dreamer_easy: (*gender)
Domestic Violence: Aboriginal women ask Australians to pay attention to assaults and murders (ABC, 11 July 2017)

A third of assault patients in Australia female: study (SMH, 19 April 2017). "More than half of all women and girls who end up in hospital being treated after an assault have been attacked by their partners."

Bid for paid domestic violence leave rejected (SMH, 3 July 2017) "A full bench of the Fair Work Commission said it has taken the "preliminary view" that while it is necessary to make provisions for family and domestic violence leave, it had rejected an application for 10 days of leave to be covered under all modern awards for all employees."

'Once a girl is married, there is no going back' (ABC, 29 July 2017). "It's a type of domestic violence you probably haven't heard of: dowry abuse. Some Indian-Australian men are using their desirable status as residents to extort thousands of dollars from the women they're marrying, with threats and violence if their escalating demands aren't met."

'Submit to your husbands': Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God (ABC, 18 July 2017) | How to navigate the research on domestic violence and Christian churches: A few frequently asked questions (ABC, 24 July 2017)

Exposing the darkness within: Domestic violence and Islam (ABC, 24 April 2017) | Muslim women unite to encourage daughters to have healthy relationships (ABC, 26 April 2017) NB: "There's no evidence that suggests domestic violence rates are higher among Muslim women than the broader Australian community."

Domestic Violence: Family Law Act plan could see end to alleged perpetrators cross-examining accusers (ABC, 17 July 2017)

Abortion laws making it harder for women to escape domestic violence, expert warns (ABC, 21 June 2017)

Domestic violence: Report finds 'clear link' between media reporting and understanding of issue
(ABC, 30 June 2017). "Our Watch CEO Mary Barry said the way journalists frame individual stories can have a major impact on public understanding. 'Blaming victims for the violence inflicted upon them, for instance, still happens in one in six articles about violence against women,' she said."

BOSCAR data showing rise of domestic violence by women 'not giving the full picture' (ABC, 22 June 2017)

Domestic violence survivors should get early access to super, HESTA says
(ABC, 20 June 2017)

Universities spend millions preparing for wave of sexual assault reports (SMH, 22 July 2017). "Australian universities will spend millions of dollars on counselling services as 'a wave of victims' are expected to come forward following the release of the world's largest report into sexual assault on campus." The AHRC survey of tertiary students will be released on 1 August.

Texas slashed funding for Planned Parenthood and ended up with more teen abortions (ThinkProgress, 17 July 2017)

Rural women 'bullied' into caesareans amid doctor shortage (ABC, 16 July 2017)

Introducing use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers would make life fairer for mothers (ABC, 20 July 2017). "Under [Australia's paid parental leave system], the primary carer is eligible for up to 18 weeks' pay at minimum wage, nine times more than Dad and Partner Pay, which is two weeks at minimum wage."

CWA members hope washable sanitary pads will give isolated women freedom to learn (ABC, 13 July 2017)

Islamophobia: Women wearing head coverings most at risk of attacks, study finds (ABC, 10 July 2017)

Explainer: Why do Muslim women wear a burka, niqab or hijab? (ABC, 23 September 2014). Explains the difference between different kinds of coverings.

How can Muslim feminists reclaim their religion from men? (ABC, 1 May 2017)

Catcalling and street harassment is happening more often than you might think (ABC, 22 June 2017)

The woman who was charged with murdering her wife (ABC, 5 September 2012). The historical story of transman Harry Crawford.

This is topical, given the Tweeter-in-Chief's latest announcement: Witch-hunts and surveillance: The hidden lives of LGBTI people in the Australian military (ABC, 24 May 2017)

Intersex and proud: model Hanne Gaby Odiele on finally celebrating her body (GA, 23 April 2017)

A Queer Gods Ritual: An Introduction to the Queer Ones. I was pleased to find this again, so I'm leaving it here.

Good grief, there's so much more. It'll have to wait for another posting.

dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
(Wow these have backed up. I'm adding relevant ones to my posting on my recent experience of the "social justice" dogpile.)

Explainer: what is Safe Schools Coalition? (The Conversation, 19 February 2016)

Bullying can have long-term damage, but can be overcome (SMH, 1 February 2015) The "what to do if you're being bullied" section of this advises not showing anger, but I have to say displaying my rage has been a very useful tool, both for my own psychology and in stopping further bullying. Perhaps this because, online, there's often no authority to whom to turn, so you're left with deterring bullies by metaphorically punching them in the balls. (In a similar environment, Neil Gaiman found a punch in the face effective.)

Cyber bullying long-term impacts include self-harm, depression and binge drinking, research finds (ABC, 19 March 2017)

Why it's so hard for women to get justice for online abuse
(ABC, 1 March 2016) | Sydney labourer Zane Alchin sentenced for harassing women on Facebook (SMH, 30 June 2016). Alchin received a twelve-month good behaviour bond because, according to the magistrate "There was a vast overreaction... [which has] caused you to experience a great deal of pain which you didn't deserve."

Studies consider the styles of bullying used by girls and boys - social aggression vs physical aggression.

Bullying in Australian schools is falling, but remains 'unacceptably high' (SMH, 1 July 2016)

Parents say schools blame victims rather than punish bullies
(SMH, 31 July 2016)

Cyberworld: Keeping bullying at bay (SMH, 27 October 2014). "There are some elements of cyberbullying that can make it worse than face-to-face bullying – that it is there permanently, and the fact that it reaches an enormously wide audience in a very, very quick time."

Parents and teachers don't notice bullied children (SMH, 23 July 2014) Australian Institute of Family Studies research showed that more than half of parents of bullied children either didn't know about it or didn't recognise it for what it was; and four out of five teachers didn't report it.

This posting is about emotional abuse, not bullying, but it contains relevant wisdom: "If somebody is investing time, resources, and energy into convincing you of your own worthlessness, that same somebody has revealed to you that they have a lot to lose if you don’t believe them. They’re protecting their own loss of power. Which means they perceive you as somebody who can take that power away. If somebody is putting in the work to knock you down, it’s because they’ve got something to fear about you if you’re standing up."

This article isn't about bullying either - rather, it's about the complicated issue of social media, privacy, surveillance, and behaviour.

dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
Hello Dreamwidth! Let's see if I can make a post.

"It bears noting that Johannes Cabal would never have referred to these colours thus, pointing out with agonising pedantry that infra-violet is simply indigo or, more likely, blue, while ultra-red is better known as ‘orange’. This is why these stories are written in the third person." — Jonathan L Howard, The Brothers Cabal.

So, You Want to Be a Synesthete? (Scientific American, 1 November 2016). "Several “artificial” approaches exist but most evidence suggests that training cannot capture a synesthete’s experience."

The secret history of colour in black and white (GA, 15 November 2016). "A distaste for colour runs through western culture like a ladder in a stocking." (An extract from The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair.)

(This is a quick test - I guess I'll bring door-of-time over here too, and repost these links to it.)
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism (The Good Men Project, April 2015). If you're white, like me, this spells out some of the assumptions you've absorbed from the surrounding culture. It's US-based, but much of it applies to Australia. Come to think of it, a lot of it applies to feminism as well, with the important difference that racism is taboo and sexism isn't.

The bacterial flagellar motor: brilliant evolution or intelligent design? (ABC Science, July 2015). "A central tenet of this theory [intelligent design] is the notion of 'irreducible complexity'. This asserts that some biological machines — like the flagellar motor — must be the product of design, because if you were to remove one or two components from the motor it would not function properly, or at all. The logic being, this motor was designed as a whole construction — it didn't evolve through a series of steps, so the individual parts of the motor would serve no purpose on their own. So the creationist argument relies on us finding no evidence of individual parts of the motor having a role outside of bacterial flagella. Luckily, individual components of the bacterial flagellar motor have indeed been found elsewhere. And they work. So the motor is 'reducible', and certainly not 'irreducibly complex'." This is one of my favourite things about evolution - the kludgy use of whatever's in the toolbox at the time. It's why some antidepressants give you tummy trouble; the same receptors are present in the brain and gut, being used for different purposes. (Well, I say "favourite"...)

The Evil Has No Name (The Daemons): Phil Sandifer's review of the story, from five years ago, which I've just enjoyed re-reading and bookmarked because of the observation that Doctor Who is about putting things together which shouldn't go together. That's missing from the SF I'm trying to write at the moment, I think.

Is Nature Unnatural? (Quanta Magazine, April 2013). That is, is there some explanation for the constants in physics, or are they the result of a multiversal roll of the dice?

I'm only two decades late in discovering the Planescapes setting for D&D - somehow I stumbled across this page on the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Salt and it's captured my imagination. Takes me back even further to reading Heinlein's "Number of the Breast" in the eighties.

Rare, lonely 'lefty' snail seeks mate for love—and genetic study (phys.org, October 2016) Not only does the sinistral brown snail have a "left-handed anti-clockwise spiralling shell", but its genitals are on the "wrong" side.
dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
The Hidden Bias of Science's Universal Language (The Atlantic, August 2015). Talks about some of the problems for scientists worldwide caused by the hegemony of English. I would have liked more specifically about how this affects scientists' thinking - for example, more about why it matters that many languages just transliterate English terms like "quark" and "chromosome" instead of creating their own words: eg Korean 쿼크 kweokeu "quark" but 염색체 yeomsaekche "chromosome" (literally, dye colour body, which is what "chromosome means, of course).

Why There's No 'Right' Way To Speak English (Atlas Obscura, April 2016): "The English language is the ultimate code-switcher, gaining multiple personalities when it travels." Still on Korean (as is my wont), "Konglish" is not the local variety of English, but rather English loan-words. Often these have changed meanings ("I couldn't come because I had a schedule") or are just used with Korean grammar ("I asked one of the staffs.")

The code that took America to the moon (QZ, July 2016) Includes that epic photo of Margaret Hamilton, director of software engineering, standing next to a print-out of the code which is slightly taller than she is. Also many amusing comments by the programmers (and an excellent punchline to the whole piece).

100 Most Essential Words in Anime. (Anime fans, what do you think of this list?)

Why Do Most Languages Have So Few Words for Smells? (The Atlantic, November 2015). "And why do these two hunter-gatherer groups have so many?" IIRC Korean has an adjective - a verb, really, meaning "to smell like roasting sesame oil".

What's the Plural of Emoji? "There is a correct answer, but no one has agreed on it yet." More accurately, there will eventually be a standard plural. Or standard plurals. More interestingly, though, this discusses how loanwords settle into the grammar of their new language (like that singular Korean "staff").

Dolphins recorded having a conversation 'just like two people' for first time (Telegraph, September 2016) The dolphins took turns creating "sentences" of distinct words or phonemes.
dreamer_easy: (*writing hard yakka)
Working on a short story and making a complete hash of it. Went back through my collection of print-outs and hand-written notes on how-to-write advice for a most helpful refresher. Here's some of the stuff that's still up online, plus stuff from Writing With Color, a Tumblr bursting with useful information.

Maybe I already linked to this, but what the hell, it's still some of the best writing advice I've ever encountered: Chuck Wendig's In Which I Critique Your Story (That I Haven't Read)

Hardcore Critique Advice by Amy Sterling Casil

How to Critique Fiction by Victory Crayne

Advice on Novel Writing by Crawford Kilian

Murder Your Darlings by James Patrick Kelly

Ways to Indicate Race

Describing Asian Eyes

Words for skin tone

Words to Describe Hair
dreamer_easy: (*gender)
1800RESPECT is national sexual assault / domestic violence service offering phone and online counselling. Lots of info at their Web site.

Support services for at-risk queer Aussie youth (Star Observer, 25 November 2016)

The planned repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in the US will leave 55 million women unable to afford contraception, prompting a rush for IUDs and other long-lasting methods. Texas's stripping of funding from its reproductive health clinics, including Planned Parenthood (who are set to lose federal funding), means it now has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. With the UK also facing a crisis in abortion care, Australian women should be wary of copycat attacks on our reproductive freedom; the current government has already started chipping away at Medicare, and abortion and RU486 are technically illegal in more than one state and territory - something we must change.

Human Rights Watch says Papua New Guinea has failed to protect women and children (GA, 13 January 2017) | more on women and children in PNG from MSF

Sexual fluidity: Living a label-free life (ABC, 4 October 2016) | Australia's secret history of sexual fluidity (ABC, 3 Octobr 2016) Pretty sure these stories were in response to the Australian's vicious war on the Safe Schools program and gender-variant kids, providing some much-needed information in the face of ignorance. (More on Safe Schools: "Heteronormativity, cisgender, gender binary, queer theory and gender fluidity are now mainstream ideas, or at least mainstream enough to cause a sustained backlash.") | No differences noted over time for children of gay, lesbian adoptive parents (Medical XPress, 24 October 2016) | Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children (Human Rights Campaign / American Academy of Pediatrics / American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians guide, 29 September 2016)

Push to support homeless LGBTI youth after influx at crisis accommodation centres (ABC, 31 March 2016) | Queer, young and homeless (Background Briefing, 3 April 2016) | Explainer: what treatment do young children receive for gender dysphoria and is it irreversible?
(The Conversation, 2 September 2016) | Transgender teenagers 'risking lives' buying hormones on black market because they can't access the Family Court (Australian Story, 15 August 2016)

Sexual assault among young people is on the rise. But why? (ABC, 3 September 2016) |How the justice system lets sexual assault victims down (ABC, 3 September 2016) | We cannot allow the courts to judge rape by sexual history (GA, 18 October 2016) |Sexual assault victims find justice online (SMH, 24 April 2016) Women are reporting street harassment, domestic violence, and sexual assault on Web sites which can put them in touch with counsellors and even pass on anonymous reports to police. This is an excellent way to give women (men, too, I hope) a chance to tell their story while keeping complete control, which is exactly what is lost in an incident of abuse.

Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs sounds alarm on rape and sexual assault (SMH, 20 September 2016) | Sexual assault on campus is systemic. But Sydney uni has failed to act for decades (GA, 23 August 2016) | The US Department of Justice's 2016 report on racism in Baltimore's Police Department also discovered their persistent failure to investigate sexual assault. Officers display scepticism and hostility toward women who report sexual assault, especially sex workers, and mistreat transgender people. It's wearying to be reminded that, in so many places, the clock is still stuck on this issue.

Donald Trump's Remarks Show He's Mistaken on Sexual Assault in Military (NYT, 8 September 2016). Trump defended a Tweet saying that rape in the military is the result of placing men and women together. In fact, half of the victims are men.

Testing of backlogged rape evidence leads to hundreds of convictions (Phys.org, 14 November 2016)

Elderly women in Kenya learning karate to fight back against sexual assault in slums (ABC, 16 January 2016). They are awesome. Includes the phrase "ferocious grandmother".

Study gives doctors guidance on reproductive coercion
(Medical XPress, 11 October 2016) "New research finds that men purposely are breaking their own condoms and pressuring female partners in their teens and 20s to go without birth control in order to get them pregnant... similar to other forms of controlling behavior in abusive relationships, male partners interfere with women's birth control use as a means to control them."

Almost a third of young women don't feel safe in public places at night, A Right to the Night report finds (ABC, 12 May 2016) | Half of Australian women feel unsafe walking alone at night, report says (SMH, 27 October 2016)

Sexual harassment rate jumps across Australia by more than 12 per cent from 2011 (ABC, 17 October 2016) | Why is CSIRO losing its brightest stars? (Background Briefing, 20 November 2016). "Some of CSIRO's top women astronomers are quitting due to a dysfunctional workplace that they say protects harassers and punishes them instead."

The secret mosques opening their doors to LGBT+ Muslims (ABC, 3 October 2016)

Most migrant sex workers satisfied with their work: Australian Institute of Criminology (SMH, 22 July 2016) | Male sex workers call for respect, understanding (SMH, 19 June 2016) | Sex workers fight against stigma for equal justice (Saturday Paper, 26 November 2016). Australian sex workers may avoid reported sexual and other assault to the police for fear of mistreatment or of being "outed". Laws making sex work a crime contribute to the problem. | Former sex workers claim harassment by pro-prostitution groups after speaking out (ABC, 12 October 2016). Takeaway message: "Not all sex workers have the same experience or want the same thing."

The Male Face Of Sexual Slavery (OZY, 17 February 2016)

South Korea's Misogyny (NY Times, 13 June 2016) | South Korea: A Thriving Sex Industry In A Powerful, Wealthy Super-State (IBT, 29 April 2013)

The WHO says being transgender is a mental illness. But that could soon change (SMH, 29 July 2016)

The transgender 'bathroom bill': Who wants it — men or women? (Medical XPress, 19 December 2016). "Most women are not bothered much about the fact that they might at times share public bathrooms designated for females with transgender women... Men on the other hand take umbrage, and worry about the safety and privacy of the women in their lives. Such male transphobia has its roots in how men see themselves as the so-called protectors of women." There are certainly transphobic and gender policing women infesting public loos - I'm a little worried about encountering one on our next visit Up Over - but since there are no known cases of a trans woman harassing a cis woman in the ladies', it makes sense that cis women would generally not be worried about a nonexistent threat.

Does CCTV footage help or hinder the reduction of violence against women? (ABC, 26 October 2016)

The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit (GA, 23 August 2016) "It is also clear the increased scrutiny is reserved for women perceived as not feminine enough, which is the bedrock of what is in the policies. For example, it is stated that: 'The individuals concerned often display masculine traits and have an uncommon athletic capacity in relation to their fellow female competitors.' Gender variance has always incited scrutiny, and this scrutiny is often racialised. Living outside of these normative racialised gendered expectations means coming under scrutiny and probing in ways invisible to the institutions and individuals doing the looking." | I know how Caster Semenya feels – as an intersex person, I've been harassed my entire life (The Independent, 21 August 2016) "Being visibly outside of the expectations of gender roles can come at a great cost, and with a steady stream of abuse from the rest of the world. It can make you feel as if you are an alien, a monster in a bad sci-fi movie."

I Never Went Through Puberty: Life As A Perpetual Adolescent (Cracked, of all places, 2 October 2016). The story of Kevin, an intersex boy with Klinefelter Syndrome. | Intersex — seeking the beauty in difference (Medical XPress, 4 October 2016) Sean, an intersex man, has Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome.

Always an interesting perspective: World's most senior transgender military officer says she was surprised by sexism (GA, 4 April 2015)

Bisexual men and women face pay gap, US study finds (Phys.org, 15 November 2016) | Workplace discrimination: Half of LGBTI Australians hide sexuality at work, report finds (ABC, 28 September 2016)

Sexism may be harmful to men's mental health (Medical XPress, 21 November 2016). Doesn't do anyone else any good, either. :)

6 Matriarchies Still Functioning Today (Marie Claire, 8 March 2016)

Life-like robot babies do not discourage teen pregnancies: study (ABC, 26 August 2016) wtf

Viral pics of a maned lioness (probably).

(Saving the domestic violence stuff for another posting.)
dreamer_easy: (*ZOMG!!)

The US, the UK, and Australia have all taken a frightening step to the right, as have other countries. Maybe it's only the new antidepressant talking - no, I really do think we're at a historical crossroads. We've got to be the anchors that slow down and stop this scary slide towards fascism. The following is mostly about the recent US election, but much of it is relevant for Britain and Australia too. If we can help each others' efforts, one country to another, one affected group to another, so much the better.


A few quick suggestions:

1. Get onto Green Power at a percentage you can afford. (This was my first action post the election, prompted by Ruby-Beth Buitekant's suggestion: "If you can afford it, go solar now. The planet is fucked. This is not a drill.")
2. Read up on / watch documentaries about the history of fascism and white supremacy.
3. Pick a relevant organisation and donate small, regular amounts, which helps their planning.

Happy New Year! The Fight For America officially begins!

Come along on the Women's March 2017 in Sydney, in support of marches in the US and around the world. (Everyone is welcome.)

Active Resistance Wiki. Packed with ideas and information.

The First 100 Days Resistance Plan

Post-Election Help Resources (That You Don't Have to Have Money For)

7 Things You Can Do to Help Planned Parenthood and the Communities it Serves (this includes a good general list of US organisations that could use your support - here's another list)

Surviving in Trump's America: 10 things women can do to protect their rights (including LGBT+ and immigrant women)

24 Actions You NEED to Take to Help Trans Women of Color Survive

Okay, Fine. Here’s What You Should Do Post-Election.

LGBTQ Youth Survival Guide: Trump Edition

How to call your reps when you have social anxiety

Food for Thought

We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump

A Yale history professor’s powerful, 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency

In Poland, a window on what happens when populists come to power (ETA: An interesting response points out that in Poland, the populists are actually helping the working class, whereas Trump and co will gut them.)

ETA: How Democrats can defeat the repeal of Obamacare: "... politicians live in a constant state of terror, and what they’re terrified of is the public’s displeasure. Make that displeasure large and visible enough, and they’ll abandon even initiatives they care deeply about."
dreamer_easy: (*writing 7)
Three days in a hotel room with nothing but the novel and iTunes for company. (iTunes library now suspiciously well-organised.) Part Three is complete; Part Four is well underway (which means I can now see lots of rewrites which will have to be on Part Three, argh). Well on track for finishing the book, including major re-working of certain bits, by the end of the year.

To commemorate my not being dead after three days in that gods-awful hotel chair, a few writing-related links:

On parasocial relationships with fictional characters. Similarly, Cory Doctorow writes that Stories Are a Fuggly Hack for making us empathise with non-existent people, before going on to those annoying artists who can get straight to the emotions without the suffering and punishment of generating narrative. (More Doctorow advice: Cheap Writing Tricks. Note the reappearance (so to speak) of his breakfast yoghurt.)

What makes bad writing bad? Oh, gods.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Frankly, I'm knackered. Here goes:

btw, you get a lot of US stuff in this lj partly because the US dominates the Web, partly because I married an American and visit the country regularly, and partly because what happens in the US often influences or is relevant to what happens in Australia. For example, while racism Down Under and Up Over has different histories and characters, there's still a lot in common between them. So IMHO Reverend Denise Anderson's remarks about the shooting of young Black men by US police also have something to say to Australians:
"White people, you have heard it said that you must talk to other white people about racism, and you must. But don't talk to them about their racism. Talk to them about YOUR racism. Talk to them about how you were socialized to view, talk to, and engage with people of color. Talk to them about the ways you've acted on that socialization. Talk to them about the lies you bought into. Talk about the struggles you continue to have in shedding the scales from your eyes. Don't make it 'their' problem. Understand it as your own problem, because it is. To not do this would put you in danger of being yet another well-intentioned racist, convinced of their own goodness and living a life wholly unexamined and unaccountable to anyone. We don't need anymore of those. It's confession time."
I think these words are especially relevant given the frightening return of One Nation. The response of many Australians is to jeer at Pauline Hanson's supporters as "rednecks". This is not quite the same thing as recognising our own racism, but would it be more effective to come down from the moral high ground and engage One Nation voters with a little respect and a lot of facts?

Muslims on what it's like to live in Australia (SMH, 2 May 2016) Pretty tough, and it's only going to get tougher. :(

How Long and Short Senate Terms are Allocated After a Double Dissolution (ABC, 25 April 2016) Antony Green elucidates the complexities.

Now some stuff from other countries.

Islamic State fighters caught in Iraq reveal motivations for jihad (ABC, 13 July 2016) Even this brief glimpse demonstrates that Daesh is about much more than fanatical belief. (Cf: Persecution pushing young Australian Muslims to the margins of society, says leader (SMH, 10 April 2015); The more we fear Islam, the greater the danger from terrorists (SMH, 16 May 2015)).

How one 'super-spreader' was responsible for nearly half of South Korean MERS cases (SMH, 12 July 2016)

South Korea covered up mass abuse, killings of 'vagrants' (AP, 19 April 2016) The way the victims of this "clean-up" for the 1988 Olympics were treated reminds me unsettlingly of descriptions of prison camps in North Korea.

Malawi's albinos at risk of 'total extinction,' U.N. warns (CNN, 1 May 2016) They are butchered for witchcraft purposes. Fucking hell.

Muslim anti-Isis march not covered by mainstream media outlets, say organisers (The Independent, 9 December 2015) Cut out and keep for the next time someone says Muslims don't speak out enough.

I'm on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones (The Independent, 12 April 2016) "Friends decline my invitations and I have taken to sleeping outside under the trees, to avoid becoming a magnet of death for my family." Would that this was the SF it sounds like.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God' (The Independent, 31 January 2015). "Now, if I died and it was Pluto, Hades, and if it was the 12 Greek gods then I would have more truck with it, because the Greeks didn’t pretend to not be human in their appetites, in their capriciousness, and in their unreasonableness... they didn’t present themselves as being all-seeing, all-wise, all-kind, all-beneficent, because the god that created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac."

Indigenous youths 24 times more likely to be in detention, Amnesty International report finds (ABC, 2 June 2015) | Fact Check: Amnesty International claim on 'shocking' Indigenous child incarceration rates checks out (ABC, 19 June 2015)

Australian prison population grows 20 per cent in last decade (SMH, 29 January 2016)

Children from Indigenous communities more likely to suffer unintentional injuries, study finds (ABC, 19 February 2016). "We're not sufficiently investing in appropriately targeted preventative programs for Indigenous children."

'Blackbirding' shame yet to be acknowledged in Australia (SMH, 3 June 2015). For most of my life I thought slavery was something that other countries had done. Only in recent years have I learned about the work we forcibly extracted from Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders.

White man in the photo is the 'third hero' that night in 1968 (San Francisco Globe, 9 June 2016). Australian Olympic athlete Peter Norman, his gesture of support for John Carlos and Tommie Smith as they made their Black Power salute, and what it cost him.

The McDonald's Hot Coffee Case (Consumer Attorneys of California Web site). "It is the case that gave rise to the attacks on 'frivolous lawsuits' in the United States. Almost everyone seems to know about it. And there's a good chance everything you know about it is wrong."

TSA's 95% failure rate shows airport security is a charade (Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2015). It's just for show.

A Social History of Jell-O Salad: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon (Serious Eats, 29 August 2015)

Are you a grammar pedant? This might be why (GA, 29 March 2016). "Introverts, it turns out, are more likely to get annoyed at both typos and grammos." Not this little black introverted duck. Mistakes happen. The nitpicking is far more irritating.

Finally, on violence.

If ya think that's all of the backed-up links, you are sorely mistaken. XD
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Implicit racism in academia (Mindhacks, 7 September 2016): "Implicit bias" exists "where there is a contradiction between people's egalitarian beliefs and their racist actions." The question is, how aware is each of us of our own biased behaviour?

Millennials Are Less Racially Tolerant Than You Think (New York Magazine, 8 January 2015): "The fact of the matter is that millennials who are white — that is, members of the group that has always had the most regressive racial beliefs, and who will constitute a majority of U.S. voters for at least another couple of decades — are, on key questions involving race, no more open-minded than their parents. The only real difference, in fact, is that they think they are."

What Goes Through Your Mind: On Nice Parties and Casual Racism (the-toast.net, 5 January 2016). "For the last time, I consider defending myself. Just giving voice to the confusion and anger and mortification I feel boiling in the pit of my stomach. But I know, in an instant that reminds me of countless others like it, that I'm not that person. The truth sinks in: I am the only one who can make sure that everybody keeps having a good time."

Lassana Bathily, Muslim Employee At Kosher Market, Saved Several People During Paris Hostage Situation (Huffington Post, 12 January 2015). "We are brothers. It's not a question of Jews, of Christians or of Muslims. We're all in the same boat, we have to help each other to get out of this crisis."

Some young Asian Australians seek tanned skin, risk skin cancer: sun habits study (ABC, 16 January 2016) As a Kpop fan I'm constantly reminded of how highly prized light skin is in Korea and China, so the fact that peer pressure is leading Asian Australians to tan was eye-opening. I think in the West a tan is high-status because it indicates plenty of time for outdoor leisure, so you're wealthy. In the East light skin is high-status because it indicates you don't have to work outdoors, so you're wealthy - but there's also the disturbing impact of colonialism; not just lighter skin, but more Western-looking features are valued.

Believing that life is fair might make you a terrible person (GA, 4 February 2015): "Faced with injustice, we'll try to alleviate it – but, if we can't, we'll do the next best thing, psychologically speaking: blame the victims of the injustice." ("I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." - Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Brutal Reality: When police wear body cameras, citizens are much safer (Slate, 10 April 2014). "The presence of cameras induces an absence of violence." | Investigation of 5 cities finds body cameras usually help police (Fusion, 8 December 2014). "One key problem: officers control the record button." | Why American Cops Kill So Many Compared To European Cops (Huffington Post, 30 November 2015). In short: inferior training. (Though I also have another theory.)

Fact check: Does halal certification fund terrorism? (ABC, 21 April 2015). SPOILER: no.

Language more important to Australian national identity than birthplace, poll finds (ABC, 29 April 2016) "Overwhelmingly, Australians believe that the ability to speak English is important to being Australian; while 92 per cent agree that language is important, 65 per cent see it as being 'very important', with only 27 per cent responding 'fairly important'."(ABC, 29 April 2016) Why are Anglophones so obsessed with everyone being able to speak English? Is it because, unlike most of the world, we can only understand one language?

Bubble economy (medium.com, 13 July 2016). Negative gearing, play money, and slavery.

How to make sure your aid donations really help after a natural disaster (RN, 7 May 2015)

There was once a fifth suit of playing card (because winning with four wasn't hard enough) (shortlist.com, 4 March 2016) There's a mention of IIRC "the four of green eagles" in IIRC Joe Haldeman's Star Trek novel Planet of Judgment, which I had thought for decades was just a weird dream sequence thing until I stumbled across this article (the card, not the novel).

Turbulence: Everything You Need To Know (askthepilot.com). All is ease and comfort.

Lots and lots more of this sort of thing hanging around in my bookmarks. But now it is time for Animaniacs and bed.
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Medical interventions for suicide risk isolating those without mental illness, inquiry hears (SMH, 26 March 2016): perhaps half of the adolescents and adult men who approach Mensline because they are suicidal do not have a mental illness, but are on the autism spectrum and/or have suffered a stressful life event; there's a lack of services for people in those circumstances.

Higher rates of medicine use for mental health problems in remote, disadvantaged areas - ABS study (SMH, 24 March 2016) People in remote areas lack access to psychiatry and psychology; disadvantaged people can't afford them. (A reminder of just how lucky I am. It ain't cheap.)

Now, I tut at the SMH using an emotive term like "ripped" to describe the loss of $57 billion from the federal health budget in 2014. Newspapers, as I am always saying, should not be in the business of telling me how to think or feel. This, however, is not a newspaper, but a mere blog. $57 billion?! Forgive my Easter Saturday blasphemy, but Christ on a bicycle --! Perhaps because of my good luck, I had forgotten just how deeply the current government had assaulted Australians' lives and health. No wonder some public hospitals are simply disintegrating. (The Healthy Kids Check was scrapped last year; the free clinic for the homeless in Sydney will close soon. And there's a plan to make things even worse here by offshoring medical treatment. The links I've accumulated on the impact of the budget on Australians' health just go on and on.)

Meanwhile in rural and remote NSW, the life expectancy is about the same as that in North Korea, with a lack of healthcare resources partly to blame. Disadvantaged areas in Sydney are facing a diabetes epidemic.

Indigenous suicide rate 12th highest in the world (SMH, 10 July 2015)

Two thirds of Indigenous people dying before age 65, AIHW report finds (ABC, 9 June 2015)

Ugh, that's enough for now. I really hope this turns out to be the election issue.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
I really, really, genuinely hope that Craig Stephen Hicks' militant atheism turns out to have had nothing to do with the murders for which he awaits trial. Believe me, I won't be gloating if it does. I would much rather the New Atheism remained a minor pain in the bum than something that motivates actual violence. But we may never know for sure.

Why 'I Have Nothing to Hide' Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance (Wired, July 2013). On a personal note, I was creeped out when Roads and Maritime Services wanted assurance from my doctor that my epilepsy wouldn't interfere with my driving. I don't have epilepsy. They must have found out, presumably from my Medicare records, that I'm taking Epilim (off-label, as a mood stabiliser). To be fair, it's not unreasonable for RMS to be concerned about conditions which could seriously affect people behind the wheel, but the fact that they jumped to the wrong conclusion is particularly disturbing. So is the fact that I don't remember giving permission for my medical information to be shared with them.

Why the Gigantic, Decades-Long Drop in Black Youth Crime in the US Threatens Major Interests (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, 15 August 2013).

Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Australian Minority Groups? Evidence from a Field Experiment (Institute for the Study of Labor, May 2010). "To denote ethnicity, we use distinctively Anglo-Saxon, Indigenous, Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern names... we applied for entry-level jobs and submitted a CV showing that the candidate had attended high school in Australia. We find economically and statistically significant differences in callback rates, suggesting that ethnic minority candidates would need to apply for more jobs in order to receive the same number of interviews."

The Political Capital Of Fear: How It Helps Governments And Why (New Matilda, 23 December 2014). Why the Martin Place siege was characterised as an act of terrorism when it wasn't.


Sep. 27th, 2015 11:24 am
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Why have I bookmarked all this stuff about language? Oh well, now it's your problem!

People of secrets: The slave sanctuary anti-language

Languages are dying, but is the internet to blame?

How societies learn to count to 10

Want to influence the world? Map reveals the best languages to speak

New signs of language surface in mystery Voynich text - this darn thing is a riot. Statistics and entropy and such suggest it's not just a hoax, but contains a coded message.

Real Talk - "For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong."

Babbler birds use primitive language to communicate with meaning, study shows

Music a universal language? Not quite

How to learn thirty languages - ye gods! I'll settle for one. (Welll, maybe two.)


Sep. 19th, 2015 08:59 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
The Scale of the Universe

Can't live without coffee? Your genes are to blame - new study claims (The Independent, 8 October 2014)

Domestic violence advice pack for women who move to Australia (SMH, 6 August 2015). I can't help thinking we need one for women who are already here, too.

American exceptionalism and the 'exceptionally American' problem of mass shootings (Washington Post, 27 August 2015)

Australia in the middle of 'mental health crisis' with unnecessary deaths escalating (SMH, 16 September 2015)

Living standards will decline for single parents, unemployed people in next decade, report says (ABC, 15 September 2015)

States defend Northern Territory's paperless arrests regime (SMH, 2 September 2015) "... arguing there was nothing wrong with officers being given the power to investigate, prosecute and then judge cases without a judicial process."

NT's paperless arrest laws will increase Aboriginal deaths in custody (SMH, 1 September 2015)

Long fight for stolen wages for Western Australia's Aboriginal stockmen and women (ABC, 28 July 2015)

John Safran reports from the Reclaim Australia rally, where things were even scarier than he expected (news.com.au, 22 July 2015)

Right-wing extremism equal to Muslim radicalisation, say academics (SMH, 16 July 2015): "Right-wing extremism is emerging as an equal, if not greater, threat than Muslim radicalisation in Australia... Violent extremism in Australia is beginning to mirror that of the US, counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly from Curtin University said. She highlighted a New America Foundation study released last month that found right-wing extremists had killed twice as many people since September 11 as jihadists."


Aug. 22nd, 2015 01:06 pm
dreamer_easy: (*ZOMG!!)
Be wary of studies that link mental ill health with creativity or a high IQ (Guardian 21 August 2015). "The idea that genius and madness are intertwined is an ancient one. But in truth, in this desperately underfunded field, we don't even have objective tools to diagnose disorders of the mind, let alone back up claims such as this." The main effect of Bipolar II Disorder on writing, in my case, is the inability to actually do it.

Reading Shakespeare Has Dramatic Effect On Human Brain (Science Daily, 19 December 2006). "Shakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb [causing] a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work backwards in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say."

Tips for working with someone with Aspergers (Penelope Trunk, 17 October 2012)

Kids Helpline: Increase in emergency interventions, more than one third of young people experiencing mental health issues (ABC 20 April 2015)

Australia's suicide rate could be halved in five years with European approach, researchers say (ABC 26 June 2015)

Nearly half of all patients hospitalised after suicide attempt receive no follow-up mental health treatment, research shows (ABC, 9 August 2015) | Black Dog Institute suicide attempt study finds that patients get no follow-up (SMH, 3 September 2015) |
Medical staff 'negative, angry and irritated' towards patients who have attempted suicide, report shows (ABC, 3 September 2015).

Mapping will be used to pinpoint areas of high male suicide and self-harm (ABC, 9 October 2014)

Studies confirm that the leading cause of death in young Koreans is suicide (Omona They Didn't, 30 April 2015)

Concern post-traumatic stress leading to an increase in number of veterans in prison (ABC, 16 October 2015)
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Rather than deluge you with a heartbreaking pile of links about poverty, rape, or bullying just now, I shall provide a pot pourri.

Signal to Noise: this is an insightful explanation of how people who are arguing miss each other's meaning, up until the example of a completely implausible abortion debate.

Free-range eggs: Ministers hatch a plan to develop a binding, national standard / Australian shoppers ripped off on more than 200 million 'free range' eggs, Choice says

Via Memoriae Classicae I: Asterix and Cleopatra. A fun review of the movie version, warts and all, from a Classics grad student at Cambridge.

Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains. "... Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger. 'The general idea is that it's absolutely threatening to admit you're wrong,' says political scientist Brendan Nyhan... The phenomenon — known as 'backfire' — is 'a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.'". But don't despair - the backfire effect can be overcome!

Quoth George R.R. Martin: "Yay for the Tone Argument." For the most part, I second that yay - the Tone Argument has been misused too often, for example to excuse bullying.

The Frozen Calm of Normalcy Bias: "When disaster strikes... most people act as if they've suddenly forgotten the disaster... Fleeing survivors ran past living, uninjured people who sat in seats literally watching for the minute it took for the flames to reach them."

The majority of cancers are not linked to environment or lifestyle. Which is simultaneously reassuring (cancer mostly isn't our own fault) and disturbing (we have less control than we perhaps thought).

The Pope's astronomer on space, the Bible and alien life
dreamer_easy: (*writing hard yakka)
The Hugos. Blog postings I've found particularly helpful in understanding what's going on:

The Psychology of Hugo Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies

Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters by Phil Sandifer. Long, hard, and satisfying. I learned much.

Also see: the remarkable short-short story If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky. Brief, beautiful, beautifully structured. Hugo nominee last year. Loathed by Puppies, making it automatically worth a look. Not everyone's cup of tea, of course - but then, what is?

(There has, of course, always been a conspiracy to ruin art.)

Current events:

Mahatma Gandhi, Baltimore, and the Myth of Nonviolence: "What happens if 12.6% of the population, a disproportionate number of whom are unemployed or incarcerated or have minimum-wage jobs in which they're easily replaced, try to duplicate a tactic that worked for an overpowering majority? Not a great deal, unfortunately."

Police Killings Picked Up Where Lynching Left Off: "... it's estimated that two or three blacks were lynched each week in the American South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Compare that to conservative reports from the FBI that, in the seven years between 2005 and 2012, a white officer used deadly force against a black person almost two times every week."

ETA: Commentary from David Simon, police reporter and creator of Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show' and Baltimore's Anguish. See also this report from Marci Tarrant Johnson, a habeas corpus lawyer working to get arrested protesters out of Baltimore's jails.

This one connects to the Puppy psychology piece linked to above. In Ferguson and Beyond, Punishing Humanity: "... white men have experienced a relative loss of status. And they now have more rivals for desirable positions. Add to that the fact that they may find themselves surpassed by those they tacitly expected to be in social positions beneath them, and we have a recipe for resentment and the desire to regain dominance."

Whatever you thought of SBS presenter Scott McIntyre's angry Anzac Day tweets, I'm grateful to him for opening my eyes to an unhappy piece of Australian history: sexual assaults on Japanese women by the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

Homeless Diggers reveal Australia's double standards
dreamer_easy: (*health)
The Federal Government has re-funded mental health services - but only for another twelve months. I'm not sure if I'm personally affected by this, but I'm furious that sick Australians and their families are once again being treated as unimportant - an afterthought at best, disposable at worst.

Many Australians ignorant of anxiety disorders

Returned Australian soldiers with PTSD plead for more help as Four Corners program reveals widespread depression and homelessness

This news report has all the fun statistics on suicide in Australia. Also a bundle of laughs: increasing self-harm by children. A ton of related issues come into play here, including bullying, homophobia and transphobia, and the continuing disaster of Indigenous health.

I'm gonna file this under "mental health" because (a) it's the latest attempt to provoke dysmorphia in women and (b) it's nuts: How the mons pubis became the new thigh gap

ETA: Treating mentally ill prisoners would save enormous sums: "Hundreds of psychotic inmates in NSW jails are not receiving any treatment."


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