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Showing posts from October, 2013

Sexual Assault and Alcohol: It's Not Common Sense, It's Not True, and It's Not Helping

Blogger and "media personality" Mia Freedman was making waves at her blog again this week and as much as I dislike responding, I kind of felt I had to. See, she's said that when her daughter is old, enough, she'll  advise her to reduce her alcohol consumption  in order to avoid the risk of sexual assault. Now, I'm not suggesting that Ms Freedman courts controversy just to get page views, heavens no, but in this case she seems to have seen the controversy coming. This isn't victim blaming, she insists, it's just common sense to tell women how to reduce their risk of sexual assault. Well, maybe it would be good advice - if any of it were true. The  statistics Ms Freedman cites  actually show that females' risk of sexual assault peaks between the ages of 10-14 - an age which girls are highly unlikely to be binge drinking. The AMA information paper  on risky drinking shows that drinking actually increases throughout the lifespan - as the risk of sexual ass

Fires, Politics and The Right Time To Discuss Climate Change

Terrible, horrible, very sad week as monstrous bushfires swept eastern NSW. The worst damage occurred in the Blue Mountains - hundreds of homes lost there, it seems, the emotional damage incalculable - and there were also dreadful fires ringing Newcastle. We're in a heavily built up area of inner Newcastle with no bushfire danger, but only a short distance to the north and south fires were threatening places I've known most of my life - Nords Wharf where I lived as a child for a few months; Caves Beach, our go-to beach in high school; at one stage fire came close to the fuel tanks at Newcastle airport. The sky was thick with smoke, the sun a creepy red, and we all spent a restless, worried night following Twitter for news of friends who were being evacuated. And the one thought we all had was "my God, if the bushfires are like this in October, what the hell are they going to be like by February?". For we don't have fires like this in NSW in October, halfway throug

50 Arguments Disproving Climate Change

1. Someone who believes in global warming lives in a waterfront house. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 2. Someone who believes in global warming drives a large car. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 3. Someone who believes in global warming flies a bunch of places. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 4. Scientists have been wrong before. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 5. There were hot days and storms when I was a kid. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 6. There have always been storms and bushfires. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 7. Greenies just want us all to go back to living in huts. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 8. Scientists are lying to get grant money. They can get far more money lying to please socialist governments than they could from telling the truth for fossil fuel producers. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 9. Plants need carbon dioxide. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 10. Carbon dioxide is harmless to humans. Therefore, AGW isn't true. 11. Someone said the Earth has been cooling

Chris Brown and Unwilling Victims

Serial douche Chris Brown has recently revealed he lost his virginity age 8, and has been the recipient of sympathy from some unlikely quarters. Feminist writers who previously disdained him for his perpetration of relationship abuse have come out to say  that he was raped , that he was a victim here, no wonder he carries on like such a tool considering such a horrid thing happened to him as a child. (It's worth pointing out that the girl he had sex with was 14 or 15, according to his story - how would our views change if she had been 8 years old herself?) Now, it goes without saying no 8 year old should be having sex. But Chris Brown does not see himself as a victim. He describes it as a normal experience where he grew up, good preparation for later on. It's pretty icky stuff to read. And it could well be a false face of bravado slapped on to cover up deep hurt; if so, my very deepest empathy to Mr Brown and I hope he can get help to deal with what he's been through. But.

Libertarians Can Kiss My Patootie, But Let's Get Rid of Compulsory Voting

Compulsory voting. We're one of only ten countries in the world to have it, and you either love it or you hate it. Traditionally, the left has triumphed compulsory voting as ensuring franchise for all , whilst libertarians decry compulsory voting as a contradictory attack on their freedoms. Now, I'm yet to meet a libertarian I wouldn't happily give a kilo of sand and a hammer to pound it in with, but if we're to address the decline in our democracy, compulsory voting has to go. The biggest argument in favour of compulsory voting is that it allows everyone to have a say. But it doesn't really. Most elections come down to a few thousand undecided voters in a handful of marginal seats. Undecided voters, who tend to be less educated and less engaged in the political process, are now calling the shots. Politicians ignore the major issues to chase after the concerns of those who care the least. No wonder our electoral coverage is dire, no wonder political discourse is du

Cooking Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

Because I'm very peculiar, I regularly peruse the recent deaths on Wikipedia, and last week I learned of the passing of Italian cookery writer  Marcella Hazan , widely credited as the godmother of Italian cookery. I'd not heard of her prior to her passing, but apparently she was a stickler for purity and traditional techniques - and the apex of this was her tomato-butter sauce. Bloggers raved about it, stating every cook should know this dish and if you did, you'd be a convert to her ways forever. So I knew I had to try it, and hunted down a recipe. For a start, there are only four ingredients. As someone who likes to add lots and lots of different spices to food - I think my spaghetti bolognaise must run to about 43 ingredients, including lemon juice, liquid smoke, nutmeg, and two kinds of chilli - this idea took some getting used to. Yep, that's it. Anyway, here's the recipe. I've converted it to metric cause I'm always thinking of how I can make your life

"I Don't Need Feminism": The Women of A Voice for Men

Yikes. Apparently there's a mob doing the rounds known as "A Voice for Men" who have been  plastering stickers  across Melbourne, proclaiming their men's rights agenda - that domestic violence is a feminist conspiracy, false rape allegations are a feminist tool to keep men scared, that the feminist agenda is nothing more that a vast plot of hatred and misandry to destroy men. They see that feminism is a broad movement with a diverse range of views and use that division to drive a wedge, presenting feminism conversely as a unified, cult-like movement that brooks no dissent from it's extremist creed. So there are men who hate women. We knew that. But what's really bizarre is seeing women, young women, who have benefited the most from the gains of feminism so far and have the most to gain from the battles we have yet to win - standing up on the side of the men's rights movement; that feminists hate men, but they sure don't, and they don't need no femi