Friday, June 12, 2009

An interesting day

One of the hardest things about living abroad is not being able to do anything about stressful events back in the homeland. So today I am preoccupied.

But there is good news floating around in the world today. Iran is holding elections, for one thing. (An interesting analysis on Iranian polling can be found here.) Without choosing sides here, I can say that at the very least a peaceful, democratic transfer of power is a really big deal. We take it for granted in the United States--ridiculous court battles aside--but in reality it's a tricky thing to pull off. No one likes to lose.

For another thing, one of the first stories I read after arriving in the office was about how the aviation industry in the Emirates, and remember I am an aerospace dork, is being dominated by women.

“When I got here in November, I noticed I had lots and lots of women in my classes, 40 to 60 per cent,” says Professor David Worrells, who teaches several undergraduate and graduate classes at EAC. In America, they’d be 10 per cent at most.”


At a recent class on airline fleet planning, the women students diligently scribbled down notes, raised hands and asked more questions than their male classmates during discussions about industry competition.
Professor Worrells says the male-female imbalance provides for some animated classroom debates and healthy competition.
“When I looked at test results and the writing assignment results, the women tend to do better than the guys. Spelling, grammar, analysis, reasoning, following the instructions.”

That's cool for a number of reasons, and really illustrates the value of education to a balanced society. I don't have the stats handy, but I would bet money that more educated women equals a wealthier and more stable country. Whether that is a cause or an effect is something I won't speculate on.

And finally, I went to the gym, then stopped by (yet another) burger-less "burger joint" on my way to work and bought a delicious fresh fruit drink for lunch. Thank you, Father Gazelle; I forgive you for the 109-degree temperatures.

Here's hoping that the good vibes in the Gulf reach back home.

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