linkspam goes out to the one i love


No Award has very mixed feelings about Anzac Day and how it’s gone from a reminder of a time we totally fucked it to a Nationalistic orgy of war mongering and celebration. But maybe we can all agree that the commercialisation of the death of many Australians in a war is not a great thing? Woolworths debacle: Minister for Veterans Affairs attacks Anzac ad campaign; Poppies for Profit. And some other articles: Anzac Day a jarring experience for migrant Australians at Eureka Street; Fresh Failure at Overland. Also Liz wrote for Spook! Lest we forget to cough up some coin: How the ANZAC spirit became a cash cow.

Good times (not good times): Detention centre guards totally racist and into anti-Halal and Reclaim Australia shenanigans. Also you know it’s a bad day when Steph learns a new racist slur.

Aussie pulp fiction of the 40s and 50s. AMAZING.

Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them. At WaPo.

Friend of No Award Fei is involved in a comic about science! Science Adventures with Rabbit and Cat. Check it out!

Steph really hopes you read her review of reviews of Howard’s Menzies book. She didn’t want to read the whole book, so she reviewed reviews instead! Also with a drinking game, and Liz’s love of Holt.

Jess Ainscough, Belle Gibson and the New Purity Movement: How Nutritionism and Pseudoscience Overtook the Fundamentalist Focus on Bodily Integrity and Acceptable Femininity  It’s possible that Rebecca is drawing a bit of a long bow, comparing the Cult of Wellness to the Cult of Sexual Purity … you know what?  Liz changed her mind as she typed that.  Carry on.

On a related note, Liz’s coworker told her on Monday that drinking chilled water will give her cancer.  Snopes is here to reassure you that isn’t even slightly true.

(Said coworker also believes that a thick coating of tea tannins on unwashed porcelain is better for your health than vaccines, so, y’know.)

Important London fatberg update: 10 tonne fatberg removed from Chelsea sewer.

# Lighten Up, on skin colour and privilege in comics/illustration. A great comic that Steph is in love with.

A survey of non-US fans re: the Hugo Awards.

Very UK-centric, but the cold truth about our thirst for bottled water. As Australians, there are very few places where you should be choosing bottled water over tap water. A quick google gives us some Australian city or drinking fountain maps: Melbourne, Wangaratta, Perth.  And a 5 minute cartoon on nurdles and plastic waste.

red the blood of angry linkspams

No Award is a bit all over the place at the moment; Steph’s computer died a death by drowning in tea, and Liz is right this very moment moving abodes. So have some things to read.

California is about to run out of water. Actual water thefts are occurring. The dystopia is now. (Trick statement: you already knew that) The post contains some great infographics and stats and things for your water dystopia needs.

This post at The Hoopla about Margie Abbott makes some interesting points, but Steph struggled to post this because it’s about Margie Abbott, and it made her feel like some sort of traitor to be pointing to something that is, even tangentially, favourable about Tony Abbott. And then she realised, that’s the point. As the article points out, she’s more than the headline about losing weight. She’s more than Tony Abbott’s wife. To reduce her from who she is down to what she is does her a disservice, even if she’s married to an absolute turd.

Great article by Bec Shaw at KYD: TERF War: Transphobia in the LGBTIQ community.

How technology led a hospital to give a patient 28 times his dosage. FASCINATING.

My boss brought a machete to a staff meeting at Captain Awkward.

The hidden tricks of powerful persuasion.

It’s getting cold! If you can, please help fund Winter Survival packs for homeless Melbilbies.

Did we mention Steph and Liz are in a book? Steph and Liz both have stories in Cranky Ladies of History, available now from Fablecroft. Read it, it’s great.

fatberg update

No Award, we are so pleased to be able to bring you a fatberg update. Not actually an Australian fatberg update! Sadly. But a global fatberg update.

fatberg potential
fatberg potential

 Wet Wipes Box Says Flush. New York’s Sewer System Says Don’t. It was with GREAT DELIGHT that No Award read this article in the NYT yesterday morning. Just because it’s specific to the New York sewer system, don’t disregard it, though! Quartz has some extra deets about the impact of wet wipes. Steph, for example, didn’t realise that the culprits aren’t parents flushing baby wipes, but adults wiping their own arses! (No Award recommends Who Gives A Crap tp, A Lolstralian company producing 100% post-consumer waste paper TP)

Quokkas, don’t put your wet wipes into sewers and drains and water ways. “Flushable” doesn’t mean “decomposes” or “biodegradable” or anything like that. It just literally means that it won’t clog up sewers.

Local councils can help! (Apparently, by using biodiesel. I guess)

Previously on No Award, The Fatberg of Melbourne and things you shouldn’t put down the loo.

Today on No Award, DON’T PUT THESE LIQUIDS IN YOUR DRAIN, PUT THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE. Note that they are ALL OF THEM considered ‘household hazardous wastes’ in Australia.

  • Paint (including water soluble!)
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Coolants
  • Cleaning products
  • Any medications at all, I know they’re not always liquids but DON’T DO IT
  • Glues
  • Pool chlorine, I can’t believe we’re having this conversation, I don’t care if it usually goes in water and then we swim in it

HOW TO GET RID OF THEM: plug them into Recycling Near You. Your local council may also have ways to get rid of them (The Shops at Ellenbrook, for example, has a ‘Green Room’ provided by the City of Swan where you can drop stuff off, though not actually HHW stuff).

A FURTHER NOTE ON MEDICATIONS: you can also take them to a lot of pharmacists and they get rid of them responsibly through the RUM project.

AN UPDATE ON PAINT: when you’re washing your brushes out, remove as much of the paint via rags as you can, then wash the residual off into a jar or container and then tip that out into the compost. It’s about as much as you can do. SOZ.

No Award’s top invasive species of australia

Ranked according to a complex system based on cuteness, novelty value and overall destructiveness, plus chaos theory, ie, the order in which we thought of them.

    • Cats
      Now, No Award is very fond of cats — well, Liz loves her cat a lot, even though he has put three people in hospital so far.  But ecologically speaking, they’re bad news.  ABC Fact Check says it’s impossible to verify the number of native species killed by cats, but it’s a lot.
      (Note: that link includes a picture of the contents of a feral cat’s stomach, and said feral cat post-stomach-removal.  Guys, no.)
      Be a responsible cat owner: get your moggy neutered and keep it inside.
      (Liz wishes to point out that Harvey has never killed a single bird, on account of how he’s actually pretty scared of them.  He has, however, caught two mice.  We hope they were just common housemice.)
    • North Pacific seastar
      By far the prettiest invasive species around.  Yes, it has spread itself throughout the oceans of the world, consuming resources needed by native species, but come on.  Aesthetically, it’s totally worth it, right?

      The Regina George of invasive starfish.
      The Regina George of invasive starfish.

      Also, if you cut off one its limbs, it will regenerate.  Into a white British dude, probably.

Actual depiction of a sea star with regenerated limb.
Actual depiction of a sea star with regenerated limb.

ETA: You can participate in some getting-rid of sea star activities from St Kilda Pier once a month with Earthcare St Kilda.

  • Asparagus fern
    Fact!  If you “accidentally” plant one, it will smother everything you love! it is officially known as a “dense infestation”, and that’s a call for respect.Its main hobbies are smothering native plants, performing as a foliage world-wide in cut flower bunches, and being illegal in many areas of Australia.
  • Rabbits
    Like white people, they invaded Australia on the First Fleet in 1788. They were released into the wild by a white dude in Victoria, for hunting, because they could do “little harm.” AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    nobody likes rabbits
    nobody likes rabbits

    Despite being introduced deliberately, they are illegal to own as pets in Queensland.  Liz once watched with interest as a rabbit at the zoo burrowed underneath its fence and hippety-hopped to freedom.

    Stephanie’s favourite rabbit is Mixie, from The Ferals.

  • Foxes
    Why were foxes even introduced?  *google*  Oh.  Hunting.  Of course.  Thanks a bunch, England.
    Anyway, foxes are very pretty, but also jerks.  Between the wild foxes and the feral cats and the feral dogs, the poor old dingoes really have to work to get ahold of babies!
    (Too soon?)
  • Camels
    Camels were introduced as desert transport, but then the car was invented, and they were turned loose.  These days, they roam around, being jerks to native wildlife and providing transportation to extremely tedious memoirists whose iconic books are studied by bored first year Auslit students.  Sorry, camels, you deserve better.

    mate do you need a cold tinnie?
    mate do you need a cold tinnie?
  • Gold fish
    So it turns out that when you get bored and release your fishies into the wild, they establish feral populations. F.E.R.A.L. Because they are fucking hardcore and can survive all sorts of environments.
  • Bucky Barnes and friend.
    Bucky Barnes and friend.

    “But goldfish are so pretty!”

    Yeeeeeeeaaaah.  You’re gonna love it when they fin-nip native fish and kill them. It’s gonna be awesome.  They also love digging and uprooting plants, which alters the nutrients and kills locals, and they get more food. Yes. Best.

    You know that picture book about the kid who feeds his goldfish too much, and it ends up becoming ENORMOUS and (I think) destroying a house?

  • Asian mussel
    It’s attractive, delicious, and invasive as hell.
  • Brumbies
    Australian rite of passage, possibly limited to girls:
    1.  Read The Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell, about a beautiful wild horse named Thowra
    2.  Discover that brumbies — small wild horses — are real.
    3.  Discover that, due to massive overpopulation and the damage they do to the environment, they are culled by shooting them from helicopters.
    But seriously, No Award is in favour of a catch-and-neuter program for wild horses, thank you.

    mate, wait up
    mate, wait up
  • Dogs
    See foxes.  Only, you know, they were introduced as Person’s Best Friend, not prey for wealthy hunters.
  • Myna birds
    Looks a lot like the Noisy Miner bird, and was named by white fellas who couldn’t tell the difference between an Indian bird and an Australian bird.  Like white people, it enjoys dispossessing locals and pooping on pets.
  • Rock pigeons
    All birds are terrible.  But rock pigeons compound their basic birdness by having acidic faeces.  No.  Just no.
  • Some sparrows
    We can’t remember exactly why some species of sparrow are terrible, aside from the obvious fact that they are birds.  (Stephanie notes that this opinion does not reflect No Award’s official pro-bird stance.)
    But here’s an interesting post about the English sparrow in the US — turns out Australia’s not the only country to have gone to war against a bird.  Although we may still be the only country to have comprehensively lost that war.
    (That link seems to take the position that people who are opposed to invasive species taking over the country are … racist?  Prejudiced against invasive species?  Anyway, we’ll see how you feel when you wake up and your drinking water is full of giant goldfish and North Pacific seastars.)
  • Some white people
    For the record, it has been at least weeks since Liz wiped out a native species.

Bonus! Australia’s least attractive invasive species:

  • cane toads
  • european wasps
  • tony abbott

Real Jobs of No Award: Exploring Out on the Bay

A SERIES: Jobs of real people. We are starting with Steph, because she’s excited. 

Recently I did a (work)day trip down to Sorrento. Down at the Sorrento pier I got on a boat with 40 year sixes, and assorted teachers and parents. I put on a wet suit and then WENT INTO THE BAY.

isic2015 247


Firsts for Stephanie:

First snorkel

First putting on of a wetsuit

First wild seal sighting

First undersea under a pier adventure

Under a pier is like BEING IN SPACE. I get it, why all those space movies are filmed under the water for the imagery. It was incredible! The water under the pier was so deep there were SCUBA DIVERS metres under us! There was seaweed growing on the wood and fishies swimming in all directions. The seals were boisterous and pushed each other into the water when one was getting too stroppy. Turns out Australian Fur Seals laugh like they’re about to take over the world, which I dig. Also they smell. SMELL SO BAD.

isic2015 302

I got to see some dolphins playing in the distance, and the whole thing was so fun I’d like to do it again.


The point of going out into the Bay was mostly inspirational this time around. It’s part of a program to build a sense of place and stewardship around the Bay and surrounds. As we move further into the year, the year sixes learn about waterways and flow-on impacts, for example how the creeks that flow into the Bay are bigger causes of rubbish and litter on the beach than beach-goers, which is the popular assumption (it’s actually, for reference, usually people throwing things on the street which flow into storm water drains and local creeks which then flow into the Bay and then, when the tide is right, flow back up onto the beach). They learn about the creatures that live in and around the Bay (weedy sea dragons! sharkies! octopussies!). They get mentored in teaching other kids about catchments and water and litter, and learn leadership skills.

isic2015 341


You can’t, it’s mine. But I do have a Master of Science (Sustainability) and some years of experience volunteering on the ground with hippie greenie organisations.

isic2015 064

#ride the night


In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I rode in Melbourne’s inaugural Ride the Night. It was a midnight to dawn ride through Melbourne, raising money for YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service), based in St Kilda.

Midnight to dawn is a bit of a misnomer, I suppose. With 2800 riders, we were let off in waves, and my posse of Beth, Danni and myself found ourselves in the last wave, heading out closer to 0100. We zoomed for a bit, only to be stuck in a queue at the lights as we came out of Birdwood Avenue and attempted to move from Domain Avenue and onto Albert Road. Despite having 2800 riders, we didn’t attempt critical mass, and so we waited to move 2800 riders through a normally operating set of traffic lights.

Anyway, aside from the rain, that we were suffering congestion and bottlenecks is really my biggest logistical issue. And I acknowledge that the rain was no-one’s fault! I had a very excellent ride, even in the rain, and it was the longest I’ve ever done in one go. I feel like I learnt things about myself as a rider in inclement weather, and it was awesome cycling areas I’m unfamiliar with. Thank you to Bicycle Network Victoria for putting it on.

On a personal level, I can’t read inspirational maps. The RTN map was such, illustrated with some animals for the zoo and the wheel for Southbank. But I struggle to read and remember them. For someone whose greatest skill is ‘ability to navigate streets I haven’t seen in a decade, since I was 8,’ that’s a big issue.

ride the night map of no sense for stephanies
ride the night map of no sense for stephanies

Certainly it explains how I ended up doing the Western Loop, heading towards the end, with no idea how it had happened. I was redirected onto La Trobe Street from Swanston as I headed for the Northern Loop. I thought, oh, damn this map, we must go up Elizabeth or Queen. But there were no people, and no signs to indicate a turn. And always, in the distance, I could see a flash of red, a bike light.

Long story short, I ended up riding by myself through the horror movie wasteland that is Port Melbourne at night, so of course I didn’t stop my bike to check gmaps, so the best I knew of it was when I arrived at rest stop G and they yelled ‘hooray you’re at the last rest stop before the end!’ And for me, personally, what would have solved this was a proper map, with street names and landmarks and stuff. You know. Like a proper map. It could have been a mud map, that would have been fine. I know it would have been big. Maybe this could have been solved by downloading the app but I’m running out of space on my phone.

My biggest actual complaint is the detritus. Before the event, Danni and Beth were very eager to get glow sticks, until I told them why I wouldn’t be using them:

  • Due to the chemicals inside them, though they’re made of plastic they’re single use and can’t be recycled.
  • The chemicals inside them are not very nice for the Bay.
  • We live on the Bay.
  • Litter. What if we lose them?

Then I picked up our rider packs, and there were half a dozen cheap glow sticks in each of them. I know they were cheap, because between the three of us we ended up with at least two glow sticks that failed to glow. I caved to puppy eyes at this point, because since we had been given them by RTN and BNV, I conceded we could use them. We secured them with cable ties.

There was no real fear of my being lost after I lost my crew, as the entire ride was littered with the detritus of our ride. Riding so quickly, and in the rain, meant no one was really given the chance for littering other things, but the glow sticks – oh, the glow sticks. I reached a point on my ride, when the rain was heavy and we were doing Beaconsfield Parade in St Kilda, when I seriously considered stopping riding RTN in order to simply start picking up glow sticks. I was so angry, and I still am. My daily commute includes Napier Street, which was part of the ride, and even though it was over halfway through the ride, this location, this morning on my ride I still spotted several lost, lonely glow sticks lying on the road.

REMINDER: There is nothing between storm water drains and the Bay. When something goes into those drains on the road, you know the ones, that’s it. They go straight into the Bay, no filtering or whatever. So many people assume there’s filters. There’s not.

I’m really disappointed that we were encouraged to use a thing that’s so environmentally unfriendly and is so easy to litter without even noticing.

However I did have a really great time and I look forward to future Ride the Nights. And thanks so much to my donors.

My recommendations for future Ride the Nights:

  1. Different start points or scheduled start times. Especially with the rain, waiting in a queue for 45 minutes before we started cycling, and then getting stuck in traffic at 0100, made the experience unpleasant before it could even begin.
  2. A proper map.
  3. Road blocks or traffic control as an extension of this management.
  4. No glow sticks. Use that money on reflective face paint, or another light, or something less damaging and encouraging of poor habits.
  5. Clearer signage.
  6. Delicious vegan breakfast options.

Danni has also written about Ride the Night.

gimme another linkspam, oh my baby

Important and relevant to the interests of No Award: at Spoonflower, an Australian cities design contest. There’s some racist poo in there, but mostly it’s hilarious fun.

The 7 Wonders of Reservoir.  (Liz is moving in a few months, and has given serious thought to the fact that she can afford a two-bedroom house in Reservoir.  Only the fact that she neither owns a car nor drives is keeping her in the inner suburbs.)

At the Guardian, on Boko Haram.

You can submit poetry at The Lifted Brow!

Steph enjoyed this profile of Wayne Denning at BRW – Denning got Australian Indigenous talent onto Sesame Street.

A teaser at Kill Your Darlings, about the absence of cricket in national literature.

This Stormtrooper was saved from a deadly snake bite by his Storm trooper armour. #straya

And multiple Australian men have been arrested for driving motorised eskies.  #heroes

The Medicare rebate slash we better not have: Latika Bourke at the Guardian; Sophie Scott at the ABC.

Official No Award stance: Do not sing the National Anthem on Invasion Day (known legally as Australia Day).  Can you even. This is beyond even the cultural cringe. (Steph had a moment when she first opened that article where she thought ‘NADC’ said ‘NAIDOC’ and she was like WHY WOULD NAIDOC SUPPORT THIS. Don’t worry. She was wrong.) And a thing at En Passant.

Australia’s ridiculously terrible Human Rights Commissioner thinks the Racial Discrimination Act is essentially censorship.

The horror of a pineapple of clowns descending upon Sydney.

Manus: Security guards attack Manus compounds and are total shits.

‘Indigenous Australian’ was one of the most read Wiki pages of 2014.

Language Tips for Cis Feminists Speaking on Trans Issues: Liz very much wishes she had read this before doing the Ancillary Justice post, and unreservedly apologises to anyone she offended.

NASA has released the world’s largest photograph, a high-definition panoramic view of the Andromeda Galaxy.  Warning: may trigger existentialist crisis.

Translating Shakespeare in China:

The other Chinese favorite, perhaps less expected, has been The Merchant of Venice, which debuted as a silent film in Shanghai in 1927. Called The Woman Lawyer, the film highlighted what has particularly interested Chinese audiences about the play, even up to the present: its proto-feminist heroine Portia, who dresses as a man and brilliantly defends Antonio in a gripping courtroom drama. That scene later became, and still remains, a staple of the Chinese middle school curriculum. The Western focus on Jewish-Christian relations means little to Chinese audiences compared with the way that Shakespeare dramatizes a classic battle of Confucian ethics, between li (profit motive) and yi (loyalty to friends).

(Liz would argue against the suggestion that China is unique in using Shakespeare to advance its ideology!  But it’s an interesting article nonetheless.)

The free market won’t stop climate change, but its failure is inspiring the people who will. A comic at by Sam Wallman at The Nib.

No Awarding Around:

Steph’s post from last week on Appropriation and Racism in Melbourne Restaurants has been linked eleven trillion times, so you should definitely read that. There will be a follow-up post eventually to tell you all the restaurants she has been told about following that.

Cranky Ladies of History, featuring fiction by Liz and Steph, is up on GoodReads!  It’s not available for pre-order yet, but keep an eye out.

ecologically responsible beach hang outs

On New Year’s Day (Gregorian Edition) I stood with my nephews in the waters at Rockingham Beach. Not Perth’s nicest beach, but lovely and clear, as all WA waters should be, and calm, as befits a not-even-2-year-old. J, aged 3 and 4 months, was admiring shells with his mum, and before E could finish the sentence that ended with ‘take some shells home’ I, ever the environmentalist, spoke up to ruin his idyllic West Australian childhood.

As good, ecologically conscious Australians, we can’t take shells from the beach. They’re homes, I said to J, and his mum helped divert his attention from collecting, and towards looking and talking and putting them back after we’d admired them.

Maybe you, too, are an ecologically conscious Australian, and you are out enjoying this summer (or suffering), and have been thinking about the impact you might be having on the beach? Auntie Steph the Ecological Sustainability Nerd is here to tell answer your questions! (J had lots)

cottesloe in the setting sun

Why can’t I take shells home? They’re so pretty!

I know, pumpkin. But shells serve many purposes. Shells serve as homes for lots of little sea creatures (including hermit crabs). Some birds use shells as components in their nest-building. Removing shells from the beach can make the beach wash away faster (that’s erosion to you grown ups). Algae hang out in shells sometimes, too! And even when they’re all broken up and jagged and hurting under your feet, they’re still useful – they’re eaten, or used to build homes in their broken form, and, yes, still help stop the beach from washing away!

Further reading for your responsible adult: in Conservation Mag; in the Smithsonian Mag.

Can I take seaweed out of the water or off the beach?

Afraid not, dumpling. I know seaweed in the water can be pretty (or scary), and on the beach can be smelly, but it serves a purpose too! In the water it’s for filtration, and can be an important part of decreasing carbon dioxide levels. Some people call seaweed the trees of the ocean! Don’t they look a bit like trees? It’s also used as homes and habitats by many sea creatures. Shark eggs hide in seaweed for protection, because they look like seaweed, and if you take a bunch of seaweed out of the water you might also be killing a baby shark. Even if there’s no baby shark egg in there, you might be damaging the home of lots of little fishes, or removing their food! You wouldn’t like it if someone took your sandwich, would you?

(We had PBJ sandwiches for morning tea, because their mother is a North American Heathen)

The seaweed washed up on the beach out of the water can be a bit smelly, and I know it seems like it’s not any use, but it’s a very natural part of the lifecycle of seaweed. When the tide comes up tonight it’ll just wash away again! And the bits that don’t wash back into the ocean become food for the bugs and animals that live on the dunes between the water and the land. If you’re at the beach and there’s lots of seaweed and it’s getting all a bit much, don’t worry because your local Council or Parks Authority scientific experts will come take it away. They know what they’re doing, and know when the seaweed becomes unsafe to be around.

Further reading for your responsible adult: on land seaweed; about kelp forests.

Can we take water balloons to fill with water and play?

Oh, lovely, no. Like balloons that you fill with your big breaths, water balloons are made of rubbers that don’t decompose or biodegrade. This means that if they end up in the water after you’ve played with them, they drift out to sea. Because they’re so bright, sea animals think they’re food and eat them, and that can harm them!

Further reading for your responsible adult: from the (former) Department of the Environment and Heritage.

Can I walk over that unmarked sand track?

Stick to the path! I know it’s lots of fun adventuring over the dunes and through the bushes, but walking over unmarked sand tracks can cause the sand to run away! (Again, erosion to you grown ups) Special types of plants, mostly grasses and native creeping ground cover, help trap the sand from the beach and assist the dunes in growing bigger, and keeping the sand and the land separate.

Always leave the beach the way you found it: shake off all that sand, take all your rubbish, leftover food, and anything you brought to the beach away with you. And maybe consider taking 3 for the sea.

Okay, great. Stay hydrated, stay safe, and don’t get sunburnt, Australia. And ask if you have any questions about ecologically responsible beach behaviour.

cottesloe beach