“People say that having more women in engineering will change everything. Well, that’s the damned point!”
Professor Toor was particularly animated one day in 1986. Our Heat & Mass Transfer class at Carnegie was very technical, with infinitely more time spent on math than sociology. Herb Toor, however, was a empathetic and real-world professor with a reputation. He was out to change engineering forever, and put his prodigious passion into it.
I think about him a lot when we reach milestones, such as the recent swearing in of a record 102 women in the US House of Representatives.
The clock is ticking down on 2012 and the “Fiscal Cliff”. The event is something like the weather – everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Out my front door in St Paul it is 18F on a moonless night, the stars drifting by as they would on any other night. Nothing is happening here, just as it is in Washington. But nothing means many different things at different times.
Could the nothing of Washington be any worse? We’ve only recently learned that the lack of a Farm Bill will likely double the price of milk, among other strange effects that will roll across the stillness of this Minnesota night like an approaching Alberta Clipper. If we learn one thing in the middle of a big continent it’s that it could always be worse. And yes, there is something horrible lurking in the silence of inaction – the death of the most effective anti-corruption watchdog Congress has ever had to deal with.