liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
A troupe of all but naked burlesque dancers is a novel way of protesting that feminism is good and violence against women is bad. Actually, when I saw them my first thought was, guys, it's 7 degrees and raining, you really need some more clothes. My second thought was, oh, it's supposed to be "sexy". Only subsequently did I realize that they are meant to be part of the feminist demo that the college is running today.

When I first saw posters advertising the event "Demonstration about violence against women", my response was a bit, meh. Even the most sexist of chauvinists is not going to be in favour of violence against women, and having a protest about it is not going to convince the few psychos who are pro-violence. Recently, the posters with more detailed info have gone up and apparently the full title is a "Day of feminist protest about men's violence against women and children". That really put me off, because lumping women together with children as vulnerable people that one has a duty to protect doesn't seem to me to be a particularly feminist way of regarding the issue.

The girls with nipple tassles and thongs dancing in the rain with more enthusiasm than skill haven't really changed my mind on this. Violence is bad, duh. Demonstrating to that effect seems singularly pointless, and dividing up violence according to the gender of the victims is possibly even counter-productive. In as far as feminism is about working against anti-women violence, I am pro-feminist (as any sensible person would be). But if feminism is about devoting one's resources to methods that are likely to be totally ineffective, then even if the cause is worthy, I can't be bothered.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Today, the sun came out. And so did a beaver! I came in to work this morning and everyone was at the window pointing and getting excited because this animal had decided to come and swim in the little ornamental pond on campus. No idea how it got there (the pond is not directly connected to any natural waterways), and it was pretty distressed, poor thing. It's quite big, I'd guess not much short of a metre long. And it was poking its little beaver head above the surface and then getting scared at all the hordes of people trying to photograph it, and diving back under the water.

Anyway, there was a big rescue operation involving several fire engines and some animal rescue specialists and pumping out all the water from the pond. One of the scientists pointed out that there are places in the world where they can't even provide enough food and medicine for all the children, but in Sweden, they can afford to send the fire brigade to rescue a trapped beaver. She has a point, but people weren't buying it because, ee, beaver!

Other than that, things are going well socially. I have discovered how the tea making facilities work, always important. And I have been invited to a party at the weekend, and generally feel like I'm settling.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
There were quite a few couples on the tour with us. OK, fair enough. But there were also two girls, an anglophone Canadian and a French Canadian, who I was 95% convinced were together. But they were doing the very careful not touching thing, and I felt so sad for them, surrounded by all these straight couples who were happily snuggling up together. And I really wanted to tell them, well, there's at least one person here who accepts you.

But I didn't know how to say it tactfully, without offending them if in fact they turned out not to be a couple. The fact that I was one of the people doing the blatantly het thing didn't make it easier. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the etiquette in such situations?

It's somewhat depressing that the situation should exist in the first place though. Even if I was wrong about these particular girls, it's a very likely occurence that a same sex couple, travelling with a group of strangers, would feel obliged to hide the fact that they were together.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
One of the cool things about being a scientist is that I get lots of parcels. Considering that one of my vices is ordering random things on eBay in order to have parcels arrive for me in the post, you can imagine how much I enjoy it when someone turns up with a big trolley stacked high with boxes of about a cubic foot in volume, and they're all for me.

These exciting parcels are made even more cool by being covered in scary-looking hazard labels and warnings, and attain the ultimate in cool when they are full of dry ice. Now, as anyone who has ever been exposed to an attempt to convince them that science is fun will know, dry ice is very funky stuff.

Oh dear, I seem to have accidentally dropped a chunk of dry ice into that beaker of dye that happened to be standing there...

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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