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I love cooking. Cooking, for me, is one part improvisation, one part nurturing, and a giant dollop of getting to kick everyone else out of the kitchen so I can play with sharp things. Baking, though? Baking is an arcane art, a real-life alchemy with bizarre rules that need to be followed to the letter lest your cake become biscuits. I view its practitioners with a kind of suspicious awe- if they can master this, then what else can they do*? Fortunately, over at Crumbs for Little Birds, The Super Alice has given the world a quick guide to pain-free home baking.

This next link and this here paragraph are going to rate a wee TW for talk of terminal illnesses and assisted dying. In The Good Short Life, Dudley Clendinen talks about his joy in his life and his decision not to ‘stick around for the back half of Lou’, as he calls Lou Gehrig’s disease. While the piece as a whole is wonderful, loving and immensely life-affirming, one thing that struck me as incredibly sad is the fact that if he doesn’t want to see his disease to the end, then he needs to, in this words, ‘act while my hands still work’. To me, one of the most profound arguments for assisted dying is that it allows people to stick around that little bit longer if they choose. Not having to worry about being able to carry it out oneself might give a person an extra few weeks or months of good, happy life. And don’t people deserve that?

This next link gets a TW as well, this time for talk of child abuse. My wonderful adopted sister Amanda Harper responds to the Cloyne report into clerical child sex abuse. Amanda is an abuse survivor from the Cloyne diocese. Please do read what she has to say, if that’s a thing that’s do-able for you.

Via Skepchick, two linklets: A quick FAQ on the whole ElevatorGate business from Rebecca Watson. And with the day that’s in it, an essential article on why Harry Potter should really all be about Hermione Granger.

And with that, off I go to pack. Not just for the Very Long Walk. I’m also moving out of this house this week. AARGGHHHHH.

*The fact that the Statistician is also an excellent baker only confirms this. And you’ll never believe what she can do with a small square piece of paper.

All you need is linkspam

All is full of linkspam

Johann Hari says that peace in Ireland depends on ending educational segregation. I couldn’t agree more.

PZ Myers takes some time to remind us why his day job involves teaching. Dear Emma is an (unsent) letter to a child being coached my creationists to undermine science. Ever wanted to know how to explain radiometric dating to a nine-year-old? With a side-order of the wonder of scientific inquiry? Without talking down or patronising? Now you know how.

Michael Barron compares the smear campaign against David Norris, and similar attempts to discredit BeLonG To.

With the recent palaver surrounding ElevatorGate, a very-frickin-useful piece on what privilege means: On the difference between good dogs and dogs that need a newspaper smack. Also Nahida at the Fatal Feminist has responded to my response to Dawkins, from a Muslim feminist perspective. Check it out!

And finally, Rachel Rabbit White talks to sex workers about questioning anti-trafficking organisations.

For your entertainment while you’re reading all of those, check out this video. In honour of the last Shuttle launch, and all the (fictional) women in space. I don’t know about you, but I’ve watched it about six times already and I can’t get sick of it. I love how the ways these women are depicted changes throughout the video- how much more we have become in our imaginations.


All is full of linkspam

Everyone loves linkspams, right? Right?

Some awesome/interesting things from the internets recently:

What with it being Pride week here, let’s start with some queer stuff! And what better than a rather depressing post about legal homophobia? Una Mullally – “How can a teacher tell a pupil it’s okay to be gay when our education system discriminates against gay teachers?

More optimistically, Put This On The Map are an awesome bunch of queer kids and allies looking to go a little beyond It Gets Better, and make things better now.

Since we’re on the subject, here’s an awesome post about misgendering, assumed heterosexuality and passing ‘privilege’. The Only People with Straight Privilege are Straight People

Over on Feministe, Juliet writes about Love in a Time of Calling Out. This is kinda beautiful, about privilege and hurt and the people who we love and who love us most, about the often incredibly difficult balances between asserting our own needs and being kind to those we love, about the oh-so-personal intersections within ourselves and in our lives.

The marvellous Greta Christina tackles the gendered assumptions and pressure put on men in our society, in Wealthy, Handsome, Strong, and with Endless Hard-Ons: The Impossible Ideals Men Are Expected to Meet.

Renegade Evolution has been dealing with waaaay to many antipornradfems who just won’t shut-up-and-listen, and has a Manifesto, as it were.

After all this gender and sexuality, here’s some things about death. Startled Octupus’s post on End of Life Decisions discusses Death with Dignity and quality of life, in the context of her own life and family. TW for euthanasia and terminal illnesses.

And while we’re on the subject, Grief Beyond Belief is a support network set up for non-religious people dealing with grief. I’m so glad this support network has been set up. I remember the first (and, so far, only) time that I lost someone who I loved after becoming an atheist. It seemed like so many details of the grief that I was experiencing were different to that experienced by the religious people who shared my loss. Not that they were lesser or greater, mind. Just different. Instead of struggling with the idea of a just god allowing people to die, I struggled with the reality that we live in a universe where we will all end. Having people who get that, without having to explain it, and without worrying that people will get defensive about their own beliefs? It’s so damn important.

After all that, I’ll leave you with something more fun. The other day, I managed to tear myself away from playing Mass Effect 2 for long enough to read an article on… Mass Effect 2. Shepard Ain’t White: Playing with race and gender in Mass Effect. As if I needed yet another reason to keep playing the thing.


Everyone loves linkspams, right? Right?