Atheists don’t exist (if you’re misleading enough)

This is an oldie (from 2014) but a goodie. A legit science website (Science 2.0) publishes an blog post entitled Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke by Nury Vittachi. It’s a great example of what happens when you try to be so nuanced and sophisticated that your head gets sucked up into your own ass. The overall premise of the article is that studies seem to show that all people may tacitly hold religious beliefs. And hence people who identify as atheists may not be “true” atheists because subconsciously they still engage in religious […]

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Will selfies turn you into a psychopath? (No.)

A few weeks ago, there was an item in international media that is a perfect example of what happens when you get a combination of bad science reporting, bad science and moral panics. The story was that apparently research has shown that men who take selfies show more signs of psychopathy (and therefore cut the selfies out). The reporting There were lots of stories online but here are 3 I picked non-randomly: From Huffpo, Men Obsessed With Selfies Could Have Psychopathic Tendencies, Reveals Study From Sydney Morning Herald, Men who take a lot of selfies ‘show strong links to psychopathic […]

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How would a world with trigger warnings work?

Last week, I posted a defence of trigger warnings/content notes (and an attack on the anti-arguments). This is unfortunately where the debate is at – whether the culture should be more accommodating of people who want to know a few extra things about a piece of content before they consume it with informed consent. A much more interesting discussion is the practicalities of how this could be implemented, how it would start up. Here, I’ll try to propose something concrete. Ad-hoc labelling by content creators This is a content creator who wants to create a content note out of their […]

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Liveblogging #ThinkActChange: Ending the Asylum Seeker Debate

I’m liveblogging tonight’s ThinkActChange: Ending the Asylum Seeker Debate event. Speakers include: Kon Karapanagiotidis, Founder & CEO – Asylum Seekers Resource Centre Ben Doherty, Journalist – The Guardian Imogen Bailey, Actress & Ambassador, The Hot Potato Alycia Gawthorne, Campaigner – GetUp! John O’Callaghan, Director of JOC Consulting I’ve only blogged tangentially about asylum seekers (here, here and here) but haven’t yet done a dedicated post. Will hope to have more soon but this should be a great event for those already passionate about the issue. Here goes! Fairly white-looking crowd. [ADDED: Meaning this needs to get waaay bigger!] [6:40] Video […]

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Trigger Warnings/Content Notes: An Epic in Two Acts

Because the internet NEEDS another opinion on trigger warnings/content notes! Act 1 A long time ago in a parallel universe, writing was AuthenticTM. A host of manly men created great literature and disseminated them to the public. Everything was great and everyone got a true cultural experience. Along came an agitator. “You know what would be great?” the agitator whined entitledly. “There should be a short description of what each text contains as a teaser. You know, a little preview or blurb (maybe at the back of a book?) so we can decide what’s likely to appeal to our tastes […]

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Examining some epically racist dreck

There was a post shared by a Facebook [ex-]friend a few months ago. I found it super-racist, to the extent that I chose to block him rather than try to engage. I will however address it here because it contains a lot of important+useful details about the Australian variation of this particular strain of racism. Plus he hits almost all the fallacies. Here’s the text of the post (original), which has had 100,000+ Facebook shares in the last 5 months: They’re not happy in Gaza .. They’re not happy in Egypt .. They’re not happy in Libya .. They’re not […]

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Anyone up for hearing some good news in 2015?

2014 was not a great year for the world by any means. If you haven’t seen this great cartoon from The Nib summarising just some of the shitty things that happened, you should. So naturally, what did 2015 do so far? Promise to be a much much shittier year, if these trends continue. On which, all I’ll have to say is that there’s been tragedy in Nigeria on an unimaginable scale which (1) deserves the title “War on Terror” a lot more than what it’s normally used for and (2) has been completely overshadowed by [pretty important] discussions around #JeSuisCharlie. […]

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Of camels, donkeys and people

In 2008, there were over 1 million feral camels spread out over much of Australia’s desert interior, apparently with a population set to double every 8-9 years. Camels are obviously not native to Australia but are thriving in the deserts. Due to the camels using up scarce water resources, competing with sheep and cattle for food and taking a toll on native ecosystems, the Australian government started a massive cull program (amidst some…interesting backlash) and now the population is down to around 300,000. Still, they are considered a pest and many are exported to the Middle East for racing, meat […]

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“Everyone is stupid except me”

In Homer the Heretic, Homer Simpson falls asleep on the couch with a lit cigar in his mouth while smugly saying to himself “everyone is stupid except me”. Of course, it’s meant to be an illustration of his hubris. The cigar drops out of his mouth setting the Simpsons’ household on fire and making Homer need rescuing by the “stupid” people. Most character traits are on a bell-type-curve, with few people at either extreme and many in the middle. While this is uncontroversial, we often hold views of the general public that disregard this. For example, thinking that all or […]

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7 things to stop saying about the Sydney siege

With such a tragedy hitting Sydney never has the expression opinions are like assholes –- everyone has one been more apt. Some of that talk has been racism and xenophobia (but not in my social media feeds, yay living in a bubble!) which should of course be condemned. But I’ve seen other, subtler problematic stuff said, across the political spectrum. Here are 7 things I think we should all stop saying: 1. This was definitely terrorism/definitely not terrorism This was a crime committed by a single person who is now dead. Certainly the siege had the effect of terrorising many […]

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The thinly-veiled identity of lives and rants in Sydney. Views not his own, provided by hivemind. All my original work on this blog is licensed under a CC BY-NC License. Click here for the privacy policy

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