Society & Culture

  • The Night Before Christmas in 2021

    ‘Twas the time before Christmas, having quarantined thro’ much of 2021 Not a question of shaken or stirred, had World Wa...

  • The Night Before Christmas in 2020

    ‘Twas the time before Christmas, yet nearly all thro’ 2020 Not only stirring creatures, but viruses, problems a-plenty; ...

  • The Night Before Christmas in 2019

    ‘Twas the time before Christmas, and hence almost thro’ 2019 Not only a year-end occurring, now even a decade has been; ...

  • The Night Before Christmas in 2018

    ‘Twas the time before Christmas, near the end of 2018 Not surprisingly these lines stir, repeat what has been; Though Kh...

  • The Night Before Christmas in 2017

    ‘Twas the time before Christmas, reflecting back on 2017 Not much had worked, from what has been seen; Politicians fired...

  • LEGO-Compatible Adhesive Tape

    LEGO and tape goes together like crowd and funding. Such is the idea behind Nimuno Loops – The Toy Block Tape. Bumps on ...

  • Deadpooling

    Coining a phrase isn’t quite the same as phrasing a coin, but Deadpooling looks to be a thing now. The character’s self-...

Starship Enterprise Building: Chinese Gaming Company Makes It So

The time? Six years of construction. The cost? Some US$160 million spent in the process, including licensing the rights from CBS to build it so. The result? Completed in 2014, finally the headquarters of Chinese online gaming and mobile internet company NetDragon Websoft were built. That the headquarters are a replica of the starship USS Enterprise from Star Trek? It’s beyond avant-garde, and it boldly goes where no building has gone before. The reason? Probably so the chairman, Liu Dejian, can say stuff at work like: “Make it so.” And: “I’ll be in my ready room.” And he has to be taken seriously. Where the debate goes, be it Sovereign or Galaxy, or something else taxing to the Constitution, the Class is still out. Stick with an Excelsior refit if for no other reason than “Excelsior” is such a good word to say. Since no known tricorder scans of the ...

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Egglants, Emojis and Oddities

Quite apart from the debate of whether the eggplant is a fruit or vegetable, a common pastime between scientific types and laypeople in between watching the grass grow, it seems the mysterious eggplant has struck again. But in emoji form. Or rather, the eggplant emoji has been struck off the usage list by Instagram. The reason, it appears, is some say eggplant, some say aubergine and others say brinjal. But when it comes to Instagram and the eggplant emoji, some say it’s vulgar. It’s not like it’s that unobvious why… Which has called things to attention, and in the interests of uprightness, the eggplant emoji has been deflated and put away for now. The party is over. Turns out even sprinkling a little salt on it changes nothing of the bitter taste. Don’t even speak about brinjal pickle, that may just be a phallic overload. Putting aside the best and ...

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Iggy Azalea and Bonds Underwear: Comments of All Colours

Iggy Azalea. She’s so fancy. But what you may not already know, is she’s now also the new face, body, and probably booty, of Bonds underwear. As one of the new celebrities posing for the underwear company, the comments have already begun to fly about Iggy. One commentator, Eleanor Robinson for The Guardian, finds Iggy Azalea at odds with Bonds’ supposed image of the Australian girl next door. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Opinions are what they are. However, the notion that former Bonds girl, Miranda Kerr was ever somehow the girl next door is sure to bring a wistful smile to the faces of many. Along with memories of her initial Bonds campaign back over a decade ago. For that matter, Bonds has helped to launch, or at least play a role in launching, the careers of models such as Sarah Murdoch, Shanina Shaik, and Kelly Gale. So of ...

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Tensions Grow as Australia Recalls Ambassador to Indonesia

Following the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia on Wednesday, 29 April 2015, Australia has recalled its ambassador Paul Grigson from Indonesia. While some commentary has suggested such a political move is unprecedented, this is not wholly true. Talking to the 7.30 Report, former Australian ambassador Philip Flood noted that such a move has occurred twice before: “It’s unprecedented for us to recall an ambassador from Indonesia. We’ve done it twice, recalling an ambassador. We did it in the case of French nuclear tests in the Pacific and it was hardly noticed at all. We did it in the case of Fiji and that really did more damage to us than it did to Fiji. I hope that the ambassador’s only recalled for a short time.” Whether this has any real political clout or diplomatic impact remains to be seen. It is, however, a rather thorny issue overall. ...

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Anzac Day – Politicians Hands Off

25th April 2015, Anzac Day. The pre-dawn world is dark. No hint of the sun yet to rise somewhere to the East. There’s a certain silence to it all. Rather fitting given the solemnity of the day. People move about the streets. More than normal in a time which is normally the preserve of the few early risers and late workers. Hurriedly they move and file in. Cram into and close ranks about the memorial site. Those of age and those distinguished are given seats. Most stand, almost still. In the dark waiting. The odd child stirs, shifts and murmurs. Some are placed atop shoulders to better see in the gloom. Others are held closer. Urged into silence. Each here is a part of the centenary of Anzac Day. That we remember those before us is the request. That we do not repeat past mistakes is understood and need not ...

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Japanese Artist on Trial for Vagina Art

Paddle Your Own Kayak A 43-year-old Japanese artist, Megumi Igarashi, has recently faced trial, in part for making a kayak. Wait for it, modelled on her vagina. It’s a bizarre case of not knowing which is weirder: getting charged or making the kayak itself. Megumi Igarashi, who also uses the artistic moniker Rokudenashiko, was initially arrested in July last year, and arrested again in December 2014. The arrests related to her offering digital details to people to 3D print her vagina in exchange for donations to help fund her vagina kayak artwork. Though there was public outcry following the initial arrest about her right to the freedom of expression; the second arrest pertained to the Japanese penal code and public obscenity laws. Her defence counsel is quoted as saying: “Even if it were constitutional, the defendant’s work is not a precise reproduction of the vulva and does not cause sexual ...

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Should Beaches be for Locals Only?

The Beach, Is Vying for territory, it’s nothing new. Animals do it. Humans do it, even if it’s often wrapped up in ownership and contract law. Yet it extends beyond that, whether it be the notion of personal space or that specific people have the right to a space. Which leads to the argument of whether beaches, or at least some of them, should be for locals only. For Locals The argument for beaches for locals only, is along the lines of that locals tend to respect their environment more than the tourists who will do things such as leave their rubbish on the beach, or may come in and clean out almost the entire rock platform of its shellfish in one day. In contrast with some of the locals who will actively pick up the rubbish and clean up the beach, along with conserving the environment. Though this is only ...

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Don’t Feed the Ducks Bread

Londoners have been given a simple request: Please don’t feed the ducks bread. The Canal & River Trust are the ones currently making this request. With it comes a warning as well. Apart from the estimated six million loaves of bread annually entering London’s canals and waterways, it’s being warned that bread is like “junk food” to ducks. Suggesting that the diet for the ducks would better include handouts of lettuce, peas and corn, oats, seeds, and rice. Grapes are apparently also acceptable. Portion control and varying the places of feeding is encouraged as well. Much like the path to hell may be paved with good intentions, for ducks it may be paved with bread loaves. Which has nothing to do with Hansel and Gretel because it’s not just breadcrumbs. Although it is about fatted ducks of sorts. Problem is, the bread that is housing itself in the waterways is ...

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The Wisdom of March Madness?

Sporting Chance It builds like a fever. Sweating. Excitement. Slight discomfort. The prospect of Spring. Things are thawing, heating up. It may begin with the NCAA college basketball tournament. Where 68 teams play sudden death matches. The loser leaves hopefully a good sport; the winner progresses to the next round of elimination. Filtering through to the Sweet 16, Elite Eight and into the Final Four teams. Semi-finals, then the final match with the winner found. Unlike the NBA tournaments where the basketball teams play the best of seven games, in the March Madness games, after the initial play-ins remove four of the lowest ranked teams, for those remaining 64 teams a single match is all that stands between climbing the ladder or being benched for the rest of the tournament. Skill and luck both have their roles to play. A minor mistake may end it all. There’s no best of ...

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Thailand Bans Underboob Selfies, Just Don’t Panic

Legal Shades of Grey The underboob selfie. Yet another variant of the selfie, and maybe quite the tie-in. Which although probably not requiring a selfie stick, is nonetheless being taken to with a stick. With Thailand authorities having banned the underboob selfie. All of which because such images may violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act 2007, Section 14, regarding computer data which may “damage the country’s security or cause a public panic” and related to computer data “that is publicly accessible” in addition to that which “involves the dissemination or forwarding of computer data”. So provided everyone remains calm and no-one panics, people sharing underboob selfies may escape prosecution provided the images aren’t a security risk and don’t disclose state secrets. Somewhat strange the actions of the government compared to the perceptions of the country. Irrespective of any legalities, it’s not exactly like Thailand is unknown for its sex and drug ...

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