’t believe it’s responsible for a facility to not prioritize having the appropriate living quarters for the animals they take in at present, even if it means a loss of some resources down the line.

Pack West, to the best of my knowledge, has never had their facility inspected or been licensed by the USDA. I hope I’m wrong on this one, because USDA oversight is a federal requirement for any facility that exhibits animals to the public. While Pack West’s facility is not technically open to the public, they are not exempt from USDA regulation because they use their animals for photoshoots and music videos as well as promotional and fundraising campaigns for the organization. If this is true, it is a huge problem - it is the responsibility of a facility to apply for a license and be inspected before beginning to exhibit animals - and most importantly, it would mean that the facility has never been inspected to make sure that its setup is in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. I understand that an organization that is trying move would probably prefer not to spend the money to get their current property in accordance with AWA regulations to only to sell it shortly after and start over, but federal animal welfare laws must be first priority. 

I could understand a new organization struggling with maybe one of these issues, but when considered as a whole they don’t represent an ethos of animal management that I’m currently comfortable supporting - especially considering what appears to me to be avoidance of USDA oversight. I do believe in the value of what the organization is hoping to become - as places that do accurate education and outreach about wolfdogs and wolfy-looking dogs are rare - but before I’m willing to publicly support them again, these issues really need to be addressed. 

I’m really scared to post this, because I know it may be interpreted as a betrayal of my previous friendly relationship with the facility, but it is the same due diligence I would give to any other facility when asked about why I would not personally support it. 

hey deh people

cast me as jared 

i have no professional theatre experience but I’m able to work cash, have an expired first aid certificate, and am a real team player

Millennial College Grads, Reblog if you:

Are unemployed

Underemployed (working less than part time or working on-call or seasonally)

Can’t find a job in your field

Are not working full-time but have been seeking full time employment for a long time

Are not financially stable or are struggling financially

Are drowning in student loans that you can barely afford to pay off

Have seldom received call-backs for jobs you applied for

Are under-qualified for nearly every job that you find (especially entry level jobs wanting multiple years of professional experience and skills with software you’ve never heard of)

Come from a low-income or poor background and only have financial support from your parents or parent 

Still live at home

Want to go back to school to pursue another major or earn your master’s degree but you don’t have the money

You know exactly what you want to do as a career but can’t get a foot in the door

If any of these apply to you, please reblog. I’m currently going through an existential crisis and I just want to know that I’m not alone. I have friends who are in similar situations but they are always somehow able to find jobs or some kind of help before I do and I have been stuck in the same situation since I graduated from college. I’ve been applying for jobs for 2 years and have yet to find anything permanent. I haven’t found a summer job and I only have one more month until summer if over and I am pretty much out of money. My mom has been helping me out, though. And my job as a teacher’s assistant during the fall and spring are usually 4-8 hours a week since I work after-school only. And I can’t survive on what they pay me. In the midsts of constantly hearing from older generations that millennials are lazy and that we have character flaws that are causing us these problems, I guess I need to be reminded that these problems still affects a lot of people in our generation. We’ve worked our asses off and we still are and we’re not getting the same opportunities and job security that the many non-college educated generation X and Baby Boomers have had.  

perishedoffits  asked:

Hey, Sam! You said for your job you “synthesize data into manageable chunks.” I teach college composition, and one of the curriculum's assigned units is the synthesis paper. Since my own professional experience is limited to teaching, I was wondering if you could give me an example of what your end goal of synthesis would be, so I can give my students an example of the skill's worth besides "this is one component of your research/argument paper in the next unit." Thanks!

Sure. So, a little context – I work in a research office, and our clients are mainly fundraisers who are asking their donors for LARGE donations – generally $100K at minimum, and up to hundreds of millions of dollars. So the stakes are relatively high. 

A great example for your students is the “one pager” we do. One of our main fundraisers attends a lot of galas and events, and he needs to know who will be there and how to interact. So he’ll send us a list of, say, 20 names. Our team will prepare a one-page biography on each person, which includes: 

– Name of donor and anyone attending with them, how they’re related to our organization, and their photo
– Full but brief work biography including college degrees
– Spouse or co-attendee’s brief work biography, if any
– Children, if any
– Their previous giving to our organization
– Their giving to other organizations 
– Their last meeting, if any, with the fundraiser who will be reading the bio

This is all stuff that takes maybe an hour to assemble per person, but finding some of it takes some fairly specialized skills, and it’s also an hour that the fundraiser doesn’t have to spend on it if we do it. Additionally it means they ONLY get the information they need – no extraneous facts sloshing around in their heads. The document serves as a record of the person’s current situation, so if in the future they try to remove a portion of their work or giving history from the internet, we still have that information in the document (and in our database, where the info is usually entered once the document is finished). 

Another different less literary example is what we call “prospecting” – using a database of thousands of constituents to find new prospective donors. We are trained to take a list of between say, fifty and five hundred names, “pull” their info (giving to us, giving potential, interests, location, position and place of work, last time they spoke to us, etc) and pick out the best perhaps twenty names; we might do a little additional research to make our case, then present those names to the fundraiser who asked for them, who then goes out and asks them for money; what we’ve done is heavily increase the odds they’ll ask the richest people with the most interest in our org, giving them a better chance of landing a major donation. 

Both the one pager and prospecting are different forms of information synthesis we perform, but the business applications are obvious – this synthesis is how you break down vital information to offer to your clients, employers, and colleagues. It’s the most concise way of reporting information, but also the most convincing, because you go straight to the heart of what they need to know. 

Clarity in writing is so important for our job that I have literally been told in job interviews “We asked you to this interview because your cover letter was so much better than anyone else’s we saw”. I literally landed an interview on the strength of my business writing; they didn’t care that my degrees are in theatre or I started with the org I’m in as a receptionist. That’s how important it is to be clear and convey information well in prose.  

I hope that helps – I think good information synthesis is the root of good communication, getting both what you know and what you need across as clearly as possible. 

Feel free to use this post for your teaching or hit me up with other questions you may have! 

Second Worst Interview of My Life

Some years ago, I had been selling insurance and wanted something a little less salesy. My bank put out an ad for a financial services representative. It was salary plus incentive bonus. No travel. No prospecting. You sat in the bank and the tellers and others would drive referrals to you.

The ad stated requirements of a Life/Health Insurance Agent and two years professional experience. Preferred qualifications were a bachelor’s degree and securities licenses.

Cool. I was, at the time, still working on my degree part time. So this looked like a good next step to getting off of the road and stopping with the cold call biz.

HR calls me for an interview and is super friendly. They set up the interview with the hiring manager. I show up at the designated time and place, with my confirmation email in hand, and am told to sit and wait. About five minutes into my sitting and waiting it became very clear that they didn’t know where the hiring manager was. The receptionist was calling numerous numbers asking if they had seen her. After about 10 calls, they track her down. And she’s trying to discreetly convey that wherever she is is not where she is supposed to be.

They come and apologize, telling me she was stuck in another meeting and will be right out. I sat there for a half hour. I’m about to leave. The receptionist tells me that she will be right with me. Another half hour passes. Finally, this woman walks in through the outside entrance (so she wasn’t even in the building) and approaches me. She takes me into a conference room. The room had various rows of pot lights to light the space. She only turned on the row above where we were seated. So it was just the two of us in a dark room with two lights directly over each of us.

She then starts off by saying “Well, u/JamesOliv, why should we consider you? You don’t even have securities licenses?” I point out that I have my Life/Health license, the required license per the posting, as well as a Series 6/63 (they also required Series 65 and 7). She continues to make grunting noises like I’m wasting her time as she reads through my resume. Then she begins to get somewhat excited by the fact that I have a degree until she reaches the point where I have an anticipated graduation date. She stops mid-sentence and just ends the interview. Total actual interview time, 20 minutes.

Pretty obvious I wasn’t getting the job. However, I was pretty pissed that I wasted over an hour waiting for my interviewer. Even more pissed that she evidently had never read my resume before that moment. Of course, I cannot imagine working for someone who is that inconsiderate of others time. When HR called me to follow up on the interview I told them all of the above. The Director of HR was pretty pissed off and asked me if I’d be willing to come back in and talk about my experience. Kind of hoping I would parlay this into another job interview I agreed. Instead, I ended up relaying all of it to a VP of Financial Services with the HR Director in attendance. They fired the hiring manager for, I can only assume, a long line of offenses related to being a shitty person. I was only able to ascertain that they fired her because of her LinkedIn updates.

I never saw a place reveal itself to be so dysfunctional during the interview process.

me, putting in applications for jobs i am clearly not qualified for: alright u can do this. men put in applications all the time for shit they’re not qualified for and no one calls them out for it. no one is gonna laugh at u just cuz u put in this application without actually having 3 years of professional experience. u got this bb

distress and de-stress (M)

“I didn’t really plan this at all,” you murmured, pinching the bridge of your nose. You could feel some slight throbbing on your head starting. “I didn’t expect to see my classmate dancing as if he was on Magic Mike,” you muttered as Namjoon chuckled.

Warning: slight smut, mentions of alcohol, stripping, and cursing
Pairing: Stripper!Namjoon x reader
Word Count: 5.4k
Series: Of Passion and Stripping (a stripper!BTS au)
Namjoon | Jin | Suga | J-Hope | Jimin | V | Jungkook

You were in your biology class, your final class before the weekend. But, as you were excited for the weekend, you were also feeling awkward because of the loud vibrating sound coming from your phone. 

Your cousin was visiting the capital after being able to score a spot on a week-long convention. Yes, you were definitely excited to see her after such a long time, but you were also aware that you were getting the attention of everybody else in your lecture class. 

She had been nagging nonstop about wanting to visit the strip clubs that were non-existent in your hometown. You didn’t blame her since your hometown’s vibe was far from the active, fast-paced lifestyle in the city you were staying in.

Fortunately, your professor who seemed too absorbed with teaching (or maybe, he stopped caring) didn’t call for your attention. You partially hoped the vibrating sound wasn’t actually noticeable, especially since you were seated at the back row of the hall. The bell rang soon after as you sighed in relief, knowing that you could finally respond to your cousin and ask her on her whereabouts before you headed to wherever she wanted to go.

“The sign-ups for the partner and project assignment will be with Kim Namjoon. Have a good weekend, class,” your professor ended his lecture as he handed a piece of paper to some bespectacled guy whom you noted was Kim Namjoon.

He was one of the top students in your year, but you were surprised that he was also taking up Biology class. This class was supposedly an elective that almost nobody took, except for those who had no more slots left during enrollment before the semester started. Obviously, your parents had a hard time sending you money because of your technology-impaired town. And so, you were resigned to the fact that you were going to take up this science class. He, on the other hand, didn’t seem like he had a hard time with his tuition fees. And it also seemed like he enjoyed the class a lot, especially since he easily became the teacher’s pet.

Keep reading

wind-come-calling  asked:

Your educative and informative work about animal behavior and welfare is outstanding: it has helped me to change my perspective towards animal wellfare topics: I approached them with a very black-and-white mindset before,but through your well-thought and informative posts, I realized that the present situation in animal welfare is much more complex. However, this leaves me with many doubts about what groups truly work towards animal welfare, and therefore are worth supporting.(1/2)

There is any set of guidelines you recommend following for deciding which groups to support?

It really comes down to figuring out what agendas and end-goals you’re willing to support, and what practices you’re okay with, and then doing a ton of research. Not just on their website, but who supports them and who hates them and what recent things have they been involved with. 

Some things to consider when doing that:

Welfare vs Rights rhetoric:

I always say that people who understand the current political meaning of the term ‘animal rights’ will always say they support animal welfare when asked. The animal rights movement is very different than the push for increased animal welfare. So it’s super important to vet the rhetoric of organizations and look at the wording they use. If they talk about inherent rights, any philosophy by Peter Singer, dominion or domination of animals by man, or compare animal use to slavery and rape, those are clear signs they’re more influenced by animal rights ideology than animal welfare science. Good rhetoric talks about welfare assessments, the five freedoms, and generally sounds more like science outreach than a public opinion campaign. 

Involvement with national organizations or community advocacy: 

Are they independent or heavily tied in with a national org? Do they work with local law enforcement to do education, or partner with a local college? Associations can tell you a lot about the underlying ethos of the group and if they’re more practical and focused on welfare or a supporting local subset of a larger, more ideology-based group. 

Policy on issues you support: 

Some animal rights organizations have an end goal of getting rid of all pets and removing them from human dominion, which a lot of people don’t realize. PETA for sure, and also HSUS if you read their messaging closely. Born Free isn’t super anti-pet, but they balance that out by wanting to destroy all zoos and exotic animal captivity, which bothers some people but not others. Some groups are really focused on agricultural welfare improvements and don’t get involved with zoos or pets or hunting. You’ll want to weigh the position statements on the issues you care about against each other and see if you support the way that measures up. 

Professional involvement: 

does the organization actually have people from animal industries employed or consulting? Some rescue organizations will say they’re really into solving, for example, chicken abuse - but they won’t have a single consultant or staff member who has worked with chickens to be able to help them make judgement calls or inform practices of places they’re working with. I’ve run into a lot of small organizations who are super proud of having someone with a criminal justice degree who specialized in animal cruelty on their team, but yet can’t list off a single person with professional animal management experience who is working with that specialist. This information can be hard to find but is absolutely worth calling them or sending emails to ask about, because places that really care about welfare instead of ideology will have informed professionals involved. 

Synetic Theater’s Unforgettable Watery Worlds

In 2013, Arlington-based Synetic Theater took their signature cinematic style to a new level when they flooded the stage with water for a production of The Tempest.

The physical theater company, well known for their wordless productions of Shakespeare plays, had previously created a water stage for their 2010 production of King Arthur. Known for their creative use of mixed media, Synetic Theater utilized the water to add an extra layer of magical realism to that production.



The Tempest was to be the 9th installment of  Synetic’s popular Wordless Shakespeare series and Founding Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili was inspired to use a water stage by the way in which water is closely tied to the plot.

“The exiled Prospero is sent to an island, surrounded and inundated by water,” Tsikurshvili said. “His power and magic grows from it, and even the inciting action is created by water when Prospero uses a storm to bring his enemies to him.”

Water is a versatile theatrical element, conveying a variety of emotions and feelings. It can be at once dramatic, comical, magical, and lyrical. Additionally, the hypnotic combination of water and physical theater captivated audiences’ imaginations in a totally new way.


Once Tsikurishvili decided on the watery world his Tempest would be set in, he tapped Synetic’s Resident Stage Manager Marley Giggey and Technical Director Phil Charlwood to figure out the logistics of getting water into a pool onstage. “It was the strangest combination of terror and excitement I have ever experienced,” Giggey said of her first meeting about working on a water stage.

Technical Director Phil Charlwood had worked on King Arthur three years prior, and this time he strove to improve circumstances for the actors. The biggest challenge was keeping the water at a comfortable temperature. By using large heaters, Charlwood was able to keep the water warm during performances. 

Charlwood also used his innovative design and building techniques to create one of the most compelling elements of the production, a piano fountain that served as an important piece of the set.


Filling the pools and keeping the water clean and safe fell to Giggey. "The water came from several hoses running from two sinks in the laundry room backstage and in the lobby,” she said. “The drain was a series of PVC pipes that connected together and went to a hose. We would bring out all the pipes and connect them - going out the loading dock door and leading to a floor drain in the parking garage that could accommodate all that water!  Before each performance I would do a half drain and fill.

“We would drain about half of the pool and then fill it back up to show levels with hot water.  On Fridays and Sundays we did a total drain of the pool and a very through scrub and clean. Then we let it dry for at least 12 hours before refilling.  It was a time consuming process, but keeping the pool safe and clean was key.”

Once the water was on stage, Giggey was faced with more challenges. The stage lights made it difficult for the actors to consistently see the spike marks. This problem was solved with a grid system that allowed the actors to line themselves up with the left and downstage points.

The actors movement in the pool created a lot of splashing into the audience. Synetic offered branded ponchos to patrons in this “splash zone” and those seats became the most popular for the production.

Lighting designer Andrew Griffin enjoyed working with water and overcoming the challenge the water gave him in designing a light plot for the show.

“The light would reflect and refract because the water floor was reminiscent of a mirror,” he said. Griffin used several low-angled sidelights to exploit the angles of light that would scrape across the floor, rendering less of a reflected impact on the architecture of the space. This effect made it seem as though the water was dancing along with the characters. "Through a lot of careful planning, we created some pretty great effects,” said Griffin.


When working with water, there was also the question of mold and mildew - particularly concerning costumes. The costumes were all treated with camp spray to help waterproof them. "Cleaning the costumes was very tricky,” Giggey said.  “They had to be thoroughly washed so we turned the back room of the theater into a ‘dry room’ with fans blowing from all directions and drip buckets to catch all the water.  The last thing any actor wanted was to put on damp costumes or shoes when they came in the next day.”


Working with water required Synetic’s creative team to master a free-flowing element that is not easy to control consistently. Synetic was able to overcome many obstacles and use the water to their advantage with the help of various theatrical elements, all while taking the necessary steps to protect their performers.

The hours of maintenance required to keep the pool clean and functional and the additional challenges of working with water in a theatrical setting paid off. “It was a moment that was so immersive and dramatic that it was difficult to believe it was happening live in front of you,” Giggey said. "The energy in the theater as the actors were jumping, spinning, and splashing was electric!”

Overall, the creative team, crew, actors and audiences appreciated and valued this rare experience. The professionalism, ingenuity, and talent of the production crew, actors, and artistic team helped to make The Tempest Synetic’s highest grossing show to date.

A thing about credentials:

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll have noticed that I generally do not name places I have worked or volunteered or where I went to college. This is a very purposeful choice I made as this blog began to become more popular, and it serves a number of purposes. 

First, I care a lot about my privacy. This is why I also do not blog about my personal experience with animals or my training clients. I prefer to not release information about where I have lived, worked, or gone to school for that reason - not to 25,000 people. 

Second, it is important to me to be able to continue working in multiple animal-related fields, and I need to make sure that as a professional I retain an identity somewhat separate from this blog. I do not want to accidentally give the impression that my opinions are those of the places I have worked, nor accidentally speak for those facilities in any capacity.  I am aware that in the future employers will have to consider that when hiring me they are also hiring someone who is known for speaking independently on a public platform, and I work hard to make sure that places I am currently involved with see that I am able to separate the two worlds. Part of that is keeping confidential information off of this blog, and part of that is not associating myself with them unless I have been given express permission to link my name with their organization. 

I am still figuring out how to write an author bio for the WADTT website and this blog that fulfills these goals while still giving an accurate representation of my professional experiences. For the moment, what I say stands at this: I got my bachelor’s degree in animal behavior with a focus on cognition and training, my senior thesis was written in conjunction with professionals who design informal science education programs, I have interned/volunteered at multiple AZA accredited facilities in the past six years (in husbandry, education and medical departments), I spent multiple years assisting the behavior and training department of a local animal shelter, and have been training dogs in a professional capacity for over a decade.  I have attended multiple professional conferences yearly in both the zoo and dog training fields since college and take every opportunity to continue my education through online courses, reading academic texts, and picking the brain of every willing professional in any animal-related field.

Late Night Desires

Note: As always, thanks to @skittle479 for the feedback.

“Barba, the suspect’s past abuse is relevant. With the way he was raised, the kid did not stand a chance at a normal, healthy life.” Taking a deep breath, you tried to steady your voice, despite your growing frustration at Barba’s refusal to agree with you.

Being the child psychologist that the Manhattan SVU often consulted, you had gotten to know the snarky ADA quite well during the past few months. Many evenings were spent together preparing your expert witness testimony for his trials. Despite your familiarity, he insisted on thoroughly prepping you every time, claiming that he wanted to eliminate the possibility of any surprises. Since you were paid regardless of whether you worked in your own office or were on loan to the DA’s office, you humored his need for perfection.

Though you wouldn’t openly admit it to him, you had grown to enjoy spending time in Barba’s company. Bickering over a difference of opinion was a common occurrence between you two, but in the end you both enjoyed a healthy debate. The fact that he was incredibly easy on the eyes did not hurt.

At present, you and Barba were at the edge of another heated dispute. A teenager had assaulted two of his classmates. Barba was insistent on trying the perp as an adult. Although the crimes committed were heinous and churned your stomach, your professional experience told you that the teenager needed psychiatric help, not to be locked with the general population of adult criminals.

“Abuse is not an excuse for his behavior. You said yourself, he is mentally competent to stand trial. I will be charging him with murder one,” Barba rebutted your attempt for leniency while shuffling papers.

Keep reading

This question’s been sitting in my askbox for WEEKS now, apologies for taking so long to respond to this!

To preface this post it’s important to note: I’m not a professional, and don’t have professional experience.  All thoughts are based on personal opinion, preference, and prior experience designing characters for personal projects!

Click the jump for a big post with me rambling about character designs I do and don’t like, and why I do/don’t like them!

Keep reading

A said in a recent ask: if you disagree with something I publish because you think I don’t have enough information or I’m missing something crucial, I really do genuinely invite you to come comment on things and educate me (and through me, the blog). 

Let’s have a polite, straightforward discourse backed up by academic sources, relevant experiences in situ, and collaboration with other professionals. If you’re someone who participates in research, is hands-on with conservation and observation in the wild or has professional experience with any aspect of their management or care, I absolutely want to hear from you. 

While a huge part of what I do here is supported by my own constant consumption of new research and my own professional experiences, I absolutely want to engage with people who are active in the fields that inform the education I do. That’s what built this blog into what it is today, and a tradition I actively want to continue.