Lies, Damned Lies, and Sloppy Data Journalism

Flicking through The Age as I chewed on my lunchtime sandwich yesterday, this article, about car thefts in Victoria, caught my eye: It’s more interesting for what it doesn’t say than for what it does. It quickly skips right over what to me would be the most interesting part of the story: While total thefts hit a 10-year low of 9624 in the 2012-13 financial year, the number of cars fewer than five years old…

Continue reading

9 Things That Annoy Me About My iPhone

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of my iPhone and iPad. As anyone who knows me will tell you, one or other of these devices is rarely far from my hands. Who could have imagined even ten years ago that we’d soon be carrying round massively-powerful, pocket-sized, portable computers with access to all the world’s information. But in the spirit of first world problems that doesn’t mean I think they’re perfect. For…

Continue reading

I’m Not A Tech Head

So in the end this most predictable of federal elections played out just about the way everyone said it would. I know I live in a bubble of latte-sipping inner city hipsters, and this is a big old country with lots of odd people in it, but at times the election seemed to be taking place in a parallel universe. There was a bit at the start where they just talked about boat people over…

Continue reading

Civic Duty

I just scraped in. Tomorrow I become an Australian citizen and — thanks to the special provisions that allow new citizens to provisionally enrol to vote — on Saturday I’ll get to exercise my civic duty in the 2013 Australian Federal Election. I’m taking this seriously, even if I might just be in it for the sausages. I’ve studied the advice from Dennis the Election Koala, I’ve read the only real guide to the election…

Continue reading

Schrödinger’s Medicines

So there I was flipping through the paper yesterday when I noticed something a little, um, odd about the massive full page ad on page 6 of The Sunday Age: You can’t quite see it from that distance, so lets look a little closer… Yeah. That’s odd. All the labels on those little bottles of Swisse Snake Oil are all blurry. A printing error maybe? Surely not… I assumed that this would be something to…

Continue reading

Oi, Oi, Oi

So this morning I popped into the city to sit the Australian Citizenship Test. It turns out there are some, um, interesting sections of the test material. To prepare for the test, they give you this book to read — Our Common Bond — and can ask you questions on anything featured in the “testable section”. While the non testable section does at least acknowledge some of the more questionable aspects of Australia’s recent history…

Continue reading

Matt n’ Sally, Annotated

For our wedding we asked our good friend Jim, who sadly wasn’t able to make it over from the UK, if he might happen to have something we could use as a reading. And he wrote us this rather wonderful poem. For the benefit of anyone who might not have got all the references (and for everyone who wouldn’t have seen it written down to appreciate its full double acrostic glory), I present Matt n’ Sally,…

Continue reading

Chichen Itza

After two languid days in Valladolid, it is time to move on again. We rise early and eat our breakfast of huevos rancheros under the shade of the trees in the little garden out the back of the shop. Then we hit the speed bump filled road to Chichen Itza, hoping to arrive early enough to beat the crowds of tour groups that descend on the site in the late morning. There are a handful…

Continue reading

A Quite Exclusive Perfumery In An Average Size Mexican Town

In the morning we head back to the food stalls for a quick breakfast salbute and hit the road, driving first along the long grey ugly strip of hotels that make up the zona hotelera. We stop briefly at a shopping mall called Liverpool (slogan: es parte de ma vida, which well I guess it sort of is…) and buy indifferent coffee at Starbucks. It is time to get out. We drive the cuota —…

Continue reading

Cancun

It is only when we arrive in Valladolid that it feels like the holiday proper has begun. It is a beautiful, sleepy little place, all colonial architecture, tiny streets and little squares, and couldn’t be more different from the grey concrete jungle of Cancun. It had never been our intention to stay in Cancun, but it’s really the only realistic entry point to this part of Mexico, and with our flight arriving at 5pm, we…

Continue reading