Monday, 27 January 2014

Monday Muster

Happy Australia-Day-long-weekend-Monday, cats and kittens.  Hope you're not too sunburned and/or hungover.

Want to waste some hours on something ridiculous yet rather clever? Get ye hence to Behind the Gifs, a place on Reddit that's exactly what it sounds like - people coming up with funny yet logical(ish) back-stories for some of the odd gifs that float around the internet. Here's one of my favourites.

Or maybe you'd rather make a bag out of the seams from old jeans.  You can do that, too.

If you've ever had an argument or debate on the internet, you'll know there's just no convincing some people.  You could produce the most compelling argument in the world, with science signed off by Einstein and narrated by Stephen Fry, and they still wouldn't buy it.  But, Luna Lindsey argues, that doesn't mean it's a hopeless case - because it's not just about the two of you, going head to head, but the bystanders, readers and lurkers as well.

"Now and then a lurker will timidly post and reveal that their minds have been changed. But most keep this fact to themselves. More often, the change is slow. These lurkers continue to follow similar arguments, until eventually, they are swayed by whichever side has collectively made the best case. I myself have drastically changed my mind on deeply held beliefs in this way, both by debating and merely watching debates. I've also seen it happen to other people. But it's rarely instant."

Lindsey's post also pokes at lots of big questions about persuasion and activism.  It just happens to touch on some of the reasons I'm personally less involved in online activism and autism circles than I used to be, too.

Emma's an autistic four-year old in country Queensland, who faces a two hour drive to Rockhampton every time she needs speech or occupational therapy.  Her mother Claire wants that to change, and is working with the local council, health care providers and the state government to make that happen.  You can hear her story here.  (WARNING: autoplay audio)

Your job might suck, but at least you get paid, right?  Not so much, if you're employed by an Australian Disability Enterprise, where some workers earn the princely sum of $1.79 an hour.  Stella Young writes that the system used to work out those wages has already been deemed discriminatory by the Federal Court, but because the court case related to two specific people, others are still being paid that way.

The comments section makes for a harsh dose of reality too, with stories from people who've worked for ADEs and their friends and supporters.

Could you commute around Sydney in a wheelchair? Here's how Pauline David describes it:

"The services are terrible: whether it’s being put in the wrong section of the train, not being able to get a ramp, or being described as “a wheelchair” - not a person - there’s so much that needs to be fixed.  And the plan that the Minister says reflects how "passionate" she is means it could take until 2032 to fix it.

"My work as well as my social life requires me to travel a lot, all over Sydney metro, and despite the huge costs I often have to opt for taxis because it’s the only way I know I can get to my destination on time and safely. I rely HEAVILY on public transport. The government says they want to encourage us to work, but they’re making it almost impossible."

Pauline's started a petition challenging Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian to spend a day trying to navigate Sydney's public transport in a wheelchair.  There are 16,412 signatures at time of writing, and you can add yours here.

Here's a kick in the pants to end on.  Over on Quora, someone asked "what did you do today that scared you?"

Here's Ashutosh Goyal's answer:

"Nothing. I did nothing today. I just wasted so many hours again. It scares me a lot."

Does that scare you too?