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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When is violence justified?

[Spoiler for Django Unchained] The climax of the movie is when Django comes back to the house for a final showdown. One sequence is just classic love-him-or-loathe-him Tarantino: Django is at the top of the stairs explaining how he will take revenge on the white people of the household Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, the sister of the slaveholder Calvin J. Candie is at the bottom of the stairs Django tells a black woman to say goodbye to Lara, then shoots Lara Lara flies back in an exaggerated trajectory and obviously the wrong angle To me, the two reactions Tarantino was going […]

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Dear international tourists: don’t come to Australia

Australia is now a proper rogue state, deserving universal condemnation not tourist dollars If you’re outside Australia, you’ve probably seen our Prime Minister Tony Abbott made fun of on international news (or US satirical tv). These included his promise to ‘shirtfront’ Putin over MH17, putting his foot in his mouth over the Scottish independence referendum, his deliberate obstructionism of any climate change progress at G20, his grin and wink at a woman who said she worked in phone sex to make ends meet, his resurrection of terra nullius etc etc. One problem with such coverage is that it overplays the […]

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Jew cooties and trans disclosure

NOTE: This post is an analogy between different kinds of discrimination. While I normally avoid these, I thought it was necessary here as I’ll explain below. Still, take it for what it is, a limited and necessarily-flawed analogy. A man and a woman hook up. The next day, the man finds out the woman is Jewish. He is outraged that she was so deceptive in not telling him. “If I knew she was a Christ-killer, I wouldn’t have touched her with a ten foot pole! What she did is disgusting and grossly immoral.” He presses sexual assault charges. How sympathetic […]

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Geography, Ebola and “Africa” as a single place

The idea of Africa as a single place is common in Western countries, which has many consequences. I’ve looked at some of these before in terms of the idea of dividing countries up into first world and third world (here and here). There is a great website focussed around the tropes associated with people’s ignorance of Africa called Africa is a Country. If you look at the graphic above, you’ll see how expansive the continent of Africa is. In the mental map of many non-Africans though, it occupies almost a single point, which probably contains the following 7 features: famine […]

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Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom is very racist & sexist

Many kids have movies they love to watch over and over again. One of mine was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I’ve just seen it again for the first time in 15+ years. I suspected that it’d probably be quite racist but it exceeded my racism+sexism expectations by a lot. Another childhood favourite struck off the list! Many people hate the mere idea of criticising a movie for being racist/sexist. A good resource about the problems with this is these three posts by Heina Dadhaboy. And if you want a case of specific harm from racist movie stereotypes, […]

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Cargo cult skepticism

There have been Deep Rifts™ within the atheist and skeptical communities [in English-speaking countries]. These have now been covered enough in the wider media that you might have heard of them even if you don’t identify with any of those groups. Just in the last 2 months, there have been numerous sexual assault/rape allegations against Michael Shermer, an art exhibit made by Amy Davis Roth out of all the harassment her and other women in the community have received and numerous “debates” around some really sexist stuff said by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I won’t make an argument because […]

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About this blog

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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