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18 Sep 14:00

Why Don’t More Women Commit Fraud?

by Jennifer Schwartz PhD

Women in the U.S. have made some monumental gains at work.  We’re now at least half the labor force and more women today are middle- and upper- managers in corporate America.  Even so, I wasn’t surprised to discover that women have not (yet) made similar inroads into high-level corporate crime.

Rather, it’s “business as usual” when it comes to who is responsible for orchestrating and carrying out major corporate frauds.

For the American Sociological Review, Darrell Steffensmeier, Michael Roche, and I studied accounting malpractices like security fraud, insider trading, and Ponzi schemes in America’s public companies to find out just how involved women were in these conspiracies.  The Corporate Fraud Task Force indicted 436 individuals involved in 83 such schemes during July 2002 to 2009.  We read and recorded information from indictments and other documents or reports that described who was involved and what they did.

I expected the share of women in corporate fraud to be low – definitely less than the near-half that are women among (low-profit) embezzlers arrested each year– like your bank teller or local non-profit treasurer.   However, I was surprised that women corporate fraudsters were about as rare as female killers or robbers – less than 10% of those sorts of offenders.  Of the 400+ indicted for corporate fraud, only 37 were women.

Most of these frauds were complex enough to require co-conspiracy over several years and a criminal division of labor.  Often, women weren’t included at all in these groups.  When they were, they were nearly always in the minority, often alone, and most typically played rather small roles.

The Enron conspiracy, for example, led to over 30 indictments; three were women and each played a minor role. The five women indicted among 19 in the HealthSouth fraud were in accounting-related positions and instructed by senior personnel to falsify financial books and create fictitious records.  Martha Stewart, rather than criminal mastermind of an insider trading conspiracy, committed “one of the most ill-fated white-collar crimes ever” in which she saved just $46,000 after receiving a stock-tip second-hand from her broker.

Women were almost never the ringleader or even a major player in the fraud.  Only one woman CEO led a fraud – the smallest fraud we studied – and two women with their husbands.  One reason surely must be that women are not as often in positions to lead these schemes.  However, even when we compared women and men in similar corporate positions, women were less likely to play leadership roles in the fraud.  Is there a “glass ceiling” in the white-collar crime world?

What most surprised me, however, was how little the women benefited from their illicit involvement.  The wage gap in illicit corporate enterprise may be larger than in the legitimate job market.  Over half the women did not financially gain at all whereas half the men pocketed half a million dollars or more.  The difference in illicit-gains persisted even if we compared women to their co-conspirators.  Males profited much more. Women identified “gains” such as keeping one’s job.


Even when women are in the positions to orchestrate these frauds, it’s likely that the men who initiate these conspiracies prefer to bypass women, involving them in minor roles when need dictates or when trust develops through a close personal relationship.  And women hardly initiated any schemes.  Women business leaders tend to be more risk-averse and apt to stress social responsibility and equity, perhaps making corporate fraud unlikely.

So, would having more female leaders reduce corporate crime?  We don’t know, but we think it’s likely.  Women executives tend to make more ethical decisions, avoid excessive risk-taking, and create corporate cultures unsupportive of illegal business practices.  Time will tell if, on the other hand, women moving up the corporate ladder increasingly adopt a wheeler-dealer, “dominance at all costs” corporate ethic.

Some may be a little disappointed that women either cannot yet or do not exercise their power over others to illegally advance their business (and personal) interests as men have been doing for generations.  There are moments when I catch myself “rooting” for a more successful pink-collar offender – and examples exist.  However, when I consider the destruction and havoc wrought on the U.S. economy and so many peoples’ lives by these financial crimes, I am reminded that this is not the way in which I hope women wield power when business leadership roles are more equally shared.

This posts originally appeared at the Gender & Society blog.

Jennifer Schwartz, PhD, is an associate professor of sociology at Washington State University.  Her research focuses on the gender and race demographics of criminal offenders, violence, and substance abuse.

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18 Sep 01:20

RSPCA NSW Sydney Shelter bulging with birds


Spring has sprung and the birds are singing, especially at RSPCA NSW’s Sydney Shelter at Yagoona. Following the seizure of more than 140 animals recently, the RSPCA is looking for suitable homes for a variety of birds. Currently available for adoption are:

·         19 Budgies

·         two Quails

·         five Ringnecks

·         one Conure

·         four Galahs

·         four Corellas

·         three Peachfaces

·         four Lorikeets

·         and one Sulpher Crested Cockatoo

Our rescue partners have helped to rehome many of the birds and animals over the past few weeks, including 60 pigeons, however the RSPCA is hoping there are also lots of individuals out there who would like a new feathered friend.

“We would prefer that the birds be housed in free-flight aviaries, or for the budgies, at least a large cage.  Most of the birds are adult, although we do have a few juveniles that could be hand-trained,” Sydney Shelter Supervisor Bree Raeck said.

“Generally these types of birds are adopted quite quickly, so we encourage anyone interested to come in very soon.”

For more information about the birds go to or visit the RSPCA Sydney Shelter at 201 Rookwood Rd, Yagoona.
17 Sep 13:00

Stat of the day: 1 in 6 Australians thinks “no” means “yes”

by Chloe

A new national study of over 17, 000 people found that 1 in 6 of my fellow Australians believes that, when it comes to sex, when women say “no,” they sometimes mean “yes.”

The numbers in this survey are really fucking grim, and what’s more depressing is that the views on sexual and domestic violence have barely shifted since the survey was last conducted, in 2009, or since it was first conducted, in 1995. You read that right: attitudes about intoxicated women being “partly responsible” when another adult makes the decision to rape them have not progressed in my home country in almost two decades. Get it together, Australia.

It gets worse:

  • Fewer than 10% of Australians believe that you can be raped by someone if you’re in a relationship with them.
  • Almost 40% of Australians agree with the statement, “a lot of times women who say there were raped led the man on and later had regrets.”
  • Only 9% believe that “a man is less responsible for rape if drunk/affected by drugs at the time.” To be clear: 9% of Australians think you should go easy on a guy if he rapes someone while intoxicated, but 16% think that it’s partly a woman’s fault if she’s raped while intoxicated.
  • 12% Australians – that’s more than 1 in 10 – believe that “if a woman goes into a room alone with a man at a party, it is her fault if she is raped.”

The survey also reveals that, across the board, since 2009, Australians have become more likely to hold sexist views about gender roles in the public sphere. Whether they’re asked about education (“university education is more important for a boy”) or the workforce (“when jobs are scarce, men have more right to a job than women”) or about politics (“men make better political leaders”), Australians are more likely to agree with those sexist-ass statements than they were four years ago.

The survey doesn’t account for why Australians have become more likely to endorse sexist ideas, particularly when it comes to women in government. But if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that this is backlash against the short and tumultuous tenure of Julia Gillard, the nation’s first woman Prime Minister, who took office in 2010 and was ousted in 2013. You remember Julia Gillard – she’s the one who delivered this epic parliamentary smackdown about misogyny and sexism last year. You might want to watch it again, just to get you revved up and righteous on a sleepy Wednesday morning:

The misogyny that was unleashed in the wake of Gillard’s ouster of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and the barrage of sexist bullshit that was thrown at her while she was in office, was predictable, but it was still incredibly disheartening to witness. And it’s clear that that kind of media coverage both reflected and shaped public opinion about women in public life, such that Australians are now less likely than they were a few years ago to believe that women make good politicians (Australia’s current Foreign Minister is a woman, by the way).

Again, this survey doesn’t look at causation, so we’re left to speculate about why Australia seems to be slipping backwards. But I’d be willing to bet that Gillard’s less-than-smooth tenure has more than a little to do with it. As I wrote about “Prime Ministering while female” in 2012,

That Gillard has had a rocky run as PM is not in itself what concerns me. What concerns me is that, because she is Australia’s first woman PM, there is a risk that Gillard’s rocky run could make both parties, and the public, gun-shy on the question of voting for another woman as party leader or as PM.

This is not fair to Gillard, of course, but it is the burden that is borne by first-anythings and by tokens; they are taken as representative of an entire group. Just as Barack Obama’s performance as President carries extra weight and significance for the leadership prospects of African Americans, so does Julia Gillard run the risk of “ruining it” for any woman who comes after her. It’s an unfair burden – running a country is quite enough to be getting on with – but that is how these things tend to work.

It looks like that’s exactly how that worked. So right now, Australians are less likely to want women in government than they were five years ago, and 1 in 6 Australians believes it’s your fault if you’re raped while you’re drunk. It would be great if we had some more women in government to help make the kind of policy and cultural change that can eradicate beliefs like that. If only women didn’t make such terrible politicians, amirite?

Avatar ImageChloe Angyal came out of the womb opinionated.

17 Sep 15:00

GoFundMe bans abortion-related campaigns, is fine with supporting murderers

by Juliana

GoFundMe, the crowd-funding site that fundraised for Mike Brown’s murderer, has updated its guidelines to prohibit abortion-related campaigns, filed under GoFundMe’s headline “Termination of Life.”

This latest move seems to be in response to the widely-publicized efforts of an Illinois woman identified as “Bailey” to raise money for her abortion. Bailey had raised $1,000 of her $2,500 goal when her campaign was shut down by the site. Katie McDonough notes that Bailey’s was not the first campaign to raise money for an abortion but simply the most public and perhaps least apologetic.

“The tone of Bailey’s request was also markedly different than previous campaigns. ‘Aside from having no desire to raise a child, she is economically unstable and can barely afford to support herself, which means having enough money to pay rent, smoke cigarettes, drink rockstar, support her friends in prison, and if she’s really busted her ass, maybe go to a show or two,’ according to the (now deleted) campaign page.”

Bailey was raising money for a medical procedure, without apologies or excuses as to why she needed it. Her page attracted much attention, and GoFundMe quickly removed it, notifying her that the content of her fundraiser was not appropriate for the site. Less than a week later, the company announced that it would now prohibit any abortion-related campaigns. Today, Bailey still has not received the $1,000 she managed to raise before her campaign was shut down.

In the meantime, multiple anti-choice campaigns are still running on the site. Whether banning abortion in Alabama or campaigning to walk for the “preborn” or attempting to replace Planned Parenthood, GoFundMe has no problem funding the fight to end abortion access. Apparently, anti-choice efforts are no “related to” abortion.

In addition, GoFundMe users can still access the fundraising page of an actual killer — Darren Wilson, who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. As of this post, the Support Officer Darren Wilson page is closed for donations after raising $235,475 for the officer’s legal fees. Considering that the site typically earns 5% of anything raised, it stands to gain about $11,000 from Wilson’s campaign. The site was also the platform of choice for the family of Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, the Oklahoma City police officer accused of raping seven African-American women. Their page was removed, but Darren Wilson’s supporters are still going strong.

Despite massive online pressure to remove the page – 100,0000 ColorofChange members have called on the company to return profits from the fundraiser – GoFundMe has not only left the page live, but has defended its existence. According to a statement from the site, “The content of the campaign itself is not in violation of GoFundMe’s terms of service.” Furthermore, “GoFundMe is an open technology platform that allows for the exchange of ideas and opinions within the bounds of our terms of service.”

I bet GoFundMe believes that it is doing its duty to protect both “unborn lives” and a valiant police officer’s innocence. But this kind of hypocrisy behind the guise of “pro-life” hides an agenda to protect a system of power where men’s freedom and white people’s lives matter more than those of women and people of color. It allows for the controlling of women’s bodies and the policing of communities of color, ultimately concentrating power in the hands of those doing the controlling, often white men.

In a society where GoFundMe’s approach seems logical, the NFL had to watch a tape of Ray Rice violently assaulting his now-wife before they took any real action against him. Daniel Ken Holtzclaw’s family was able to raise $7,000 for a man accused of raping and assaulting seven African-American women before being shut down and restricted to a Facebook fan page. Violence against real people is treated as “up for debate” while fetuses are used as an excuse to further control people’s lives.

It makes one wonder, would GoFundMe have allowed Bailey to fundraise to continue her pregnancy and raise her child if it had been born black?

If you’re angry like me, sign ColorofChange’s petition demanding that GoFundMe return all profits from Darren Wilson’s fundraiser, and NARAL’s petition to get abortion removed from the company’s list of banned content.


Juliana wants to do more. She wants GoFundMe to pay for this.

17 Sep 18:08

Photos of the Day: 30 butts

by Maya
butt 2

(Photo credit: David Brandon Geeting)

You may have heard that the cultural authorities at Vogue have decided it’s the ”official era of the big booty.” You, like many on Black Twitter who quickly shot down that idea, may have been confused by the revelation that big booties are a recent invention. You may have been surprised to learn that a body part, which has come in all shapes and sizes since the beginning of humanity, could be a trend at all. 

Believing that all butts should be celebrated “all the time,” Refinery29 put together a slideshow of 30 unphotoshopped butts, along with some reflections from the women they belong to. (My favorite: “I have no comment about my butt.”) So there ya go–a refresher course on the great diversity of butts in the wild, which, given the culture we live in, you’d be forgiven for needing every now and again.

NSFW if you work at some awful butt-negative place.

13 Sep 17:10

Sokyo at The Star, Pyrmont [21]

by Susan Thye

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
My trip to Japan earlier this year just about ruined me. Leaving a land where every single piece of sushi was just perfection pretty much left me cynical and cold on the inside. But then came the most epic meal I’ve ever had in Sydney at Sokyo (Level G, The Darling at The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont)!

Helen and I chose to sit at the sushi bar so we could watch chef Chase Kojima work his magic. We start with a carafe of Bishonen “Beautiful Boy” sake ($21) which is smooth, fruity but not overly sweet and then the fireworks begin.

We begin with ruby red slices of Tuna with mountain potato, shiso leaf and umeboshi (pickled ume plum). The julienned mountain potato has a bit of a sticky mouthfeel but the sweetness of the umeboshi is perfect with the tuna. Hay smoked bonito with minced ginger and chives has a smoky meatiness to it which I loved. The Mackerel with chilli oil, soy and ginger is delicate and sings a zingy song to my tastebuds and the Alfonsino kinmedai is sweet with a delicate texture.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
We are lucky to catch the truffle menu before it ended and just had to order the ChaseToroToro ($15/piece), bluefin tuna belly with white sea urchin, black truffle and wrapped in crisp seaweed. MIND BLOWN!!! Not to sound dirty but this was seriously the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. The buttery flavour of tuna with the briny goodness of sea urchin and the incredible aroma of truffles… be still my heart!

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Short Rib Beef Skewers ($17) grilled Robata-style just melts in the mouth, the cubes of beef so freakishly tender with caramelised eschallots alternating in between to provide some crunch and relief from the richness.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Cuttlefish Tempura ($16) has an ethereally light batter and only needed the briefest of dips in the chilli, tarragon and ponzu sauce.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
We are treated to an off the menu special of Scampi and Foie gras which was just bloody amazing. The scampi was lightly seared and wonderously sweet and the foie gras brought a level of rich umami happiness that had us closing our eyes in bliss. Paper thin slices of radish and apple refreshed the palate and I would’ve been happy if our meal ended there.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
But it didn’t end because what did Chase have in store? TUNA! That there is part of the 133kg tuna he’d purchased that very morning!

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
He normally ages the tuna for a week but we are treated to slices of chutoro and kotoro. I’d not heard of kotoro before but Chase told us it was his favourite part of the tuna and we watched in awe as he carefully sliced away with such precision and scored the kotoro.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
And then there was the Otoro which is the reason why life is worth living. Seriously just look at that beauty! The otoro is fatty and unctuous and just so damn perfect I could weep with joy.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Also from the truffle menu was the 150g Wagyu Oyster Blade ($62) with a marble score of +5. The medium rare slices of Wagyu are beautifully seared and served with a salad dressed with a black truffle champagne vinaigrette, a handful of crispy garlic chips and blanketed with black gold.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
And then Chase came around and MADE IT RAIN TRUFFLES! YESSSSSSSS the fragrance! The heady aroma! Oh how life is grand!

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
We were starting to fill up but salmon is my favourite fish in all the lands (in case you’re interested, tuna is my next fave followed by butterfish and then cod) and so both fresh Salmon belly ($6 each) and Seared salmon nigiri were ordered and they were buttery, fatty and just glorious.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Helen chose to have her Scallop nigiri ($4.50 each) fresh but I have texture issues and wanted mine Scallop aburi (mmm burning).

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
I had reached explodey point but somehow found the room to fit in an Eel nigiri ($6). I loved the lime which awoke my food comatosed brain whose only thought was that it was eel-licious (hurhur sorrynotsorry).

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Jean-Baptiste, the general manager of Sokyo swung by to have a chat and next thing we knew we are trying the most amazing sake- a 10 year old bottle of Dewazakura sake. It was smooth and ridiculously easy to drink. Too easy.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
We’d decided we would share just one dessert buuuut out came a dessert platter ($26) and golly, what a dessert platter!

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Donatsu are fat and fluffy donuts with a creamy pineapple mascarpone filling and a silky smooth creme fraiche ice cream.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
The wedge of Tofu Cheesecake is a winner, tasting like sweet tofu-fa! I could’ve happily polished off an entire cheesecake :P

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
The Yuzu Souffle had quite an impressive height but uh by the time we took pics it deflated. My bad! But hey it was still tasty! The tangy yuzu was the perfect match with the accompanying creme fraiche ice cream and didn’t really need the cubes of passionfruit jelly.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Goma Street is a tower of dark chocolate discs with layers of caramelised white chocolate in between and knobbly chunks of black sesame crumble. It felt like such a crime smashing the tower! The black sesame ice cream is a perfect way to round off our meal.

Sokyo at The Star - Pyrmont
Like seriously guys, Sokyo is now my fave restaurant in Sydney! Obvs it’s not the place to come weekly unless you’re loaded but it’s definitely the place for a treat yo’self occasion.

ChocolateSuze dined at Sokyo with a $100 gift voucher that was used to partially fund the cost of this meal. The remainder was personally paid for

Sokyo on Urbanspoon

10 Sep 16:58

Quote of the Day: Pastor explains that God created women to be “penis homes” for men

by Maya
This is a penis home. I am not a penis home.

This is a penis home. I am not a penis home.

Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, who was once a rock star in the evangelical world, has recently fallen from grace under accusations of plagiarism, abuse of power, and “spiritual bullying” with his ideological machismo. Much of the criticism stems from his anonymous rantings on a church message board in 2001 decrying how America has become a “pussified nation.”

Here are some of his musings on men, women, and penises

The first thing to know about your penis is, that despite the way it may see, it is not your penis. Ultimately, God created you and it is his penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.

While His penis is on loan you must admit that it is sort of just hanging out there very lonely as if it needed a home, sort of like a man wondering the streets looking for a house to live in. Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home.

Therefore, if you are single you must remember that your penis is homeless and needs a home. But, though you may believe your hand is shaped like a home, it is not. And, though women other than your wife may look like a home, to rest there would be breaking into another man’s home. And, if you look at a man it is quite obvious that what a homeless man does not need is another man without a home.

As Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism writes, this is a rather, um, explicit way of articulating a fairly common idea in evangelical Christianity: Despite assurances that men and women are equal before God, it’s men who were the primary creation, and women were created to satisfy men — to be men’s “helpers” or “homes.” Gotta love that homophobic conclusion and, of course, the way that all women who aren’t your wife are considered other men’s literal property, which squares nicely with evangelical ideas about women’s purity. As Anne explains, “Every woman is some man’s future wife, and that man owns her body even before they meet.”

Driscoll goes on to say that a husband should learn to make his “home” happy and a wife should rejoice at seeing her husband’s penis “rise to greet her” (brb,  throwing up), but as Ann notes, “This sad attempt at mutuality fails when the one party is described as a penis home.”

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

13 Sep 15:30

Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
We've had bacon with pancakes and fried chicken with waffles, but what about a gyros with sausage, egg and... a syrup-soaked donut? It's the kind of madcap offering that puts a glint in the eye of David Tsirekas. The Greek chef - ex-Perama and ex-Xanthi - is back in the 'burbs and at the forefront of a gyros tidal wave that seems to be sweeping across Sydney. Pork souvlaki kalamaki on the
11 Sep 14:16

Missouri lawmaker sues to deny his daughters birth control access

by Maya

worlds best dad trophyMissouri lawmaker Paul Joseph Wieland has brought one of the many cases against Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage benefit. But he’s not doing so in his capacity as a state representative. Nope, he’s doing it as a concerned overbearing father. Irin Carmon reports:

One Missouri lawmaker has taken the fight against birth control coverage to a new and very personal place: His own daughters, two of whom are adults.

State Rep. Paul Joseph Wieland and his wife Teresa are suing the Obama administration over its minimum coverage requirements for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, which includes contraception. They say the government is forcing them to violate their religious beliefs because they have three daughters, ages 13, 18 and 19, who are on their parents’ plan and might get birth control at no additional cost.

The Wielands’ case was filed before Hobby Lobby, and they claim that ruling has strengthened their argument. Their lawyer explains, “The employees are to Hobby Lobby what the daughters are to Paul and Teresa Wieland.” Which means the employer-employee relationship is apparently a lot more paternalistic than I’d imagined or the parent-daughter relationship is a lot more contractual. Either way, I’m unclear on why the government’s job should be empowering people to enforce their beliefs on others rather than ensuring equal freedom and access under the law.

As one of the judges hearing the case points out, parents do actually have more power to control their children than their employees — which is unfortunate to those of us who believe even young people have a right to autonomy. While their children are minors, parents have a degree of legal control over their lives. (Often, as in the case of state laws requiring minors to get parental consent before having an abortion, concern for “parental rights” unjustly — and sometimes dangerously — trumps young people’s reproductive freedom.) And even when their kids are grown up, parents like the Wielands are perfectly free to set rules and expectations — backed by threats of grounding or pulling financial support or kicking them out of the house or whatever coercive means they can dream up to keep their grown-ass daughters from daring to join the legions of Americans using birth control. But apparently that’s not enough. As Irin notes, the Wielands “are asking the federal government to enforce their parental guidelines on their daughters.”

An odd request from someone representing a party that claims to believe in small government, wouldn’t you say? And given the Wielands have made their parenting a matter of public concern, I have no qualms about offering some advice: If you need the federal government to enforce your rules, I doubt you’ve imparted the values you had hoped to. But don’t worry — when your daughters start having sex, they’ll be able to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy. Thanks to Obamacare, no thanks to you.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

13 Sep 04:21

A wander around Petersham.

by (Merlesworld)
Fergus Noodle

Merle came over

 On Friday my daughter was over my way so she came and collected me and we travelled on the train back to her place, she lives at Petersham only a couple of klms from the city, it's more compact than where I live but this is the area we lived in when she was a little girl, she went to primary school here, well close by, she always liked this area and wanted to buy a house here, so last year she and her partner bought one.  
On the way to her place I took some photos of things that caught my eye, I've always liked these one story cottages, they are small but usually go back a fair way bigger than you think.
 This is a corner house built right on the street maybe a shop in a past life.
 Weid fence this one.
 Cat's on the fence, wonder do the eyes glow at night.
 Most houses are very close together.
 I like the steps and front doors.

 Lots of large trees, the brick stack is straight maybe I was holding the camera at a bit of a angle.
 some old fashioned mansions

 and of course a hippy car

 I stayed the night and Angus went for his early morning walk then a game of  with my daughter, I think there are many holes in the ball but it still works.

 Then off for breakfast
 We all tucked into home made crumpets with honey and butter and very delicious pears, they were very good but very filling.
 This was painted on the brick wall across the street.
 Don't they look yummy
 Then off shopping I bought a new microwave.
 One morning last week it was a bit foggy but these colourful little fellows were having a good feed in my bottlebrush out the front.
There were 5 of them all chattering away quietly to each other, usually they are very noisy birds maybe the fog had quietened them down and it was very early in the morning.

This was as close as I came to getting a couple in a photo, if you look close there is another one in the top right hand corner.
10 Sep 22:30

Gilmore Girls Is Coming to Netflix Instant!

by Nate Jones

If you're out on the road, feeling lonely and so cold, we've got good news for you: All seven seasons of Gilmore Girls will be available on Netflix starting October 1. Start bingeing then, and you'll make it to the Yale years by Halloween.

Read more posts by Nate Jones

Filed Under: gilmore girls ,televison ,netflix

02 Sep 17:45

Izba Russian Sweets, Newtown

Fergus Noodle

Let us go to here!

I think that if you asked every baker how they came to love baking, you'll get as many stories as there are people. For 30 year old Russian born Olga Rogacheva, her start to baking is a less quixotic and more a practical one. In Yaroslavl where she and her family are from, she recalls growing up with memories of her mother queuing for hours.
09 Sep 03:54

A typical cow in the European Union receives a government subsidy of $2.20 a day. The cow earns...

A typical cow in the European Union receives a government subsidy of $2.20 a day. The cow earns more than 1.2 billion of the world’s poorest people. 

Farm subsidies gone wild: Cows in Europe earn more per day than 1.2 billion poor people

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
09 Sep 14:00

Kia’s Horny Hamster Ad Makes Me Go Sigh

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

Such a terrible ad

This ad for the 2015 Kia Soul featuring hamster people is… charming.

It’s also a very good example of advertising that just up and shrugs and admits that its target is primarily men.  The scientists and engineers are all male and the audience is intended to identify with them.  The females are sexual objects that exist to attract and revel in male attention.  They literally buy them at the pet store, for goodness’ sake.

Hello Kia Soul! Like, women are 51% of the population and we make purchasing decisions. Maybe go with advertising that’s a tad more inclusive? You know, one or two female scientists would have been totally do-able. Your weird science could have included some hunks alongside the hotties. Maybe one of your guy engineers would have liked that, too. I’m just saying. Being more inclusive would have been easy. There’s no excuse for this.

But thanks for the hamsters.

Thanks to @MLerner_RBS for the link!

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

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.
03 Sep 18:28



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