Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


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On gender-neutral language

Despite being a relatively small issue, this one’s important to me. Hopefully I’ll explain why and what you can do to address it too.

An (imperfect) example that fellow nerds will be very familiar with is:

To boldly go where no-one has gone before

You’ll recognise that as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation opening credits. In a previous iteration, it went thus:

To boldly go where no man has gone before

Split infinitive pedantry aside (you’re wrong, anyway), unfortunately this change was less about including women and more about including non-human species, but, hey. Take what you can get.

There are far more examples, though, and since whenever we discuss this some men will tend to get very angry, let’s look at it in a bit more detail.

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Whataboutery

The same people
Who say “Stop whining, women have it worse elsewhere”
Are the same people
Who say “HOW DARE YOU
Call me
privileged?
I have struggled.”

Not like millions have.
We are privileged
We can improve
These are not mutually exclusive things.

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#MeToo, Sex Ed, 50 Shades, Abuse & Consent

#MeToo has led to a lot of questions about what healthy interactions look like between people where at least one of the parties wants something sexy to happen. Unfortunately, a very widespread lack of understanding (and in many cases coupled with disregard for the safety or feelings of others) means that a huge number of people have been subject to painful experiences.

Sometimes men’s fears about ‘being labelled a harasser or rapist’ are absurd and absolutely should be met with derision (also, try living in fear of actually being assaulted) – if you can’t understand the difference between flirting and harassing, please get yourself some help. This is your problem to fix. Also watch this video!

But there is also a deeper problem in that we get a lot of bad information and there are vacuums that are filled with nonsense when it comes to sex and relationships, while we grow up. I recall chatting with friends around the time that the original 50 Shades film was announced (wtf?! we exclaimed – then last year brought us the second) and our discussions of abuse, relationships and sex education in schools; how bad it all is.

50Shades is Abuse

I don’t know who wrote this; please add in the comments if you do and I can amend!

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Gun violence & mental illness

Note: this post discusses violence with weapons and death by suicide.

The US has an absurd rate of gun deaths – by accident, deliberate homicide or suicide (again, deliberate or accidental):

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“[we could] expect a country’s rate of gun violence deaths to be based solely on its socioeconomic status. By that measure, the U.S. should only be seeing .79 deaths per 100,000 people — almost five times less than its actual rate of 3.85 deaths per 100,000.”

Whenever a high-profile shooting occurs (and they’re so common, every week if not every day, that we have different categories like where did the shooting happen, who perpetrated it and why, how many victims were there; one, several or tens/a mass, and was there some kind of statement being made) people are very quick to blame something other than the access to weapons: mental illness. 

But I wish people would stop doing this… Continue reading


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Animated Science

One of the best aspects of the the science communication-type roles I’ve had can be the variety.

Depending on where you are and how established the team is (the team ‘me’ was the best!); one day writing articles, the next editing photos/doing some graphic design, web editing, interviews, filming prep, answering questions – or something new.

I’ve been lucky to work on some digital animations with a London-based company, Phospho and will share them here – please note that I don’t own them, however (details in the credits).

I worked with Phospho to write scripts, refine storyboards, and voice these videos – with help from other cancer experts. Happy to answer questions below!
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Incels and taking online misogyny seriously

I am not happy to write this. Not a bit. There is absolutely no joy in “I told you so” when “These people are deadly” is again reality.

It’s sickening that having mentioned one murderer so recently, they been invoked in the killing of another 10 innocent people. Another 10 families inverted as misogynistic hate groups congregate online.

I do think it is our responsibility to pay attention to these elements of hate because ignoring them has never made them go away.

This is a resource for learning about “incels” and associated hate groups of the manosphere – the broiling mess of anti-women communities on the internet. I think it’s important to learn about this, so please take some time if you can.

[Content notes for sexual violence]


A great way is to follow David on Twitter and/or get email updates from We Hunted The Mammoth – a truly heroic group, started by him, that summarises what these people are up to so we don’t have to get close to it.

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The scourge of the “gentleman”

2334277334_9439f3419c_zHow I wish we could stop suggesting men should be “gentlemen”.

Wait, wouldn’t it be great if we all taught boys gentlemanly ways, and we returned to a time of walking canes and hats (admittedly cool things)?

The problem is with imposing what you want to do (or think you should do) on women, rather than listening to what they want or what makes them comfortable; with taking their discomfort, however they express it, as a personal insult instead of a reason/request to behave differently.

Because the dance of the gentleman and the lady is outdated, sexist, and ignores the fact that we’re all individual people with different personalities and backgrounds and needs.

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