The last paragraph was a good, brief summary of how I see Feminism.
... feminists who echo Flavia Dzodan’s battle cry "My feminism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit." Feminism is not just built to cater for rich, white, cis women any more - it’s there for everyone. It’s there to ensure that everybody gets the same opportunities in society, and to do that it has to fight for everybody - even you, Men’s Rights Activists. Feminists hate the patriarchy, not other people.
I really get annoyed when I read this in a news article, or quote or show of some sort. There's rarely reasonable discussion about it, and almost never pressure against it. Identity fraud is usually the only push-back, and that's usually responded to with "oh, it's not likely to happen to you".
"if somebody's not going out to cause trouble they shouldn't have any problems having their ID scanned" - ID scanner company director Joel Sheehan quoted in ID scans raise privacy fears on The Age
The guy obviously has a vested interest. Some good discussion on why this is never a reasonable point of view. E.g. "Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance." - Bruce Schneier
I thought I might branch out a bit on this blog. I've been hesitant to write about anything other than tech talk and related issues. I'm still a little worried, but I figure if I want to write about something, I should write about it. So here we go...
I've been reading and learning a lot about gender and sexuality over the last few years. It's still a bit of a new world, and I'm certainly not qualified to talk about it outside of my own experiences. I do want to share some things I read, so this is the start.
Emotional toughness can also cause men pain; if you can’t open up emotionally to another person, it makes it more difficult to have friends. The social support gap is large and growing—men tend to report having fewer close friends and being less connected to their communities than women. For far too many men, romantic relationships are the only acceptable venue for them to express their feelings (and even there, the idea that men hate emotional intimacy limits them). In fact, men tend to report more distress due to a strained romantic relationship, possibly because women are far more likely to have a group of friends to help with the social support. The nervously joking societal construct of "bromance" arises from the notion that having a close male friend is something weird enough that it needs its own name.
This hits close to home. I really wish I was more comfortable discussing relationships with my male friends. It does seem like a topic about as far away from acceptable as a topic can be. I don't know why, it just feels that way. I really do think that I, and perhaps many other men I know, are so used to not talking about relationships. This is almost always a bad thing, since it often ends with emotions being shut in, no way to discuss feelings... Overcoming my unease at writing about this is hard enough, let alone the thought of my male friends reading this. But it's important, and here's my first step.
This piece on the 'typical' Australian wage is very helpful in understanding some common misconceptions, and helped me to break down some of the areas I've been confused. I was particularly enlightened by the part about "equivalised household disposable income". I think looking at the amount necessary for a person to live (this should be similar to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), shouldn't it?) is a good way to go about it.
We need a way to compare the living standards of people across different household types, to get a measure of how much income a person would need to maintain the living standard of the typical (median) Australian. This is known as equivalised household disposable income. [...] A single person, living alone, would need around $36 000 in disposable income to sustain the typical Australian’s standard of living.
Well, that's a little more than I expected, but that's probably because it's across a range of types of work, cities, and lifestyles. The final point that the families in the newspaper stories earn much more than the average needed to live in Australia, seems to mix two ideas. $36 000 might be the average needed to live, but the median income (based on ATO stats) is just under $45 000. This doesn't change the fact that income per year of $100 000 and above is certainly not typical.
I recently read this article about Lord of the Files: How GitHub Tamed Free Software (And More). There's some interesting trivia about how GitHub was formed and has developed, particularly regarding the use of socialising and social coding to differentiate it from existing repositories like Sourceforge. I particularly liked this comment about the possible wider and future impacts of GitHub:
A tool like GitHub could also make it easier for constituents to track and even voice their opinions on changes to complex legal code. "When you really think about it, a bill is a branch of the law," [Ryan Blair] says. "I’m just in love with the idea of a constituent being able to send their state senator a pull request."
It's interesting that GitHub is moving closer to crowd sourcing - where volunteers fix other users' code, just because they can. It may or may not benefit the volunteer personally, but the collective improvement of easily-accessible code should improve things for everyone.
Does any one else get annoyed when an install, update, software prompt or any consumer tech of any sort - such as ATMs - says something like "Installing your updates"? Or "Installing your software"? Or even "Contacting your bank"? I'm not sure I can express it very well, but for some reason this annoys me.
By emeidi on flickr
Perhaps it's the knowledge that in fact, no, it is not "my" software, or "my" update, or "my" bank. It is only licensed to me. Perhaps this is "personalisation" gone too far. What's wrong with "Installing updates", "Installing software" or "Contacting bank"? I'm sure there's some research on this around somewhere, but unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find it. Perhaps it needs special keywords.
I'm probably being a bit over-sensitive about this. It's just a word, after all. However, it does frame - in quite a significant way - how the user feels about the software. I suppose it is positioning it as being controlled or operated by the user. I'd argue that is never the case. Most, if not all software, does things that not even the programmers understand, in part due to how big the software is. No one can understand and keep detailed knowledge of the entire application in their head.
Whatever it is, I'd much prefer the messages just tell me what I need to know, rather than attempting to connect with me. I use the software to connect with people... I'm not exactly aiming to connect with the software.