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-...

Closing the Gender Pay Gap, Not So Fast?

Pushing Against the Glass Ceiling With the 8th March marking International Women’s Day, it’s a time to consider and celebrate all that women have done for the world. Names, but some amongst many, are called to the fore. From science with Marie Curie. To matters of state with Angela Merkel, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Janet Yellen, Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II. To business and industry with Sara Blakely and Gina Rinehart. To those who’ve done their best to make the word a better place, such as Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa. To those that entertain us, such as Oprah, Ellen, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore. The list of women who have achieved both greatness and public recognition in their respective fields is not a small one by any means. And any such listing must ultimately be incomplete. Equally though, we should also acknowledge those whose stories ...

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Bigfoot vs. Nessie

Cryptozoology, is the study of, and the search for, secret, hidden animals with a yet unproven existence.  Rumours, hearsay and conjecture are often where it begins.  Sometimes legends.  A few hoaxes may be in there as well.  Blurred photos are optional, but are generally recommended. Two of the more famous examples are the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie as it is (or they are) otherwise referred to, was purportedly first seen in the year 565 (which requires more than a small bit of interpretation of Chapter 28 in the Life of St. Columba).  Making its home in Loch Ness, Scotland; it has been searched for, but never found.  The most recently claimed and majorly reported sighting was in 2012.  Perhaps meaning that Nessie either swims in the Fountain of Youth, or there are many of the creatures.  Neither claim has been proven though. Bigfoot, or Sasquatch (as its ...

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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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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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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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420 and Social Proofs

420 and the Culture of Marijuana The 20th April is a meaningful date to many. Of course given the history of the world, it won’t take much to pull out something apparently significant, purely by chance, and link it to such a date.  For example, Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April, 1889.  Delving into confirmation biases and relatively prime numbers for mistaken numerology, is a topic for another time. Rather the 20th April here, will first be morphed into April 20, then converted into 420, and maybe 4/20 if need be.  And yes, guilty of using numerology as charged.  Although the whole idea of the 420 here is linked to not being charged. At 4:20pm on 4/20, stoners across North America, meaning the US and Canada, lit up their joints to advocate for the legalisation of marijuana.  Presumably with smoking this weed, some did actually inhale as well. The origins of 420 are ...

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Fish for Friday

If you live in a part of the world that follows an essentially Christian custom, then there are two days in the year that have special significance.  These being Christmas Day and Good Friday.  If nothing else, from a secular perspective, this has translated into these two days continuing to be maintained as public holidays.  For Good Friday especially, no other day in the calendar is presented as quite so sacrosanct. On this day, many people even if not strictly Christian, will tend to observe the custom of eating fish (or seafood) and avoiding other meats. An explanation offered is usually something suitably vague, to the effect of: “We don’t eat red meat on Good Friday because that would be eating Jesus.” Best to ignore what happens on other days then.  Or churchgoing Sundays with bread and red wine. From this, how many have truly questioned the reason for the Good Friday custom?  The vague adage ...

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