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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Ethnic identity and the law

A long time ago, I was having a debate with some Jewish friends as to when a person could be entitled to call themselves a Jew. One friend claimed that the important factor was self-identification as a Jew. The other claimed that the important factor was recognition of one’s status as a Jew by other […]

She that gazes at her being gazed on by him – Guest post by Adrien

[SL: This is the second of Adrien's occasional posts on matters artistic; his first -- on Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi -- is available here, with some background. I should also point out that Adrien has been moving bloggy house of late, and that his new home is here. Oh yes: why should you read his stuff? […]

On concern trolling

A fair few times in the last month, both Legal Eagle and I have been accused of ‘concern trolling’. LE has copped it more than me, but since my post on ‘local food’, I’ve been written off as a ‘libertarian concern troll’. I’d always had a vague notion that it concerned hiding one’s real political […]

Defamation by algorithm

In a previous post, I’ve mentioned the annoying algorithmic habits of Facebook (suggesting that you reconnect with dead friends or putting up ads asking, “Do you want to get pregnant?”…um no, not right now!) Google also uses algorithms which suggest searches related to the one you have just undertaken. A French man has successfully sued […]

What odds a Trifecta?

THE AFL stands to gain upward of $19 million from yesterday’s grand final draw, and while the bruised bodies of the St Kilda and Collingwood combatants will suffer from having to back up, the result is a resounding win for the industry broadly. Television broadcaster Channel Seven was momentarily hopeful that next Saturday’s grand final […]

‘Who is in charge of bread supply in London?’

Sometime before 1989, a Soviet official asked economist Paul Seabright who was in charge of London’s bread supply. Seabright gave him an answer that is comical but also true: ‘nobody’. The bread we eat turns up on our tables thanks to an incredible team effort (bakers, machinists, electricity suppliers, distributors etc etc). And even more […]

Saturday chit-chat

In odd blogging news, yesterday was the most popular day on the blog this week, which suggests there are more fiction readers out there than I thought, it being a Friday and all (usually people piss off by about 3pm on a Friday afternoon, and our stats nosedive). If you’re a fiction fan, the background […]

‘The Past is a Foreign Country’

After the kerfuffle over my first novel, I swore I would never write historical fiction ever again. I went to considerable trouble to catch the racist, sexist, ignorant attitudes and milieu of my characters only to be accused of making excuses for them. This was proof to me that people are not capable of bearing […]

Buffalo Boys

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has been awarded the Silver Buffalo, the highest Boy Scout honour in the US, for his services to youth. The accolade is for Mr Gates’ work both at Microsoft and for his humanitarian work through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr Gates was a member of the scouts […]

Dance Your PhD

Via Dave Bath, I have been alerted to this rather awesome concept in Science: The dreaded question. “So, what’s your Ph.D. research about?” You could bore them with an explanation. Or you could dance. That’s the idea behind “Dance Your Ph.D.” Over the past 3 years, scientists from around the world have teamed up to […]