Why donate to ANLF’s Wall of Hands?

Please donate to my Australian Numeracy and Literacy Foundation’s wall here.

I know it’s hard to donate money when you already have a stretched budget, I also know that there are many good charities out there deserving of your money. But, here’s why you should support ANLF’s Wall of Hands literacy appeal:

Literacy is so incredibly important; I cannot emphasise enough how important it is.*

To fully participate in broader society literacy is a basic requirement.** As an illiterate person, even if you could read a little, it would probably be a stretch to read formal documents. When you think about it, there are a lot of reasons you need to be able to read such documents, for example if you want to to take out a bank account, get insurance, apply to the government for anything, if you receive letters in the mail: the list is really endless. Not to mention school: doing well at school absolutely requires literacy. If you are struggling with literacy, then you will likely fall behind which makes it hard to catch up. Literacy needs to be addressed from a young age.

Apart from the boring every day requirements of being an adult, if you were illiterate you would have trouble using a computer and taking advantage of the great things on the internet. You would also miss out on the joy of reading  books. As someone who absolutely loves reading, I find this very thought horrible. Not only is reading a source of great pleasure, but it’s also strengthened my intellect, expanded my vocabulary, improved my general knowledge and developed my empathy.

Being illiterate is hard, as I’ve witnessed with some of my maternal aunties and uncles. It means relying on other people to read letters, do tax returns, and handle any official matters. Friends, family (especially my mother), and neighbours have had to help them with all of this. While you can certainly get by without literacy, it certainly makes life harder.

Sadly, it’s mostly indigenous children who are missing out. The literacy gap is just one of the many disparities between our mob and wider (and let’s face it, white) Australia. If we don’t address literacy, then it will contribute to entrenched poverty and inequality. Mind you, simply education isn’t enough – there are plenty of educated Aboriginal Australians who still face hardship and unemployment. But if you aren’t literate, then it is much worse.

It’s 2014 – we should not have children in our country and our communities who are cannot read. It is absolutely unacceptable. Help ensure that we don’t have children who grow up illiterate by donating to ANLF and other literacy organisations, such as the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

So please, give generously if you are able.

*The ANLF also seek to improve numeracy, which is important too, but I am personally concerned with literacy.

**I did have the thought that you could potentially utilise resources intended for those with vision impairments … but probably easier just to be literate.

Shameless Plus About Something I’m Doing Is A Shameless Plug

Please support women’s mental health and donate to my friend Roxie for Liptember: http://www.liptember.com.au/roxie-barratt




So I decided to give this Liptember thing a crack.

Aspects of this campaign go against a couple of things I stand for, but rest assured, I’ve rationalised it remarkably well. I usually avoid female-centric charities like a damn plague unless there’s a male equivalent that gets equal the amount of attention. Because dudes have issues too, yo. It’s why I don’t purchase any products with a pink ribbon (although, there are other reasons for that…). But, given that Movember is coming up, it seemed reasonable – in my head – to do this.

I said a little bit about it on my bio for it, and to be honest I’m not quite sure if I want to elaborate or keep this brief, but I’ll see where this takes me.

Mental illness has been something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. I mean, I’m sure…

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#592: Am I sabotaging my academic career by dating a guy with no degree; or, how is Academia like Reality TV?

Though she was answering an unrelated questions, the Captain’s answer really sums up why I’m going to start my PhD in Australia, instead of trying to go overseas for the Prestige and Academic Reasons.

Captain Awkward

The Bachelor group shot “One of you lucky ladies is going to get tenure!”

Hi Captain (& friends),

I have been dating an awesome guy for a little over a year now. It’s not really my style to gush over a romantic partner, but this is possibly the happiest and most comfortable I’ve ever been with someone. However, we have one big difference: I’m a graduate student getting my PhD in a science field, and he never completed his bachelor’s and is currently working in the service industry. He’s taking online classes and collaborating on a startup, but doesn’t plan to finish his degree.

This doesn’t bother me, or adversely affect the relationship. He is extremely intelligent and genuinely interested in my research work, and I like hearing wild stories from the club he works at. He challenges my ideas and experiments in ways that are interesting and helpful, since they’re not coming from…

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Let’s Not Start Blaming Books for Dangerous Behaviors

A good reminder that correlation does not imply causation.
Mind you I do believe that some of the behaviours displayed by Mr. Grey do constitute abuse. All of the sex is consensual and non-abusive, but he is definitely emotionally abusive and excessively controlling.


Recently, Salon reported on a study in the Journal of Women’s Health that found young adult women (ages 18-24) who had read Fifty Shades of Grey to be “more likely than non-readers to exhibit signs of eating disorders and to have relationships with verbally abusive partners.” They are also “at increased risk of engaging in binge drinking and having multiple sex partners.” Multiple sex partners! Young adult women? Well, gee, I never!

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Nordic Kingship

A few months ago I had been reading Paul Beekman Taylor’s Sharing Story: Medieval Norse-English Literary Relationships and in particular his chapter titled ‘Nordic Sacral Kingship in Beowulf’ made me begin to think about how Icelanders would have viewed the idea of sacral kingship. (Yes it has taken me a long time to create this post.)

My understanding is that the idea of sacral kingship was fairly widespread and common in the Middle Ages, and I take it that this idea was that in the words of Beekman Taylor ‘That is to say that the king’s own body is not only a body politic, but a treasure and a fertile force, and when that force fails its function, kingship fails. If the crops fail, the king has failed his office and must be removed.’* This idea makes sense for the Nordic people who were ruled by a king, such as the Norwegians or Danish, but what would the Icelanders have thought about sacral kingship? And also how is our understanding of the Norse perspective on sacral kingship skewed by the fact that most surviving documents for that period come from Iceland. For a long period of time Icelanders had no king, and in fact prided themselves on this. So the question is how does did this impact on their idea of the function of sacral kingship? By whom or what did Icelandic people think the functions of the king were fulfilled; if the crops failed or there was unrest, who was responsible for these things? And how did they order their world?

Icelandic literature is full of examples of Icelanders sailing abroad and matching wits with kings to be proved their equal and are heaped with honours, which indicates that they did not think of themselves of being less worthy than kings and perhaps indicates they didn’t feel the lack of a king. Maybe because they didn’t have a king they didn’t need to justify or explain the kings function through the idea of sacral kingship. I will definitely need to investigate at some point what the Icelandic solution was to the questions that other socities answered with sacral kingship.

*Paul Beekman Taylor, Sharing Story: Medieval Norse-English Literary Relationships (New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1998), p. 54.