Friday, April 19, 2013

Caught my eye: A list of links

1. Well done New Zealand, leading the way in marriage equality, and very well done MP Maurice Williamson for this wonderful speech in parliament. I'm a little bit in love.

2. I’ve read some nasty comments directed at blogger Maggie Mason (at Mighty Girl) over Boston-aimed donations and branded hashtags – i.e. if you do 500 small acts of kindness with the hashtag #MightyKind, we’ll donate $500. I’m feeling a little conflicted. Yes, I think conditional charity is a bit dodgy; no, I don’t think this kind of promotion of kindness is selfish. One of the critical commenters posted this link – and while I think this is in no way related to Maggie’s small hashtag problem, these 7 woeful aid ideas are forehead-slappers.

3. I personally like this type of project, by One Girl, who chose to focus on a completely un-glamorous problem. Instead of flooding the local economy with free sanitary pads, they're working with the women in Sierra Leone to sell reasonably priced, biodegradable pads. With girls taking almost a week off from school every month because of their periods (cultural taboos and poor means of dealing with menstrual blood), this type of program can support One Girl's primary mission, which is to educate women. I've heard this before but it still resonates: "when you educate a girl, she’ll change the world. An educated girl is three times less likely to contract HIV / AIDS. She‘ll marry later and have fewer, healthier children. For every extra year of schooling, her income will increase by 10 – 25 percent. Not only that, she’ll reinvest 90 percent of the money she earns back into her family. Educating a girl has a ‘multiplier effect’. An educated girl can change the world."

4. I like Waleed Aly. I don’t always agree with him, but I like him. I like him when he appears on The Project and his gentle humour and intellectual thoughtfulness shines through. I like it when he writes for The Age.

5. Scientist Tara C Smith posted this open letter to her dad about his antevaccine postings on facebook. Love her point about cognitive bias, which explains why people who 'do research' tend to find exactly what they want to find or things that confirm their existing beliefs. 

7. Yay for Dirtgirl, winning at the Digital Emmys! Dirtgirl World is a sweet little show that I let my boy watch occasionally. The songs about rain and feeding the chooks and gardening and recycling are fun and gentle. The ABC does seem to have ignored the fact that it’s a Canadian co-production, though.

8. Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister just days after I was born. Interesting to compare the US and UK obituaries. And this one op-ed piece by Julie Bishop (who is occasionally the school marm of Australian politics, rousing on all the naughty boys and girls). And this piece by Andy Ruddock about the push to make ‘Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead’ a chart chopper to ‘honour’ the Iron Lady.

9. Felicia Day is one of those ladies I wish was a real-life friend. She's lovely and silly and a champion for geeky things and women loving geeky things. Her Geek and Sundry site is a playground of fun but I’m secretly enjoying the terribly named Vaginal Fantasy, which is an online/podcast book group that discusses and dissects smutty romance novels each month. They recently covered Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart, which is both smutty and romantic but also a hearty fantasy novel and one of my favourites (surprise, I like dirty fat books – or is that fat dirty books?). The discussion is full of wine and funny tangents and ladies talking over each other but it’s easy to imagine you’re included too.

10. Because true heroes only need a can-do attitude. Hilarious.

11. This on packing tape street art. Lovely.

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