Friday, 28 November 2014

Weekend Joy

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rape Culture at the University of Virginia

A harrowing read.

"They burble about UVA's honor code, a solemn pledge not to lie, cheat or steal; students are expected to snitch on violators, who are expelled. UVA's emphasis on honor is so pronounced that since 1998, 183 people have been expelled for honor-code violations such as cheating on exams. And yet paradoxically, not a single student at UVA has ever been expelled for sexual assault.
"Think about it," says Susan Russell, whose UVA daughter's sexual-assault report helped trigger a previous federal investigation. "In what world do you get kicked out for cheating, but if you rape someone, you can stay?"


Never run in a neighbourhood

The current upheaval in Ferguson brought to mind Trayvon Martin. Stumbled upon this and it stayed with me.

"Today I read about Trayvon trying his best not to run when he thought Zimmerman was hounding him. A friend says she was on the phone with Trayvon before he died, and that’s the account she gives. I don’t know Trayvon’s momma. But it seems she likely had the same proverb for her son that I had for mine. “Never run in a neighborhood.”

My son broke that rule when he was 7. He was Scouting for Food with the Cub Scouts on a service project in Buckhead, a posh McMansion neighborhood in Atlanta. Before I could stop him, he was running across the lawn of a mansion with the other little boys in blue uniforms. My scream stopped him in his tracks. I wasn’t so scared about him running just then. I was terrified that he’d forgotten the rules. I was terrified that he’d be with his white friends eight years from then and think he could run."

Article here.

Cannot imagine having to warn my kids against running in public, or running while carrying something in their hands.

See also: The 'Rules' African American Parents Follow

Friday, 21 November 2014

How top colleges figured out how to turn away Jews

"...For the years learning up to the early 1920s, the Jewish population at Yale was steadily increasing. The Yale administration first tried to limit the scholarship money available to Jewish students and, when that failed to deliver the desired results, they decided to require more than just an excellent admissions exam score to secure entrance to the freshman class. Yale, Karabel explained, insisted that would-be matriculants be of a certain "personality and character" consistent with whatever arbitrary requirements the admissions board deemed relevant..."

Oy Vey

Speaking two languages is better for your brain than Sudoku

"Bilingualism, or the brain’s ability to accommodate two languages, means your brain is perpetually working to tune out one messaging system. When someone can think equally well in more than one set of words, your cognition skills sharpen."

Read here.

Scribbler Joy - Picturebook Makers

Just stumbled upon Picturebook Makers courtesy of Shaun Tan, one of my favourite author/scribblers.

Discover how these author/scribblers dreamed up their picturebooks.

Tree House Love

First spotted this awesome book in all its GIANT glory in a bookstore in Shanghai.  Full of wonderful tree houses from around the world. Figured I'd wait until I moved home to Melb before getting this beast of a book delivered to me. Birthday looming... I think it might be time *rubbing hands together gleefully*

Giant book joy

Damn. Just realised Amazon and Book Depository only sell a smaller version of the book. Will have to track down the giant copy elsewhere. The smaller version is still beautiful, but doesn't have the same impact as GIANT.

Antibacterial frenzy

Nuts how I have to dig around a supermarket shelf and read labels carefully to find soaps and other household cleaners that are not antibacterial. 5-6 shelves, full of antibacterial this, that and everything.

Just saw an ad on TV yesterday for antibacterial wall paint. Sheesh!

FIve reasons why you should probably stop using antibacterial soap

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Let's all go outside and roll around in dirt

"Although correlations have been noted between the composition of the gut microbiome and behavioural conditions, especially autism1, neuroscientists are only now starting to understand how gut bacteria may influence the brain. The immune system almost certainly plays a part, Mazmanian says, as does the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the digestive tract."

Gut-brain link grabs neuroscientists

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tiny Home Love

I would love to park this by the beach and chill-out for a month or so.

$22,000 mortgage-free home

Scientists Use Wikipedia to Predict Disease Outbreaks

"...researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, examining three years' worth of Wikipedia data such as searches for symptoms or diagnoses, managed to create very accurate forecasts of the spread of dengue fever in Brazil and influenza in the U.S., Japan, Poland and Thailand.
They were also able to make predictions, although less accurate ones, of outbreaks of tuberculosis in Thailand and China and of the spread of dengue fever in Thailand, the researchers reported in the journal PLOS Computational Biology."

Read here

Why I have been away

They're a little older now, but here are a couple of favourite pics from not terribly long ago (though it feels like waaaaay back when).

Big Sister

Little Brother

Sweeping Cobwebs Away

4.5 years and 2 kids later, I'm back sweeping away cobwebs as I tentatively revive this blog. The kids are a little older, things are somewhat calmer, and I am in the right headspace again to do this.

Here we go.