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Posts categorised ‘Articles’

Melbourne's Property Development Crisis

Like many people, I think, I have an instinctive contempt for property developers.

It’s not that I object to new apartment buildings, per se. There do seem to be a lot of people in Melbourne who think that three million was the perfect population size for our city, and since as far as they’re concerned we were “full” at that point, we should continue to have a housing …

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AstraZeneca, blood clots and Australia

Australia has followed the lead of a few European countries in curtailing the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines, due to the extremely low, but still existent, risk of dangerous blood clots. Last night the government announced that it would now be “recommended” for under-50s to get a different vaccine instead, of which Australia had only ordered Pfizer, and only enough to partially cover …

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Why I Still Find Spanish Imperatives Hard

I started learning Spanish over 11 years ago and I’m not too bad at it now, but I have to admit but one of the aspects I still find hella difficult is the imperatives – the “do this, don’t do that” form.

In English, imperatives are easy: you just use the bare infinitive (e.g. be, go, do), regardless of whether you’re talking to your best friend or your grouchy boss. …

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The Evolution of Canadian, Australian and NZ Englishes

On Quora, I once answered a question about why Australian and NZ English sound more like “British English” (really, the questioner meant the accents of southeast England) than Canadian English does. At the time I answered, a lot of the other answers were along the lines of “Canada is sooooo diverse and Australia isn’t so that’s why”, even though in reality the …

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Period Panties

If you, like me, are cursed with a monthly cycle, you might well have heard of period panties. The principle behind them is pretty simple – they’re undies, with the gusset being made up of multiple layers of material to wick fluid away from the surface and deep into an absorbent inner layer. You rinse them out, then chuck them into the washing machine, air dry them and have them available …

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Why aren't words pronounced the way they're spelt?

Some time ago on Q&A website Quora, I answered a question about why English words aren’t pronounced the way they’re spelt. The original question made particular reference to the name Greenwich, which as you may know is pronounced in modern times as /ɡɹɛnɪtʃ/ (“grenitch”, if you’re not familiar with IPA). But if the first part is “green” and …

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Why I'm Anxious to Get My Covid Vaccine

Here in Australia we’re very behind the target our own government set for vaccinating the whole population, so I guess it’s a good thing that we’ve virtually eliminated the virus here in the meantime. (Occasional leaks from hotel quarantine notwithstanding.)

I’m keen to get the vaccine as soon as I can, because I have a pre-existing condition that I think would make …

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The Online Firehose

FYI: This post is a rewritten and expanded version of this post that I published on Dreamwidth two years ago.

I’ve long been a pretty avid user of Twitter. I first made an account towards the end of 2007, but it was 2010–2011 that was really “peak Twitter” for me. That was when I had lots of friends on the platform, and we could use Twitter basically like a big group chat. I …

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photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.