Author Archives: uthinki

Is Calling Someone an “Ape” Racist?

You’re an “Ape” The Australian Football League (AFL) Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes, stopped midgame at the MCG to point out the 13-year-old girl (apparently a Collingwood supporter) after she called him an “ape”.  Security staff subsequently escorted her from the grounds. Goodes, is both a dual Brownlow medallist and is considered one of the AFL’s most decorated indigenous players. “To hear a 13-year-old girl call me an ape … it was shattering,” Goodes said.  Amidst the rest of his statement he also said that girl needed support and education.  Adding that:   “I’ve got no doubt in my mind she’s got no idea what she was calling me last night.” The girl had later called Adam Goodes to apologise. In an interview, she also said:  “I didn’t mean it in a racist way and I’m sorry to the club and the AFL.” What About Context? This raises the question, that whilst the ...

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Roman Polanski’s Contraceptive Comments Court Controversy at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival, a scene of glitz and glamour.  Another place for the stars to shine, and also a place for some of the less mainstream, outside of Hollywood, films to maybe do the same. Amongst those was director Roman Polanski, there to premiere his latest film, Venus in Fur.  The film stars Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Mathieu Amalric.  Adapted from the play by David Ives, it tells the story of an actress and theatre director rehearsing Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella Venus in Furs.  Examining the roles of gender, as the actress overshadows the director. Not that Roman Polanski is any stranger to controversy, his 1979 conviction of having sex with a minor, saw him flee the United States to avoid further legal issues.  (Maybe playing out vaguely somewhat like Lolita.)  Polanski has again courted controversy with his comments at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Whether ...

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A turning point in digital interface design?

The interweb has been ablaze in recent weeks with discussion about the anticipated release of iOS 7, expected to be announced at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Following the departure of Scott Forstall, there has been much speculation about whether Apple will abandon skeuomorphic design in favour of a more modern “flat design” approach. “Skeuo what?” we hear you say? What is skeuomorphic design? The word skeuomorph, pronounced “skyoo-uh-mawf” is compounded from the Greek words skeuos (container or tool) and morphê (shape). It has been applied to material objects since the 1890s, but more recently it has been used to describe computer interface design. A skeuomorph is an ornament or design that is made to resemble another material or technique. It is the design equivalent of poetic metaphor. Typically skeuomorphism is employed to make products designed from new and novel materials feel as comfortable and familiar as the ...

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Chinese Coke Ad Sexist?

Coca-Cola.  The soft drink.  Coke.  It just got a little harder. Now, make it a bit more difficult to open, because the lids of some bottles have been screwed on extra tight. The concept behind the ad for Coke in the Chinese market is relatively simple.  If you can’t open the Coke bottle with a tighter cap, you can ask someone for help. It seems harmless enough. The tight-capped bottles are a ploy.  Who knows, maybe it actually will help a little with matchmaking in China?  There are cultural differences after all between different countries. Although some, such as at Jezebel, have already been quite quick to label Coke’s IceBreaker ad as sexist.  Portraying women as weak and in need of a man with strong hands to help them open a bottle of Coca-Cola. Following such interpretations and logic, then maybe things will be placed on high shelves to help short people meet taller people.  Dumb ...

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Kidnapped Amanda Berry – Safe at Last

A Cry for Help In Cleveland, Ohio, the screams and cries for help of a woman were overhead by neighbour Charles Ramsey.  Thinking it was a domestic violence incident, he approached the house of Ariel Castro. The door was shut, and able to be opened but enough to get a hand out of.  A woman was frantically trying to escape.  Along with another neighbour that had approached the house, Ramsey acted quickly kicking out the bottom of the door. Through the gap a woman emerged along with a young girl. The story and discovery that has emerged beyond this, has shocked all. The woman identified herself as Amanda Berry.  She had been missing for near a decade.  Calls were made to 911. Two more women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, were discovered in the house and freed upon the arrival of the Cleveland police. Cleveland police arrested three suspects.  The ...

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To Beard, or Not to Beard?

That is the Manly Question Based on male and female judgements of photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded, a recent study by Dixson and Brooks (2013) about men’s facial hair and their perceived socio-sexual attributes of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities was conducted. It found that both male and females rated heavy stubble as the most attractive; whereas a full beard was rated highest in perceptions of parenting ability and healthiness, again by both males and females. So there you have it. Men, grow at least some heavy stubble, or invest in a beard.  You’ll be seen as more attractive and masculine.  (It may not actually make you more manly though, just people’s perceptions of this.)  Then you’ve maybe got a chance with Mila Kunis, who was named by FHM the World’s Sexiest Woman in 2013. Is it Really that Simple? In psychological ...

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Commuters Ignore Naked Woman

The Swiss artist Milo Moiré as part of a project called “The Script System” had a naked model catch public transport in peak hour in Dusseldorf, Germany.  The model had words of clothing items written in English on her otherwise naked body.  (Although she did wear shoes, glasses, and carried a handbag.  Either the bare essentials or the perfect accessories to go with a birthday suit.)  Of course all of this was filmed (the full video in all its glory can be watched on Milo’s website). It was supposed to be a way of “shaking up the ordinary,” said Moiré. Despite all of this, no such thing happened.  Commuters generally ignored the model, or maybe at best gave a momentary and awkward pause.  Whilst the words written on the model’s body and having people filming her likely suggested it was a performance piece of some sort (and arguably people can get away ...

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May the 4th Be With You in 2013

A time about now in a world on the 4th, 4th May… Scrolling Star Wars text starts here.  Sure John Williamson will do the musical score for it. Star Wars, it’s the cultural phenomenon that has launched such things as: Moves to make Jedi an official religion in censuses worldwide The metal bikini, as comfortable as it is sexy. Generations of folks that have tried to use the Force to do everything from opening their doors in the morning to choking someone with a closing hand gesture from afar. It hasn’t all been good though.  There is a dark side to it.  Beyond Caravan of Courage (it wasn’t ‘that’ bad), beyond the whole confusion with the introduction of midi-chlorians (as if mitochondria weren’t already confusing enough), and even beyond Jar Jar Binks, there have been some clangers along the way. Including plot holes big enough to fly the Millennium Falcon though.  If the Rebels blew up ...

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The Cheese Wheel Wheys in on Star Wars

With the approach of May the 4th almost being with us, both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire are gearing up.  Meanwhile George Lucas is sitting about as pretty Jabba the Hutt after the US$4 billion sale of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise to Disney.  (That Mouse has got some money!)  It was also announced that JJ Abrams will be directing (at least) the first movie in the new sequel trilogy.  The new trilogy movies will roll out in 2015, 2017, and 2019; with another two spinoff movies filling in the yearly gaps between Star Wars: Episode VII, VIII and IX. With not such a long time to go for this much new Star Wars, and many of the original cast rumoured to be returning how could things go wrong? Three words may sum it up:  Jar Jar Binks. And with JJ Abrams now directing both the new Star ...

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Will Consumers Pay More for Ethical Products?

The notion of ethical treatment for workers, and for farm animals, is an admirable one.  Yet to many, it often seems but a lofty idea, rather removed from their direct experience.  Most only see the final product.  The mobile phone.  The item of clothing.  The prepared cut of meat.  For most, that’s all they want to see and think about.  Along with an often desired cheap price. Some moves have been made to change this.  To increase awareness.  Examples include the Rainforest Alliance Certified products such as coffee; and farms that have introduced the sale of produce such as free range chickens and eggs.  Apple was heavily criticised in 2012 over the working conditions in its Chinese factories; some claim these are still sweatshops.  The company recently issued an unrelated apology signed by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook over its repair policies for Chinese consumers. Again bringing the issue to the fore, was the recent collapse and fire of the factory building near Dhaka, in Bangladesh.  Reported ...

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