As I get older, things that may have previously seemed complex or sophisticated become remarkably clear and simple. In the last two days;

  1. The burlesque stripper hired to perform at a tech industry awards night in Adelaide this week, prompting walk outs and complaints from women attendees. The stripper claimed her show was ‘burlesque’ – a kind of ironic performance piece where she engages with the tropes of female objectification and sexiness in a humorous way. Thing is, a performance is necessarily about its audience. And in this case, the audience sees a stripper. She can tell herself whatever story she likes about motivations, but her work is received as soft porn.
  2. While explaining the measurement of degrees of freedom and F-tests, I realised it’s simplest to think of a t-score (for instance) as something that measures the variability of the existing data points (and distance from a mean) but also estimates all the possible locations of the data points. Really this is degrees of freedom I suppose but it helps me to think about it differently.
  3. New Zealanders get on the radio and bullshit like there’s no tomorrow. ABC Radio National Breakfast interviewed the head of a sports shooting group in Christchurch. The host asked why there were so many guns in NZ, more than one for every three people. The answer? “NZ is an overwhelmingly rural and agricultural society”. 86% of kiwis live in cities or other urban areas. New Zealand’s population has been majority urban since the establishment of ‘urban’ (about the 1920s). This is national-myth making.


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