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10 Feb 20:54

Saudi Arabian historian claims ban on women drivers protects them from rape

by Katie Halper

In an unintentionally viral video, a Saudi Arabian historian justified his nation’s ban against women drivers by arguing that it protects them from roadside rape.

Saudi Arabia’s prohibition on women driving instituted in 1990, has been defied several times in recent years by women who have filmed themselves driving in protest. The government has responded with a crackdown, arresting women who break the law and even sending two women to a the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh which handles terrorism cases.

But don’t worry. There’s a good reason for this ban.

In a recent TV interview, historian Saleh Al-Saadoon claimed that the reason women are allowed to drive in Europe, America and parts of the Arab world is because women there don’t care about getting raped if their car breaks down: “They don’t care if they are raped on the roadside, but we do,” Al-Saadoon said on Saudi Rotana Khalijiyya TV.

The understandably incredulous host, who isn’t named, responds by saying, “Hold on. Who told you they don’t care about getting raped on the roadside?” To which Al-Saadoon replies, “In our case, however, the problem is of a social and religious nature.” When the host pointed out that the two other guests were shocked by the historian’s comments, he said, “They should listen to me and get used to what society thinks, if they are really so out of touch with it.”

Never fear — the women of Saudi Arabia may not be allowed to drive, but they are waited on by a gaggle of male relatives who have nothing to do but serve them: “Saudi women are driven around by their husbands, sons and brothers,”Al-Saadoon explained. “Everybody is at their service. They are like queens. A queen without a chauffeur has the honor of being driven around by her husband, brother, son and nephews. They are at the ready when she gestures with her hands.”

The host then wondered about the risk of being raped by these drivers, asking, “You are afraid that a woman might be raped by the roadside by soldiers, but you are not afraid that she might be raped by her chauffeur?”

“Of course, I am,” replied the concerned historian. And then he dropped a radical policy recommendation that could forever change the transportation system of Saudi Arabia: “There is a solution but the government officials and clerics refuse to hear of it. The solution is to bring female foreign chauffeurs to drive our wives.” No, he didn’t! He then asked the host, “Are you with me on this?”

Her response was a face palm, followed by laughter.

So, to summarize: the solution is to bring in foreign female drivers who may very well get raped on the side of the road if their car breaks down. But it’s all good, because it’s no big deal for them.

06 Feb 00:26

The Butler, Potts Point

by Lisa Manche
Fergus Noodle

Jar of peas no ty

the butler, potts point

It's been a long time since I reviewed a restaurant. A really long time. I don't find myself trying as many new places these days, and when I do, I don't take my camera with me! But there's always an exception and this was a place I was excited to try, and have been excited to tell you about all week! The Butler made me wish I still worked in Potts Point.

It has only been open for about 2 months, situated in the space where Mezzaluna sat for 20 years. It seems to have found its feet quickly and got quite busy with a mixed clientele of people on dates, girls celebrating and the after work drinks crowd. One of the best things about summer is that you can have a leisurely dinner and still get great shots all in natural light. Especially when you are seated on one of the most beautiful terraces in Sydney. Just look at that view!

the butler, potts point

I love The Butler's decor, branding and great menu design. With a French-Caribbean vibe, there are tiny pineapples growing in pots, wicker chairs galore and palms on the wallpaper. I liked that the venue feels spacious and airy even when the place is busy, and I feel like you could have very different experiences depending on whether you sit on the terrace, at the bar or in the main dining room.

the butler, potts point

I had a little tipple to start, the Colonial Cobbler with Pineapple and Blueberry infused Bulleit bourbon, Lillet, lime, bitters, sugar and fresh mint. This kind of drink is perfect for a venue like this, modernising a cocktail that dates back to the 1830's with fresh fruit and the French aperitif Lillet. It was refreshing but more-ish at the same time, which is the perfect combination!

the butler, potts point

The menu has a great mix of dishes, from bar snacks to substantial shared mains like a slow roasted lamb shoulder. My housemate ordered a couple of oysters, which come from Merimbula ($4 each) on the Sapphire coast of NSW, and couldn't stop raving about how perfect and fresh they were. They were served simply with a squeeze of lemon and a mini bottle of Tabasco, but that's all you need when the oysters are this good.

the butler, potts point

The service is also excellent, with friendly chatty waitresses who offer some great recommendations. If we were feeling braver we would have tried the Lambs Brains, but based on the high standard of food we experienced I'm sure they would be done really well. Next time for sure. This time we tried the Beef and Spiced Pork sliders with creole mayo ($6 each). I thought they were a little bit under-seasoned, but were a good little bar snack.

the butler, potts point

The main reason I wanted to try the Lyonnaise Pork sausage rolls was the rum and pineapple relish ($12), which was really great. I liked the super flaky pastry and flavoursome pork filling. This was another clever French-Caribbean-Modern Australian fusion.

the butler, potts point

This was the standout dish by far - Tabasco prawns with mango salsa and coconut quinoa ($22). We just loved how fresh, summery and perfectly balanced it was with the sweet mango and hint of heat from the Tabasco and a lovely sauce that I'm sure was enriched with lots of butter. The prawns were plump, sweet and perfectly cooked. We tried to deconstruct it all the way home so we could attempt to replicate it.

the butler, potts point

We needed some vegetables along with all of this other deliciousness so we picked the Peas with Speck and Onion ($10). I loved the way it was served in a cute little jar, and it went well with the other dishes we picked, especially the sausage rolls. There's just something about peas and pastry together that always works so well.

the butler, potts point

We almost didn't order dessert, but my food blogger dessert stomach kicked in and we decided to try the Peach Melba. This was a brand new addition to the menu that day, and maybe even the first one that had ever left the kitchen! I loved every single part of it, especially when you tasted all of the elements together and got all the different flavours and textures in one bite. The peach was poached and had a raspberry sauce spooned on top with fresh raspberries hiding inside it too. I'm not entirely sure what was in the jelly, but I spotted hundreds of little vanilla bean seeds. My favourite part was the thyme that added a great hit of flavour. I'm a pretty big dessert snob, but this won me over on so many levels!

The Butler on Urbanspoon

The Butler, 123 Victoria St Potts Point, NSW 2011

05 Feb 14:33

Sokyo, Pyrmont

by squishies
Fergus Noodle

I feel like we should go here coz everyone wanks ok about it

I’ve immensely enjoyed my meals the couple times I’ve been to Sokyo – it’s actually one of my favourite (and often recommended) restaurants.

I was in delighted disbelief when I heard they were now serving breakfast (all locally sourced of course)!

Full Continental Buffet

Full Continental Buffet

Sokyo caters for a full continental breakfast buffet, as well as having an a la carte menu.

Amongst the goodies baked in-house, there was a soba stand, fresh honey from the comb (you can see it in the top left photo!), sashimi, and cereal.



Everything looked so delicious, fresh, and were very prettily presented (which was kept that way too in spite of the waves of hungry breakfasters).

I wanted to try everything at the buffet… only I got seriously distracted by the a la carte menu.

Iced Teas and Fruit Smoothie

Iced Teas and Fruit Smoothie

But first: drinks! We started off with a double macchiato and Green Lemon Honey iced tea for F, the standard Earl Grey and a White Peach iced tea for me.

The Purple fruit smoothie (back right) consisted of blueberries, acai berries, agave, and milk; oh my goodness, it was so good! Creamy, sweet with a touch of tart, and not at all heavy.

While you can really taste the green tea in the Green Lemon Honey, I preferred the refreshingly bright taste of my White Peach with its concoction of lemon juice, blood peach, and white tea.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

The eggs benedict consisted of streaky bacon (glazed with maple and agave syrup), a poached egg, edamame, brioche, and miso hollandaise sauce.

F and I have been on the (rather lazy) hunt for the best eggs benedict and we would have to say that this tops our list. F even went to say that our hunt may possibly be over!

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

All the components were in perfect harmony, in flavour and texture – sweet, savoury, creamy, crisp, soft – and the sauce was surprisingly light as well.

I can’t decide what I loved most about this dish: the light and tangy, slightly salty hollandaise, the candied bacon, gooey egg, or sweet brioche. Maybe the candied bacon because… well, it’s candied bacon and a fabulous one at that.

Traditional "Choushoku" Breakfast

Traditional “Choushoku” Breakfast

When we stayed at a pension in Appi, Japan last year, our breakfast were quite similar to this: grilled fish of the day (salmon), onsen 63-degree poached egg in soy sauce, miso soup, steamed Hokkaido Yumepirika rice, nori, Japanese pickles, and a side of edamame beans.

Man, this dish seriously took us back to those Appi days – the flavours were pretty much spot-on to what we had each morning and made us miss Japan so much.

I loved how the fish was presented too and was told that it was stacked skin-side up to represent the Japanese mountains. Love it!

Traditional "Choushoku" Breakfast

Traditional “Choushoku” Breakfast

We weren’t too sure how to eat the egg, so it was lucky that Alex was there to look after us.

He told us to break the egg, wrap a bit of rice and salmon in the nori, then dip it into the eggy goo. Bliss.



The pancakes were served with banana purée, Nutella, walnut crumb, and fresh fruit… oh and of course generous lashings of maple syrup.

While this was a perfectly great dish, I felt it was a bit overshadowed by all the other fantastic dishes.

Curry Udon

Curry Udon

Interestingly, F disagreed and found the curry udon to be the weakest.

I adored the heartiness of this Japanese beef curry soup with pork neck, potato, and thick noodles; another dish that sent me back to Japan. Gah, so good.



The Chef’s omelette of the day had flakes of salmon within and was accompanied by an insanely light and creamy crème fraiche.

The omelette was so fluffy and well-seasoned and I know this sounds really weird, but it was immensely satisfying to see it so neatly folded over.

The full continental buffet, an “a la carte” dish and a tea or a coffee costs $38, while just the buffet itself with tea / coffee is $28. Or if the buffet is too much for the morning, an “a la carte” dish, a tea or a coffee, plus a juice from the buffet is $22.50.

I’m not really a morning or breakfast person (I’m definitely more of an owl with late night snacking), but for Breakfast by Sokyo, I’d gladly wake up early and break my fast on these amazing dishes.

F and I were in full agreement: best breakfast, hands down, in a very, very long time. So much so, that he’s bringing his fixie boys to Sokyo on the weekend after their city mash ride!

es&t dined as a guest of Access PR and Sokyo

Level G, The Darling, The Star
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont, NSW, 2009
Ph: (02) 9657 9161

Sokyo on Urbanspoon

The post Sokyo, Pyrmont appeared first on .

06 Feb 14:12

Boon Cafe at Jarern Chai Asian Grocer, Sydney

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fergus Noodle

Go get yourself a tiffin

Let's face it. Jarern Chai is unlike any Asian grocery Sydney has seen. Plate glass windows. Subway tiles. Chic typography. It looks more like the layout of a modern Italian provedore. Say hello to the newest business venture by the folk behind Chat Thai, a chic place to pick up Thai groceries and elusive herbs, chillies and tropical fruits. Even better news. It comes with Boon Cafe, a small
05 Feb 14:11

In Which Norway Takes Us Around The Bend

by Durga
Fergus Noodle

Sounds great


The Little Daylight


I got on the plane — you always get on the plane in the end. I went to Norway thinking I could always go back to the city early if it got to be too much: the cold, the dark, the silence. I do that now, whenever I leave London: I tell myself I can go back early. Twelve years of living in the Big Smoke and it keeps getting better, or maybe I’m just getting greedier for it? For years my habit has been to always have a plane ticket waiting to take me somewhere, but lately the date of departure approaches and I don’t really want to go. London is gritty, demanding and thrilling, and the constant noise has been a backdrop to every significant thing in my life.

It’s been several days since I came to Norway now, I couldn’t really say; Scandinavian days are so short in winter. Sunset came at 3:45 p.m. today, six and a half hours after the sunrise. Then, once the sun has disappeared, the sky seems to stay blue forever. It is partially because of the cold, minus 12°C today, rendering each intake of breath sharp and the air sparkling clear. I lived here for 18 years, but I don’t really remember much about winter. Until I got here a few days ago I’d forgot how the long, slow dark feels so dense once you’re in it, like being in a submarine at the bottom of the sea. The daylight is small, in length and in intensity, like there’s a light somewhere just around the bend but it doesn’t quite stretch far enough to fill up the sky.


As cold as Norway may get in the winter, I was never cold when I lived here. I’m not cold this time either, even after a week of relatively mild frost in London that nevertheless felt like a severe and personal form of punishment. The difference is that Norway expects the cold, so people accept it and prepare for it, not like the English style of remaining in denial while shivering in thin coats in drafty rooms, wondering what’s happened to the air. In Norway, you dress like a polar explorer, with double wool down the arms and legs and insulated shoes. The trick for managing cold weather is slowly resurfacing from my subconscious, where it’s been buried all these years I’ve been away.

I don’t usually go to Norway in the winter anymore but this year I’m between houses, so I figured my mother’s place in this small Norwegian town would be a nice place to be technically homeless. I was right: it’s peaceful and plentiful here, even in the cold. Everywhere you go is a warm room with ice on the windows. There are no distractions, but somehow I’m still finding the hours slipping away. Suddenly the front door clicks open as my mother comes home from work. The town is sleepy under the snow covering the streets, the gardens and the porches. The roads are empty as people retreat to their wood-heated houses at night, red-cheeked from frost with hair static from wooly hats.


The night comes so early and I never quite get a grasp on the day before it vanishes. The novelty of the dim light distracts me from the things I need to do, as I work in the warmth looking out at the cold, where the disappearing blue light is reflected by the snow. The whole world feels quiet here. I love London more than any place I’ve ever been, I adore the rush and the noise, and I keep thinking this silence will start to bore me soon. But for now I’m just wandering around, from the table to the tea kettle to the bed and back, reveling in the little daylight. Life feels simple here, in the way it always does when you spend time in a place that’s not your home. I was born here but it never felt quite right, in ways that had nothing to do with the light or the temperature. Now that I’m a visitor it’s okay, it’s even a treat to spend a few days being someone I’m not. There’s a luxury in allowing myself to enjoy the dark and the cold, just for a little while. So I’m just going to sit here, watching the constant changes of the light, drinking in the silence with a thirst that won’t last for long, but right now it feels endless.

Jessica Furseth is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in London. You can find her twitter here and her website here. She tumbls here. She last wrote in these pages about body talk. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. Visit our mobile site at

Photographs by the author.


"Before the Germans Came" - Andrew Bird (mp3)

"The Return of Yawny" - Andrew Bird (mp3)

06 Feb 00:31

Dora beats the odds


Dora the goat was the victim of a horrific hunting arrow attack and her rescue was made possible by the quick response of our RSPCA Inspectors who were on the scene as soon as Dora’s owner alerted them to her plight.

Dora was rushed to the RSPCA Sydney Vet Hospital by our Inspectors and taken into surgery, but there was one pressing problem. We suspected that Dora might be pregnant. So before anything could be done to save the mum, we needed to check on the kid... or as we were soon to find out... two kids. Dora was carrying twins and thankfully, they both had heartbeats.

This story’s happy ending was made possible because you give so that we can act. Without your generosity and continued support, Dora’s plight may have been quite different. Your commitment to the cause and generous support of our services means that we are able to fight for animals like Dora every day.


Please support our fight to always be there for animals in need.

02 Feb 21:44 is live! I’ve been taking your... is live! I’ve been taking your short audio recordings and combining them with my sounds and visuals to make video stories. We launched last week with two episodes, and a third episode is coming up this week. Send me your stories!

22 Jan 02:51

Lamington Pavlova

by Lisa Manche
Fergus Noodle

hell yes

lamington pavlova

Australia Day is one of my favourite occasions to bake for. It's a great chance to get creative and have fun with some Aussie-inspired desserts. And we get a day off work too! In past years I’ve made Lamington Doughnuts and Pavlova Ice Cream, and this year I decided to combine these two classics into one epic dessert: the Lamington Pavlova. A messy but delicious hybrid that equals patriotic perfection! Yes it tastes as good as it looks. And yes, I had seconds. Actually, we all did ;)

lamington pavlova

I’ll tell you a little secret. I wasn’t a huge fan of either of these two desserts until I tried making them myself. Soggy pavlovas and cheap supermarket lamingtons are not good things! But imagine two layers of chocolate meringue, with whipped vanilla cream, an insane amount of fresh summer berries, chopped Bounty bars, coconut chips and a rich choc-coconut fudge sauce drizzled all over the top to serve. I loved the combination of different flavours and textures, and the way the rich sauce brought it all together.

lamington pavlova

I think it combines the main elements of the lamington and the pavlova perfectly. I think it's a beautiful and impressive looking dessert to bring out at your Australia Day celebration this weekend. It found it a little bit messy to cut up and serve, but it tasted amazing. You could also make this as an Eton mess if you prefer the messy vibe.

Hope you all have a wonderful long weekend, and that the weather holds out for some long, lazy celebrations. If you're having a party big or small, there's heaps of food and styling ideas over here on my Pinterest board to inspire you!


Lamington Pavlova
Serves 6

Chocolate Pavlova (from Love Swah)
  • 4 egg whites (room temp)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 3 tsp cocoa powder
Chocolate Coconut Fudge Sauce
  • 185ml coconut cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 55g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To decorate

  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Bounty (or other chocolate coconut bars), chopped
  • Coconut chips

To make the pavlova, preheat oven to 150°C and line two baking trays with non-stick paper. Using an electric mixer, beat egg-whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating well until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cornflour, vinegar and cocoa powder and fold through. Spoon mixture into 2 18-20cm circles. Using a palette knife, shape into a circle with high sides. Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 120°C and cook for 45 minutes. Then turn the oven off and allow the meringues to completely cool in the oven (at least an hour - I left mine overnight).

To make the chocolate coconut fudge sauce, place ingredients into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal or wooden spoon until chocolate is almost melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir until chocolate melts. Serve warm or transfer to a clean airtight jar or container. Store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Serve room temperature or warm.

Just before serving... whip the cream with an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Place one meringue layer onto a serving plate. Top with half the whipped cream, and a layer of mixed berries and pomegranate. Top with second meringue layer, the remainder of the cream and berries and pomegranate. Arrange chopped bounty pieces on top and sprinkle with coconut chips. Drizzle generously with chocolate coconut sauce and serve immediately.
17 Jan 14:49

Brewristas, Glebe [25]

by Susan Thye
Fergus Noodle

I wanna drink an ultimate nutella frappe

FOOOODS! So one fine day a bunch of us kicked off the new year by meeting for brunch at newly opened Brewristas (73 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe).

We spy Kevin, part owner of Brewristas tending to his cold drip towers, syphons and pour over station and know we’re in for a caffeinated treat.

We order 3 bottles of Brewrista’s hand crafted cold drip coffees- Cold Brew ($9), Brewmonade ($10) and Brewtea ($10). I’m not an expert of coffee by any means, I know what I like and don’t like so Raff has been slowly teaching me the different methods and importance of the beans sourced. I liked the Cold Brew which tasted clean and sweet, the Brewmonade (cold drip with home lemonade) was refreshing but I found a tad on the sweet side. I loved the Brewtea the most (cold drip coffee with cold drip tea), although I’m not sure if it’s because Malaysians always drink Cham, a combo of coffee and tea so I thought this tasted familiar. Anywhos check out Raff’s post here for more detailed descriptions on the coffee :P

Brewristas, Glebe- Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua Da ($5)
On another visit with Toan, I couldn’t resist the Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua Da ($5), iced coffee served over condensed milk and it’s bloody good, as is anything with condensed milk.

Kevin’s Balls ($10) are filled with roasted pork belly, tofu, spicy kimchi, sweet potato and encrusted with shin ramyun. I was worried it’d be too much novelty and no taste but was pleasantly surprised with how (dare I say this..) MOREISH the balls were! The noodles provided the glorious crunch factor and housed the juicy pork belly within. I didn’t really taste much sweet potato which was a shame because I heart sweet potato but it was probably used more as a binder for all the ingredients in the ball than for flavour.

We order the Grilled Eggplant Stack ($14) with grilled zucchini, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, thai pesto, sweet potato puree and bocconcini with additional Chorizo ($3) because hey, CHORIZO EQUALS HAPPINESS! The eggplant was totally the star of this dish though (I REFUSE TO SAY HERO), each slice was fat and juicy with a nice smokiness to it. I loved the itty bitty bocconcini scattered around but would’ve loved more mainly because cheese is awesome.

Porky Pig’s Hotteok ($15) is a honey jam pancake sandwiched with crispy bacon, a poached egg, spicy guacamole, rocket and a mango & habanero mayo. The honey jam pancake is more of a muffin stuffed with honey jam, I know some people aren’t quite on the sweet and savoury combo bandwagon but as for me I’m firmly in that wagon and happily driving away.

Innards shot of the pancake! It kinda reminded me of this fried lotus paste bun desserts I used to eat growing up, I’m attempting to access my memory with the name but am failing and google isn’t helping for once (edit: Heong Peng!). The dish doesn’t really need the mango & habanero mayo once the gooey egg yolk is pierced and smothers everything in sight with its golden river of happiness. It does get a bit rich but hey you’re worth it.

Coconut Poached Chicken Salad ($16) with spinach, fennel, coriander, watercress, topped with fried shallots, drizzled with a pomegranate infused lemon dressing. Truth be told we ordered this salad out of a feeling of guilt because we all knew that our nutrient intake could always use a boost and for a salad this was pretty tasty especially with the juicy pops of pomegranate seeds. My tastebuds were super confused with the tender strips of coconut chicken because I’m so used to the flavour of coconut + chicken to be in a laksa!

Ultimate Nutella Frappe ($7) is made with heaps of Nutella, vanilla ice cream, a double espresso shot and ice, all blended together. I was buzzing from all the caffeine I’d already consumed so opted for the frappe minus the espresso shot because I’m weak haha and ohhh boy is this drink rich! Definitely one for the nutella lovers!

Brewristas, Glebe- Tiramisu Pot Plant ($10)
Of course what’s a meal without dessert? The Tiramisu Pot Plant ($10) is cute as a button and equally delicious. Layers of ladyfingers are soaked in Brewrista’s espresso with sweet mascarpone mousse and topped with chocolate biscuit crumbs for the ‘dirt’.

A lot of the cafes in Glebe close quite early but Brewristas is open from 1pm to 10pm on weekdays, from 10am to midnight on Saturday and from 10am to 9pm on Sunday. I’ll definitely be back for my next caffeine hit!

Brewristas on Urbanspoon

19 Jan 23:21


by mugumogu


Maru:[If you have some business to me, you must put dry foods before this trash box.]

21 Jan 14:00

Dog Movies Powerfully Influence Dog Ownership

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Most Americans, when asked if they are affected by advertising, will say “not really.” They think other people are influenced by cultural messages, but that they are somehow immune.

Whether people are shaped by the media they consume seems to be a perpetual question. The fact that billions of dollars are spent every year attempting to influence us is probably a sign that advertisers know it works. Scientists get in on the action, asking pressing questions like: Do violent video games increase violence in real life? Do sexy, thin models hurt girls’ self-esteem? We do the studies and the answers are often inconclusive, probably because of how complicated the relationships are.

Psychologist Stefano Ghirlanda and his colleagues asked a slightly simpler question: Do celebrity dogs influence the popularity of dog breeds? They looked at 100 movies with prominent dog characters from 1939 to 2003 and compared the release date to breed registrations. The answer seems to be: with the exception of box office flops, yes.


Given that many dog movies are made for kids, I’d be interested in the mediating role of parenthood. Companies that make children’s products like sugary cereal know that they can get the parent to buy their product if the kid is annoying enough about it. So, they market to children directly. I’d love to see if people with and without small children were equally affected by the breed of dog in this year’s movie.

The researchers method of popularity, moreover, was registration with the American Kennel Club. Pure bred dogs are expensive. So, I wonder if the power of these trends varies by social class. If a family can’t afford a “Beethoven,” they may be more likely to just adopt a mutt from a neighbor’s litter.

In any case, though, this seems like incontrovertible evidence that we’re influenced by mass media. But you already knew everyone else was, didn’t you?

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

24 Jan 17:23

Cremeria De Luca, Five Dock

Fergus Noodle

I want to eat the things

A bewitching and gorgeous store that sells house made gelato and other Sicilian delights, Cremeria De Luca is the creation of the De Luca family, originally from Sicily. Three generations of De Lucas have made gelato and today Sicilians and non Sicilians flock there for a refreshing morning granita, gelato filled brioche or an osso bucco ragu filled arancini cooked to order.
25 Jan 23:00


by mugumogu


Maru:[Wow, she is in my box again.]


Maru:[All box is mine!]

Hana:[You are childish!]


25 Jan 21:32 So excited to finally share this! I... So excited to finally share this! I take short recordings and combine them with my sounds and visuals to make video stories. Launching with two episodes, with a third coming the following week.

30 Jan 21:02

by tian
from: Priscilla P.
to: ""
date: Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM
subject: Re: God's Love


My husband has a tattoo that SUPPOSE to be God's Love. Please translate! 

30 Jan 21:17

by tian
from: Johann S.
date: Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 11:21 PM
subject: Tattoo translate

Hi .   just found your website and was very amused by some of them. And now im hoping you could help me. My tattoo was meant to say sin but a chinese man told me it means something like evil spirit in jail. Now im almost to afraid to ask.

犯 = to violate / to offend / to assault / criminal / crime / to make a mistake / recurrence (of mistake or sth bad)

30 Jan 15:00

Australian paper: Rest in peace and sexism, Colleen McCullough

by Alexandra Brodsky

You can’t take it with you. Unless “it” is sexist media coverage.

Australian author Colleen McCullough died yesterday at the age of 77. While researching and teaching neurophysiology at Yale, McCullough started writing novels in her on the side — and ended up writing international bestsellers. Her most famous book was The Thorn Birds, which sold over 30 million copies and was turned into a miniseries. Just last year, she published another novel, titled Bittersweet.

But here’s how the Austrialian (a, erm, Australian publication) began its obituary:

Colleen McCullough, Australia’s bestselling author, was a charmer. Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless a woman of wit and warmth. In one interview, she said: “I’ve never been into clothes or figure and the interesting thing is I never had any trouble attracting me.”

Clearly, the most important thing about any woman is how she looks and how she traps those men. And clearly it’s surprising that a fat lady might be smart and nice. (That “nevertheless”!)

On Twitter, ABC journalist Joanna McCarthy named the introduction “the worst opening lines of an obituary,” and others compared the paper’s coverage of McCullough’s life to its laudatory treatment of Bryce Courtenay — who, like McCullough, was an Australian author but, unlike McCullough, was a man.

Update: #MyOzObituary. Go read.

With a decent rack but meh around the face, she nevertheless managed to land a man! She also wrote books, we hear. #MyOzObituary

— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 30, 2015


30 Jan 18:35

A Weekend in Mudgee - Part 2

Fergus Noodle

The Logan vineyard is insanely beautiful and she doesn't really do it justice

Another day in Mudgee where we explore the fine dining scene here at Pipeclay Pumphouse as well as a more casual meal at Mudgee Brewing Company. We also visit two of Mudgee's wineries - Short Sheep micro winery where the grapes are hand picked by Sue and Tony who run the winery and their adorable babydoll "Short Sheep" act as animal lawnmowers. The other the internationally popular Logan Wines.
15 Jan 14:44

President Obama calls for paid sick and parental leave for all

by Maya Dusenbery
Fergus Noodle

'While three states and 16 cities now have paid sick day laws' woah

The movement to ensure that everyone can take a day off from work if they or their family are sick has been gaining steam over the last few years, thanks to the collaboration of feminist and labor forces. And today, President Obama is calling for the passage of a federal paid sick leave policy, as well as a new plan to help extend paid parental leave to all Americans.

While three states and 16 cities now have paid sick day laws, without a federal policy like this, roughly 40 percent of (mostly low-income) workers still don’t have access to this modest benefit that every other developed country besides the US requires. The new law would apply to businesses with 15 or more employees, and the White House estimates it would extend sick leave to 43 million workers who currently lack it.

mapping paid maternity leave

Image via ThinkProgress

The President is also requiring that federal employees get at least six weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives and calling on Congress to offer six weeks of paid administrative leave as well. To help the rest of us, he’s dedicating funding to help states set up their own paid family leave programs. Currently only three states have them, and the US is not just the only developed country without a national paid maternity leave law — let alone paternity leave — but one of the only countries, period. Nationwide, only 12 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers and less than half of us even get the unpaid leave extended to some under current federal law. (The fact that American families continue to have babies in such a context truly boggles the mind; a child-bearing boycott seems long overdue.)

“One fact is resoundingly clear,” White House advisor Valerie Jarrett writes. “The fundamental structure of our workplaces has simply not kept pace with the changing American family.” This isn’t just bad for the economy as a whole but, as Stephanie Coontz argued last year, it’s also one of the biggest reasons that the movement toward gender equality has hit a wall: these godawful work-family policies create “structural impediments” that “prevent people from acting on their egalitarian values.”

Header image credit

15 Jan 14:00

Ohio Class Teaches Children that Men Think and Women Feel

by Philip Cohen PhD

From Reddit comes the story of an assignment given to high school students in a sex education unit of health class in Columbus, Ohio (as reported in theDispatch). The introduction reads (typos included):

Appreciating Gender Differences: Often there are many stereotypes attached to being male or female. Yet male and female together keep our species alive! Through knowing and appreciating the many differences in brain development and psychological processes of males vs. female one learn to accept and appreciate the differences.”

Then there’s this graphic: 1 (3) - Copy Yes, boys and girls in the class all got the same handout, with the normal human described as “you” and the one in the dress labeled “she.” After the graphic is a list of questions for the students to ponder in an essay, such as, “How might knowing these differences influence and impact an intimate relationship you might currently have or develop in the future?”

In her defense, the teacher naturally told the Dispatch that the point was to just “stimulate conversation.” But nothing in the assignment suggests the stereotypes might not be anything but true. None of the essay questions cast doubt on the facts presented. Consider revising the text like this:

Appreciating Gender Similarities: Often there are many stereotypes attached to being male or female. Yet male and female together keep our species alive! Through knowing and appreciating the many similarities in brain development and psychological processes of males vs. female one learn to accept and appreciate the similarities.”

That could be a useful opening to a unit on gender and development for high school sex education (without the graphic). Where did this come from? The teacher said it came from “an outdated book.”

With the power of Google image search, you can follow this image around the Internet, where it has been used by a lot of people to illustrate supposedly funny-but-oh-so-true stereotypes, like “Hilarious differences between men and women,” and on pages with sexist aphorisms such as, “A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband; a man never worries about the future until he gets a wife,” and on relationship advice pages, with conclusions such as, “If we understand this basic fundamental, there will be better relationships … steadier !!,” and even “Real, Honest Female Advice” for men who want to “start having unbelievable success with women.” It always has the same typo (“Figure Our Her Needs”).

I can’t find an original use, or any serious attempt at educational use, but I’d love to know who came up with it.

Philip N. Cohen is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change and writes the blog Family Inequality. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

(View original at

11 Jan 08:19

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal [20]

by Susan Thye
Fergus Noodle

We should go eat this

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Ice Cream Sink
I love ice cream. My increasing sensitivity to lactose has not put a damper on my adoration of ice cream and if you opened my freezer right now you would see containers and boxes all wedged in tetris style to fit in as much ice cream as possible. I have been lusting over this incredible ice cream sink from Terrigal Ice Creamery (6/18 Church St, Terrigal) for about 2 years now as the boy refused to let me order this to eat just between the two of us pfft!

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Outside
Luckily the rellies have migrated over from Malaysia to Sydney and we introduced them to our favourite beach in Terrigal before I convinced them that they needed to partake in the age ol Aussie tradition of ice cream by the beach. I just didn’t mention how many scoops they were about to consume :P Terrigal Ice Creamery is 1 street away from the main beach with plenty of street parking available.

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Flavours
Wall of flavours!

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Flavours
The ice cream sink is $35 for 15 scoops, I was given an order pad and instructed to write the 15 flavours we wanted in our sink.

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Ice Cream Sink
I’d first heard of the ice cream sink from @ffichiban, eater of all things epic and at last! My preciousssss! My selections were: maltesers, death by chocolate, hokey pokey, rainbow, salted caramel, oreo cookies & cream, white chocolate & raspberry, cookie dough, hazelnut, Ferraro Rocher, pecan caramel, macadamia, strawberry summer, apple sorbet, lemon sorbet and the whole shebang was topped with wafers, flakes, chocolate fudge and whipped cream.

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Family
The staff come out and take a photo of everyone who orders the ice cream sink and it’s displayed out the front which I think is a nice touch.

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Family
ATTACK! I loved the hokey pokey the most, followed by the Ferrao Rocher and then the salted caramel. These 3 were rich and sweet but not in the teeth-decaying-cloying way. The nieces had never heard of rainbow ice cream before and went silent as they attempted to extract that crazy neon hue. I’ll wait a couple of years before I ruin it for them and tell them what flavour rainbow really is heh.

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Ice Cream Sink
School holidays means another trip to the beach and another visit for ice cream!

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Ice Cream Sink
More chocolate was requested so we ordered: cookie dough, hazelnut, New York chocolate, Ferraro Rocher, pistachio, Bacio, chocolate, watermelon, chocolate chip, death by chocolate, milk chocolate, rainbow, pecan, snickers, cookies & cream aaaand of course the whipped cream, fudge, flake and wafers!!!

Terrigal Ice Creamery, Terrigal - Noods finished
That Ferraro Rocher is the bomb! We weren’t too keen on the pistachio which had more of an almond extract flavour but eh 1 dud out of 15 is ok. One by one we ate as much ice cream as we could before slumping down in our seats with defeat. Except for Noods. He likes a challenge.

Terrigal Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

04 Jan 13:00

Hawker, Sydney [23]

by Susan Thye
Fergus Noodle

I would eat the things

Hawker, Sydney - Apam Balik
I freaking love Malaysian desserts, from the multi coloured Kuihs to shaved ice with random fruits and fillings. But if I ever see freshly made Apam Balik I am over the moon with happiness and so when I heard Mamak had opened a new restaurant, Hawker (345 Sussex St, Sydney) with a focus on Malaysian-Chinese dishes and my beloved Apam Balik I knew I had to get there immediately. Below are dishes from my 3 visits :D

Hawker, Sydney - Barley Ice, Kat Chai Suen Mui
We start off with drinks. Barley Ping ($4) is my fave drink because the iced barley drink helps negate the burning whenever I eat spicy foods. Noods orders the Kat Chai Suen Mui ($4) which is calamansi lime and preserved sour plum with ice- it’s ok but he laments that the drink isn’t sour enough for him.

Hawker, Sydney - Popiah
Food comes out in no particular order but it does arrive quite quickly thankfully because I was bordering on hangry. While standing in line we’d been impressed watching the cooks make the popiah skins from scratch, so we definitely had to order the Popiah ($8) which came packed full of yambean (jicama), shredded omelette, minced tofu, cucumber and crispy shallots. Growing up in Aus, the mothership would let us diy our popiah and would deep fry pork fat to shove into the popiah and I would always see how stuffed I could make mine without making it explode. Hawker’s Popiah is pretty tasty but ah how I wish there was pork fat :P

Hawker, Sydney - Or Chien
The Or Chien ($16) is a fried omelette studded with plump Sydney rock oysters. I loved the gooey starchy innards but would’ve liked more of a char and more crispy edges to be just like the omelettes from proper hawker street stalls in KL. I’d totally order this again though as it was deeeeelicious especially with the briny and creamy oysters!

Hawker, Sydney - Hokkien Mee
I was looking forward to the KL Hokkien Mee ($14), stir fried hokkien noodles in a rich aromatic black sauce, with prawns, cabbage, pork slices and crispy pork fat. Yes purely because I heart pork fat. But alas! We found maybe 2 itty bitty pieces of pork fat noooo the sads! I’ve seen pics on Instagram where there was heaps of pork fat so maybe we just lucked out.

Hawker, Sydney - Char Koay Teow
The Char Koay Teow ($14) was pretty good, the wok hei game could be better but overall it was a decent CKT. There was a whole bunch of prawns, lap cheong sausage, fresh bean sprouts AND COCKLES!!! It’s been ages since I’ve seen a CKT with cockles!

Hawker, Sydney - Ikan Bakar Grilled Stingray
The Ikan Bakar ($16) was under the Snacks section but this portion of the grilled stingray was extremely generous! There was heaps of juicy, sweet flesh with a good amount of smokiness.

Hawker, Sydney - Assam Laksa
Noods loved the Assam Laksa ($12) which had bucketloads of flavour. The thick rice noodles had the perfect bite and bounce and we couldn’t get enough of the spicy, sour fish based soup with shredded fish, cucumber, lettuce, pineapple and mint. Definitely one of our fave Assam Laksas in Syd.

Hawker, Sydney - Laksa
The Curry Laksa ($12) was spicy but not oh-god-farewell-tastebuds-spicy with curry chicken, snake beans and tofu puffs in a spicy coconut milk based soup. I’m not keen on the mix of both egg noodles and vermicelli but I have issues haha

Hawker, Sydney - Apam Balik
Dessert time! Apam Balik ($6/2 pieces) is a crispy pancake with crushed peanuts, butter and creamed corn and it is all kinds of AMAZING! I could eat this every day! Aaaand most likely will :P

Hawker, Sydney - Apam Balik insides
Innards shot!

Hawker, Sydney - Fried Durian
Goreng Durian ($8), deep fried Musang King durian fritter served with vanilla ice cream. This was the bomb!!! The durian was ripe and still retained its texture after being fried and wasn’t just a lump of mush. It was pungent and fragrant but definitely one for the durian lovers. There’s also Goreng Pisang ($8) aka fried banana too.

Hawker, Sydney - Inside
The restaurant does get quite loud so we’ve started eating there only before or after the rush period because I am turning into a cranky nut.

Hawker, Sydney - Outside
The waiters are a bit hit and miss, not quite up to the multi-tasking stage but always super friendly and genuinely wanted to know our feedback on our meal. We’ll definitely be back, especially for desserts! Hawker has been packed all 3 times I’ve visited these past coupla weeks and I reckon it’s only a matter of time before the queues stretch down the street Mamak style.

Hawker on Urbanspoon

08 Jan 17:37

Je ne suis pas Charlie: On the Charlie Hebdo massacre and duelling extremisms

by Katherine Cross

What happened to the staff of Charlie Hebdo yesterday sent a chill down my spine, as I imagine it must have to anyone who makes a living on the world’s opinion pages. 

The outpouring of grief over the senseless slaughter of twelve people, gunned down as they worked, seems to have brought a vast, diverse public together, united in condemnation of violence let loose over words and images. These murders are understandably being seen as an attack on free expression; if nothing else, this tragedy is considerably more serious than the last free speech martyr we collectively anointed, in the form of a dreadful Seth Rogen film.

But the ever lingering threat, already rapidly swelling up in commentary online around the world, is that of an equally violent reactionary backlash that — unlike Islamic extremists — cloaks itself in the lofty rhetoric of democracy and liberty. #KillAllMuslims trended on Twitter as people clamored to spread and defend Charlie Hebdo’s many inarguably racist caricatures of Muslims, as well as its often puerile humor — in one case depicting the schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram as welfare queens (see below) — while braying for the death, deportation, and bombing of anyone perceived to be Muslim; as we go to press, mosques in France have been attacked, likely in retaliation. All this screaming beneath a banner of “Free Speech.”

Charlie Hebdo cover saying: "The sex slaves of Boko Haram are angry. 'Don't touch our child benefits!'"

“The sex slaves of Boko Haram are angry. ‘Don’t touch our child benefits!'” This is what ‘punching down’ looks like.

The stakes here are unaccountably high; unlike in the shameful carnival of chest-beating that attended The Interview, lives were actually lost. But what both cases have in common is an impoverished idea of free speech that is actually anathema to a democratic society, makes idols of art that should be up for discussion, and threatens to make a mockery of the very ideals people claim to be defending now.

Simply put, by making untouchable martyrs out of the slain Charlie Hebdo writers and artists, and belittling the longstanding concerns many have had about the newspaper’s history of racism, we compound the tragedy and do further violence to free expression. Terrorism’s chilling effect requires the complicity of a public that uses its collective power to do what no number of bullets or bombs ever could: in this case, the reaction of many to the shootings will further restrict free speech, coarsen debate, and leave ethnic minorities — especially Muslims — in a compromised position whence they can’t speak freely, under threat of violence or oppression.

It starts with the well-meaning “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) slogan that many lent their names to in a show of support and sympathy for the newspaper, its remaining staff, and those who grieve.

I support the sentiment, the empathy, the compassion that the slogan represents at its best (even if many are using it as a cover to spread Islamophobia as a misguided form of protest against Islamic extremism). But the simple fact is, I am not Charlie. I couldn’t be. Rather, I’m the sort of person who’d only ever get to be an ugly, rude caricature in their pages — a trans woman, a Latina, Puerto Rican but in the same community of Latinos scapegoated for various and sundry evils in the US, much as Muslims are in France. I’d never be the one wielding the pen, merely the lewd, pornographic subject and nothing more. I’d be fit for only the consumption of a privileged community, their joke, an unwilling jester. No, je ne suis pas Charlie.

Holding these ideas in tension — the recognition of the unnecessary prejudice of many Charlie offerings, and respecting those who were lost — is part of the challenge many of us face going forward.

I do not say that to disrespect the dead, but to add to the necessary proliferation of speech that must follow on from such a tragedy. Indeed, in cases like these there is a tragic irony to the invocation of liberty as a bloodied flag to drape one’s self in: we defend free speech in the abstract but loudly shout it down in the specific, precisely because it may challenge the powerful, or at least afflict a comfortable orthodoxy. It becomes its own form of religious extremism; every non-Muslim Westerner who ever rolled their eyes at Islamic extremists going on about their “martyrs” should take stock of just what it is they’re invoking when they call the victims of Wednesday’s shooting by that name.

In addition to this, there is a deep immaturity in the shouting down of critique here. To write, draw, create, or opine is to enter a congress of discourse. It is a conversation, often an acrimonious one, but it is what the life of creative work consists of. Whatever one’s feelings on the Hebdo cartoons and editorial line, the staff not only had a right to publish it, but the society and culture in which they intervened had (and retains) a right to reply. To do otherwise, to freeze these slain writers and cartoonists in amber upon a pedestal is to actually disrespect them and their work, to pull it from the stream of discourse that is the life essence of creative work.

It also makes these murders into perversely unassailable positive reviews — as if the slaughter proves the veracity of the comics’ content or their moral rectitude beyond all doubt. As if all debate should die with the victims. More perverse still to challenge “political correctness” by holding Charlie Hebdo forever above criticism whilst standing on a platform built over its staff’s freshly dug graves. Free speech and inquiry this ain’t.

There is no sin in debating an artistic creation, and I use the term “sin” advisedly here. When I spoke on this issue on Twitter yesterday one man accused me of justifying the murders, falsely claiming that I’d argued that the slain writers and cartoonists “had it coming.” This sort of bad faith was compounded by the same individual spreading Islamophobic propaganda; free speech for him, but not for anyone who treats Charlie Hebdo as anything less than pristine (something I suspect their irreverent staff would have found quite laughable). And certainly no free speech for Muslims who are loudly expected to do nothing but “condemn” this atrocity, and then make no other meaningful contribution to this discussion.

To question this narrow reading of free speech is, indeed, to find one’s self with no right to speak whatsoever, ironically. But you do no honor to those who made their lives creating and criticizing if you then make them “sacred” and untouchable.

Image of writing utensils with text in French: "To arms, comrades!"

“To arms, comrades!” For those who often bear the brunt of propagandistic hate-mongering in political cartoons this can seem threatening in a way its authors may not have intended.

The old saw about pens and swords comes to mind, as does my regrettable high school yearbook quote: “My keyboard is my sword.” Words are weapons, and as a Spanish cartoon made clear yesterday (see above), it’s an idea that many in the press seize on with great fervor.

But we seem to acknowledge this while also disclaiming responsibility, as if the words themselves are at once weapons and harmless, deadly and yet also mere toys. Free speech, however, is not a toy. It is a responsibility, a compact, which democracy presupposes we are mature enough to use justly. We are called on as citizens not to use our rights for bacchanals of self-indulgence and emotional expectoration, but to do the work of maintaining society.

What does it mean when we see words as weapons that we have no responsibility to use ethically?

The worst thing we could do in the wake of this massacre is to wrap ourselves in knots defending free speech in the abstract while finishing the work of terrorists by torching what is left of it.

10 Jan 17:17

USA Road Trip: Shreveport To Tyler, Texas

Fergus Noodle

She eats a salad full of croutons covered in cheese.

"I think I got too excited when I saw a fruit salad today" I turn to Belinda. We're over three quarters of the way through our American road trip across the South with three days left on the road and I've developed a crazy appetite for fruit salad and garden salad. It's not helped by the food that we've been eating. I've been trying to temper it with the three bite rule and regular gym workouts.
06 Jan 14:00

Herculean Dimorphism

by Philip N. Cohen PhD

I know, I know, Hercules is a demi-god. But he’s also all man. In Disney’s (1997) version, Hades says to Megara, “I need someone who can — handle him as a man.” And handle him she does:


And since they involve him in such matters of the human flesh (and heart), that means their measurements are fair game for the Disney dimorphism series. If Disney is going to eroticize the relationship and sell it to innocent children, then we should ask what they’re selling.

As usual, they’re selling extreme sex dimorphism. I did some simple measurements from one pretty straight shot in the movie, and compared it to this awesome set of measurements taken of about 4,000 U.S. Army men and women in the late 1980s. Since Hercules is obviously extremely strong and this woman seems to be on the petite side, I compared their measurements to those of the biggest man versus the smallest woman on each dimension in the entire Army sample. The numbers shown are the man/woman ratios: Hercules/Meg versus the Army maximum/minimum.

As you can see, this cartoon Hercules is more extremely big compared to his cartoon love interest than even the widest man-woman comparison you can find in the Army sample, by a lot. (Notice his relaxed hands – he’s not flexing that bicep.)

To show how unrealistic this is, we can compare it to images of the actual Hercules. Here’s one from about 1620 (“Hercules slaying the Children of Megara,” by Allessandro Turchi):


That Hercules is appallingly scrawny compared with Disney’s. Here’s another weakling version, from the 3rd or 4th century:


Now here is one from the 2014 Paramount movie, in which he is conveniently paired with the human female, Ergenia:


That bicep ratio is only 1.5-to-1. And that’s not normal.

Seriously, though, isn’t it interesting that both the Disney and the Paramount versions show more extreme dimorphism than the ancient representations? Go ahead, tell me he’s a demigod, that it’s a cartoon, that it’s not supposed to be realistic. I have heard all that before, and responded with counterexamples. But that doesn’t explain why the modern versions of this myth should show more sex dimorphism than the old-school ones. That’s progress of a certain kind.

I’ve written so far about Frozen and BraveTangled, and Gnomeo and Juliet, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. It all goes back to the critique, which I first discussed here and Lisa Wade described here, of the idea that male and female humans aren’t just different, they’re opposites. This contributes to the idea that Mark Regnerus defends as the “vision of complementarity” — the insistence that children need a male and female parent — which drives opposition to same-sex marriage. If men and women are too similar, then we wouldn’t need them to be paired up in order to have complete families or sexual relationships.

In the more mundane aspects of relationships — attraction and mate selection — this thinking helps set up the ideal in which women should be smaller than men, the result of which is pairing couples by man-taller-woman-shorter much more than would occur by chance (I reported on this here, but you also could have read about it from 538’s Mona Chalabi 19 months later). The prevalence of such pairs increases the odds that any given couple we (or our children) observe or interact with will include a man who is taller and stronger than his partner. This is also behind some notions that men and women should work in different — and unequal — occupations. And so on.

So I’m not letting this go.

Philip N. Cohen is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change and writes the blog Family Inequality, where this post originally appeared. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

(View original at

05 Jan 14:00

A Korean Hallyu Threatens American Cultural Dominance

by Sangyoub Park PhD and Lisa Wade PhD

To many Americans, globalization may mean Americanization but, in China, globalization is Koreanization. This is the impact of Hallyu (the Korean word for “Korean wave”), which began in 1997. Hallyu began with Korean television dramas and today extends throughout Chinese life: k-drama, k-pop, movies, fashion, food, and beauty.  It is argued to be the only example of a cultural power “that threatens the dominance of American culture.”

Its influence is impressive. For example, when a star on a Korean soap opera ordered chicken and beer for dinner — Korea’s chi-mek (or chi-meak) – and claimed it as her favorite food, Chinese audiences went crazy for the combination. Korean beer exports rose by over 200%:

Even the standard of beauty in China has been altered due to Hallyu. During this year’s National Day holiday (10/1-10/7), about 166,000 Chinese visited Korea. They flocked to top shopping districts to purchase a wide range of Korean products like cosmetics, each spending an average of $2,500.  Some of these Chinese tourists visited the Gangnam district (Apgujeng-dong), the capital of plastic surgery in Korea. They want to look like k-drama stars. They want to have Korean actresses’ nose or eyes.

The obsession with Korea has caused Chinese leaders a great deal of angst. It was a major issue at the country’s National People’s Congress where, according to the Washington Post, one committee spent a whole morning pondering why China’s soap operas weren’t as good as those made by Korea. “It is more than just a Korean soap opera. It hurts our culture dignity,” one member of the committee said.

Their concern isn’t trivial; it’s about soft power. This is the kind of power states can exert simply by being popular and well-liked. This enables a country to inflluence transnational politics without force or coercion.

Indeed, the Korean government nurtured Hallyu. The President pushed to develop and export films, pop music, and video games. As The Economist reports:

Tax incentives and government funding for start-ups pepped up the video-game industry. It now accounts for 12 times the national revenue of Korean pop (K-pop). But music too has benefited from state help. In 2005 the government launched a $1 billion investment fund to support the pop industry. Record labels recruit teens who undergo years of grueling [sic] training before their public unveiling.

It’s working. According to the Korea Times, China has made a trade agreement with Korea allowing it an unprecedented degree of access to the Chinese people and its companies, an impressive win for soft power.

Sangyoub Park, PhD is a professor of sociology at Washburn University, where he teaches Social Demography, Generations in the U.S. and Sociology of East Asia. His research interests include social capital, demographic trends, and post-Generation Y.  Lisa Wade, PhD 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.

Cross-posted at Pacific Standard.

(View original at

05 Jan 22:17

I quit Tumblr a while back because I found out that an off-hand critique of mine on Twitter about an...

Fergus Noodle

This would probably breach privacy laws here

I quit Tumblr a while back because I found out that an off-hand critique of mine on Twitter about an advertising policy change here had been noticed by Tumblr employees and someone there had revealed to other employees that I had interviewed there for a job (years ago) and not gotten an offer as a way of invalidating my opinion.

Those employees are probably gone now ($$$) but regardless I’m back because I care a lot less about what some HR-violating weirdos think about me and my competency in what I choose to do for a day job

Now bring me some GIFs.

30 Nov 17:23

Dîner En Blanc, Sydney 2014

Fergus Noodle

This seems pretty awful

Diner en Blanc is in its second year run in Sydney. Originally started in Paris by François Pasquier in 1988 it has now popularised the pop up picnic flash mob concept. The idea at each Diner en Blanc is that everyone must dress in white from head to toe, dine on elegant picnic food on a white table and chairs dressed with a white tablecloth. The key to Diner En Blanc is that they must be at a spectacular setting. Oh and the location? That's a secret until the very last minute. Last year's inaugural event was held at Bondi Beach. It was a location that would be hard to top. It saw 3,000 white clad guests frolic and picnic on the sands of the iconic Sydney beach. This year's event would make the task even harder for organisers with an additional 1,000 making the total 4,000.
26 Dec 17:17

A Weekend in Mudgee - Part 1

Fergus Noodle

Mudgee is pretty cool

The region of Mudgee is just under four hour's drive from Sydney and offers tranquility in comparison to Sydney's hectic buzz. There are also plenty of eating and drinking opportunities as well as luxurious places to stay.
03 Jan 09:09


by mugumogu
Fergus Noodle

Angus is very good at cleaning kitchen floors.

Maru&Hana love year-end general house cleaning.

Maru:[Wow, this is awfully dirty with oil.]


Hana:[Many things are washed. I am afraid of water. But I want to see it.]

Maru:[Oh, here is dirty with oil, too. I clean it.]

Hey Maru, don't lick the bottle of the oil!