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22 Apr 21:28

Boo-hoo! Male Artists Fret About Depicting the Female Form

by Bridget Crawford

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In a think-piece with the title Who’s Afraid of the Female Nude?, over at The Cut, author Michael Slenske asks, “Is it still an artistically justifiable pursuit for a man to paint a naked woman?” He proceeds:

13th century depiction of Adam and Eve from portal of the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, Trogir, Croatia (13th century). Source: http://www.christianiconography.info/adamEve.html

To answer this question, I reached out to a number of prominent male artists known for doing just that (as well as for painting nude men). But most of them — including Currin, Carroll Dunham, Jeff Koons, and the young Mexican-American painter Alex Becerra (some of whose nudes are drawn from escort ads) — declined to talk about their work’s relationship to the current social climate. Presumably, they worried about unintentionally saying the wrong thing that would then echo endlessly across social media, damaging their reputations. For emerging artists, there is the fear of a possibly career-derailing gestalt fail.

As expected, essay is full of quotes from male artists blaming hyper-sensitive women for making it impossible for them to express themselves in all their artistic glory.

Read the full piece here, along with a contrasting/companion piece by author Molly Langmuir. Langmuir’s article focuses on seven female artists’ take on the way they represent the female form in their art.

21 Apr 00:48

Is Facebook’s Anti-Abuse System Broken?

by BrianKrebs

Facebook has built some of the most advanced algorithms for tracking users, but when it comes to acting on user abuse reports about Facebook groups and content that clearly violate the company’s “community standards,” the social media giant’s technology appears to be woefully inadequate.

Last week, Facebook deleted almost 120 groups totaling more than 300,000 members. The groups were mostly closed — requiring approval from group administrators before outsiders could view the day-to-day postings of group members.

However, the titles, images and postings available on each group’s front page left little doubt about their true purpose: Selling everything from stolen credit cards, identities and hacked accounts to services that help automate things like spamming, phishing and denial-of-service attacks for hire.

To its credit, Facebook deleted the groups within just a few hours of KrebsOnSecurity sharing via email a spreadsheet detailing each group, which concluded that the average length of time the groups had been active on Facebook was two years. But I suspect that the company took this extraordinary step mainly because I informed them that I intended to write about the proliferation of cybercrime-based groups on Facebook.

That story, Deleted Facebook Cybercrime Groups had 300,000 Members, ended with a statement from Facebook promising to crack down on such activity and instructing users on how to report groups that violate it its community standards.

In short order, some of the groups I reported that were removed re-established themselves within hours of Facebook’s action. I decided instead of contacting Facebook’s public relations arm directly that I would report those resurrected groups and others using Facebook’s stated process. Roughly two days later I received a series replies saying that Facebook had reviewed my reports but that none of the groups were found to have violated its standards. Here’s a snippet from those replies:

Perhaps I should give Facebook the benefit of the doubt: Maybe my multiple reports one after the other triggered some kind of anti-abuse feature that is designed to throttle those who would seek to abuse it to get otherwise legitimate groups taken offline — much in the way that pools of automated bot accounts have been known to abuse Twitter’s reporting system to successfully sideline accounts of specific targets.

Or it could be that I simply didn’t click the proper sequence of buttons when reporting these groups. The closest match I could find in Facebook’s abuse reporting system were, “Doesn’t belong on Facebook,” and “Purchase or sale of drugs, guns or regulated products.” There was/is no option for “selling hacked accounts, credit cards and identities,” or anything of that sort.

In any case, one thing seems clear: Naming and shaming these shady Facebook groups via Twitter seems to work better right now for getting them removed from Facebook than using Facebook’s own formal abuse reporting process. So that’s what I did on Thursday. Here’s an example:

Within minutes of my tweeting about this, the group was gone. I also tweeted about “Best of the Best,” which was selling accounts from many different e-commerce vendors, including Amazon and eBay:

That group, too, was nixed shortly after my tweet. And so it went for other groups I mentioned in my tweetstorm today. But in response to that flurry of tweets about abusive groups on Facebook, I heard from dozens of other Twitter users who said they’d received the same “does not violate our community standards” reply from Facebook after reporting other groups that clearly flouted the company’s standards.

Pete Voss, Facebook’s communications manager, apologized for the oversight.

“We’re sorry about this mistake,” Voss said. “Not removing this material was an error and we removed it as soon as we investigated. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong. We are reviewing this case specifically, including the user’s reporting options, and we are taking steps to improve the experience, which could include broadening the scope of categories to choose from.”

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last week in response to allegations that the company wasn’t doing enough to halt the abuse of its platform for things like fake news, hate speech and terrorist content. It emerged that Facebook already employs 15,000 human moderators to screen and remove offensive content, and that it plans to hire another 5,000 by the end of this year.

“But right now, those moderators can only react to posts Facebook users have flagged,” writes Will Knight, for Technologyreview.com.

Zuckerberg told lawmakers that Facebook hopes expected advances in artificial intelligence or “AI” technology will soon help the social network do a better job self-policing against abusive content. But for the time being, as long as Facebook mainly acts on abuse reports only when it is publicly pressured to do so by lawmakers or people with hundreds of thousands of followers, the company will continue to be dogged by a perception that doing otherwise is simply bad for its business model.

Update, 1:32 p.m. ET: Several readers pointed my attention to a Huffington Post story just three days ago, “Facebook Didn’t Seem To Care I Was Being Sexually Harassed Until I Decided To Write About It,” about a journalist whose reports of extreme personal harassment on Facebook were met with a similar response about not violating the company’s Community Standards. That is, until she told Facebook that she planned to write about it.

18 Apr 00:56

All-you-can-eat crab at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's, Haymarket Sydney

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fergus Noodle

How much u grab?

All-you-can-eat crab for less than forty bucks. You read that right. Where? It's on at Yok Sod Thai, the eatery housed within the ground floor bar at Mr B's on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn Streets. Crab menu The crab festival, which runs only during crab season, features ten dishes starring blue swimmer crab. Order them a la carte (most are $19.90 each) or arrive hungry and hand over $
17 Apr 04:57

Deleted Facebook Cybercrime Groups Had 300,000 Members

by BrianKrebs

Hours after being alerted by KrebsOnSecurity, Facebook last week deleted almost 120 private discussion groups totaling more than 300,000 members who flagrantly promoted a host of illicit activities on the social media network’s platform. The scam groups facilitated a broad spectrum of shady activities, including spamming, wire fraud, account takeovers, phony tax refunds, 419 scams, denial-of-service attack-for-hire services and botnet creation tools. The average age of these groups on Facebook’s platform was two years.

On Thursday, April 12, KrebsOnSecurity spent roughly two hours combing Facebook for groups whose sole purpose appeared to be flouting the company’s terms of service agreement about what types of content it will or will not tolerate on its platform.

One of nearly 120 different closed cybercrime groups operating on Facebook that were deleted late last week. In total, there were more than 300,000 members of these groups. The average age of these groups was two years, but some had existed for up to nine years on Facebook

My research centered on groups whose singular focus was promoting all manner of cyber fraud, but most especially those engaged in identity theft, spamming, account takeovers and credit card fraud. Virtually all of these groups advertised their intent by stating well-known terms of fraud in their group names, such as “botnet helpdesk,” “spamming,” “carding” (referring to credit card fraud), “DDoS” (distributed denial-of-service attacks), “tax refund fraud,” and account takeovers.

Each of these closed groups solicited new members to engage in a variety of shady activities. Some had existed on Facebook for up to nine years; approximately ten percent of them had plied their trade on the social network for more than four years.

Here is a spreadsheet (PDF) listing all of the offending groups reported, including: Their stated group names; the length of time they were present on Facebook; the number of members; whether the group was promoting a third-party site on the dark or clear Web; and a link to the offending group. A copy of the same spreadsheet in .csv format is available here.

The biggest collection of groups banned last week were those promoting the sale and use of stolen credit and debit card accounts. The next largest collection of groups included those facilitating account takeovers — methods for mass-hacking emails and passwords for countless online accounts such Amazon, Google, Netflix, PayPal, as well as a host of online banking services.

This rather active Facebook group, which specialized in identity theft and selling stolen bank account logins, was active for roughly three years and had approximately 2,500 members.

In a statement to KrebsOnSecurity, Facebook pledged to be more proactive about policing its network for these types of groups.

“We thank Mr. Krebs for bringing these groups to our attention, we removed them as soon as we investigated,” said Pete Voss, Facebook’s communications director. “We investigated these groups as soon as we were aware of the report, and once we confirmed that they violated our Community Standards, we disabled them and removed the group admins. We encourage our community to report anything they see that they don’t think should be in Facebook, so we can take swift action.”

KrebsOnSecurity’s research was far from exhaustive: For the most part, I only looked at groups that promoted fraudulent activities in the English language. Also, I ignored groups that had fewer than 25 members. As such, there may well be hundreds or thousands of other groups who openly promote fraud as their purpose of membership but which achieve greater stealth by masking their intent with variations on or mispellings of different cyber fraud slang terms.

Facebook said its community standards policy does not allow the promotion or sale of illegal goods or services including credit card numbers or CVV numbers (stolen card details marketed for use in online fraud), and that once a violation is reported, its teams review a report and remove the offending post or group if it violates those policies.

The company added that Facebook users can report suspected violations by loading a group’s page, clicking “…” in the top right and selecting “Report Group”. Users who wish to learn more about reporting abusive groups can visit facebook.com/report.

“As technology improves, we will continue to look carefully at other ways to use automation,” Facebook’s statement concludes, responding to questions from KrebsOnSecurity about what steps it might take to more proactively scour its networks for abusive groups. “Of course, a lot of the work we do is very contextual, such as determining whether a particular comment is hateful or bullying. That’s why we have real people looking at those reports and making the decisions.”

Facebook’s stated newfound interest in cleaning up its platform comes as the social networking giant finds itself reeling from a scandal in which Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, was found to have acquired access to private data on more than 50 million Facebook profiles — most of them scraped without user permission.

17 Apr 00:37

Lean & Green At Clean Treats Factory, Alexandria

Fergus Noodle

As close as NQN gets to not liking something

Clean Treats Factory is a new spacious cafe and eatery serving up plant based food in Alexandria. A favourite with Instagrammers, the food is as pretty as the space itself. While the systems there are a little confusing, we check out what the food is like-does it taste as good as it looks?
08 Apr 21:58

Photo



08 Apr 21:58

Photo



07 Apr 10:34

The New Hartsyard 2.0 Is Here & It's Nothing Like It Used To Be!

Fergus Noodle

I dunno it used to be bad and this food also looks bad

Hartsyard is back and everything is different! Gone are the classics like the fried chicken, poutine and soft serve. Hartsyard 2.0 is something very different indeed. So what is it like when a much beloved restaurant turns things around?
04 Mar 20:42

Brushtail possum attacked by ravens

by Saving Our Trees
We saw nature in its rawness yesterday evening.  We were riding along the Cooks River when we came across a flock of very rowdy shrieking Cockatoos.  There were around twenty of them all gathered in the one gum tree.  The noise was something else. I stopped to take some photos when my husband said, “There […]
11 Feb 03:44

Chart of the Day: Does Your State Allow Police to Have Sex With People They Arrest?

by Sejal Singh

In 35 states, it’s legal for cops to detain and have sex with someone in their custody. Is your state one of them?

Yesterday, Buzzfeed News published an investigative piece about Anna Chambers, a New York teenager pressing rape charges against Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, two members of the New York Police Department. Last fall, Anna was picked up by the two cops who told her two male friends to leave, handcuffed her, and led her into their van. According to Anna’s lawyer, the policemen ordered her to undress — and when they didn’t find drugs, they raped her.

It’s a stunning story of state violence — of cops using their guns, their badges, and their impunity to attack vulnerable women. Anna’s far from alone: sexual assault is the second most commonly reported form of police misconduct and brutality (after excessive force). A 2015 investigation found that over 1,000 officers across America have lost their badges because of sexual assault — and their report noted that number is “unquestionably an undercount” because many states, including New York, don’t keep state records of decertified cops. Further, sexual violence and police violence are highly underreported — meaning these number represent a mere fraction of the actual prevalence of police-perpetrated sexual violence.

You’d think this would have been an open-and-shut case. Anna’s forensic exam (commonly known as a ‘rape kit’) matched Martins’ and Hall’s DNA, and a security camera shows the detectives leaving her on the side of a street a quarter-mile from a police station. Anna says she repeatedly told the detectives no; the detectives say it was consensual.

To be clear, I completely believe Anna. But even if she hadn’t verbally said no, these two cops picked up a teenage girl, detained her in a police van, and then had sex with her while she was in their custody. They exploited the immense difference in power between an armed police officer and a civilian locked in the back of their car — a different in power that could easily coerce someone into saying yes to sexual contact they absolutely don’t want.

A person in police custody can’t give genuine consent, free from coercion. Not to armed police officers who have the power to arrest them if they say no.

But here’s the kicker: Buzzfeed’s investigation found that in 35 states, it’s legal for police to have sex with people in their custody.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 4.20.37 PM

Image via Buzzfeed

The criminal legal system makes the people caught up in it vulnerable to sexual violence. That’s why, under New York state law, it’s illegal for prison guards to have sex with incarcerated people or for parole officers to have sex with the parolees they oversee. If you say no to your parole officer, they might send you back to prison. If you say no to a prison guard, they might put you in solitary confinement. Police officers are no different — if you’re in the back of a cop’s car, you are at their mercy. The police shouldn’t be able to exploit that power differential to force themselves on vulnerable women yet, in most states in America, they can do so and face no legal consequences.

Thanks to the #MeToo movement, long overdue legislation to fight harassment and violence is finally gaining steam. Still, even now, few headlines and legislators are tackling the problem of police sexual violence, perhaps because its victims are mostly poor women, especially women of color. It’s about time for our righteous rage to tackle the Eddie Martins, Richard Halls, and Daniel Holtzclaws of the world, who just like Harvey Weinstein, grossly abuse their power to abuse women.

Outraged by Anna’s story, New York City Council Member Mark Treyger has proposed a bill that would prohibit police officers from having sex with anyone in their custody. Bills like his should be introduced — and passed — in every state on this map.

Image Credit: Buzzfeed

05 Feb 22:05

The Inaugural United Airlines Sydney To Houston Flight!

Fergus Noodle

Did she have an affair with Craig?

The inaugural United Airlines flight from Sydney to Houston promises the fastest flight time from Sydney to New York, as well as direct, daily, non stop access to Houston, America’s fourth most populous city. So what happens on an inaugural flight and what can people expect from the Polaris business class product? And how does an ice cream sundae taste at 35,000 feet?
05 Feb 21:53

hot summers day and water.

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
Fergus Noodle

This was so long ago! Before Clemmie's ears exploded :(

Never put anything on the table at home maybe she was hot and cooling off in the ocean.
Talk about cooling off the twins now have a water table not as dangerous as a swimming pool but lots of fun also the lawn and garden gets a bit of water along with the people, here are some photos to enjoy.









































Angus said enough is enough I'm sitting on the lounge where it's dry.
Clemmy just wants to give him a cuddle.


























Well time to dry off now, bye for now see you next time.




04 Feb 21:07

Go Go Go For Mango & Coconut Lamingtons

Would you like to try a fruity, seasonal spin on lamington? Mango and coconut are perfect bed partners and this fluffy, cream filled lamington is bursting with tropical flavours! Better still is that the lamington batter is all done in one mixing bowl without the need for creaming or a big mixer!
18 Jan 02:01

Mie Too! Kusuka, Haymarket

Love Indomie? Kusuka in Haymarket is a cafe and Indonesian food stall in one. On one side of the menu are acai bowls, eggs benedict and smashed avocado but the other side holds Indonesian favourites like Mee Goreng, sate and murtabak. You can probably guess what we chose!
14 Jan 22:58

Hello Yellow Deli, Katoomba

Every time we go to the Blue Mountains we want to go to Yellow Deli but it is always closed on a Saturday. But then we had to meet my friend Lulu and her daughter Evie on a Sunday and it seems like the perfect time to visit the intriguing little cafe!
14 Jan 15:13

Serena Williams had to push for treatment for life-threatening postnatal complication

by Maya Dusenbery

The headline of one of ProPublica’s recent articles in an excellent and devastating series on maternal health in the United States reads: “Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth.”  The subtitle continued: “Not education. Not income. Not even being an expert on racial disparities in health care.” You can apparently add to that: Not even being the greatest athlete in the world. 

A cover story in Vogue yesterday recounted Serena Williams’ harrowing childbirth experience, in which she had to insist health care providers perform a CT scan to check for a pulmonary embolism when she suddenly began to have trouble breathing:

Though she had an enviably easy pregnancy, what followed was the greatest medical ordeal of a life that has been punctuated by them. Olympia was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dove dangerously low during contractions. The surgery went off without a hitch; Alexis cut the cord, and the wailing newborn fell silent the moment she was laid on her mother’s chest. “That was an amazing feeling,” Serena remembers. “And then everything went bad.”

The next day, while recovering in the hospital, Serena suddenly felt short of breath. Because of her history of blood clots, and because she was off her daily anticoagulant regimen due to the recent surgery, she immediately assumed she was having another pulmonary embolism. (Serena lives in fear of blood clots.) She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. “I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

Williams’ medical saga continued, leaving her bedridden for six weeks, and ultimately turned out ok. But the fact that Serena Williams, who’d nearly died of a pulmonary embolism in 2001, who had just had a C-section which increases the risk of blood clots, and who is Serena goddamn Williams, who is rich and famous and is rich and famous specifically for the spectacular feats of her body, had to identify her symptoms herself and demand the screening needed for a potentially deadly complication is an incredible illustration of the deep sexism and racism that black women face in the medical system.

The ProPublica series, by Nina Martin and NPR’s Renee Montagne, has been exploring the myriad factors that contribute to the US’ shameful record on maternal health. The US has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, and there is an enormous racial disparity: black women are three to four times more likely to die than white women. And while pre-existing health conditions and lack of access to medical care are part of the problem, they aren’t the whole story. As Dr Elizabeth Howell tells the New York Times today, “Everyone always wants to say that it’s just about access to care and it’s just about insurance, but that alone doesn’t explain it.”

It is also about health care providers who, in their focus on the baby after a delivery, too often overlook serious complications in the mother and who too often just don’t listen to women’s—especially women of color’s—testimony of their symptoms. Not even a world-famous athlete’s.

10 Jan 07:06

A few days away for the beer fairy and a bit of a clean up.

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
The first two pictures are at my house not sure why they were taken but the next couple are the beer fairy's effort he went to stay a few days with my son and daughter in law up in QLD and I gave him the camera and said take lots of photos glad I didn't say just take a couple.

A spider or two found at my sons house

This was my fathers house it looks so different now there once was a huge tree out the front.


Pictures of boats
pictures of boats with beer fairy on the left

pictures of boats with beer fairy on the he right or is it the other way around.
The swimming pool,  everything looks very green they had had a bit of rain.

Banana benders are not always very polite but we are not always well behaved but I do love this little reminder telling everyone what is expected of them.
A bit of advertising on the golf course

a game of golf was on the cards.


I have reclaimed my front verander my son has taken all his bits and pieces left over from his house he sold in Sydney a few years back.
This is a great place for a cup of tea or coffee in summer as you catch the breezes and you can watch the world go by.



Most of the plants are fake as I once had a huge planter out here with lots of plants but the water never really got away.



and as you can see it caused a fair bit of damage I would like to get it repaired and repointed but these days they usually tear down and rebuild.


The front yard needs a lot of work but it is just to hot to do much at the moment.
but I did cut all my creeping fig down a lot of it had died this bit requires a ladder to get it down I was hoping it would just fall down I'm not fond of ladders.

A bit wild all round but when the weather cools I will tackle it  we are expecting 42c today so most likely all day inside today.
26 Dec 10:28

Cooks River vandalised

by Saving Our Trees
Fergus Noodle

V shit

It seems some have missed the beauty of the Cooks River.  Rather than pay a tipping fee, they think it is okay to sneak up the pedestrian path & dump a trailer load or three of building rubble into the river.   It is such a shame that a small financial gain for the vandal destroys […]
18 Dec 21:54

Cherry Ripe Snow Beanie Christmas Cake!

Fergus Noodle

This is a v strange post

Want a fun and surprising cake this year for Christmas? This no cook snow beanie cake is cuteness personified yet is straightforward to make. The cake part is easy, especially if you buy the sponge cake and after that it's just whipping cream to fill it and buttercream on the outside. There are three layers inside mimicking a Cherry Ripe chocolate bar with chocolate, cherry and coconut. Then the piping is the fun bit as it comes together for a festive Christmas!
18 Dec 21:36

Ginger Cooler

by Ganga108
Ginger is so very healthy for you, it is a commonly known fact. You can add ginger to your herbal teas and chai’s, your soups, smoothies, yoghurt drinks, salads, salsas, and so much more. Here we use it as a main ingredient in a cooling Summer Drink – an iced herbal infusion/tea. We have other … Continue reading "Ginger Cooler"
18 Dec 10:08

Bentinho...

03 Nov 09:58

Why is Twitter Protecting Violent Islamophobes While Banning Everyone Else?

by Meg Sri

Conservative journalist Laura Loomer went on a hateful, Islamophobic rampage on Twitter on Wednesday, posting photos and video she took of Muslim women in New York City. Unsurprisingly, Twitter has done nothing about it.

Labeling herself a proud Islamophobe, Loomer called Muslims “fucking savages,” Islam a “cancer” and alleged that Muslims were “all the same” and should “never be let into the civilized world.” Loomer also claimed that she was late to work at a New York Police Department press conference because it took her 30 minutes to find an Uber or a Lyft not driven by a Muslim driver, calling it “insanity” and demanding a version of a ridesharing app that would exclude “Islamic immigration drivers.” Her actions were so toxic that even a company resistant to any sort of radical politics by any standard – Uber – was forced to ban her for her racist vitriol. (Lyft has since banned her as well).

There’s no need to explain how blatantly disgusting Loomer’s words are, and I hesitate to amplify her voice in any way using this platform. But the key question here is this: why is Twitter, the same company that just in this month has actively suppressed leftist voices (one of our editors included) in the name of security, allowing Loomer to continue using their website as a platform to spew unfiltered, hateful, racist nonsense? It was just a few days ago that Twitter temporarily suspended the account of leftist comedian Krang T. Nelson for what was clearly a joking tweet about Antifa “supersoldiers.” Twitter also caused a public uproar when, more seriously, they banned actress Rose McGowan for speaking out against sexual assault, alleging later that the suspension was because she had tweeted a ‘private phone number.’

Loomer, in contrast, has actively threatened the Muslim community with her tweets: wanting to deprive them of their citizenship and their livelihood – clear steps, regardless of her intent, upwards on the pyramid of hate leading up to eventual genocide. This is in a climate where the Muslim community in the United States already faces threats ranging anywhere from surveillance to vigilante and state violence. Loomer is using a public platform with which she speaks to over 100,000 followers to make comments that have a high likelihood of inciting physical violence. In addition – far more dangerous than a phone number – Loomer has tweeted pictures and videos (which are still up!) without consent, of course, of Muslim Americans in hijabs walking out in New York City, making them or other women in hijabs in New York clear targets of violence from any fanatical right-wing followers she might be radicalizing.

Twitter’s selective use of the ban tool in order to suppress activists and prop up white supremacists is well documented, and it is clear the platform has a harassment problem. But this is just one more obvious instance where the company has shown what is laziness at best and active complicity in white supremacy at worst in how they chose to moderate their platform. After the McGowan controversy went down, CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted what seems – then and now – a hollow apology and a claim that the company is aiming to counteract the silencing of marginalized voices on their platform and strengthening their policy against abusers and bullies. Laura Loomer’s tweets and verified account – standing loud and proud on the internet – are a marker of proof that Dorsey and Twitter are full, apologies for the language, of horseshit.

 

30 Oct 04:44

The last 2 weeks.

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
I like this fence is just a bit different and very neat, mine is falling over so I will get a new one soon, maybe.
Wilbur on the swing, he is such a big boy now.



On the way home from the park I took odd shots of the neighbourhood.
Some tall pine  trees.
Love this balcony


Schools have water tanks now
This tree is growing next to my house I had no idea it could get so big.

Sign of the times, we often took a shortcut through our school to the bus stop not allowed any more.




Some are very private

This one is for sale interesting old house but on a very busy road.









Love the door and window screens.
The mural has seen better days could do with a freshen up.

The smell is lovely.
some houses are tiny
street flowers


Can you see the mischief



On Wednesday last week we went to the zoo
We saw the big male elephant

The babies were impressed
Well a bit anyway
the big turtles
very slow but very impressive
A lazy Hippo.
there was a baby one in the water diving but I must of missed him.

A baby elephant
with his mum
family together




and of course these fellows


Well that's bye from us.
29 Oct 03:47

Women Don’t Bleed Blue (Even Yalies and Members of the Social Register)

by Bridget Crawford

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Several years ago, Ann Bartow blogged here about U.S. advertisers’ first use of a “red dot” to illustrate blood on a menstrual hygiene pad.

According to this article in the Scottish Daily Mail, an ad for Bodyform in the U.K. is drawing controversy for using red liquid — instead of the customary blue — to illustrate the pad’s absorbency. The ad uses the hashtag #bloodnormal and features a man buying menstrual hygiene products, a woman floating on a white pad-shaped mattress in a swimming pool, and woman in a shower with blood flowing down her legs.

The ad has been called “disgusting” by one person but “groundbreaking” by none other that Cosmo magazine (itself at the forefront of the menstrual equity movement, joining with Jennifer Weiss-Wolf to promote an on-line petition against the tampon tax).

I’m all for #bloodnormal, but in, say, a diaper commercial, I wouldn’t want to see yellow or brown stand-ins for a baby’s digestive output. Hypocritical? Probably.

24 Oct 11:56

It's been 3 weeks .

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
Fergus Noodle

Lots of hats

Life has been busying the little fellows have produced 8 teeth between them and more coming so I will not say much but let you enjoy the photos on my camera. It's mainly eating,  wearing hats and exploring their new world, enjoy the pictures.



























































19 Oct 20:38

U.S. Men’s Soccer Proves That Mediocre Men Will Still Earn More Than Successful Women

by Meg Sri

Last week, the United States’ men’s soccer team lost 2-1 in a World Cup Qualifier to Trinidad and Tobago, the only team below them in the group standings, sending them crashing out of the Men’s World Cup for the first time since 1986 in what some are calling “the worst loss in the history of U.S. Men’s Soccer.” It seems a good a time as any to remember that it was only in April this year that the U.S. women’s too, lost an important fight: the battle to gain equal pay with the men’s team. And it also seems a good time to remember that while the U.S. men comically crashed out of the World Cup, the women won it in 2015.

The deeper one dives, the more embarrassing the record is. The U.S. women’s team’s record in World Cups the past twenty years includes two victories, one second-place finish, and three third-place finishes. The men’s involves one non-qualification, two exits at the Group Stages, two at the Round of 16, and one high of a quarterfinal finish. The women have lost only two Olympic gold medals between 1996 and 2016. The (under-23, but nonetheless) men did not qualify three times in the same period.

The history of U.S. men’s soccer is far from illustrious in general, especially on the international stage. As FiveThirtyEight points out, “In the 1998 World Cup and the 2006 World Cup — the last two on European soil — it combined for one tie and five losses. In 2015, the team was stunned at home in the Gold Cup semifinal by Jamaica, which at the time was ranked 76th in the world by FIFA.” Meanwhile, the women’s team has been characterized by roaring  successes, entertaining play, stimulating victories, and renewed public interest in soccer. They also now bring in more game revenue than men, bringing in $23 million last year, and turned over 3 times as much profit as the men in 2016. U.S. Soccer predicts the same will happen in 2017 for the women — while the men are expected to turn over a loss of $1 million.

In March 2016, five of the U.S. women’s team players filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that U.S. soccer acted discriminatorily in paying its female players less than those on the men’s team. The complaint pointed out some startling figures: women, if they won and including their win bonus, would earn $4,950 per game; the men would earn $5,000 just for showing up (and a whopping $8,166 if they won, rare as that might be). If women won all their games in a year, they’d earn $99,000 — still less than the men’s salary for just showing up and losing every game, at $100,000. And that’s not counting the litany of smaller discriminatory practices: coach flights vs. business class; dangerous artificial turf vs. real fields; and lower per diems and pay for sponsor appearances.

The fight did end in some form of victory in April this year: women’s players got pay raises of over 30%, better bonuses, higher per diems, and other financial benefits. And yet U.S. soccer couldn’t take the final leap and pay a multiple World Cup-winning, tremendously victorious side that is more financially profitable the same amount of money as a mediocre side that crashes out of a World Cup and expects to net a revenue loss.

Last week’s World Cup qualifier loss was a sobering reminder to some soccer fans about systemic problems with U.S. men’s soccer. But to many of us, it is also a sobering reminder to women: you can be twice or thrice as good as men, but you still cannot expect to be treated or paid on par with them.

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09 Oct 18:36

In Which We Autistically Begin Our Career In Surgery

by Durga

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Showing Appreciation

by ELEANOR MORROW 

The Good Doctor
creator David Shore
ABC

Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is a functioning autistic surgical student. In the first episode of The Good Doctor, he flies from Wyoming to San Jose, California to begin his first residency. Both places are much the same to him, and really to us, since we have never been to San Jose or Cheyenne, and there is nothing in The Good Doctor to recommend either.

When he lands at the San Jose airport, he witnesses a severe accident. A plane of glass falls on an African-American boy. Shards lodge in the boy's abdomen and enter his bloodstream; his neck is also slashed. A well-meaning doctor tries to help, but Shaun can see that he is doing it wrong, because autistic people have superpowers much like Superman's x-ray vision. Shaun immediately recalls information from medical textbooks he has pored over. He creates a makeshift valve to allow the boy to keep breathing, but not after stealing a knife from a gaggle of TSA agents.

After they see that their son has been saved by this weird white man, the parents of the boy give him a soft hug. Shaun is neither excited or disturbed by their outpouring of emotion. He does not seem to understand it at all, an unlikely reaction for a functioning autistic. Then again, if he bristled at their touch, how sympathetic would he be in the scenes that follow?

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Shaun's benefactor is Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff). He is president of the hospital to which the African-American boy is dispatched. Shaun follows, begging the doctors attending the case to give the child an echocardiogram. They won't do it, probably because they are racist. Or maybe not racist, since most of the residents at this hospital are individuals of color, but racist against autistic people.

In many other countries, individuals with developmental disabilities are being eliminated before they are even born. I would like to think that in America, we value genetic diversity, but The Good Doctor puts the lie to this entire concept, since Shaun's supervising Mexican-American surgeon Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) tells him, on his first day, that he will only be doing suction.

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While it is certainly nice to see a hospital full of doctors from a diverse variety of backgrounds, The Good Doctor sort of writes itself into a political hole here. It is not really appropriate or convincing to identify these various individuals from disparate life experiences as all united in their intolerance of a white man. I say, "not appropriate," because it implies that coming from a particular place gives you no particular understanding of what it means to be an outsider in every context. I think that's a lie.

As it happens, the actors who play Shaun's immediate superiors on The Good Doctor have a very specific background. Hill Harper, who portrays the head of surgery at the hospital, attended Harvard Law School. Gonzalez, who stars as the arrogant surgeon meant to be Shaun's supervisor, spent time at Oxford. I do not believe any of these people in real life would be intolerant of someone with autism, and it feels somewhat wrong to force them into positions where they have to pretend this.

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Shaun's character promulgates this contradiction in a scene with another resident, Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas). (Thomas is an English actress, borne of a Jamaican mother and a British father.) He says to her in the hospital's cafeteria, "The first time I met you, you were rude to me. The next time, you were nice to me. Which time were you pretending?"

In flashbacks we see that young Shaun (Graham Verchere) was essentially raised by his brother Steve (Dylan Kingwell). They live in a school bus for some reason, which seems slightly implausible, but not for Shaun, who asks if they can get a television. Steve says that they can't because they live in a school bus. Steve might be annoyed sometimes by his brother's autism, but in general he is remarkably good-natured about it.

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In this inverted world, certain people are surgeons. Maybe it's great that they are, maybe some of them shouldn't be. It is not up to us to judge, whether we are white or Mexican-American or African-American, since we can never truly know the subjectivity of another person. We must only show our appreciation, our happiness that another person, who exists at the behest of something larger than ourselves, lurks behind the mask of the everyday. In this regular-ish place, superpowers are always secret.

Or maybe the only superpower that Freddie Highmore's character actually has is that he is white, and the rest is just a distracting backstory.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording.

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30 Sep 10:20

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30 Sep 10:18

Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses

by Ganga108
Fergus Noodle

make me this ty

This dish of beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella balls has saved me many a time, late at night, tired from a long day, collapsed in front of the television. Mozzarella balls are torn apart, tomatoes, cukes and herbs added, and pomegranate molasses drizzled over. Tearing the fresh Mozzarella adds great texture, great mouth-feel, and a much … Continue reading "Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses"
27 Sep 01:03

Sweet Pockets! Strawberry & Rhubarb Pop Tarts

Fergus Noodle

She's changed the blog to Lorraine Elliot Not Quite Nigella

These gorgeous little hand pies or pastries are modelled on pop tarts but they're full of home made goodness with more real fruit inside them. With a rhubarb and strawberry filling they're a great grab on the go breakfast or snack.