Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Monday, September 9, 2013

3 Cool Inventions to Kick off the Semester

Welcome back, faithful readers, and greetings to new ones! Here at the Ramapo College Women’s Center, we are getting under way in the fall 2013 semester. Things are already livening up with the onset of classes and the continuation of event planning. We’ve welcomed the new school year with our annual week-long event, “Cookies, Condoms, and Comfy Couches,” which comes to a close this Wednesday. Thursday is, in a way, our official kickoff with “Meet the Women’s Center” from 1-2 in our office (snacks will be served!). Stop by C-220 to pick up a calendar of September/October events and get involved!

To start off fall blogging, I wanted to create something interesting, informative, and inspiring; to that end, I’ve compiled a short list of awesome inventions that effect many different aspects of our community. Let's dive in!

1- LifeSaver Water Bottle

Popularly promoted in 2009 through a TED Talk, the LifeSaver water bottle is a work of genius by Michael Pritchard. This technology allows the user to filter water from any source into perfectly safe, drinkable water. It filters anything down to a size of 15 nanometers, which ensures the removal of the smallest viruses and bacteria. Below is the ten minute video of Pritchard doing the TED talk, and I can assure you it is a worthwhile watch.

So if that groundbreaking footage hit the Internet in 2009, why aren't these water bottles being distributed to every site of natural disaster, every village without access to potable water? The truth of it is, they are expensive. The English distributor charges about 100 or more pounds per bottle, making individual ownership of this technology unlikely. Like so many things, it simply isn't accessible across the socioeconomic spectrum. As mentioned in the video, the wealth of a nation (especially nations combined) could easily eliminate annual deaths from unclean drinking water, but it has to be more than just talk and speculation- the technology is there, and we need to take global action!

2- DrinkSavvy Glassware

On the other hand, quickly heading down the production line to real-life, affordable, general availability is the DrinkSavvy line of glassware. These cups, straws, and stirrers have been engineered to detect the presence of Rohypnol, a sleep aid that can be used to drug drinks. When an unwelcome substance is detected, the product develops red lines, signaling to the user that something is amiss and they are in danger.

This technology has the potential to create an incredible positive impact on society; to decrease the number of date rapes the occur due to drugged drinks would be a step in the right direction. However, it is important to remember that the most common date rape drug is alcohol itself, and that this invention is only part of the solution. A shift in our cultural attitude toward sex under the influence of alcohol is the only true solution, some believe. Additionally, it may be difficult to convince bars and other public areas that this is a good investment- I hypothesize businesses may want to pretend "things like that don't happen here," as they attempt to push the issue under the rug and ignore the beneficial technology they could use to prevent crimes. Hopefully this is not the case. DrinkSavvy glassware will be commercially available in early 2014.

3- Google Driverless Cars

Finally, I'd like to introduce the concept of driverless cars. This can be an intimidating idea at first, because we are so accustomed to manually controlling transportation (on an individual level), and an automated system may seem dangerous. However, self-driven cars have been legally tested on public roads in Nevada, California, and Florida. These autonomous vehicles have collectively driven over 300,000 miles without incident. The only time one was involved in an accident was when it was being manually operated. Like many people, I personally am wary of the integration of driverless cars onto public roads, but I acknowledge the many positive implications such an invention has in our community. Autonomous cars allow access to transportation for people of varying levels of ability, as folks who are currently unable to obtain a driver's license for physical of mental reasons would be able to travel without relying on a caregiver to drive or public transportation. That is a tremendous step forward in the world of accessibility. Read more about it here.

These three inventions make me very excited about the future, and I think they provide excellent topics to think critically about, since none of them comes without a long list of cons in addition to the pros. I invite you to respond or discuss the issues in the comments section!

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