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02 Sep 14:30

Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Incredible brains and great tongue. (We’re talking Persian sandwiches – what did you think we were talking about?) It’s what everyone’s digging into at Aria Persian Fast Food. They sizzle them to order on the hot plate before piling it all into a soft torpedo roll covered in sesame seeds. The sandwich counter This is Persian street food, the kind of cheap and hearty fare you can still find
03 Sep 14:00

Violence against Indigenous Women: Fun, Sexy, and No Big Deal on the Big Screen

by Guest Contributor

by Guest Contributor Elissa Washuta, originally published on Tumblr

Captain Hook kidnaps Tiger Lily in Peter Pan.

Captain Hook kidnaps Tiger Lily in Peter Pan.

The body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation, was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on August 17. Her murder has brought about an important conversation about the widespread violence against First Nations women and the Canadian government’s lack of concern.

In her August 20 Globe and Mail commentary, Dr. Sarah Hunt of the Kwagiulth band of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation wrote about the limited success of government inquiries and her concerns about other measures taken in reaction to acts of violence already committed, such as the establishment of DNA databases for missing persons. Dr. Hunt writes:

“Surely tracking indigenous girls’ DNA so they can be identified after they die is not the starting point for justice. Indigenous women want to matter before we go missing. We want our lives to matter as much as our deaths; our stake in the present political struggle for indigenous resurgence is as vital as the future.”

Violence against indigenous women is not, of course, happening only in Canada. In the U.S., for example, the Justice Department reports that one in three American Indian women have been raped or experienced an attempted rape, and the rate of sexual assault against American Indian women is more than twice the national average. This violence is not taking place only in Indian Country.

In the Globe and Mail on August 22, Elizabeth Renzetti wrote about three recent murders of First Nations women.

“What unites these three cases is that the victims – Tina Fontaine, Samantha Paul and Loretta Saunders – were all aboriginal women. What else unites them, besides the abysmal circumstances of their deaths? What economic, cultural, historical or social factors? Anything? Nothing?”

Jeffords holding the murdered Sonseeahray.

Jeffords holding the murdered Sonseeahray.

I can’t answer that, but I know that all of these women—and every other indigenous woman in Canada and the U.S.—lives in a society that includes images of violence against indigenous women in its entertainment products. Over and over, violence against indigenous women is made to titillate, built into narratives along with action, suspense, swashbuckling, and romance. Indigenous women become exotic props, and when we are identified with these dehumanized caricatures, it becomes easier to treat us inhumanely.

John Smith points a rifle at Pocahontas

John Smith points a rifle at Pocahontas

Take as an example Disney’s Pocahontas. Released in 1995, the cartoon feature has replaced the historical figure’s life story in the minds of many Americans. Much has been made of Disney’s exotification of Pocahontas. John Smith is only compelled to put down his gun because of her beauty. Pocahontas is imbued with animal qualities throughout the film as she scuttles, bounds, swims, creeps, and dives. This reinforces a long-held conception of Native peoples as being “close to nature” at best, “more animal than human” at worst—and the latter is a view that makes us easier to abuse.

Emily and Sam in New Moon

Emily and Sam in New Moon

The recent depiction of Emily (a Makah woman) in the Twilight series offers viewers a direct representation of violence in a fictional Native community. Emily’s broad, visible facial scar is said to be the result of her partner Sam’s (a Quileute man/werewolf) outburst of rage: he was a younger werewolf, with difficulty controlling his “phasing” from human to wolf, he became angry, and she was standing too close. The presentation of this story problematic in its shrugging absolution of Sam of his responsibility in maiming Emily, and the aftermath is heartbreaking: in the more detailed version of the story presented in the Twilight books, after Sam mauls Emily, she not only takes him back, but convinces him to forgive himself. This sends the message that an episode of violence can and should be overlooked for the sake of romance. Emily, a Native woman, becomes expendable. Her safety is of little concern; the fact that Sam has “imprinted” on her, cementing his attachment, is more important than the reality of recidivism.

In a Globe and Mail editorial, “How to Stop an Epidemic of Native Deaths,” the author brings up the many social factors at work in the epidemic of violence against Native women. I bring up the problematic and pervasive imagery above not because I think it is the most problematic issue, but because it is what I know, and because we can start solving it with our individual actions. We don’t need to call Native women “squaws” and joke that they were “hookers” when forced into prostitution, as Drunk History did last year. We can make better choices than “naughty Native” costumes on Halloween. We have the freedom to choose the representations we make in the world, and when we perpetuate damaging stereotypes of indigenous women as rapeable, we are using our autonomy to disempower others.

Karen Warren wrote in “A feminist philosophical perspective on ecofeminist spiritualities”:

“Dysfunctional systems are often maintained through systematic denial, a failure or inability to see the reality of a situation. This denial need not be conscious, intentional, or malicious; it only needs to be pervasive to be effective.”

Tiger Lily faces Hook.

Tiger Lily faces Hook.

I’m tired of hearing that these images aren’t harmful. I’d rather see how much they’re missed when they’re gone than continue to listen to the insistence that the image of Pocahontas at the end of a gun barrel is wholesome while, every day, more and more indigenous women die while we are told that this is not a phenomenon, not a problem, nothing more than crime.

Elissa Washuta is an adviser in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington and a faculty mentor in the MFA program in creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her first book, a memoir called MY BODY IS A BOOK OF RULES, was recently published by Red Hen Press.

The post Violence against Indigenous Women: Fun, Sexy, and No Big Deal on the Big Screen appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

03 Sep 17:40

The Easiest Ever Ice Cream Bread (You're Reading it Right)!

I'd be okay with a backhanded compliment on this bread because it is quite quirky indeed. It was sent to me by a lovely reader Karen E. who sent me a link along with a little intro to it. I'm definitely not one to resist anything quirky and it was only a couple of weeks later that I decided to make it.
05 Sep 23:59


by mugumogu

Maru pushes the pushcart.

Maru:[Of course I can get into without pushing this.]

07 Sep 15:00

La Maison de L’éclair, Bondi [31]

by Susan Thye
Fergus Noodle

Let us go here

MY PRETTIES! I believe good things come to those that wait and oh how I’ve waited to visit La Maison de L’éclair (91 Bondi Road, Bondi)! Open for about a year now, La Maison de L’éclair is run by Frédéric and Laurence Caillon, founders of Croquembouche Patisserie in Botany.

It’s hard not to enter the patisserie and just stop and stare at the cabinet holding eclairs of all colours of the rainbow, so bright, so vivid (double rainbow, double rainbow!). I had serious decision angst as it was so hard to choose! The eclair prices are for takeaway only, if you’re dining in it’s +$1.

Mini eclairs!

A selection of tarts and cakes from Croquembouche are also available and there’s a whole window dedicated to pastel hued macarons.

There’s savoury eclairs too for those missing their sweet tooth. Or should that be teeth… They’re also gluten free, made from buckwheat and look stuffed to the gills with filling.

The boy really wanted the Fruits of the Forrest ($7.50 + $1 dine in) and when I asked him how it tasted he said it tasted purple which is SUCH a big help, thanks Noods. So because I wanted more information than the eclair tasting like a colour, I nicked a bite and was impressed with the smooth mixed berries cream filling. I did find the icing to be a bit on the tooth achingly sweet side and while I’m not the biggest fan of flowers in my foods I did like the crunch of the crystallised violets studded about.

The Nutella Eclair ($8.50 + $1 dine in) was a special of the day with fresh cream and choc pops and it was pretty damn tasty as is all things with Nutella! I hear there’s a Nutella shortage happening because of poor weather affecting hazelnut crops which has led to me binge eating Nutella like there’s no tomorrow. But anywho this eclair with its wonderfully smooth Nutella cream filling filled all the corners of my Nutella loving heart.

The Crunchy Hazelnut Eclair ($8.50) was a fair runner up to the Nutella eclair with a crunchy hazelnut ganache cream filling topped with a sweet hazelnut fondant, nougatine, hazelnuts, gold leaf and a mini macaron with a delicately crisp shell.

The Raspberry Duchesse ($8.50) was my fave out of the bunch as tasted like summer! Fat, juicy raspberries are enveloped with a fresh cream filling and a baby pink macaron top hugs everything together.

Aaaand last but not least the Signature Gold Eclair ($8.50) containing a praline and Ecuador cream filling. This baby is rich, I mean look at its gold shimmer dust bling! And also rich in the ‘uh oh this is so rich and filling” sense. Not the best idea to eat after having eaten several eclairs prior haha my bad…

I did find some of the icing on the eclairs to be a bit on the sweet side but I absolutely loved the choux pastry which was fresh, light and really was just everything I had hoped for. I’ll definitely be back to try the savoury eclairs as well as the rest of the sweet eclairs :D

La Maison de L’éclair on Urbanspoon

04 Sep 21:30

Renaissance Faire Centaur

Renaissance Faire Centaur

01 Sep 02:53

New light shines on parliamentarians' entitlements

by Peter Timmins
Rosie Williams at InfoAus has turned published government information into something more searchable for transparency and accountability purposes, this time using details published by Department of Finance about use of entitlements by Federal parliamentarians. 

Finance publishes claims/repayments twice a year, six months after the end of each period. They have improved accessibility over time, now presenting information about individual senators and members by state and territory

The entitlement picture is still far from complete as outlined in October last year. On the broader issue, the government's reaction to the scandal that came to light at that time was entirely inadequate.

(Publication of information about use of entitlements by the states remains firmly entrenched in the Dark Ages.)

Rosie has provided new search functions (Rosie @Info_Aus is interested in feedback, corrections) that enable easier access to Finance material including by Party and type of expense making these tallies available:
The Greens.
By expense type providing comparative tables,among them:

Travelling Allowance
Overseas Travel
Chartered Flights

And sure to attract interest the details of Repayments and Adjustments

Rosie turned parts of the Federal Budget Papers into more searchable information with BudgetAus two years ahead of this year's first step by the government to publish data from the 2014-2015 Federal Budget in Excel & CSV formats.

She also developed KnowYourPlace an interface to search the ABS data on Socio Economic Indicators by town, council area, electorate or state.

Nick Evershed at The Guardian, one of the small but growing band of data journalists also utilised Finance material on administrative costs to locate printing, distribution and website costs for each parliamentarian in various time blocks to provide this insight into use of entitlements Politicians billing taxpayers twice for election campaign material 
28 Aug 17:58

Do you know your Nose Punching Limit?

by Maya


“Without making the victims responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women. They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much and there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard.”

– Dr. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President Emeritus and current Professor of Public Service at George Washington University

Got that, ladies? You need to remain sober enough at all times to be capable of punching a dude in the nose. If they “misbehave.” (Can you think of a word that more thoroughly diminishes the seriousness of sexual assault than “misbehave”? I cannot.) And obviously they will misbehave because boys will be boys, amirite? 

I know, I know. You already have other drinking limits you’ve gotta to worry about. You need to stay under the very important Drunk Driving Limit if you’re planning on getting behind the wheel. Depending on your plans the next day, you may want to steer clear of the Horrible Hangover Limit if you don’t want a rough morning. For awhile there I had to be real careful about my personal Pouring Beer on Assholes Limit. The Sexting Exes Limit is almost not worth keeping track of because, lets be real, it’s nearly always broken.

Of course, like all these limits, the Nose Punching Limit, will vary from person to person, so you’ll have to do some trial and error here. I have not actually ever punched someone in the nose, so I guess I’ll have to practice that too! I know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t it be easier if men just stayed under their personal Unable to Recognize and/or Respect Consent Limit? Silly girl, you know you can’t put limits on men. They were naturally made to break them! Like animals or children or outlaws. It’s biology, or evolution, I think. Definitely just The Way The World Works.

That’s why women are in charge of managing their limits too. If women aren’t careful about their Flirting Limit, men might be end up on the other side their Unable to Take a Fucking Hint Limit. Women’s various Skin Exposure Limits ensure that men are not pushed past their Objectifying Limit, Distracted in Class Limit, and Impure Thoughts Limit. Sure, it’s hard — and risky — work managing other people’s limits, and yes, it does require you to restrict your own freedom quite a bit, but someone’s gotta do it.

And hey, every now and then you may get to enforce the limits with a punch in the nose, which is actually sounding like a pretty good conciliation prize right about now.

Maya DusenberyMaya feels kinda bad for the dude who someday will receive a punch in the nose from her that is powered by the frustration of a lifetime of unfair limits.

24 Aug 17:53

Baked Caramel Apple Donuts

Fergus Noodle

make me these pls

Of course the problem with doing that is that burying yourself under food when in need of comfort isn't particularly healthy at all (although an argument could be made for health of the soul). So if you are feeling a donut might do your soul good but want to save a few calories please allow me to share with you this baked caramel apple donut.
25 Aug 18:01

Some questions about Undercover Colors anti-rape nail polish

by Maya
undercover 2

The creators of Undercover Colors nail polish.

Thanks to four male college students from North Carolina State University, you may soon be able to buy some nail polish that detects date rape drugs to go with your anti-rape underwear. Throw in your rape whistle and pepper spray camera, and you might be able to delude yourself into believing you’re 100% safe from sexual violence.

The students came up with the idea because they’ve all personally known someone who’s experienced sexual assault, and I applaud their desire to put their engineering skills toward combating rape. But after reading Undercover Colors’ product description, I have a few questions…

In the U.S., 18% of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s almost one out of every five women in our country. We may not know who they are, but these women are not faceless. They are our daughters, they are our girlfriends, and they are our friends.

While date rape drugs are often used to facilitate sexual assault, very little science exists for their detection. Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.

Actually, date rape drugs, like Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB, are not used to facilitate sexual assault all that often. While exact estimates vary, it’s safe to say that plain old alcohol is the substance most commonly used in drug-facilitated rape. Are you at all worried that by overstating the prevalence of date rape drugs, your product might give its users, who are no less likely to become victims of other kinds of sexual assault, a false sense of security? And given that your product only addresses a relatively tiny subsection of the sexual violence in this country, do you have any plans to donate your profits to help protect the remainder of the 18 percent? 

For our first product, we are developing a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB. With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes color, she’ll know that something is wrong.

Is your product free? Will if be universally available in bars and on college campuses? What if I’m interested in ensuring not only my safety but also the safety of all the other women who have not heard about — or cannot afford to buy — your nail polish? Do you recommend that I just purchase a bulk order and set up a nail-painting table outside my local bar? Can you provide some advice for how to discreetly ask strangers if they’d like me to stir their drinks as well? If your product becomes popular, won’t drink-spikers just learn to target the drinks of nail polish-free women? Will you have a clear polish to avoid this problem? Are you at all concerned that women who weren’t wearing your polish when they were drugged and raped will be blamed for not doing everything in their power to “ensure [their] safety”?

Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.

If your product becomes popular enough to have a real deterrent effect — in other words, to actually “make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink” and not just afraid to spike a nail-polish-wearing woman’s drink — what is stopping rapists from simply using other means, including the current go-to drug, alcohol, to facilitate the crime? Are you working on developing a product that will make them afraid to actually rape?

We are Undercover Colors and we are the first fashion company empowering women to prevent sexual assault.

Do you know the definition of empowering? It involves giving someone the power to do something. Giving” is not synonymous with “selling.” More importantly, do you know the definition of prevent”? It is not synonymous with “avoid.” Personally avoiding sexual assault — or one particular, rather uncommon type of sexual assault — is not the same as preventing sexual assault. I’m not against the former, but I personally prefer to donate to folks working to do the latter. And I’m not so into a company that raises money by conflating the two.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

26 Aug 00:00

Schnitzeloff! The Quest To Find Sydney's Best Schnitzel!

It was when we were discussing our Peking duck challenge and the banh mi challenge that she piped up that she would like to try a schnitzel challenge. Schnitzel is one of her favourite foods. It started with her stepmother who she told us made an excellent schnitzel. It spurred an obsession with it for Belinda so one rainy winter's day, we set out for other food enthusiast friends and made our way around Sydney trying schnitzels in every shape, size and taste.
25 Aug 23:15


by mugumogu

Maru is satisfied on the top of the ventilating fans for range hood use.
Hana found this place earlier.
And Maru was envious of her who got on the top.

But hey Maru&Hana, I do not allow for you to get on there.

Hana:[Even if you do not admit it,]
Maru:[We get on here.]

21 Aug 17:38

Do the Taco or Beer Challenge

by Maya

tacosbeerwide-700x467-375x250 2The challenge is simple:

“You find yourself a fucking taco, or a fucking beer, or a fucking taco and a beer, then you eat the fucking taco or drink the fucking beer or eat and drink both the fucking taco and the beer, and then you donate some money to an abortion fund. You fucking film yourself doing this shit and then you send us the fucking video and we put it on the fucking internet.”

Andrea Grimes started the challenge as a bit of a joke, after seeing the “ice bucket challenge” take off. Tacos and beers have about as much to do with abortion as ice buckets have to do with ALS — but they’re much, much more enjoyable. 

And actually, you can make the challenge even more simple. You can skip the filming part and even the eating/drinking part (although I can’t imagine why you’d want to pass on that) and just donate to an abortion fund. As Grimes writes, “The Taco or Beer Challenge is about doing what’s right for your own taco and beverage needs, just like having an abortion—or not—is about doing what’s right for yourself and your family.”

As we remind you pretty regularly around these parts, access to abortion in this country is treated as a privilege, not a right — and abortion funds play a critical role in filling that gap and helping to ensure that everyone who needs an abortion can afford to get one.

You can find an abortion fund serving your community here.

22 Aug 14:00

Tuskegee Syphilis Study Recruitment Letter

by Gwen Sharp, PhD

Flashback Friday.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is one of the most famous examples of unethical research. The study, funded by the federal government from 1932-1972, looked at the effects of untreated syphilis. In order to do this, a number of Black men in Alabama who had syphilis were misinformed about their illness. They were told they had “bad blood” (which was sometimes a euphemism for syphilis, though not always) and that the government was offering special free treatments for the condition. Here is an example of a letter sent out to the men to recruit them for more examinations:

The “special free treatment” was, in fact, nothing of the sort. The researchers conducted various examinations, including spinal taps, not to treat syphilis but just to see what its effects were. In fact, by the 1950s it was well established that a shot of penicillin would fully cure early-stage syphilis. Not only were the men not offered this life-saving treatment, the researchers conspired to be sure they didn’t find out about it, getting local doctors to agree that if any of the study subjects came in they wouldn’t tell them they had syphilis or that a cure was available.

The abusive nature of this study is obvious (letting men die slow deaths that could have been easily prevented, just for the sake of scientific curiosity) and shows the ways that racism can influence researchers’ evaluations of what is acceptable risk and whose lives matter. The Tuskegee experiment was a major cause for the emergence of human subjects protection requirements and oversight of federally-funded research once the study was exposed in the early 1970s. Some scholars argue that knowledge of the Tuskegee study increased African Americans’ distrust of the medical community, a suspicion that lingers to this day.

In 1997 President Clinton officially apologized for the experiment.

Originally posted in 2009.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

(View original at

22 Aug 20:24

Watch London Cops Subdue, Not Kill, a Man Yelling and Swinging a Machete

by Jay Livingston, PhD

Despite the cellphone video of two police officers killing Kajieme Powell, there is some dispute as to what happened (see this account in The Atlantic). Was Powell threatening them; did he hold the knife high; was he only three or four feet away? 

The video is all over the Internet, including the link above. I’m not going to include it here.  The officers get out of the car, immediately draw their guns, and walk towards Powell. Is this the best way to deal with a disturbed or possibly deranged individual – to confront him and then shoot him several times if he does something that might be threatening?

Watch the video, then watch London police confronting a truly deranged and dangerous man in 2011.  In St. Louis, Powell had a steak knife and it’s not clear whether he raised it or swung it at all.  The man in London has a machete and is swinging it about.

Unfortunately, the London video does not show us how the incident got started. By the time the recording begins, at least ten officers were already on the scene. They do not have guns. They have shields and truncheons. The London police tactic used more officers, and the incident took more time. But nobody died.  According to The Economist:

The police in and around Ferguson have shot and killed twice as many people in the past two weeks (Mr Brown plus one other) as the police in Japan, a nation of 127m, have shot and killed in the past six years. Nationwide, America’s police kill roughly one person a day.

The article includes this graphic:

1 (2)

I’m sure that the Powell killing will elicit not just sympathy for the St. Louis police but in some quarters high praise – something to the effect that what they did was a good deed and that the victims got what they deserved. But righteous slaughter is slaughter nevertheless. A life has been taken.<

You would think that other recent videos of righteous slaughter elsewhere in the world would get us to reconsider this response to killing. But instead, these seem only to strengthen tribal Us/Them ways of thinking. If one of Us who kills one of Them, then the killing must have been necessary and even virtuous.

Originally posted at Montclair SocioBlog.

Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University. You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

(View original at

18 Aug 14:00

Who Are Habitats For? Electrified Nature in Zoo Exhibits

by Lisa Wade, PhD

What do you see?


While it hasn’t always been the case, most well-funded zoos today feature pleasant-enough looking habitats for their animals.  They are typically species-appropriate, roomy enough to look less-than-totally miserable, and include trees and shrubs and other such natural features that make them attractive.

How, though, a friend of mine recently asked “does that landscaping stay nice? Why don’t [the animals] eat it, lie down on it, rip it to shreds for fun, or poop all over it?”

Because, she told me, some of it is hot-wired to give them a shock if they touch it. These images are taken from the website Total Habitat, a source of electrified grasses and vines.  

1 2 3

Laurel Braitman writes about these products in her book, Animal Madness.  When she goes to zoos, she says, she doesn’t “marvel at the gorilla… but instead at the mastery of the exhibit itself.”  She writes:

The more naturalistic the cages, the more depressing they can be because they are that much more deceptive. To the mandrill on the other side of the glass, the realistic foliage that frames his favorite perch doesn’t help him one bit if it has been hot-wired so that he doesn’t destroy it… Some of the new natural looking exhibits may be even worse for their inhabitants than the old cement ones, as the new plants and other features can shrink the animals’ usable space.

The take-home message is that these attractive, naturalistic environments are more for us than they are for the animal.  They teach us what the animal’s natural habitat might look like and they soothe us emotionally, reassuring us that the animal must be living a nice life.

I don’t know the extent to which zoos use electrified grasses and vines, but next time you visit one you might be inspired to look a little more closely.

Photo of elephants from wikimedia commons.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at

18 Aug 04:25

Lorem Ipsum: Of Good & Evil, Google & China

by BrianKrebs

Imagine discovering a secret language spoken only online by a knowledgeable and learned few. Over a period of weeks, as you begin to tease out the meaning of this curious tongue and ponder its purpose, the language appears to shift in subtle but fantastic ways, remaking itself daily before your eyes. And just when you are poised to share your findings with the rest of the world, the entire thing vanishes.

loremipsumThis fairly describes my roller coaster experience of curiosity, wonder and disappointment over the past few weeks, as I’ve worked alongside security researchers in an effort to understand how “lorem ipsum” — common placeholder text on countless Web sites — could be transformed into so many apparently geopolitical and startlingly modern phrases when translated from Latin to English using Google Translate. (If you have no idea what “lorem ipsum” is, skip ahead to a brief primer here).

Admittedly, this blog post would make more sense if readers could fully replicate the results described below using Google Translate. However, as I’ll explain later, something important changed in Google’s translation system late last week that currently makes the examples I’ll describe impossible to reproduce.


It all started a few months back when I received a note from Lance James, head of cyber intelligence at Deloitte. James pinged me to share something discovered by FireEye researcher Michael Shoukry and another researcher who wished to be identified only as “Kraeh3n.” They noticed a bizarre pattern in Google Translate: When one typed “lorem ipsum” into Google Translate, the default results (with the system auto-detecting Latin as the language) returned a single word: “China.”

Capitalizing the first letter of each word changed the output to “NATO” — the acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Reversing the words in both lower- and uppercase produced “The Internet” and “The Company” (the “Company” with a capital “C” has long been a code word for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency). Repeating and rearranging the word pair with a mix of capitalization generated even stranger results. For example, “lorem ipsum ipsum ipsum Lorem” generated the phrase “China is very very sexy.”

Until very recently, the words on the left were transformed to the words on the right using Google Translate.

Until very recently, the words on the left were transformed to the words on the right using Google Translate.

Kraeh3n said she discovered the strange behavior while proofreading a document for a colleague, a document that had the standard lorem ipsum placeholder text. When she began typing “l-o-r..e..” and saw “China” as the result, she knew something was strange.

“I saw words like Internet, China, government, police, and freedom and was curious as to how this was happening,” Kraeh3n said. “I immediately contacted Michael Shoukry and we began looking into it further.”

And so the duo started testing the limits of these two words using a mix of capitalization and repetition. Below is just one of many pages of screenshots taken from their results:


The researchers wondered: What was going on here? Has someone outside of Google figured out how to map certain words to different meanings in Google Translate? Was it a secret or covert communications channel? Perhaps a form of communication meant to bypass the censorship erected by the Chinese government with the Great Firewall of China? Or was this all just some coincidental glitch in the Matrix?

For his part, Shoukry checked in with contacts in the U.S. intelligence industry, quietly inquiring if divulging his findings might in any way jeopardize important secrets. Weeks went by and his sources heard no objection. One thing was for sure, the results were subtly changing from day to day, and it wasn’t clear how long these two common but obscure words would continue to produce the same results.

“While Google translate may be incorrect in the translations of these words, it’s puzzling why these words would be translated to things such as ‘China,’ ‘NATO,’ and ‘The Free Internet,'” Shoukry said. “Could this be a glitch? Is this intentional? Is this a way for people to communicate? What is it?”

When I met Shoukry at the Black Hat security convention in Las Vegas earlier this month, he’d already alerted Google to his findings. Clearly, it was time for some intense testing, and the clock was already ticking: I was convinced (and unfortunately, correct) that much of it would disappear at any moment.




Search the Internet for the phrase “lorem ipsum,” and the results reveal why this strange phrase has such a core connection to the lexicon of the Web. Its origins in modernity are murky, but according to multiple sites that have attempted to chronicle the history of this word pair, “lorem ipsum” was taken from a scrambled and altered section of “De finibus bonorum et malorum,” (translated: “Of Good and Evil,”) a 1st-Century B.C. Latin text by the great orator Cicero.

According to Cecil Adams, curator of the Internet trivia site The Straight Dope, the text from that Cicero work was available for many years on adhesive sheets in different sizes and typefaces from a company called Letraset.

“In pre-desktop-publishing days, a designer would cut the stuff out with an X-acto knife and stick it on the page,” Adams wrote. “When computers came along, Aldus included lorem ipsum in its PageMaker publishing software, and you now see it wherever designers are at work, including all over the Web.”

This pair of words is so common that many Web content management systems deploy it as default text. Case in point: Lorem Ipsum even shows up on According to a story published Aug. 15 in the Daily Mail, more than a dozen apparently dormant pages carry the dummy text. (Click here if you skipped ahead to this section).



Things began to get even more interesting when the researchers started adding other words from the Cicero text from which the “lorem ipsum” bit was taken, including: “Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit . . .”  (“There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain …”).

Adding “dolor” and “sit” and “consectetur,” for example, produced even more bizarre results. Translating “consectetur Sit Sit Dolor” from Latin to English produces “Russia May Be Suffering.” “sit sit dolor dolor” translates to “He is a smart consumer.” An example of these sample translations is below:


Latin is often dismissed as a “dead” language, and whether or not that is fair or true it seems pretty clear that there should not be Latin words for “cell phone,” “Internet” and other mainstays of modern life in the 21st Century. However, this incongruity helps to shed light on one possible explanation for such odd translations: Google Translate simply doesn’t have enough Latin texts available to have thoroughly learned the language.

In an introductory video titled Inside Google Translate, Google explains how the translation engine works, the sources of the engine’s intelligence, and its limitations. According to Google, its Translate service works “by analyzing millions and millions of documents that have already been translated by human translators.” The video continues:

“These translated texts come from books, organizations like the United Nations, and Web sites from all around the world. Our computers scan these texts looking for statistically significant patterns. That is to say, patterns between the translation and the original text that are unlikely to occur by chance. Once the computer finds a pattern, you can use this pattern to translate similar texts in the future. When you repeat this process billions of times, you end up with billions of patterns, and one very smart computer program.”

Here’s the rub:

“For some languages, however, we have fewer translated documents available, and therefore fewer patterns that our software has detected. This is why our translation quality will vary by language and language pair.”

Still, this doesn’t quite explain why Google Translate would include so many references specific to China, the Internet, telecommunications, companies, departments and other odd couplings in translating Latin to English.

In any case, we may never know the real explanation. Just before midnight, Aug. 16, Google Translate abruptly stopped translating the word “lorem” into anything but “lorem” from Latin to English. Google Translate still produces amusing and peculiar results when translating Latin to English in general.

A spokesman for Google said the change was made to fix a bug with the Translate algorithm (aligning ‘lorem ipsum’ Latin boilerplate with unrelated English text) rather than a security vulnerability.

Kraeh3n said she’s convinced that the lorem ipsum phenomenon is not an accident or chance occurrence.

“Translate [is] designed to be able to evolve and to learn from crowd-sourced input to reflect adaptations in language use over time,” Kraeh3n said. “Someone out there learned to game that ability and use an obscure piece of text no one in their right mind would ever type in to create totally random alternate meanings that could, potentially, be used to transmit messages covertly.”

Meanwhile, Shoukry says he plans to continue his testing for new language patterns that may be hidden in Google Translate.

“The cleverness of hiding something in plain sight has been around for many years,” he said. “However, this is exceptionally brilliant because these templates are so widely used that people are desensitized to them, and because this text is so widely distributed that no one bothers to question why, how and where it might have come from.”

12 Aug 22:27

Goat shot by arrow delivers kids


The pregnant goat shot with an arrow at Wetherill Park earlier this year, has given birth to two kids.

After making an excellent recovery under veterinary care at the RSPCA’s Sydney shelter, Dora gave birth to a boy and girl last Thursday, 7 August.

“It was a close one with Diego, who was quite sick after being born. Luckily, we were able to send him to the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Camden for overnight care,” said RSPCA Vet Dr Guyan Weerasinghe.

Dora is comfortable with her little girl, and has recovered quite well from her surgery. 

In July RSPCA vets acted quickly to remove the arrow and minimise any further trauma for the mum to be.  “The arrow had pierced through her shoulder blade, narrowly missed her spine and was rubbing against the other shoulder blade,” said Dr  Weerasinghe.

Police continue to call for information surrounding the attack on 1 July in Wetherill Park.
17 Aug 23:15


by mugumogu

This is Maru's willpower.

Maru:[I want to get into this.]

Maru:[I want to get into this by all means!]

Maru:[Wow, this became vacant.]

Hana:[Why did I hand this over to him?]

11 Aug 17:45

Righetto Osteria Romana, Haberfield

Celia leans forward and gives me a cheeky grin, her eyes shining with delight, "When I booked I asked if they needed my contact number but Enrico said "But your husband wouldn't approve!" Enrico is the chef and owner of Righetto Osteria Romana and he's making one of many trips out to the main restaurant wearing his trademark red shorts. He checks on every table, flirts and shakes hands and occasionally plays the trumpet if there happens to be a birthday.
06 Aug 17:30

Colleges need to do more to ensure rape survivors’ grades don’t suffer

by Maya

urlAs more and more campus rape survivors have spoken out about how their colleges failed them in the aftermath of an assault, we’ve seen that a disturbing number of these stories end with the survivor dropping out, while the perpetrator remains on campus. Even if survivors remain in school, their grades often suffer. In an important piece in the Washington Post, Cari Simon, a Title IX lawyer who has worked with many campus survivors, describes how colleges’ mishandling of sexual assault cases often contributes to survivors’ plummeting GPAs–and explains why this matters. 

All of my clients saw their grades suffer, sometimes dramatically. While there are no national statistical studies on the impact of sexual assault on grades, my colleagues report similar findings.

One in five women are sexually assaulted in college, according to a White House report. The rates are also particularly high in the LGBT community. In the aggregate, this means that millions of college women and LGBT students have seen their grade-point averages unfairly deflated due to sexual violence. As one of my clients bluntly put it, “it’s as if my transcript is covered in his semen.”

Grades matter. They are the mechanism professors use to assess a student’s performance and schools use to rank the student body. They are the means by which students measure their own achievement. Outside of school, employers and graduate programs rely on grades to evaluate candidates among an increasingly competitive field.

These deflated GPAs have a rippling negative impact on survivor’s graduate school options and access to professional opportunities. Those lost opportunities are devastating on a micro-level — individual students miss out on what they had worked hard to achieve.

But the problem also has serious consequences on the macro level. It means that we as a society are losing out on the contributions that these students would have made had they been able to start off in professional careers and attend graduate schools that are reflective of their merits, not their rape.

Experiencing a sexual assault, like many other traumatic experiences, is likely to take some toll on academic performance no matter what. But, as Simon notes, there is plenty that schools that truly care about ensuring survivors’ equal access to education can — and should — be doing to lessen that impact. Simon lays out some concrete recommendations in the rest of the piece.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

03 Aug 06:21

Love Dem Apples, Surry Hills [29]

by Susan Thye
Fergus Noodle


Love Dem Apples
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away…

And because I value my health the only thing to do is choose my flavour of medicine!

Love Dem Apples
You might recognise these caramel apples from a stall manned by the super friendly Joe at Glebe or Bondi markets but now you can get your fix any day from Love Dem Apples (454 Cleveland St, Surry Hills), on the corner of Crown St opposite the Surry Hills Shopping Village.

Every day they make up a batch of caramel and it smelled fricken incredible in the store as the butter and sugar slowly caramelised and joined together in sweet matrimony.

Once the caramel has melted and is at the right temperature, the Granny Smith apples are swirled in the caramel and then rolled in toppings.

Love Dem Apples
If I wasn’t so scared of burning myself on molten caramel I’d totally want to work here. Except I’d probably eat all my earnings. It’s bad enough that they’re only a 15min walk from work!

Love Dem Apples
On my first visit with Helen we stood transfixed at the display for a good 10mins debating on which flavour to try. We were offered samples which was nice but ultimately made our decision harder because we wanted to eat each and every flavour haha in the end we went for the Strawberry Pop ($10) and the Tropic and Thunder ($10).

Love Dem Apples
There’s a couple of stools in the store so we chose to eat there and they offered to slice our apples which was a good idea so we could share them easily and also I know that if I had attempted to eat the apple just by biting into it then I would totally have dropped it because I am all kinds of clumsy.

So were they tasty? Hells yeah they were! Yes they were sweet but not as tooth-achingly sweet as toffee apples and the tartness of the apple itself meant I could keep on eating without feeling I was about to go into a sugar coma. I loved the Strawberry Pop which reminded me of strawberries and cream lollies and there was pop rocks and I HEART pop rocks! You all know my issues with desiccated coconut so I was happy with the fresh coconut flakes on the The Tropic and Thunder.

Love Dem Apples
Then there was the Oreo ($10) which was encrusted with cookie bits.

Love Dem Apples
And the Pretzel ($10) which was my fave because of the magic that is the sweet and salty combo.

They also sell chocolate covered bananas for $6.

Love Dem Apples
Some with cookie dough, some with marshmallow and some with 100’s & 1000s.

Love Dem Apples
Oh and chocolate covered popcorn!

And Nanaimo ($2each), a Canadian bar with a wafer/crumb layer, vanilla icing and covered in chocolate.

Love Dem Apples
Yeah baby how do you like dem apples!

The Classic Apples start at $8, Royals at $10 and Limited Editions at $13. The apples are a tad on the exxy side but I think it’s worth it to treat yoself every now and then :P Love Dem Apples is open 7 days a week from noon to late.

Love Dem Apples on Urbanspoon

31 Jul 15:05

“It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”

by Maya
Willie Parker

(Photo credit: Maisie Crow/Esquire)

Esquire has a wonderful profile of Dr. Willie Parker, one of the two doctors who flies in from out-of-state to work at Mississippi’s sole embattled abortion clinic. Parker, whose decision to become an abortion provider is deeply rooted in his Christian faith, quit his obstetrics practice to do the procedures full-time after Dr. Tiller was assassinated five years ago. These days, he travels around the country providing abortion care in areas where access is most limited and is an eloquent advocate for reproductive justice

Many of these women come from hours away, one from a little town on the Kentucky border that’s a seven-hour drive. They don’t know much about Dr. Parker. They don’t know that he grew up a few hours away in Birmingham, the second youngest son of a single mother who raised six children on food stamps and welfare, so poor that he taught himself to read by a kerosene lamp and went to the bathroom in an outhouse; that he was born again in his teenage years and did a stint as a boy preacher in Baptist churches; that he became the first black student-body president of a mostly white high school, went on to Harvard and a distinguished career as a college professor and obstetrician who delivered thousands of babies and refused to do abortions. They certainly don’t know about the “come to Jesus” moment, as he pointedly describes it, when he decided to give up his fancy career to become an abortion provider. Or that, at fifty-one, having resigned a prestigious job as medical director of Planned Parenthood, he’s preparing to move back south and take over a circuit roughly similar—for safety reasons, he won’t be more specific—to the one traveled by Dr. David Gunn before an antiabortion fanatic assassinated him in 1993. Or that his name and home address have been published by an antiabortion Web site with the unmistakable intent of terrorizing doctors like him. Or that he receives threats that say, “You’ve been warned.” Or that he refuses to wear a bulletproof vest, because he doesn’t want to live in fear—”if I’m that anxious, they’ve already taken my life”—but owns a stun gun because a practical man has to take precautions. What they do know is this:

He is the doctor who is going to stop them from being pregnant.

The profile captures Dr. Parker’s motivation for doing this work and the great care and empathy he brings to it. It also offers a rare glimpse into what actually happens at an abortion clinic and shows the huge diversity among the stories of the dozens of women Dr. Parker helps each day. You should really read the rest here.

29 Jul 13:21

The Satantic Temple uses Hobby Lobby ruling to claim religious exemption from anti-choice biased counseling laws

by Maya

BlackHolesmembership_largeCiting the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Satanic Temple is claiming a religious exemption from the anti-choice “informed consent” laws that require abortion providers in 35 states to give out biased, sometimes false, information about the procedure.

Given that “the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact,” the Temple says it expects its “deeply held belief” will be respected. After all, unlike Hobby Lobby’s, their belief is even based on actually accurate information. 

And you don’t need to be an official Temple member to claim this exception too. “All women who aren’t member share our deeply held belief that their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption,” a spokesperson say. Why yes, in fact, I do — I share that belief very much.

The Temple has helpfully provided a letter that people seeking an abortion can print out to explain to their doctor that they are exempt from informed consent mandates:

I regard any information required by state statute to be communicated or offered to me as a precondition for an abortion (separate and apart from any other medical procedure) is based on politics and not science (“Political Information”). I regard Political Information as a state sanctioned attempt to discourage abortion by compelling my consideration of the current and future condition of my fetal or embryonic tissue separate and apart from my body. I do not regard Political Information to be scientifically true or accurate or even relevant to my medical decisions. The communication of Political Information to me imposes an unwanted and substantial burden on my religious beliefs.

I don’t know about you, but the Temple, a relatively young sect with an already rich history of trolling religious conservatives, might have just gotten a new convert.

Maya DusenberyMaya believes “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”

27 Jul 22:07

PappaRich, Ultimo

by squishies
Fergus Noodle

we going here

My friends and I got together for a birthday lunch at a vegetarian restaurant… only to discover that they were closed on Sundays! Oops, I’m not sure what happened, but one thing led to another and we found ourselves waiting in line at PappaRich.

There were too many of us to actually sit at the one table (and I don’t think it would have been possible considering how packed the place was), so we were split up between three tables.

I thought about going to each table to document what they ordered, buuuut that seemed a bit impractical, so I stuck to taking photos at our table.

Ordering at PappaRich entails writing the codes for your dishes and drinks on the order form, which I thought was pretty smart: lessens the chance of getting your order wrong, unless you have terrible writing like me (so there was pain staking printing involved rather than my usual spidery scrawl).

Pappa Deep Fried Chicken Skin

Pappa Deep Fried Chicken Skin

Deep fried chicken skin is as awesome you think; it’s exactly like crackling, but chicken! (Though perhaps not as salty, from memory).

Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken

Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken

This is one of the dishes I grew up eating: boiled chicken, chicken rice, and bean sprouts with a bowl of chicken and Chinese cabbage soup and a chilli, ginger, shallot soya dipping sauce.

Chicken rice is basically rice cooked in the broth the boiled chicken was cooked in instead of water. Best. Rice. Ever. Especially the crusty bits at the bottom of the pot.

None of the chicken rice dishes I’ve had has come close to Dad’s, except for this one. I was floored – the flavours were almost spot on to my dad’s cooking and it brought back some wonderful childhood memories.

Pappa Fried Rice Noodles

Pappa Fried Rice Noodles

The rice noodles were wok-fried with prawns, egg, shredded chicken, and bean sprouts. A pretty decent dish that was seasoned well.

Roti Canai with Curry Chicken

Roti Canai with Curry Chicken

Although the roti was soft, it wasn’t as fluffy as the ones you’d get from Mamak. It still hit the spot with a lovely daal and spicy curry chicken.

Satay Chicken (12 pcs)

Satay Chicken (12 pcs)

The satay chicken skewers were succulent and had the right amount of spice.



C had the Pappa Mocha and as much as I love having an ice Teh Tarik, I looked on in envy of M’s Milo Dinosaur – it looked so fantastic.

My friends were insanely hungry and ordered perhaps a wee bit much for three people so we had to take the rest away (F’s face brightened when he saw the leftovers I brought home haha).

The service is efficient and food comes out reasonably quick; with lines out the door, there is a fast turnover and I get the feeling that lingering at the table after you’ve finished your meal isn’t ideal.

PappaRich has three restaurants around Sydney (Chatswood, Broadway, and the recently opened Parramatta) and another one is scheduled to be opened in the Macquarie Centre at North Ryde by the end of the year.

Shop 5, 185 Broadway
Ultimo, 2007, NSW
Ph: (02) 9281 3228

PappaRich Broadway on Urbanspoon

The post PappaRich, Ultimo appeared first on .

30 Jul 12:00

The SDCC Files: The Cosplay Gallery

by Kendra James



Rocket Raccoon– who was actually a real live five year old Latino boy underneath the mask.

by Kendra James

As I wrote for the The Daily Beast the best part of Comic-Con is always the ridiculously talented cosplayers wandering the halls. As a cosplayer myself, I know how challenging (and fun)  designing, finding, and creating costumes for cons can be.  With that in mind I wanted to showcase some of the costumed heroes, heroines and other beloved characters of colour Art and I spotted during this year’s con.


Static Shock


The tiniest Clark Kent


Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)


Lt. Uhura


Oberyn Martell


Zuko and Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender


Maleficent and Aurora


The Black Widow


(Siblings) Thor, Black Widow, and Captain America


Buzz Lightyear  (who had fully automated wings)


Captain America and The Winter Soldier (they each made their own costumes independently!)


Princess Leia


Bert from Mary Poppins

CAM00763 (1)

Captain America and Patriot


Super Family

Margaery Tyrell (myself) and Sansa Stark

The post The SDCC Files: The Cosplay Gallery appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

26 Jul 17:41

Wieczorkowski, Woollahra

Fergus Noodle

We should go here

Growing up with an unusual surname means that I am very sensitive to unusual or hard to pronounce names and never make fun of them. Unless of course it is truly comical. I did work with a man whose last name was Horniblow and well even he delighted in saying his last name...But when Freaky Flier suggested a lunch catch up and mentioned that he would be having dinner later that evening in Double Bay I looked up my Rolodex of places to eat (okay it's not a Rolodex but a piece of paper ;)) and my finger rested on Wieczorkowski, a Polish cafe and shop in Woollahra. Even thinking about the hearty Eastern European fare warmed me up.
23 Jul 14:00

Conspicuous Pollution: Rural White Men Rollin’ Coal

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

Wouldn't you get in trouble for this? Doesn't it make it very difficult for people to drive behind you?

Conspicuous consumption refers to the practice of ostentatiously displaying of high status objects.  Think very expensive purses and watches.  In the last few decades, as concern for the environment has become increasingly en vogue, it has become a marker of status to care for the earth.  Accordingly, people now engage in conspicuous conservation, the ostentatious display of objects that mark a person as eco-friendly.

Driving a Prius and putting solar panels on visible roof lines, even if they aren’t the sunniest, are two well-documented examples.  Those “litter removal sponsored by” signs on freeways are an example we’ve featured, as are these shoes that make it appear that the wearer helped clean up the oil spill in the gulf, even though they didn’t.

Well, welcome to the opposite: conspicuous pollution.


Elizabeth Kulze, writing at Vocativ, explains:

In small towns across America, manly men are customizing their jacked-up diesel trucks to intentionally emit giant plumes of toxic smoke every time they rev their engines. They call it “rollin’ coal”…

It’s a thing. Google it!


This is not just a handful of guys.  Kulze links to “an entire subculture” on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. “It’s just fun,” one coal roller says. “Just driving and blowing smoke and having a good time.”

It isn’t just fun, though. It’s a way for these men — mostly white, working class, rural men — to send an intrusive and nasty message to people they don’t like. According to this video, that includes Prius drivers, cops, women, tailgaters, and people in vulnerable positions. “City boys” and “liberals” are also targeted:

Kulze reports that it costs anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 to modify a pickup to do this, which is why the phenomenon resonates with conspicuous consumption and conservation.  It’s an expensive and public way to claim an identity that the owner wants to project.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at

23 Jul 13:14

Brighton the Corner and The Pig and Pastry, Petersham

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fergus Noodle

Oh man the pig and the pastry cakes look so good but those guys are so terrible

There are supermarket crumpets. And then there are homemade crumpets. They're about as different as chalk and cheese. If you've only ever known supermarket crumpets -- soft and flabby in the packet and kinda doughy unless you toast them extra long -- your life is about to change. For good. Because homemade crumpets are a completely different experience. They're fluffy, tall and toothsome, like
20 Jul 17:56

Get Me To The Greek Gyro!

Fergus Noodle

In the 80s this dude we used to know worked at one of these places and he had a shirt that said BIG MEAT on the back and sometimes I just say BIG MEAT to myself

For the last few months he has been telling me about a mini wave of new gyro (prounounced *yee-ros*) places on his drive from work to home. Apparently the queues at each were astounding day in and day out never letting up even late at night. So just yesterday I asked Nick to take Mr NQN and I to all three. And that Dear Reader, is how we ate eight gyros in one day at three of Sydney's newest gyro stores (and why I'm working out furiously today!