The Ice Bucket Challenge and its critics + meta-critics

If you’re reading this, you have access to the internet and this means you’ve heard (lots) about the ice bucket challenge. I won’t even describe it other than to mention that the amount of money it has raised is over $50M as of August 22. Given that about half of the mentions (or videos) of the challenge I’ve seen have been in the last few days, I’d bet that has gone up by a lot. As with any viral social phenomenon (especially one about social causes), it’s also attracted a lot of backlash from anti-posts on social media to full-length […]

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The House of Screams

[CN: Existentialism; emo] Ok, this is probably the most personal (and rambling) post I’ve written so if you don’t want to read the musings of a 30 year old that could well sound like the emo diary of a 15 year old, you know what to do… I’m a pretty curious person. I’m interested in almost anything and I have been doing a lot of learning over say the last 12 years (from personal experience, books, articles, travel). I have a pretty good memory, so a lot of it’s stayed with me. And so, the more I’ve learned about the […]

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Kneejerk anti-consumerism or why blame smartphones first?

There are some serious problems with the world’s economic system. This can’t really be denied unless you’re even much further right than say Tony Abbott. Three major intertwined issues are: global poverty the unsustainability of how we make, consume and dispose of stuff the human rights and labour rights of the people who make stuff Because these problems are systemic, they apply to the whole system, and to most subparts or industries. So while it’s possible to criticise the system as a whole, we humans get bored by abstract stuff so it’s often more effective to talk about particular products […]

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Near death experiences are evidence for materialism

Near death experiences happen to many people when they’re near clinical death and survive. They’re often profoundly meaningful or life-changing to those who have them. They’re also frequently used to argue that there is an afterlife, a spiritual realm or “something more” out there than scientific materialism posits. A recent Intelligence2 debate on the existence of the afterlife (which I recommend everyone watch) had nothing but the testimony of a neurosurgeon about his near death experience as the case for the for side. I think near death experiences can be pretty good at convincing people that our consciousness is not […]

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Gale Boetticher and “sympathetic” victims in fiction

Gale Boetticher’s death in Breaking Bad is one of the most heavily accented of the show’s 271 deaths. If you haven’t seen the show or want a refresher, here’s a quick summary of Gale from Breaking Bad Wiki: Gale Boetticher, B.S., M.S., was a was a German American chemist hired by Gustavo Fring to help set up the superlab and manufacture methamphetamine. Gus Fring hired Walter White after Gale praised a sample of Walt’s blue meth as the purest he’d ever seen. Following this point, Gale became Walt’s lab assistant. Gale holds an MS degree in organic chemistry and is […]

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The impossible dream: a non-awful satire of Gina Rinehart

[UPDATED: found one! HT Jess Bellamy] [CN: misogyny and fat-shaming] If you’re not Australian, you might not have heard of Gina Rinehart. She’s the richest person in Australia, currently the 4th richest woman worldwide. A mining heiress who inherited an enormous fortune from her father, she’s has grown it ever since. She’s also a horrible person who supports class warfare to the extreme. She’s expressed concerns that Australian miners getting paid too much won’t be able to compete with $2 a day mining wages in “Africa”, painted essential social services as reflecting an entitlement mentality and is into climate change […]

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Thoughts on a burqa ban

On October 11th 2010, France banned wearing clothing intended to conceal the face in public, with a 150 Euro fine. While the law did not specifically name Islamic dress, the target was the niqab (full covering minus an opening for the eyes), burqa (full covering with the criss-cross pattern pictured), paranja (a similar cover from Central Asia) etc. A French citizen took France to the European Court of Human Rights and last week, she lost. You can find the court’s very short decision in a PDF here. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s status as the victim of the law since […]

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Being annoyed by the World Cup: good reasons vs bullshit reasons

You know what I find annoying about the World Cup? Loud self-congratulations by some people about how much they don’t care about the World Cup. Yes, if you’re someone who doesn’t care about the games (like me), then the volume of coverage on traditional and social media can get tiresome. But it’s pretty silly to react by pretending that not following the World Cup is some subversive bit of counterculture. You’re not that special for not caring. And, as Alan Baxter rightly points out, if you say things like “people are idiots for being into the World Cup,” you’re the […]

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Could you be like Oskar Schindler?

Most people have probably heard of Oskar Schindler through Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List. Schindler is the most famous member of 25,271 people called Righteous of the Nations. These are non-Jews identified by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum to have committed courageous acts that saved Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler was a member of the Nazi party and an industrialist who ran some factories during WWII. He ended up saving approximately 1092 Jews by registering them as workers for his factory and bribing Nazi officials to be allowed to do this. Originally this was with a profit motive but apparently he […]

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Where are all the “real racists”?

Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald published a turd of an article titled How racist are you? by Mark Sawyer. It was so screwed up and misguided that I thought it’s a perfect thing to pick apart. It inadvertently does a great job of highlighting some of Australian society’s many failures on race. So who’s a racist? Not you, of course. Certainly not me. Hey, maybe none of us. It starts off so promisingly: by noticing the fact that the vast majority of people don’t consider themselves racist. When coupled with the undeniable evidence of racism in Australia, this could […]

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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.

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