ISSUE 04, Vol 02 JULY 2016 EDITORIAL TEAM Jessica Brown - Editor in Chief Rebecca Marshallsay - Editor in Chief Erwan Guegan - General Content Editor Hayley Payne - General Content Editor Angel Nikijuluw - Visual Editor Ashleigh Watson - Features Editor PUBLISHER Cameron Harrison TALENTED CONTRIBUTORS Cover artwork Sam Dunn Editorial Erwan Guegan | Cameron Harrison Zakary Johnson | Rebecca Marshallsay Angel Nikijuluw | Christian Nimri Elleanor Oâ€™Connell | Hayley Payne Ashleigh Watson Creative Benjamin Brown | Vasili Dapergolas Mic Smith Photographic Dan Carson | Rachel Corbu-Miles Ella McMillan | Christian Nimri DESIGN
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work will be published. Email us at getamungstit@griffith. edu.au DISCLAIMER The opinions expressed in this publication may not reflect those of the Griffith University Gold Coast Student Guild. The information contained within this edition of Getamungstit was correct at the time of printing but could be subject to change. If any article, document and/ or publication is inaccessible and you require copies and/ or more information, contact the Student Guild where staff will ensure your requests and needs are met.
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Message from the President
Technology in 2016
Apple: Clever marketing or something more?
Status: On hiatus
Social media has changed the way we protest
Is technology re-wiring our brains?
The future on film
Product review - Tech: Must haves?
Snapped on campus
Fashion - Whatâ€™s in store for you?
Feature artist - Twelve Past Midnight
Get the hell outta here
Putting this edition of Getamungstit together I thought we may as well call this the Life edition. Technology permeates almost every part of our social experiences –and so many of our private ones as well. From instant messaging to politics live via Facebook, to personal trackers where we record our own heartbeats, technology is everywhere. We’re wrapped up in it. Literally. Debates around everyday tech use often enter the virtual versus reality conundrum. Does being on your phone at a party mean you’re less ‘there’? Why is Snapchat the new celebrity medium? What would our social lives be like if we couldn’t instantly connect with everyone? Could we even do university today without the internet? Uni is one area where the impact technology has had is unfathomable. And it’s going to keep changing. Whether you like it or not, the virtual classroom is here to stay. Online learning has already significantly changed the way we ‘do’ university, and in the past decade we’ve only really seen very basic text and voice based activities. Chances are you’ve already experienced these throughout your degree, whether you’re ready to graduate or are still fresh meat. Online lectures. Discussion boards. Instantly marked quizzes. Interactive activities. Virtual tutorials. And sure, the whole online learning shift might not be as cinematic as you’d imaged – but trust me, movie scenes of
huge lecture halls where you scribble notes by hand and try to keep up with your grey haired, tweed-wearing professor are better left to the silver screen. In this edition we’ve scratched beyond the shiny surface of our engagement with tech. Don’t miss our long look at how social media has influenced protesting over the past five years –we’ve looked into the flurry of hashtag activists that exploded around the Arab Spring, the Tunisian Revolution, and the Occupy movement. We also have an interview with a cyber attack researcher, and Hayley reflects on what it’s like to love an Apple addict. Angel gives us the lowdown on the best places to online shop, and Elleanor has tested some excellent tech resources for managing our mental health. We’ve also asked the important question: is technology re-wiring our brains? All the evidence suggests yes. And, as always, we’re full of creative content, film reviews, fashion, and some gorgeous places to get the hell outta here. Once you’re done, connect with us online! We’d love to hear from you. The Editorial Team
WE E LOAVIL M WHAT US K! TELL U THIN YO
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Hi friends, Welcome back to the existing GUGC legends, and welcome to all of the new students joining us this semester. You’re in for a real treat for the next 13 weeks and I hope to see you all at the Guild’s biggest Race Day event, on the first Saturday of August. Our event calendar is pretty packed this semester and the Student Guild Board and staff will be working hard to ensure you have the best experience you can. University can be a challenging time, balancing work, assignments, living out of home and making new friends. Your Student Guild has a wide range of support and advocacy services that will help you through any difficulties, as well as a growing number of cultural and sporting clubs to keep you engaged, fit and entertained. Head over to our website for more info, or pop into our offices in G07. The Student Guild is directed by a board of students who meet regularly throughout the semester to ensure your interests are met. We rely on your feedback and involvement to make sure your voice is heard, so please get in touch with any of the board members via email. Our elections are also held this semester, so keep your eyes peeled for information
about how to apply. I hope you find this lovely edition of the Getamungstit relaxing, thought provoking and perhaps challenging as you kick off Semester 2. It is somewhat ironic that I am writing this piece for the ‘Technology’ issue while located on a farm in rural NSW with no phone reception (Vodafone... what was I thinking?), no computer and no wifi! It has caused me to think about a few things that we might excessively rely on technology for (especially our phones) - telling the time; locating the nearest McDonalds in whatever city we might be; not knowing directions around our own suburb thanks to Google Maps; getting lost and taking massive detours thanks to Google Maps; and Facebook stalking your future girlfriend’s uncle’s nephew’s holiday backpacking around South East Asia. I hope you enjoy this edition and the semester, brought to you by GUGC Student Guild. Cheers, Cameron Harrison Student Guild President Griffith University Gold Coast
This is your chance to tell us what you love, what you want to see more of or suggest new ideas. Maybe there is an issue you think we should be covering or you want to weigh in on the best coffee debate... whatever you need to get off your chest, we are here to listen. We are open to constructive criticism too (just remember our writers have feelings). Title your email ‘Letters to the Ed’ and drop us a line at email@example.com. Make sure you include your name and student number (only first names will be published). *Getamungstit reserves the right not to publish based on content, quality or editorial direction.
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Contributor spotlight This edition we decided to have a detailed chat with our Features Editor, Ashleigh Watson. You might not see her name on the page that all that often because, although she is a very talented writer, Ashleigh spends a lot of her time sourcing material for our Being creative section and proofing articles for our other contributors. With a background in media studies and creative writing, Ashleigh has fantastic editorial skills and plays a key role in getting our content ready to print. This year Ashleigh has also put her pen to paper to craft a very witty editorial note on behalf of the team. Tell us about your PhD... My PhD is in sociology. I am exploring what fiction writing, as a method, can bring to social science. I’m primarily interested in public engagement and furthering our understanding of how narrative operates in the social world. So, to research narrative I’m writing one. My research project is part creative work and part scholarly thesis.
Why do you enjoy writing? Writing helps me think. I’m much clearer on the page than in person. When I’m struggling over something in my PhD, or life more generally, I find that writing it out helps me think through it and understand the problem or myself a little better. I like playing with rhythm in sentences and think that creative writing can open up so many aspects of life that are difficult to talk about in other ways.
What are the benefits of getting involved with Geta? Student magazines are a really great and important part of university culture. The publication lets you know all the good stuff that’s happening on campus, but beyond that it connects us together as a whole university cohort. Getting involved in Getamungstit while you’re a student is such a brilliant thing. Whether your degree is in journalism or not, it’s a great space to meet other people who you’d never come across otherwise. And you can write about whatever you want. There’s a great freedom in student publications. Do you care about something? About anything? Come and write for us!
Any motivational tips for would be writers? Writing is a craft. Just like cooking and running, it requires practice. To be a good writer you have to write. It’s simple, not easy. Make yourself do it. Set a timer and don’t check your phone for one hour of
Ashleigh Watson the day, or just one hour of the week. You’ll never get better if you don’t try. I’ve heard that the morning as soon as you wake up is the best time. For me it depends what I’m writing. Sometimes the morning is clear and sometimes the words come late at night. Most of the time they come when I’m sitting down in front of the computer – that’s the trick. Just sit there and stay there and do it. Reading really helps you improve too – read everything you can. There’s so much important literature in the world, both old and new stuff, and we actually have much more time in our daily lives than we think. Move your phone charger from beside your bed – leave it across the room overnight – and read a chapter or two before you fall asleep. You’ll be surprised how quickly you get through a whole novel.
Technophile or technophobe? A bit of both. Day to day, I’m online almost constantly. I like staying connected. It just makes research easier. I couldn’t do a PhD without the brilliant tech resources we have now. And it is good knowing what everyone is up to – even if we don’t talk with old friends every day, it’s nice to know what’s happening in their lives. But when I go away at all, for the weekend or on a longer holiday, and sometimes just when I get home from work at night, all my tech goes away. I don’t want anything to do with the internet. I don’t even like having to rely on Google maps. I need a break from it all sometimes.
Is technology creating a better world or a dystopian future? Better world. No doubt. I mean, there are some horrifically crazy things going on with drones in war zones and the loss of personal freedoms that can come with monitoring technologies, but overall I think advances in areas like agriculture, medicine, education and arts are overwhelmingly for the better.
What technological development would make your life easier? A driverless car, so I can sit in the backseat and read during my hour long commute. 7
Are you an Android or Apple person? Why?
Lewis, Bachelor of Business Apple, it’s all a lot more streamlined.
In this edition of Geta we got those cogs turning and examined your oohs and aahs about today’s technology! Christian Nimri
Jess, Bachelor of Public Health Apple, it’s just easier to use.
Paige, Bachelor HR Management Apple does the trick.
Has technology ever let you down?
Do you think robots will eventually take over the world?
Micka, Bachelor of Pharmacy Yep, my computer forcefully shutdown due to an update.
Thamsanqa, Bachelor of Public Health I believe they will try, but wonâ€™t succeed.
Mariana, Bachelor of Biomedical Science Yes, the year Limewire got deleted.
Holly, Bachelor of Public Health They already are.
Rachel, Bachelor of Nursing Yeah, my laptop died mid study a few hours before an exam.
Callum, Bachelor of Business and Commerce How do you know they already havenâ€™t? 9
What is your favourite weird or wonderful piece of technology?
Sinead, Bachelor of Primary Education Lumicase!
Andy, Bachelor of Biomedical Science 3D printers.
Article Vox pop Title
Leanne, Bachelor of Dentistry Loupes.
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TECHNOLOGY IN 2016 Erwan Guegan
The technological world is advancing at incredible speed. Here are some of the most amazing technological innovations emerging in 2016.
BRAIN CHIP IMPLANT ALLOWS PARALYSED MAN TO REGAIN CONTROL OF HIS HAND In May, Nature published a research letter detailing how a paralysed man has regained partial control of his right hand with a neural chip that allows him to transmit his thoughts directly to his hand muscles via a receiver.
THE FIRST DRONE RACE USING MIND CONTROL The University of Florida held the first mind controlled drone race using brainwaves with Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) in April.
SELF-DRIVING CAR DRIVES 1931 KM ACROSS CHINA With very little human intervention, the autonomous car drove from Chongqing to Beijing in just over six days without any incident.
MOBILE 3D PRINTING PEN PRINTS CARTILAGE DIRECTLY INTO PATIENT’S BODY Cartilage cannot regrow on its own and often requires intensive surgery to be physically replaced with pre-made implants. Using human stem cells, this pen allows surgeons to directly draw and sculpt cartilage implants directly into the patient’s affected area.
BENDABLE SMARTPHONES THAT CAN BE WORN AROUND YOUR WRIST With a screen made of graphene this smartphone can be bent and worn around the wrist. Graphene is currently too expensive to mass produce but the technology is there and bendy phones have been demonstrated at tech forums.
Technology in 2016
3D BIOPRINTER CAN PRINT HUMAN BODY PARTS FOR IMPLANTATION ON A LARGE SCALE The 3D printing revolution is transforming the medical world. This latest 3D printer can craft simple tissues such as cartilage and larger more complex living tissue structures such as muscles and even bones.
LIVING INSECT CONTROLLED REMOTELY Scientists can control the direction of an insect through a tiny electronic backpack attached to its back using organic beeswax. Scientists use sound to stimulate the insect. The device is detachable, requires no surgery and does not harm the insect.
NANOFIBER SENSORS REVEAL DISEASE BY ANALYSING PATIENT BREATH Made of metal oxide nanofiber this sensor analyses the presence of volatile organic compounds in the patient’s breath to reveal the presence of certain diseases. This technology is being adapted to smartphones and other current smart devices to allow real time diagnosis for everyone.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WRITES A NOVEL AND COMPETES FOR NATIONAL LITERARY AWARD ‘The Day A Computer Writes A Novel’ is a short novel written with the cooperation of human authors and a computer. Though words and sentences were selected as parameters for the Artificial Intelligence, the computer wrote the novel on its own. It passed the first round of selection for a Japanese literary award.
WEARABLE DEVICE MONITORS UV EXPOSURE This disposable, wearable electronic device uses photosensitive dyes to detect change in skin colour when exposed to UV rays. The compact device can be used with your smartphone app to analyse and report on your UV exposure. 13
CLEAN ENERGY AROUND THE WORLD Countries worldwide are switching their energy sources to clean energies. Costa Rica and Uruguay reported that 99 and 95 percent of their electricity, respectively, now comes from renewable energy. Nearly half of Denmark’s electricity now comes from wind turbines and the largest coal plant in North America is being replaced by a solar farm. India aims to have 100 gigawatts of renewable power by 2022. Your move Australia.
APPLE: CLEVER MARKETING OR SOMETHING MORE? Hayley Payne My boyfriend and I have a healthy rivalry between our preferences for Apple and Android products. He is the Apple user, I am the Android. It all started when he first bought a MacBook Pro for university. What I thought was the harmless purchasing of a new laptop was really the start of a whole new chapter of our lives.
at how the attendees would clap, scream and shout at literally the end of every sentence. It was as if the speakers had just cured cancer or ended world poverty. In reality, they were just showing you how you can now send people slightly larger emojis on iMessage whilst Siri made some joke about Windows.
Once you have bought one Apple product, they begin to multiply. It isn’t long before everything you own is Apple. First the laptop, followed closely by purchasing an iPhone, then an iPad, then Apple TV and of course an Apple Watch. We can’t forget the countless Apple accessories that come alongside these purchases. Each year I spend hours upon hours listening to him watching people unbox new Apple products on YouTube in the lead up to the next product release. And I know this isn’t just my boyfriend. Millions of Apple users are just like this, or even more dedicated to the brand than he is.
Something struck me while watching this. Firstly, let me say that I am not usually one for conspiracy theories (I hear you slowly backing away from the magazine right now), but Apple shows some cult-like characteristics. I decided to
We see it every year, thousands of people sleeping outside Apple stores for days on end. Why? Simply to be the first to buy the new iPhone. Apple is genius in its marketing tactics, ensuring this is a yearly occurrence. Just a few weeks ago I woke up to my partner watching the latest Apple keynote. Watching it, I was amazed
Apple is genius in its marketing tactics, ensuring this is a yearly occurrence. Just a few weeks ago I woke up to my partner watching the latest Apple keynote.
Apple: Clever marketing or something more?
Google ‘Apple cult’ and low and behold hundreds of results came back. Many of these articles were a little too tin-foil-hat for me, however some made valid points. We see some of the signs in our everyday lives. Walk into any lecture theatre, library or cafe and you will see the fluorescent glow of the Apple logos. If you are like me and own a non-Apple laptop, you would have experienced the strange feeling of being the only one in your group assignment or tutorial without one. This glorious glowing logo sits on Apple stores and buildings like a cross on a church, showing its followers the way. Apple is fantastic at making purchasers feel like they are a part of something, a real community, and ensuring they never leave. It starts from your first purchase. Enthusiastic employees greet you every two metres in the store as you make your way deeper inside. Once you have decided and made your purchase it is likely that you will experience one of the oddest phenomena of modern life: employees clap you as you exit. I witnessed this recently. A woman had just bought a new computer. She held it above her head with pride and glee as Apple employees lined the walkway to give her a standing ovation.
I am not saying that Apple is definitely a cult, but it certainly seems as though they employ similar techniques to attract and keep their followers.
This congratulatory culture in stores mimics the bursts of applause at the recent keynote. These people are so damn pleased with everything Apple do, and act as if the company can do no wrong. Nobody seems to care that a slightly different version of the same phone comes out every single year and it still hasn’t improved its battery life. They just buy it. Their products are still largely incompatible with nonApple products and as mentioned in our Green Edition are the only company that refused to adapt to the universal micro USB charger, meaning that people can only purchase Apple chargers.
I am not saying that Apple is definitely a cult, but it certainly seems as though they employ similar techniques to attract and keep their followers. Maybe it is a good thing that people are made to feel like they are a part of something important, even if it is to just keep their business. I promise that I don’t have anything against Apple users. You won’t find me hunting you down and ‘accidentally’ spilling my coffee across your keyboard in lectures. But I do find truly fascinating the relationship people have with their Apple products compared to people who use multiple brands. Of course not all Apple users are the same. Some of you are probably reading this thinking that you only bought your iPhone because it was a great phone, or your MacBook because it has the power needed to run certain programs. But I encourage you to take a minute to think about it. Apple may have more of a hold on you than you think. I would love to hear what you think about the cult of Apple. If you agree or disagree with me, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us why.
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STATUS: ON HIATUS Erwan Guegan Have you ever wondered how much time you spend every day checking social media? Probably more than you think. As an international student my friends and family are scattered around the globe. Even the friends I made in Australia when I arrived six years ago have returned to their countries. Social media is my main way to keep in touch with them and to know what is happening in their lives. But how about my life and the friends that are present with me at this moment? Am I missing out on what is happening around me by alway checking what is happening online?
I kept away from social media for a week to see what it would be like and it was great. It’s easy to keep away from social media when you are traveling or doing something that keeps you busy but it’s another story in your daily routine. I realised how addicted I was to Messenger, Snapchat and Instagram. So much that it became a reflex when I touched my phone or opened a browser to immediately open Messenger and check on the multiple chats I have going on there. It’s not that I really needed it but it became a habit. A bad one and habits die hard. Without social media I became bored at some points and didn’t know what to do. Don’t get me wrong, I am an outgoing and active person and I love doing things all the time. But what about when you
Status: Article OnTitle hiatus
aren’t doing anything? Like waiting for the bus or in the tram? I forced myself not to check on my various social media apps or even listen to music and try to be more ‘human’ and interact with my surroundings. Only, this made me realised how everyone is absorbed by their phones with everyone looking down at their screens. Even when chilling with my friends, there is always a moment when everyone starts checking on their phones. Those moments made me realised how we are all both present in the moment but also linked to other friends, conversations, interests only available online. We are there but not really. After two days offline I became so much more productive and
in touch with the people around me. You might not realise it but even if you check on social media only for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, you probably do it many times throughout the day and you can easily accumulate several hours of online time. Time that you could use differently, for something more productive and purposeful. The saying goes that time you enjoy wasting is not a waste of time. But in this case, I believe that we waste too much time on our phones and social media. It becomes a way to escape uncomfortable situations and avoid contact with the surrounding environment. It’s just too convenient to look down at your phone and stay in your comfort zone.
After a few days I was feeling better without social media and was finally taking the time to do things I
made the temptation to check stronger than ever. You just feel like you are missing out on everything. I managed to resist, knowing a quick check would lead to hours of catching up on all things social media.
It becomes a way to escape uncomfortable situations and avoid contact with the surrounding environment.
At the end of the week I felt so productive and that I had achieved many things. It reinforced to me that while social media is a great way to share and connect with friends and loved ones it really should be used with moderation, once or twice a day. I am very aware now that more than this it is just a shiny, distracting way of procrastinating that masquerades as social interaction.
had been delaying for too long. But I found myself wondering how my friends were doing and seeing the 20th Snapchat notification or the continuous vibration of Messenger
SOCIAL MEDIA HAS CHANGED THE WAY WE PROTEST Hayley Payne
Communities have been protesting for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. Reasons for protests range from social problems, political issues, to environmental concerns and beyond. At the heart of protesting is the idea of mobilising communities in support of important issues, with the aim of achieving change. Protests have changed significantly in the last 20 years due to the rise of social media. Through the internet, passionate protesters can engage entire like-minded communities quickly and easily. Social media has allowed people to gain support for their causes on a global scale, establishing international communities of action who are catalysts for change. Just over 10 years ago most small scale protests went unnoticed. Today social media has flourished into a platform for people to make their voices heard across the world. A prime example of where social media and civic protests have combined is The Arab Spring. The Arab Spring was a series of
democratic uprisings that spread quickly across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. The movement originated in Tunisia before rapidly taking hold in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Governments in these countries traditionally controlled mass media, ensuring that the information and ideas communicated to the public were controlled. During the Arab Spring social media was used to disseminate information across countries as well as providing information and advice for nonviolent protest tactics and even medical information, such as how to recover from tear gas. The Tunisian revolution in particular intensified after the self-immolation of Mohammad Bouazizi, a young vendor, was caught on camera and went viral. Following this, the hashtag #SidiBouzid started trending across multiple social media platforms. A previous instance of self-immolation occurred in Tunisia, however it was not filmed Social media has Article changed Title the way we protest
and shared online and thus didn’t have the same impact. A 2011 case study on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in the International Journal of Communications highlighted the role of social media in escalating Western interest in the revolutions. People witnessed these revolutions across the world in a way like never before. The intimate and immediate nature of social media connects people to crises. People were outraged at the treatment of protestors by authorities during the Arab Spring. Social media allowed the world to experience raw and unedited vision of the revolution’s reality, which resulted in mass support on a global scale. The revolutions were trending issues on social media, and become a hot topic for international media – further escalating support for the protests. Without a viral video to start it all, the Arab Spring would not have been seen on such a monumental scale, and may never have created such a mass chain reaction throughout the region.
In 2011 we also saw the rise of Occupy Wall Street. The purpose of the movement was to call the general US population to identify as the 99 per cent of the population against the disproportionate wealthy 1 per cent. The use of social media during the protest has been labelled as a major contributor to the eventâ€™s success in developing an anarchical structure and widespread support. The main objective use of social media was to organise and coordinate protests on a mass scale, connecting individuals in a way that would not be possible otherwise. Facebook groups such as Occupy Together were established during the movement as a means of communication and served as a platform for creating events. Similarly to the Arab Spring, Twitter was used to keep the public updated on the events of Occupy. Twitter also witnessed the rise of citizen journalists whose firsthand accounts and information were preferred by the public to
information from mainstream media. Tweets would provide information to both protestors and the general public about protest activities. Occupy was successful in creating a sense of community throughout a large group of people and across the US. This would not have been possible without the use of social media. Protestors also employed YouTube to upload videos of police brutality which was successful in creating public uproar and further built support for the movement. The use of social media in a variety of ways was an essential tool in the overall successes of the Occupy movement. There are countless other case studies where social media has been the driving force of political, social and environmental protests. According to a study by the Reuters Instituteâ€™s Digital News Report, 59 per cent of Australian respondents use their smartphones to access news. Forty-nine per cent say their online news comes from Facebook and Twitter. 21
Australians are becoming more and more connected to their community through social media, and protests are gaining levels of support and traction than was ever possible before. Social media has created a world where it is possible to alert people of a protest within seconds. Governments and businesses have people actively standing by monitoring social media to ensure that they can react to situations instantly. The impact of social media on the way we protest is game-changing. Not only can you reach an audience within minutes, you can connect with a community and support network that was never before possible, launching your protest into a whole new world. No matter your fight, you can make a visible stand. Using the magic of social media, you could start a revolution.
Is technology re-wiring our brains? Erwan Guegan When is the last time you memorised a phone number? When your internet required dial up and your home phone was connected to the wall? While the constant development and improvement of latest technologies have unquestionably made our life easier, is it also possible that this same technology is changing the way our brains work? The answer is yes. Have you ever heard the expression if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything? We are becoming so distracted, interrupted, and unfocused in our daily tasks that this saying may quickly become untrue. While writing this article I checked Facebook multiple times, talked to my friends, watched YouTube, read several articles on unrelated topics and posted on Instagram. Arenâ€™t you the same? We are perpetually creating and absorbing new information from different platforms and across a variety of devices. Yes, technology has made our lives easier. We instantly communicate with our friends, answer any question with Google, learn how to play guitar or even build a rocket in our backyard from YouTube. But can we really remember all this information? Are we actually learning? Author Carolyn Gregoire claims that technology indeed affects our memory. The internet has so much information that is easily accessible, we tend to not remember as
Is technology re-wiring our brains?
much. If we donâ€™t feel the need to remember information (thanks Google), our brains can decrease the amount of information and memory they hold. Even if our long term memory has an infinite capacity (it could potentially store the entire internet), our short term memory is fairly limited. For short term memories to be efficiently transferred to the long term memory, we need to create a context, feelings and senses associated to the moment that help us categorise and remember things. Constant interruptions mean our memories are flooded with an excess of inconsistent information coming from too many sources at the same time. And thus the new information establishes weaker links and roots in our long term memory. Modern technologies help us to be more productive and tempt us to do multiple things at the same time. However, scientists have proved many times over that our brains arenâ€™t really well equipped for multitasking (yes, even ladies).
We’re constantly losing the information that’s just come in -- we’re constantly replacing it, and there’s no place to hold what you’ve already gotten. It makes for a very superficial experience; you’ve only got whatever’s in your mind at the moment. We can do different things at the same time, but are not as efficient as if we were just focusing on one thing. Not paying attention creates messy memories. This is especially important for studying. Research has shown that checking our phones significantly reduces the amount of information we are trying to learn. How many screens do you own? Maybe two computer screens in front of you, a phone vibrating on the desk and some music or the TV playing in the background? Perhaps with a friend chatting to you via messenger on at least one device? Even if you feel you are in control of these multiple tasks together, your attention is divided and you are really just switching back and forth between them. Productivity expert and author of The Way We're Working Isn't Working, Tony Schwartz explains: We’re constantly losing the information that’s just come in -- we’re constantly replacing it, and there’s no place to hold what you’ve already gotten. It makes for a very superficial experience; you’ve only got whatever’s in your mind at the moment. And it’s hard for people to metabolize and make
sense of the information because there’s so much coming at them and they’re so drawn to it. You end up feeling overwhelmed because what you have is an endless amount of facts without a way of connecting them into a meaningful story. Think of your brain as a glass of water that you are constantly filling with new information. If you pour in water faster than you are drinking it, the glass will overflow and the water will be lost. Similarly, our brains need time to absorb information before we add more. University of California researchers found that people are flooded with an equivaleant amount of 34 gigabytes of information daily. This would overload your computer hard drive within a week! If you think this is overestimated, consider how many videos, images, games, articles you read and chats you have online in just one day. Add your daily tasks such as going to the supermarket, evaluating choices of cereals types and brands, comparing their nutrition information and prices. At work or university responding to emails, consuming information, making decisions and interacting with others. All this information input
Think of your brain as a glass of water that you are constantly filling with new information. If you pour in water faster than you are drinking it, the glass will overflow and the water will be lost.
slowly consumes your mental resources, leaving you flustered and even helpless when faced with making far more important decisions that require your available brain space. The brain is malleable - not just in early childhood but throughout our entire lives and our surrounding environment has a huge impact both on the way our brains develop and how that brain is transformed into a unique human mind. Technology affects humans everyday in multiple ways. It shapes our memory, our social life, our perception of things, our intelligence, and our mood. Some scientists think the wired world may be changing the way we read, learn and interact with each other. What if the brain circuits involved in face-to-face interaction become weaker? We already spend so much time online at the expense of our real life surroundings and face to face interaction. Is technology promoting the creation of a generation of socially awkward people, ill-equipped to interpret non-verbal cues? Technology offers us so much and created positive change for many millions of people worldwide. It is, however, up to us to manage its impact and role in our daily lives.
Managing your tech time Take a break Your brain can only take so much. Give it the time to breathe, relax, soak-in all the information it has accumulated and most importantly take a break from your screens. Leave your phone alone. Your work, friends and family can survive without you at least long enough for you to take a walk outside. Choice The more choices we are given, the more tired and less effective we become. We make thousands of choices on a daily basis but the human brain has limited resources and energy to expend to make each choice. Each choice we make drains a little more from our mental reservoir. If there are days you know you'll need to be at the top of your game, reduce the number of choices you need to make on those days. Multitasking Be present in the moment and focus on what you are doing. It's tempting to try and to do it all but remember the human mind is not designed for multitasking but task switching. To increase your performance and ability to learn, you must focus on the task at hand.
Is technology re-wiring our brains?
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HAPPY APPS IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT GET THESE APPS Elleanor O’Connell
In 2014, the leading cause of death of people aged 15 to 44 was suicide. With the burdens of a struggling economy and the stress of an evershrinking job market, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression need to be addressed and not brushed under the carpet. With R U OK Day? and World Suicide Prevention Day coming up in September, Getamungstit is tackling the omnipresent black dog of depression with some of the best support technology has to offer.
...fantastic platforms to help mellow and brighten your day...
Whats My M3 What’s My M3
Yoga With Adriene
Free (No in App purchases)
One of the best ways to take steps towards a healthier mind is to understand what’s going on in it. What’s My M3 is a free app, compatible with iPhone, Android and Windows, that monitors mood patterns to build a better understanding of your mental health. The app was designed by three MDs and a cognitive behavioral therapist and is a brilliant tool to assess risks of depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. What’s My M3 is not a mental illness diagnosis app, rather a medium to use for both you and your doctor to better measure your mental health. Even if you’re suffering mild stress, it’s a great idea to get a reading of where you’re currently sitting on the happy-mind scale and learn a thing or two about the black dog.
There are very few things that feel as good as child’s pose with a pillow under your third eye, and Adriene Mishler from the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene would definitely agree. The vibrant yet calming YouTuber with almost 1.5 million subscribers breaks down even the most complex of movements all whilst maintaining the feeling that she’s your very best friend. By walking and talking her viewers through the steps, her videos allow you to close your eyes and simply follow her words. Her famous mantra of ‘find what feels good’ as opposed to ‘make sure the pose looks right’, allows the viewer the freedom to find the movements and the motions that feel best for them. Even if (like me) you really only frequent one video (bed time yoga), then that’s fantastic because you’re taking the time to give your body exactly what it needs when stress, anxiety and upset come knocking.
Forest $1.99 (No in App purchases) Technology is fantastic. It’s gotten us to the moon (allegedly. Just joking. Maybe) and it provides brilliant platforms for absolutely everything - including, of course, mental health related benefits. However, sometimes the constant bombardment of social media can bring you down and sometimes self control is just a little bit overrated (and hard). I give thee Forest. This app that costs less than half the price of a coffee (what’d I tell you about that struggling economy, $5 for a latte you’ve gottabekiddinme), lets you grow beautiful little trees ranging from one with a tree house in its branches to the octopus tree that waters itself. While the tree is growing (for a set amount of time you decide) you can’t exit out of the app. If you try to check your Facebook, you get a desperate message from your sad tree questioning your life choices - and if you have any soul at all, you put your phone down. This app is best paired with the ‘do not disturb’ option on your iPhone to really get the escape you need to relax, and live in the present.
Smiling Mind Free (No in App purchases) Developed by a team of psychologists, Smiling Mind is an Australian smartphone App also available online. With Mindfulness Meditation programs for people aged from seven years and above, Smiling Mind provides over 40 different meditations available on your phone or laptop whenever you need them. With more and more research revealing the longterm benefits of regular meditation, Smiling Mind allows you to carry these benefits with you for whenever you may need them. Partnered with Cricket Australia, The Resilience Project, and Reach Out, this is a must have app for a happy, healthy mind. *This app is data intensive when downloading the free meditations.
With all of these fantastic platforms to help mellow and brighten your day, it’s important to take the time out to focus purely and exclusively on yourself. It isn’t selfish; it’s vital and something everyone should be doing. Whether you’ve acknowledged that you’re struggling or you’re feeling okay, take the time out to give your mind a break. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is essential to visit your local GP. Find your peace again. Stay happy friends.
These recommendations are to take care of your general wellbeing. If you are experiencing ongoing stress, depression or anxiety it is important to seek advice from a qualified professional. Please contact Student Services, The Student Guild’s Student Support Service or your GP for guidance. For immediate crisis intervention contact: Emergency 000 Lifeline Telephone Counselling (24 hrs) 13 11 14 Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
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Cyber attacks Interview with Samuli Haataja, PhD Candidate in Law at Griffith University
Samuli Haataja is currently completing his PhD in Law at Griffith. He researches cyber attacks, looking at the problems surrounding the law’s capacity to regulate these attacks considering they don’t have physical effects – like destruction of property, or injury to people. Ashleigh Watson asked Samuli about how international law deals with cyber attacks, and what doing research in this field is like. How have technological advances impacted the law? Like all relationships, there is a lot of history between law and technology. Both influence each other, and shape the nature and direction of their relationship. In relation to the general impact of technology on the law - often, changes to what is practically possible due to technological advances creates problems for the law. Therefore the law often needs to respond to technological advances. For example, from the invention and creation of the bicycle and automobile to Uber and driverless cars, technological advances have required new laws or changes to existing laws. It is important to remember however, that law can be used to shape technology and its uses, and this not a one-sided relationship.
States and Israel. Essentially, Stuxnet infected the computers of private companies involved in Iran’s nuclear program. From those computers, it then spread to Iran’s uranium enrichment facility by exploiting numerous unknown vulnerabilities in Windows software. It then spread onto the special computers used to control nuclear centrifuges (large rotating cylinders in which uranium is processed). What it did was adjust the rotation speed of the rotors so that over time they would break. While it did this, it basically looped back a recording of the normal operation of the centrifuges to those operating the facility so that they could not know that anything was wrong. Stuxnet is described by many as the world’s first ‘cyber weapon’. These sort of cyber attacks are rare (at least in the sense that they are publicly known), but all smart devices (from phones to toasters) are potentially vulnerable to cyber threats.
How do cyber attacks typically work, and what kind of threat do they actually pose?
How has technology changed the way we think about threats and violence?
There is no universally accepted definition of what cyber attack is, as the answer often depends for instance on whether you ask a lawyer or a computer scientist. A useful basic definition (and thus how they ‘work’) is the use of computer enabled means to undermine the integrity or disrupt the operation of computer systems or networks, or information therein.
In my thesis, with a focus on cyber attacks and violence on an international scale, I argue that technology has fundamentally changed the way in which the law ‘thinks’ about violence. This is evident in how the law conceptualises, for example, what constitutes a ‘use of force’ which is prohibited under international law.
To illustrate, a recent example of a cyber attack incident I have researched involved a sophisticated piece of malicious software named Stuxnet that was believed to have been developed by the United
I basically argue that the harm that cyber attacks can cause, even where they do not have clear physical effects like in the Stuxnet example but only affect the functioning of computer systems or otherwise disrupt
Cyber attacks Article Title
their operation (especially as modern states rely on those systems for their functioning, for example in relation to important infrastructure), can be seen as a form of ‘informational violence.’ Even outside the context of my thesis, I think the impact of technology can be seen in everything from cyber bullying to online stalking and consequently in the ways in which technology has enabled us to interact and cause harm in new ways.
What kinds of problems do existing ways of thinking about violence cause? On one level, existing law is limited in its capacity to regulate cyber attacks without physical effects. Therefore, where a state is subject to disruptive cyber attacks causing outages in access to online public services and banking (as happened in Estonia in 2007) then these attacks largely escape key rules of international law. In other words, because of the changes in the nature of violence brought about by technology, existing law
needs to be updated to recognise these ‘new’ forms of violence that can be seen in the use of cyber attacks. This is one of the central problems that my research seeks to address, and to do so I draw on the theory of information ethics. I use this theory to rethink what the state looks like and how it can be harmed by the informational violence evident in cyber attacks.
People are familiar with what being a lawyer means, but what does doing research on international law involve? How do you research things like cyber attacks? Research on law (any law basically, be it criminal, constitutional, environmental or international law) can involve so many things. Especially if the research is interdisciplinary you can find yourself looking at the intersection of law and almost anything else, including images of law in Game of Thrones or the legal accuracy of the second verse of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems (yes there is literature on both of these). For me this research has involved reading international treaties, cases from international courts, United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, policy documents from states and international organisations, and lots of books and journal articles on international law. In addition to the traditional ‘legal research,’ I have read quite widely on my topic including on the philosophy of technology, computer science and ethics, and international relations literature for example. Researching cyber attacks in particular can be difficult as often not much information is available, but media reports and technical reports by computer security companies for example have been valuable.
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THE FUTURE ON FILM For decades, filmmakers have toyed with the implications of technological developments and what they’ll ultimately spell for the future of the human race. Sometimes these visions can be hopeful and optimistic, shining a light on the potential for people to do good and better themselves. But let’s face it, they’re a lot more fun to watch when everything’s gone to hell. In addition to go-to films like The Hunger Games, The Matrix or The Terminator, you might want to check out some of the following flicks to find out what the future might have in store.
Snowpiercer (2013) While formulaic franchises like Transformers rake in billions, gems such as these get largely overlooked. After a failed climate experiment results in a new ice age, what’s left of earth’s population is living aboard a large train that perpetually circumnavigates the globe, with a small percentage enjoying a luxurious existence in the front carriages. Those living in squalor at the back stage a violent revolution to gain control of the vehicle. Boasting an impressive ensemble cast including Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, the film has its fair share of awesome set pieces and shocking twists and turns.
A Clockwork Orange (1971) Stanley Kubrick’s portrait of social decay and delinquency may have seemed outlandish and excessive when it was released in 1971, but the parallels with current events are alarming. Initially centred on the exploits of a violent teenage gang led by the charismatic Alex (Malcolm McDowell), A Clockwork Orange follows his arrest and forced social reconditioning via a radical subconscious-altering experiment. While many contemporary critics dismissed it for its apparent glorification of destructive behaviour, the film still asks the perplexing question of whether it’s better to be bad by choice or have goodness forced on you.
Vincent (Ethan Hawke) has been dreaming about travelling to space since he was a young boy. The only problem: his status as an “in-valid” (one who was born naturally, rather than with the assistance of genetic engineering) makes this virtually impossible due to widespread discrimination. Using the DNA of Jerome (Jude Law), Vincent crafts a new identity as a valid in order to achieve his goal. A retro-futuristic style combined with a steady pace helps deliver the film’s timely message of social prejudice.
It’s a black-and-white, silent, German film. If you can handle that, you’re in for a treat. The wealthy son of the titular city’s master is drawn out of his carefree existence when he is exposed to the vast inequalities faced by Metropolis’ lower class, who regard him as being the fabled mediator who will bring the two demographics together. The social commentary’s obviously a bit hamfisted and lacking in the subtlety department, but Metropolis’ charm is in its meticulously-crafted set designs and in its pioneering, both in the use of special effects as well as the sci-fi genre as a whole.
The future on film
Ex Machina (2015)
Children of Men (2006)
Although on a smaller scale budget-wise, Ex Machina doesn’t lack for big ideas. Set largely on the secluded property of eccentric software giant Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the debut film of Alex Garland (author of The Beach) focuses on naïve programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) who is brought in to interact with Ava (Alicia Vikander), a highly advanced humanoid robot who has motives of her own. Ex Machina’s tiny but superb cast (particularly Vikander) are worth the watch alone, but the film’s real appeal is in its ability to juggle audience sympathies between its human and nonhuman characters.
A harrowing depiction of an infertile human race bordering on extinction, Children of Men has been lauded for its accomplished use of long takes, including an uninterrupted 7-minute shot tracking through a war-torn refugee camp. Jaded former activist Theo (Clive Owen) is commissioned by his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore) to transport an asylum seeker across a hostile England, before discovering that she is the first human pregnant in 18 years. The film tracks Theo’s attempts to get Kee and her unborn child to safety, and is easily one of the most intense cinematic experiences you’ll have.
Terry Gilliam’s cult classic is almost like a hyper-cartoonish and surreal adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Centred in a dense city where everyone’s existence revolves around an overdependence on useless technology and the rigid following of government procedure, Sam (Jonathan Pryce) seeks to escape this dreary life, first through a series of bizarre daydreams, then through his involvement with a number of deemed ‘terrorists’. Directed by one of the former members of Monty Python, Brazil takes its potentially depressing subject matter and turns it into a comical, visually spectacular political cartoon of a film.
Battle Royale (2000)
Doubling as one of the best anime films ever made, Akira uses gorgeous animation to mold its vision of a dense, chaotic neoTokyo. Set in the far-off year of 2019, it tracks bike gang leader Kaneda’s mission to stop childhood friend Tetsuo from unleashing absolute pandemonium, (after the latter’s psychic powers are awakened by a government agency). Smart, kinetic and full of emotional depth, Akira also works as a presentation of post-WWII Japanese identity.
Probably best known as a major inspiration for The Hunger Games series, Battle Royale amps up the intensity and gore factor in this controversial Japanese dystopian thriller. Following an increased rate of education-related disobedience, an unfortunate class of high schoolers are sent to a remote island by yet another shady government organisation and forced to participate in a survival of the fittest scenario. The film spends a great deal fleshing out the personalities of each of the participants, which makes the results all the more unsettling.
The crew of Icarus II have been given quite a task, involving the detonation of a giant nuclear bomb inside the Sun in order to reignite its heat. Oh yeah, and the human race is essentially extinct if they fail. No biggie. In addition to its evident commentary on environmentalism and the fragility of life, Sunshine also incorporates a solid international cast including Rose Byrne and Chris Evans (what is with this guy and dystopian films?) with a highly claustrophobic and intense atmosphere.
Product review - Tech: must haves? Rebecca Marshallsay Are you a technophobe or a technophile? Do you love to be the first person to have a new gadget or are you still dragging around a Nokia 3310?
we never knew we had. The biggest catch cry of the latest tech sensation is usually ‘now I can,’ or ‘it lets me...’.
For the most part, we see technology as an enabler and something that lets us be better than we were before. For many people and in many applications (particularly in the medical field), technology is literally a life saver and game changer. However, unfortunately many (if not most) of our tech purchases and desires are driven by a powerful mix of design and marketing that manages to create a need
Deciding when to embrace a new gadget is a tricky line to toe. Sometimes it can be a coin toss between being a groundbreaker or a digital sucker. This edition, Getamungstit has considered some new and emerging technologies to help you determine where you might want to position yourself on the take-up spectrum. Will you be at the front of the queue or are you going to hang back and see how things pan out?
SELF DRIVING CAR
Although self driving cars are not available for the general population yet, there is a lot of buzz about them and many successful pilot studies have been conducted. One of the biggest selling points for the self driving car is that it eliminates human error which leads to the conclusion that self driving cars will lead to less accidents. Obviously having a self driving car of your own is unlikely to translate to significant safety benefits until there is a mass uptake.
My real world experience of everyday people using drones is limited to observing people stand in the middle of the soccer pitch near my house to test the capabilities of their new purchase. If you enjoy the process of actually flying the drone then there is no reason why you shouldn’t jump on the remotecontrolled aerial bandwagon right now. But if this holds limited appeal and you don’t have a fetish for urban ovals on film, then you should consider waiting till the capabilities go up and the price comes down before you make your first drone purchase.
One of the big cons of course is the questionable premise of putting our collective safety into the hands of smart technology. If 2001:A Space Odyssey and I, Robot have taught us anything it is that the technology will eventually work out that we are completely incapable of determining what is in our own best interests. Eventually your car is likely to either refuse to drive you anywhere because you are safer in your own home or to run you off the road in a purposeful attempt to curb population growth because it is in the wider interest of humankind. So will we see self driving cars in our lifetime? Hard to say, not only is the technology itself a big undertaking but the foundations that need to be laid in terms of legislation and insurance regulations are absolutely mammoth. This is probably not a purchase choice you will have to worry about for a long time yet.
Drones do promise to open up opportunities to liven up your home videos with a novel perspective. Imagine taking your travel photos at the Grand Canyon or Eiffel Tower from the air. Goodbye selfie stick! For adventure enthusiasts the possibility of having a drone track you while you ride, surf or whatever brand of stoke you subscribe to is pretty amazing. As drone capabilities evolve and their range increases, I envisage a world where my drone can operate as a scouting party. No more FOMO. You could send your drone to a party as your proxy while you sit on the couch with a cask wine, Orange is the New Black and iPad on hand (for drone control). Or you could check out whether your mates were lying when they text you to come out because the line at the club is ‘not that long’. You’ll never have to shed your PJs in vain again. Send your drone on ahead and check for yourself whether an event is worth the shower and the effort to leave the house.
Product review - Tech: must haves?
Wearable technologies are all the devices we strap onto our bodies to measure our steps, track our location, deliver our email to us and more. They have a far reaching appeal - every kid and their grandma owns a Fitbit. But it is definitely worth taking a slowly slowly approach with this one. This isn’t some short lived games console that can be hidden in the back of your cupboard of shame (where all your ill-conceived purchases are stashed) when it flops. This is something you have paraded in front of your friends, co-workers and family. And if the technology fails to take off as predicted you will forever be the guy who spent a month in sneakers that could tell him the temperature of the footpath and remotely open his garage.
Virtual reality is probably one of the best examples of new technologies being really dorky. Until they’re not. There has been a lot of excitement about virtual reality over the past year with several major players releasing VR headsets to the market. In essence, virtual reality has moved out of infancy and is currently heading through its awkward pre-teen years. Virtual reality at home currently offers us the novelty of being able to watch a film on a faux big screen or to wander through a questionably rendered rainforest for the fun of it. This is the equivalent of the very bad wardrobe choices, dubious haircuts and coloured braces of your final years at primary school. It seemed really cool at the time but you will regret it later and wonder how you ever thought that this was a good idea.
Even much hyped products like the Apple Watch can trundle off into a slow quiet death once people realise that the thing the product now enables them to do is not something they really need or want to. When are you in a position to check your emails on your watch but not your phone? What life gains do you get from having a smaller, less functional version of your phone strapped to your body at all times? Fitness wearables seem to have a much more logical application but don’t bear up so well when closely scrutinised. I love my Garmin watch and I know many people are very quick to defend their fitspo purchases. But you can tell how far you’ve run! Yep, but realistically I have two running routes and they never, ever vary. And thanks to Google Earth I calculated the distance without a $300 outlay. You can measure your heart beat! Apart from the extra reassurance that it is still beating and a throw away comment about one day following a targeted heart rate zone program, this is of no practical use to me. You can see how fast you’re going! Knowing this does not burn extra calories and I have flicked back through my online records to compare run paces a grand total of zero times.
The great thing is that we do grow up eventually and as we move through our teens and into adulthood we begin to make better decisions (most of the time). For virtual reality this is beginning to happen and some of the embarrassingly cheesy decisions of its childhood are promising to develop into better quality content particularly for gamers. VR currently offers some immersive experiences if you can fork out for a special rig. You can sit on a bike frame and be immersed in an extreme (I use that word loosely) mountain biking experience. Or you can be harnessed up and jiggled around while you play a falling scenario. What do we do on Saturday nights? We faux sky dive. Despite decades of expectation, for general users, virtual reality is a technology worth biding your time on. You would probably get more long term enjoyment from a new kettle. For serious gamers though it might be time to start a little VR saving fund in the optimistic hope that the medium is about to emerge from its ugly duckling status into a beautiful, kickass swan.
This is not to say that many people don’t find useful and necessary applications for their devices but I would suggest that most wearable purchases are driven by the possibility of ‘can’ rather than the reality of ‘need’. If you’re not convinced that wearables are an iffy purchase then take a moment to google ‘smart tampons’. 37
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WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU? Angel Nikijuluw
My life (and bank balance) suffered when I caught the disease. Instead of studying, I was browsing. Instead of spending money on petrol, I was spending it on clothes. I became addicted to watching the mailman walk past every day, wondering if they were carrying my new Kat Von D eye shadow palette in that package under their arm. Australians spend more than $16 billion each year shopping online – and for good reason. As Australians continue to work longer, study more, and focus on lifestyle, we have less time to spend physically shopping around (well, at least for a busy university student struggling to even find the time to eat in between classes). Here are five great websites for you to get started on your online shopping journey. Do not hold me accountable for the steep decline in your savings – I spent $230 on shoes the other week. Was it worth crying over my moneyless bank account for a pair of Dr. Martens? You know the answer.
1. ASOS (asos.com)
2. The Iconic (theiconic.com.au)
ASOS is arguably the the most popular store on the net. Boasting a broad catalogue of international brands, ASOS carries everything from Adidas to Vans. ASOS is great for: price range, brand range, and shipping.
The Iconic is a Sydney-based fashion and sportswear retailer, and offers a wide range of chic, stylesavvy clothing for all genders. The Iconic is great for: fast shipping, price range, and sizing.
Why ASOS? Carries hundreds of brands Low-high price range Thousands of styles Free shipping for Australia over $40 Arrives within 5-10 business days Ethical trading Shipping price fairly cheap
Cons: Sizing varies among different brands Items usually shown in UK sizes May carry unethical/fast fashion brands (do your research before buying)
Whatâ€™s Article in store Title for you?
Why The Iconic? Australian-based â€“ same to next-day delivery for major cities Prices in AUD Thousands of products Free returns for 100 days Sizes usually shown in AU sizing Order tracking
Cons: May carry unethical/fast fashion brand No mention of ethical trading
3. Modcloth (modcloth.com)
4. Threadless (threadless.com)
5. Etsy (etsy.com)
With colourful, vibrant prints and loud pieces, Modcloth has your next one-piece vintage inspired swimsuit, and even your next ball gown. Modcloth is great for: unique style, price range, and ethical trading.
Threadless is awesome for those who love graphic tees and unique prints – and not only do they have basic tees and clothing, but they also carry home goods and accessories, such as phone cases and bags. If you’re looking for something unique, Threadless is definitely a website to check out. Threadless is great for: supporting artists, choice of design, and thousands of unique designs.
And finally, the website everyone knows for its hand-crafted, custom-made, made-with-love items: Etsy. This website is perfect for the people who treasure handmade jewellery, one-off clothing, and vintage items. Etsy is great for: supporting artists, unique designs, and diversity of items.
Why Modcloth? Unique, vintage style clothing Free international shipping on $150 USD Representation of all sizes Low-high price range Ethical trading
Cons: Prices are in USD – conversion rate will increase the price Arrives after 14+ business days Shipping can be expensive Sizing can be vague
Why Threadless? Thousands of unique designs Supports the artists Creative freedom for artists Collections and pop-culture themes of clothing curated Protected transactions
Cons: Shipping can vary depending on the items you buy Prices on website are USD
Why Etsy? Supports the artists Individual users run their own shops Creative freedom for artists Diversity of items Unique designs, items and shops Protected transactions
Cons: Most prices are in US prices Shipping can be pricey Sizing for clothing is vague Shipping always varies between different shops/artists Shipping time to Australia vary between each store
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Feature artist – Twelve Past Midnight Angel Nikijuluw
Griffith University has cultivated a number of great acts in recent years. With no exception, an up-andcoming band finding their way to playing the stage at venues such as Night Quarter and The Milk Factory, are four friends who create alternative pop music under the name Twelve Past Midnight.
With Jordan Pineda on lead vocals and guitar, Ryan Brook on guitar, Alex Cremin on bass, and Aidan Salvador on drums, Twelve Past Midnight presents a fun, guitar-driven, vibrant sound through an amalgamation of pop-punk, alternative indie rock influences. We talk to the band about their musical themes, beginnings, and their favourite year of music. How are you going with your new EP that you’re planning to release? Aidan: We’ve written it already and we’ve recorded most of it. We’re just working on one more song. Jordan: We’re really lucky to have a really good producer. He’s a graduate of this course [Bachelor of Popular Music]. Aidan: Stupidly good. Jordan: His production style works really well with the stuff we’re writing and the sort of band we want to be, so it was kind of a no-brainer going with him. Tell us about your musical process. Aidan: In terms of writing and how we write, we set up a microphone in the middle of the room to record anything that we have, and then we just jam out. If we have some ideas, we just say, “oh, I have this riff” or, “how about this drum beat?” Ryan: We kind of just go off that and see how it goes. Jordan: A lot of the songs are just based off the vibe we’re feeling. It’s a really emotional process. If we’re not really feeling it, the idea gets scrapped. We never really try and overthink things too much.
So it [the music] just comes to you guys? Ryan: Most of the time we just jam out in the room and if something strikes that we like, we work on it. Aidan: We also think about it strategically as well – we don’t just always jam out. We think, “okay, we need something that’s more slow,” so we try that. But overall, we’ll just be winging it. What about next year? Any plans? Alex: My third year of uni… Aidan: We’ll all be out except for Alex, but we’ll still have access to the studios [laughs]. Ryan: I think next year we’ll just be focusing on what we’re doing now. We’ll just be doing as many gigs as we can and writing as much music as we can. How’s your live performing experiences? When did you start playing live? Jordan: We began playing probably June last year. Alex: You guys were playing together way before I joined the band… Yeah, Alex, how did you join the band? Ryan: Jordan figured out that they went to the same primary school. Alex: Yeah, I live like, a minute away from him. After that, we had a couple of awkward band practices. Aidan: Aww, yeah, it was terrible. Alex: Afterwards, I kind of just joined. Aidan: Before that, we didn’t have a bassist. Ryan: We used to just change instruments a lot because we didn’t have a bassist.
Feature artist - Twelve past midnight
Jordan: A bit of a background story is that we were playing under my name, and then at the start of this year we wanted to make it official and become an actual band with a stage name. Do you have any visual themes in your music that translates through your sounds? Jordan: It’s all about the songs when we play live. All the songs we play are upbeat and fun to an extent. We always have that mix. But I guess for me, I’ve played solo for so long that it was just really boring, and it lacked energy. So with the band, it’s about having fun and being young. Alex: Do we actually have any sad songs? Aidan: Yeah, melancholic songs. Jordan: Nothing really sad, and I don’t think we’ll ever go down there. Aidan: Our music is just everyday, relatable music. Do you all do the song writing together? All: Yes. Aidan: We’ll all bring in different things, like Jordan will bring in some chords and melodies. Ryan: It’s all over the place sometimes. Aidan: Sometimes we’ll just bring it up from nowhere. Ryan: We’ll get some sort of skeleton and then when we go to record it, we’ve got the basics there.
Aidan: Yeah, you have to show that you’re not there to bring anyone down. Alex: Yeah, don’t burn bridges. How did you come up with your band name? Aidan: Good question… Ryan: I looked at the clock, and it was ten past eleven. That was the original idea, and I was like, “oh, that’ll be cool as a band name”, and then no one liked it. Then Aidan was like, “what about Twelve Past Midnight?” and everyone liked it. Aidan: It’s kind of a cool time. It’s a time when you’re not thinking about the future, and you’re just living in the moment. You’re at that point where you don’t care about the next day. Ryan: That’s so deep, man. Last question… What year is your favourite year of music? All: Ooooo. Alex: 2007. Aidan: I love the 90s alt-rock era. Ryan: I’m going to say 80s and 90s, just because that was what I listened to when I was young. Alex: mid-2000s was so good…
Do you see every band as competition? You can find more of Twelve Past Midnight at facebook.com/TwelvePastMidnight soundcloud.com/twelve-past-midnight
Jordan: No. It’s more, “hey, cool, we can support each other”.
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON
Doggo is a hard hitting piece of insightful political satire that holds an unforgiving mirror up to society... We’re just kidding. Doggo is all about filling your feed with feel good images of dogs being adorable and dog humour. There’s really not much more to it. If you want to add some canine cuteness to your life then Doggo is sure to make you smile.
If you’re looking for a chuckle or to turn off your brain at the end of the day, then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has got you covered. Browse through the feed for enough funny games and entertaining celebrity interviews to keep you screen bound for hours. Better than trying to find a way to watch the whole show, the Fallon Facebook feed delivers you just the best bits. facebook.com/FallonTonight
MAMAMIA Website This news and entertainment website is geared toward a female audience. It includes a smattering of hard news stories but its main fare is the really essential things you need a daily update on such as 13 essential pieces of information you need before your next flight, why a cookbook written by a controversial cancer fraud is being sold online, 14 ‘burning’ questions a straight woman asked four lesbians and why someone cheated on Sam Wood. If you really want to disrupt your day, follow Mamamia on Facebook too to have irresistible click-bait stories dropped straight into your feed. mamamia.com.au Online
TAPEACALL App TapeACall is a saviour for budding journalists and keen writers. Suitable for iPhone and Android, TapeACall lets you record your phone conversations and interviews for playback at a later date. It is simple to use and you can set the record function up before or after you have commenced the call. Once your call has finished you can download the recording to play back and transcribe at your leisure. TapeACall has a free basic version or you can purchase the premium version for $14.99. tapeacall.com
PLAGUE INC. Game Plague Inc. is our latest guilty pleasure phone game. Work against humanity to develop and evolve a super virus that will wipe out life as we know it in this high strategy simulation game. You can start with a basic bacteria or build a pandemic from something more unusual like a fungus or nano-virus. Also available on your PC, Plague Inc. has been so popular that it has just been released for PSP4. The gameâ€™s creator James Vaughan was even invited to speak at the US, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of a conversation about using nontraditional methods to educate the public about transmission and infection control. ndemiccreations.com/en/22plague-inc 53
The Conjuring 2 (2016) 134 mins Horror Director: James Wan Zak Johnson When the first Conjuring was released in 2013, critics and audiences lauded it for its ability to hark back to the supernatural horror classics of the 1970s (such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror) while also providing legitimate scares and a creepily effective atmosphere. The big question then is whether all of these components transfer over to its inevitable sequel, a feat that has proven to be quite a rarity for the genre. After the traumatic events of the first film, paranormal investigators/ married couple Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) are drawn out of planned retirement in order to assist the Hodgsons, who are plagued by yet another malevolent spirit, this time it appears to be the deceased former owner of their house in Enfield, England. James Wan is truly a modern maestro of horror. His current track
record (including his involvement in the Saw and Insidious franchises) places him in an exclusive category of continually successfully horror directors that includes Wes Craven and John Carpenter. The Conjuring 2 is another perfectly acceptable feather in his cap. Rather than bombarding you with a constant onslaught of cheap jump-scares (as tends to be the case these days), he takes his time to create and build a proper mood of apprehension and unease. The cramped, poorly-lit estate house that comprises the majority of the film’s narrative is made all the more unwelcoming by a series of bizarre, unexplained occurrences. Toy trucks move of their own volition. One of the Hodgson children wakes up inexplicably in a separate part of the house. You’re uncomfortable way before the scares start. And when they come, they hit hard. I’ve pretty much desensitised myself to scary movies over the years, but I must have jumped a good three or four times. And I was far from the only one doing that in the crowded cinema. Another aspect I appreciate of Wan’s films is his attempts to
Article Title Entertainment
incorporate a human element that one wouldn’t ordinarily expect from the genre. He really tries to flesh out the relationship between Lorraine and Ed, as well as those within the Hodgsons’ ranks. These scenes aren’t going to win Oscars anytime soon, but I still admired how they at least tried to give these characters a three-dimensional quality, rather than just reducing them to brainless demon fodder. A particular highlight is Janet (Madison Wolfe), the Hodgson who receives the brunt of the entity’s attention. In terms of how this instalment compares to the original, I’d probably rank it just below. The premise (team of ghostbusters investigate a haunted house) is fairly similar, so it lacks a certain freshness that its predecessor had, and the film’s attempts to tie in the paranormal occurrences to the series’ overall mythology feels slightly awkward and clumsy. Yet, as a horror film, The Conjuring 2 does its job remarkably well. If you’re looking for a way to spend two hours getting emotionally traumatised with your friends, you probably couldn’t make a better choice.
The Great Zoo of China Matthew Reilly Rebecca Marshallsay
If you are not familiar with Matthew Reilly’s work, his novels are like big-budget, action-packed, explosion-filled, Hollywood blockbusters in book form. After two successful series of action novels featuring US Marine ‘Scarecrow’ and Australian SAS Captain, Jack West Jr, The Great Zoo of China is a standalone novel from the best selling author. When reptile expert and freelancer, Dr Cassandra Jane Cameron is sent to China on behalf of National Geographic she does not know what to expect. Cloaked mystery and heavy security, the Chinese Government has gathered a group of VIPs and journalists from around the world to reveal a secret half a century in the making. After discovering a species no one believed even existed, China is ready to unveil its discovery and make an unforgettable mark on the world with the astonishing Great Zoo of China. Dragons. They have discovered dragons. There’s one on the front cover and the blurb all but says it so please forgive the very smallest
of spoilers. While the Chinese Government reassures their guests that they are perfectly safe, Dr Cameron is sceptical. Given that one of Reilly’s favourite novels is Jurassic Park, you can safely assume that not everything goes to plan. Reilly’s simple writing style is used to create a quick-paced adventure designed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Although you know things will fall apart, the build up is still incredibly tense and the pay off rewarding. One of Reilly’s earliest novels, Ice Station, was my first foray into the action novel and I had never realised how thrilling a fight, escape, or chase on paper could be. That said, I find his simple approach to characters very grating from time to time. They typically have a lot of window dressing to make them seem diverse and interesting but many of them fall flat as two-dimensional plot devices. For me, The Great Zoo of China had its share of flaws but overall this did not detract from a highly entertaining, easy to read story.
With a Chinese Government that is fiercely protective of its reputation, I certainly hope that Reilly has already ticked his Chinese destinations off of his bucket list. He may not be welcomed there anytime soon.
Entertainment Winter Tunes Angel Nikijuluw
Waking up at the crack of dawn at 10 degrees Celsius to get ready for an 8am lecture doesn’t really sound like the ideal start to the day. Unfortunately, for many of us, that’s the reality of university life in semester two. Here are five winter albums that’ll help you through the cold mornings with their unique vocals, wonderful visual concepts, and cold, ambient undertones.
A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead (2016) Opening the record with an ensemble of powerful strings, accompanied with atmospheric synths and the monotonous (but beautiful) vocals of Thom Yorke, Radiohead returns with A Moon Shaped Pool – a cohesive collection of ambient timbres, low-lying acoustic elements and fragments of piano. Every snippet of Radiohead’s past post-2000 is present in A Moon Shaped Pool, yet it successfully strays far away enough from its predecessor, The King of Limbs (2011). In saying this, A Moon Shaped Pool finds itself akin to Sigur Rós’ Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do EP and Sæglópur EP. Best tracks: Burn The Witch, Daydreaming, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief.
Parachutes – Coldplay (2000) Parachutes exhibits Coldplay’s best acoustic work. At the turn of the millennium, Parachutes emerged at the peak of boy bands, contemporary R&B, and heavy rock-oriented sounds. Chris Martin’s vocals coupled with prominent piano complements the thrumming of guitar, the precision of drums, and the gentle undertones of bass – a very different Coldplay compared to the anthem-producing, stadium-hopping band they are today. Parachutes is simple yet intricate, dark yet refreshing, and melancholic yet romantic. Best tracks: Sparks, Shiver, Trouble.
Ágætis Byrjun – Sigur Rós (1999) Despite all of its track names and lyrics being in Hopelandish (a language the band created themselves) Ágætis Byrjun seems chaotic, but below the surface, presents an extremely cohesive conglomeration of sounds. With elements of post-rock, dream-pop and progressive rock, Ágætis Byrjun is an album that slows down time, and at times, becomes emotional with its brooding guitars, powerful strings and echoing vocals. If you caught Sigur Rós at Splendour In The Grass this year, you’re a very lucky person. Best tracks: Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa, Svefn-g-englar, Olsen Olsen.
Sleep In The Water – Snakadaktal (2013) Although the Melbourne outfit have now disbanded, Snakadaktal released Sleep In The Water as their final musical effort – a dreamy, synth-heavy work that transcends the average dream-pop record. With its intricate beats, reverberating guitar and placid vocals, Sleep In The Water is reminiscent of albums such as St. Lucia’s self-titled EP, The Maccabees’ Given To The Wild, and The Kite String Tangle’s Vessel EP. Best tracks: Fall Underneath, Ghost, Feel The Ocean Hold Me Under.
Conditions – The Temper Trap (2009) The Temper Trap’s first album, Conditions, was dubbed one of the best albums of 2009 thanks to ‘Sweet Disposition’ – a track which positioned the band at the forefront of the Australian music scene. A fusion of Dougi Mandagi’s falsetto vocals, leading guitar riffs and hefty drums gives Conditions the perfect balance between soft, muted beats, and tremendous choruses and powerful instrumental moments. Best tracks: Rest, Sweet Disposition, Fader.
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THE BALLAD OF KEV Vasili Dapergolas “Knees weak, palms are sweaty, vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.” The music blares out of speakers as Hank Lesterfeld tentatively tries to find a way to rhyme ‘spaghetti’ with ‘free-range, organic, humanely sourced, cruelty free, string shaped tofu’. “Fuck it, I’ll get back to this later.” Putting aside his project to rework all the world’s songs to be more vegan-friendly, he gets up and stretches his lanky limbs, shaking out the pins and needles that have accumulated in his hands and feet. He moves to his tiny kitchenette and makes himself a scalding hot cup of rooibos tea, flavoured with the non-harmful sweetness of agave syrup. Content with his perfectly brewed rooibos and the feel of the mug’s warmth in his hands, he moves to the kitchen table, where many papers detailing his most recent and ambitious vegan-related scheme are scattered haphazardly. Maps, blueprints and notes are strewn across the table, and all of them are centred on one thing – a candid, barely-in-focus Polaroid of a balding, overweight man with a horrible moustache in his mid to late 50s standing in front of a shop. His eyes drawn to the photo by some sort of magnetic force, he feels his rage simmering and begins to see red. He utters a wordless howl and stabs the man in the photograph through the right eye with a quickly grabbed kitchen knife. Satisfied, he moves back to the chair in front of the table. The fat man in the photo, despite the violence committed against him, simply looks on, almost proud in his defiance. A memory of Kev, gloating above his counter with the butchered corpses of living beings hanging behind him in a grotesque display of power, violence and carnivorous excess flashes to the forefront of Hank’s mind. He greets Hank with an ironic hello as his large, muscly, meat-loving arms decapitate an already skinless duck carcass. In his mind, it is impossible for Hank to reconcile the callous brutality of Kev’s business with humankind’s “need” to consume flesh. Protein? Iron? Calcium? Ridiculous. To take a life to sustain one’s own, in Hank’s eyes, is the height of hubris. And he’ll have none of it.
Hank hated visiting Kev, but his father demanded bacon for breakfast every morning, and the beating he’d get for tricking him into eating tofu bacon again was a lesson Hank did not wish to re-live. If he were killed in the line of duty, how would he live on to avenge his beefy comrades? Hating himself on the inside, and vowing to make things right, he tearfully takes the kilo of bacon from Kev, the sneering master of cruelties. A butcher in both name and spirit. It’s almost time. Kev the butcher has to die. Every day after school, Hank would walk past Kev’s shop, wincing as he passed by boards that relegated fellow beings as “specials” while their organs and body parts were sold off piecemeal to hungry carnists. For years, the injustice of Kev’s institution mounted in his mind and the burden of knowing the horrors going in that shop began to condense into a righteous rage that began to burn with righteousness. So righteous was his cause that he began to plan a righteous retribution on all those he viewed as enemies of not only animals, but of life itself; his father, his friends and most importantly his nemesis, Kev the butcher. He winces as he remembers the jeering. Our intrepid hero, who now insists on being referred to by his astral name ‘Snow-Crystal-Wolf-SoybeanExtract’ instead of his human-given birth name, checks the calendar splayed on his kitchen table. Soon the summer equinox will approach and the planets will align allowing communication with what his guru refers to as ‘the other side’. Excitedly, Snow-Crystal claps his hands together, flinching at the impact on his protein and calcium deprived bones. Standing up once more, his mind ablaze with thoughts of righteous vengeance and the smiting of evildoers, Snow-Crystal paces the kitchen, doing laps around his table. In the end he decides to go downstairs to the ritual room to make sure everything is still in order, for he knows that the slightest deviations in any of the markings would spell disaster for not just him and his mortal soul, but for the very earth itself. Although the risk was great, the reward was enormous and the righteousness of his cause was un-doubtable.
Kev the butcher has to die.
He feels a sharp shock resonating throughout his face.
Sitting cross-legged in front of the pentagram, SnowCrystal settles into the meditative pose his guru taught him and prepares to contemplate and come to terms with the actions he is about to take. He fades into his trance while trying to find a way to rhyme ‘spaghetti’ with ‘free-range, organic, humanely sourced, cruelty free, string shaped tofu’.
He sees nothing.
A thought pulses like madness through his brain and brings him out of his trance. Kev the butcher has to die. Rousing himself from the stupor of the trance mere minutes before the midnight of the equinox, he hurriedly prepares for the ritual. He shakily grabs the knife and places the headless tofurkey in the middle of the pentagram, being careful not to spill its free-range, organic, cruelty free, tofu blood and have it ruin the chalk lines of the pentagram. With a fluid, practiced motion he ends the pitiful life of the tofu bird and heaps its pale innards in a pile in the centre of the five-pointed star. The innards start to hiss and bubble as the ritual takes effect and an acrid smoke rises, smelling of the kind of incense often purchased at Asian dollar stores in China Town. A pressure builds in his head, similar to that experienced from changing altitudes in planes. A white light begins to pervade his vision, beginning from the edges of his periphery and gradually bleeding towards the centre. The spell was working. The spell learned from his guru, Archaos Herbivorious, High Green Lord of the Queensland Vegan Alliance, it was working. Snow-Crystal feels the warm whiteness envelop him, transporting him to a higher realm. Soon, he will find himself face to face with a god, and soon, Kev the butcher will find himself as cold as his product. Holding his breath, Snow-Crystal rises up from his knees and splays his arms out in a cruciform. As his vision becomes speckled with strange shapes and sparks, Snow-Crystal-Wolf-Soybean-Extract is overwhelmed by numbness, the final sign indicating the completion of Archaos’ spell.
The sun has barely risen, but Kev the butcher is already hard at work. After retrieving the day’s stock from the cold room and arranging the meats in their respective display windows, he now settles down behind the counter, awaiting his first customer. There is time to spare, so he unfolds the day’s paper from under his arm and flips straight to the crossword puzzle in the back. Kev is only three words in – though it took him almost half an hour – before he gets a knock at the door. Over the top of his paper he looks towards the windows and spots two uniformed police officers. The officers walk inside and greet him with a sober look. The shorter one, introducing himself as Constable Rory Dennison, shakes Kev’s hand and takes out a damaged Polaroid photo. “Mate, we found this in the house of Hank Lesterfeld. Are you familiar with the name?” Constable Dennison asks. “I know a young bloke named Hank, comes in every few days after school to pick up a kilo of meat, why?” “Hank’s been found dead.” For a moment, Kev’s temperature matches the cold cuts behind him. “How the bloody hell did that happen?” Kev asks. “He passed out and hit his head,” says Dennison’s partner, Nick Humphries. “His parents were out of town for the weekend, found his body in the basement when they got back.” Despite all the grisly things Kev has done in his career as a butcher – beheading chooks, bleeding out pigs, gutting them – the thought of Hank’s lifeless body sickens him to his stomach.
The two officers explain how Hank had been dead for at least a whole day before he was found, how he had choked on his own vomit and died when he had nobody to help clear his windpipe. With each word Kev feels sicker and sicker. “Yeah mate, they say it was because of malnutrition or something,” continues Dennison. “Not enough iron or protein or whatever. Could barely stand on his own two feet, hey.” “Bloody shame,” Kev sighs. “He was a good bloke, couldn’t tell he had any kind of eating issue, what with all the beef and bacon he picked up from us.” “Nah, boy was one of them vegans.” The three men pull disgusted faces in unison. “So why did he have my photo?” “Mate, we have no bloody idea,” Dennison shrugs. “It was found pinned to his kitchen counter with a knife. We thought you’d be able to shed some light on the whole situation.” “I have absolutely no clue what you’re on about,” Kev says. “What situation?” “Hank was found surrounded by all this Satan stuff, like he was decorating for Halloween or something. Parents think he was getting into cult activity,” says Dennison. “Yeah, nah, I reckon he was just mental from not
eating right,” Humphries responds. “If boys stop eating proper, they tend to get a bit silly.” “Says the bloke without any kids,” retorts his partner. “Personally, I reckon it was the parents, should have whipped him into shape with a good hiding.” Kev shakes his head. He never expected his morning to start so bleakly. “Officers, if there’s nothing else I can help you with, I need to get back to work,” he says, defeated. “You know where I am if you think of any more questions.” The two officers nod, shake Kev’s hand, and promptly leave. As customers begin to come and go, all Kev can think about is Hank’s poor family, wondering what he could have done to help the young boy. All his life Kev thought he was helping people by encouraging them to eat well, eat wholesome. Maybe he just hadn’t been doing enough? Hyo-sun Park, one of Kev’s regulars, leaves the store with a big bag full of spare ribs. She’d probably be cooking her signature kalbi barbecue later that night. She’d probably come by the next morning with leftovers for Kev to enjoy for lunch. And this got Kev thinking. He could start a campaign, in honour of Hank Lesterfeld. He could do a regular charity meat drive to educate others on the matter of proper nutrition and help them live good, long lives. Kev smiles, knowing Hank would have been proud of his new mission.
Illustrator: Erika Kunde Degree: Bachelor of Digital Media Instragram: @indigorain.art
Illustrator: Annabel Webster Degree: Bachelor of Digital Media Instagram: @annokat
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LA FIN DU MONDE Benjamin Brown “The french call this place The End of the World. What are you drinking?” – Meokong Joe Steven greets me in the baggage claim area of Phnom Penh International Airport as I emerge white-faced from passport control with a newly-stamped business visa and three days of hangover. We shake hands with the awkward enthusiasm of people who have known each other for years but are just now meeting for the first time. “Pleasant flight?” “I slept through the parts I didn’t drink through.” He nods and releases my hand, motioning towards the baggage carousel. “Anything to pick up?” Steven Bredenberg is an American blogger, another disaffected young man who baulked at his twenties and opted out of the United States, moving to Cambodia to work for his uncle Kurt, a wealthy expatriate and the driving force behind KAPE, Kampuchean Action for Primary Education, an NGO dedicated to providing schools for Khmer youth in Kampong Cham. Steven and I had overlapping audiences, complimentary senses of humour and a shared dissatisfaction with the world. Artistic curiosity grew into friendship, and when my relationship collapsed under the weight of mental illness and apocalyptic excess, I asked if he wanted a roommate. He stands beside me, tall and gangly in his blue shirt and khakis as I pluck my bags from the crowd of piled suitcases and tartan laundry bags gliding in orderly procession around the cavernous room. High-ceilinged and airy, Phnom Penh International is flooded with light streaming in through the glass doors, the final barrier between the outside world and the anodyne, climate controlled demimonde of the airport. He loads my baggage onto a trolley as I pull the cases from the conveyer, the remnants of my shattered life in California hastily stuffed into bags and cases in a frenzied last-minute effort just twenty hours earlier. Everything I own is balanced precariously on this wobbly steel frame. Steven pushes the trolley towards the automatic glass door and I trail behind him, clutching the tower of my PC to my chest. “You’re lucky. Kohn was working today so my uncle sent Mr Heng as a driver.”
“Kohn?” “Kohn is the biggest asshole in Cambodia. A cobra-faced villain who seeks any opportunity to advance himself at the cost of others. I saw him slap the cook.” The doors hitch for a moment then slide open and Steven pushes the trolley out into the blistering day. The transition feels like passing through a wall of heat, the air thick and heavy with humidity, full of the smell of hot dust and exhaust and the excited shouts of taxi drivers lunging forward at us. Steven waves them away and presses on down the sun-bleached sidewalk towards a Cambodian in grey slacks and a white shirt who waits beaming by a silver sedan. Bags secured in the trunk, Steven clambers into the front and I pour myself into the back seat, slamming the door against the heat and curling around the air-conditioning vents. Winter in chilly, fog-wreathed Morro Bay has not prepared me for this. Heng pulls out past rows of parked cars baking like terracotta pots in the midday sun, clearing the airport and merging into traffic along Confederation de la Russie. Buildings are sparse and primitive, thatched cottages in the shadow of massive billboards advertising French cigarettes and American whiskey. There are few cars on the road, but each of them lumbers like a hippopotamus through a river of over-burdened scooters. Some carry entire families, others have bushy manes of chickens lashed to their handlebars, all jostle and weave along the highway, competing for space and position. As we draw closer towards the city proper the architecture along the side of the road takes a swift turn towards rococo brutalism. Government buildings squat alone behind high metal gates and concrete walls, the Soviet-inspired facades made jaunty by little gold curlicues decorating the edges of rooves. Steven turns in his seat, one hand dangling over the back. “You hungry?” I am. I haven’t eaten since I was on the other side of the Pacific. I tell him so and he speaks to Heng in stilted, broken Khmer. Heng turns off Confederation de la Russie onto Mao Tse Toung boulevard, brick and cement apartment blocks on either side of the road decorated with brightly coloured laundry hanging from windows and balconies, the bottom floors given
over to mobile phone shops, scooter dispensaries and general stores. He guides us through a roundabout without indicating, nearly hitting a red Daelim scooter with a black pig strapped to the back. Steven frowns out the window, peering through the smeared glass then shakes his head as the car approaches a bustling market, stalls overflowing with piles of fruit and vegetables, slick black mounds of fish and red flesh gathering flies in the heat, shaded by brightly coloured tarpaulins which flap in the breeze as crowds of people mill through the stands. “No, no, I said ‘O’Russey’, not ‘The Russian Market’,” he says in English. “So sorry,” says Heng, performing a U-turn in the middle of the street. “Don’t worry about it, let’s just go to Wat Phnom.” He turns back to me and says “This is a weird city. There’s a market called ‘Psar Kandal’ which means ‘Central Market’, but the big market at the middle of the city, Psar Tmei, which means ‘New Market’ is called Central Market. Psar Toul Tom Pong which means something to do with turning – ‘Toul’ means ‘turn’ - is called the ‘Russian Market’ but that’s what Psar O’Russey means. All very confusing.” I slide back into the smooth cream leather of the seat and nod again, as if I understand. Drivers on the road honk their horns and shout, vendors wind their way through traffic with flat woven baskets on their heads, waving bunched handfuls of drinks in plastic bags, fried bananas and dried fish, ducking out from the thronging mass on the sidewalks between the crawling cars and zippy scooters. Buildings on either side range from modern constructions, all blue glass and steel to crumbling French Colonial mansions and decaying tenements. People shout, haggle and laugh. Clusters of men in baseball caps smoke cigarettes squatting in the narrow shadows of lampposts by their weathered scooters, occasionally attracting a passenger and detaching from the group, melting into the traffic and disappearing. Heng stays with the car, parked half on the pavement, and buys a paper from a nearby boy walking with a stack under his arm. Steven leads me into the restaurant which is low-slung, cut into the street and surrounded by a chest-high tiled wall. The amber tiles run from floor to ceiling, giving the impression of being inside a varnished kidney, and both the chairs and tables are heavy, dark-finished wood. Pot plants are arranged haphazardly around the dining room, lending bright splashes of green to the otherwise sepia atmosphere. A barefoot girl with a pad of paper trots to our table and asks what we would like. Steven orders chicken and rice. She makes a mark on the pad then looks over her shoulder and shrieks “Ey, bai sait mowan, barang muoy!” Her face contorts into a gargoyle mask as she does so but returns to placid sweetness as she looks to me. “And you sir?” Stir fried beef noodles. “Mee char sait ko, barang bpi! Anything else?” Her tone is lilting, musical in English. “Maybe a beer?”
“Oh, this is the first thing you must learn to pronounce in Khmer,” says Steven. “Som Ankor bpi, and um, An-chor bpi.” The girl smiles, bows her head, makes another pair of marks on the pad before tearing it off and laying it on the table. She presses her palms together pointing upward and bows from the waist before turning away. “The national beer of Cambodia is Angkor Beer, slogan: My Country, My Beer, very patriotic. A gold can, for prosperity, and the image of Angkor Wat on the label, for history.” He spreads his arms expansively as a boy runs up to the table and deposits four cans beaded with condensation in front of us, and the girl returns with two pint mugs, each filled with rough-cut chunks of ice. “These two, Anchor beer. Silver cans, for foreign, second best. The logo? Twin anchors, to weigh you down with shame. For not drinking the national beer. Still, very popular. But if you ask for Anchor, you’re going to get Angkor. The distinction is in the pronunciation. Should you require a smooth pilsner, forget your incorrect Western pronunciation, and learn this: An-Chorr.” He rolls the R out, extending it, and then cracks a can, taking a long, pleased draw. He speaks like he writes, a rapidfire tumble of ideas, wry pauses between concepts. I drink from the can, following his example and wiping the rim with a napkin first, ignoring the ice which first fuses into one great lump then gradually transitions into a glass of water. Both are good, and we have finished an example of each when the food arrives. Steven orders more. The noodles are thick, white and covered in oyster sauce. The beef, though stringy and unfamiliar has a taste that is discernibly animal, pleasantly so. I feel as if I am more connected to the creature I am consuming, rather than the dyed, treated and shrink-wrapped meat I had battened on in America. “I have been thinking, mostly, of the farts of world leaders,” says Steven. “What have you concluded?” I lay down the chopsticks and take a long pull from the can. “Clinton, Bush, Blair, all of them predictable.” “Robust and hearty, the staccato rattle of gunfire and a graduated hiss building into a long raspberry for Blair?” “Exactly so. And the farts of Kim Jong Il? Identical to those of Bush, I will bet you any money or any number of firstborn children that this is so.” “I’m delighted we’ve hashed this out, Steven.” “But let me ask you this, friend.” He leans forward, elbow on the table, can dangling from his hand. “How do you think Putin farts?” I rock back in my chair, visions of the steel-eyed Russian surfacing in my mind. “Tough one. Too broad, I think. In public or in private? The result is bound to be different. Is this a relaxed Putin-poot, or a sustained release while maintaining icy eye-contact with some wayward oligarch?”
Steven waves his hand dismissively. “A private fart, none of this posturing, an honest fart which he might expel, say, after a long day of arresting protestors and oppressing Chechens.” “My instinct says he would fart with all the Slavic bombast of a Mussorgsky composition, moving his upper body with the passion of a conductor while his legs remained rigid and ramrod straight. ”Steven fingerpistols at me and nods. “That was my first thought, also, but here, consider this.” He reaches into his satchel and produces a crumpled newspaper, flicking through it to find a colour photo of Vladimir Putin staring down the camera. “Observe the narrow, calculating eyes, the thin lips set in a grim line. This is a man with KGB training. Every orifice is a closed border. Gas either escapes from him with a pitched whine, like the release of air from an untied balloon with the end pinched, or with the mechanical efficiency of a venting steam engine, with accompanying whistle.” Steven buys more beer for the road and insists on paying for the meal, though I have brought fresh American dollars and travellers cheques. As we approach the car, Heng hurriedly stubs out a cigarette and throws down a hand of cards, collecting a pile of brightly coloured, stained paper money from the ground where a gang of motodops gamble on a reed mat. “Back home now, Mr Steven?” “Home, Mr Heng.” The city unspools around me as the car glides on through the clogged streets. We pass a statue of a revolver with the barrel tied in a knot and travel over a bridge. Beneath us, Toul Sap or the Mekong river carries its own rushing parades of catfish, flatfish and darting shrimp. Beyond the bridge, Phnom Penh drops away like a lost grip. Long grass fields and the occasional lonely apartment building, a karaoke beer garden looking desolate in the sunlight and a temple behind high white walls are the last modern buildings. Heavy trees and wooden stilt houses, more thatched rooves and bunches of coconuts, prawn crackers and stacked slabs of soda cooking in the shade stud the roadside, dirt tracks cut into the red earth lead away into flat rice fields peopled with children, men with scarves around their waists and contemplative bison. Steven is dozing in the front seat and I stare out of the window. The forest is shocking in its brightness. The colours hotter, more vivid than anything I am used to. Seeing all of this from a cool, air conditioned car, this chaos of heat and speeding traffic and barely contained flora is surreal, like watching a documentary rather than participating with the world. Cars and scooters honk their horns, not as a sign of displeasure, rather as a constant courtesy to other drivers on the lawless National Highway 6. Heng never once glances in his rear view mirror. Beside us, a rusted minivan packed with people like a box of dominos nearly tumbles over the verge in its haste to overtake, barrelling down the road in a roaring blur. Heng curses and swerves to the right,
narrowly avoiding a collision with a truck heading the other way. I grip the leather seat so tightly it creaks, toes digging into the inner soles of my boots as every part of me tenses. Horns erupt in chorus all around me and the bus is gone, the road resumes its customary rhythm. While the disembodied voice of a stewardess took pains to inform passengers of the dire consequences of drug offenses while in the Kingdom of Cambodia, that same strict rule of law has no place on the roads where anything goes. Right and lefthand drivers share the same roads, the cars imported from wherever is cheap at the time. People travel long distances on small scooters, trucks are piled precariously high, their heavy loads lashed in place with chains and rubber straps. Pickups and minibuses are packed full of people to be ferried from the city to the provinces and back again, like blood to be oxygenated by the heart. The traffic slows and snarls, the breathless pace grinding to a funeral crawl. Heng slows with them, craning his head to see. The minibus has gone off the road, collided with a thick palm tree and come off worse. The driver has been ejected from the front, windscreen shattered and the rough bark of the tree has torn chunks of him which glisten like market meat in the sun. The bus has crumpled like an accordion, some arms wave weakly out of windows but there is a great deal of blood and stillness from what is now a rusted coffin. Other travellers have leapt from bikes and cars to help and Heng drives on. Steven rouses from his doze, looks over the wreck and turns back to me. “Welcome to Cambodia,” he says.
COMIC By Mic Smith
Do you want to see your work in print? Getamungstit is seeking high quality submissions of short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and other genres for our creative section. Check out the Contributor Guidelines at gugcstudentguild.com.au/getamungstit for further information.
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Get the hell outta here Breakfast club plus
Elleanor O’Connell Winter is here and there is no better way to spend your days off than on long, lazy breakfasts. But instead of heading home to Netflix for the afternoon, Getamungstit has created three perfect itineraries for your days off that pair cosy cafes with some fantastic ways to spend your hard earned rest and relaxation. Bella Bakery & Writer’s Activation • Bella Bakery Mon - Wed: 6am - 4pm Thurs - Fri: 7am - 3.30pm Saturday: 7.30am - 3pm 56 Scarborough Street, Southport Central • Writer’s Activation Tues - Fri: 10am - 2pm 232 Scarborough Street, Southport Central From apple Danishes to bagels to cannelloni, Bella Bakery has it covered. The Southport bakery located in the business district livens up Southport with its eclectic yet fresh image and smooth jazzy notes pumping from the speakers.
Everything about this café breaks traditional moulds; from the reclaimed pallet boxes for chairs to the AstroTurf for table coverings. But I digress, the real star of this bakery, as it should be, is the food. Glorious, freshly baked pastries line the cabinets and the small breakfast menu boasts some serious flavour. Everything from the coffee served in the most beautifully decorated takeaway cups to the salami and rocket stuffed bagels are fantastic. Bella creates a great vibe with fabulous music and service that makes you feel like their best friend; Bella Bakery invokes creativity. Across the road from the bakery is the perfect spot to unravel
Get the hell outta here
that creativity and get to work. Writer’s Activation provides a cosy, quiet area to write and enjoy the solitude. If you’ve been feeling the intimidation of writer’s block, grab a hot drink and a pastry from Bella and head across the street. The non-profit location hosts meetings with the Gold Coast Novel Writers group as well as hosts writing workshops. The hidden gem is the perfect opportunity to support the Gold Coast arts whilst being a part of it as well. Average meal price: $9 Latte price: $4 (regular) Writer’s choice: The cannelloni that’s capable of making all of your dreams come true after the first bite.
View Café Hinze Dam & Peter Hallinan Mountain Bike Precinct • View Café Mon - Fri: 9am - 4pm Sat - Sun: 8am - 5pm 100-200 Advancetown Road, Advancetown • Peter Hallinan Mountain Bike Precinct 24hrs daily (maybe don’t go hiking in the dark, just an opinion) If you’re losing touch with nature from spending your week living and breathing textbooks, then View Café is the ultimate textbookitis remedy. With its spectacular views looking out over the damn and its surrounding landscapes, View Café
is that breath of fresh air you’ve been craving. The café’s chef, Matt, suggests the corn fritters with poached eggs and bacon whilst sitting outside overlooking the scenery. But it’s hard (damn near impossible) to go wrong with anything on the View Café menu. Take your runners with you and grab your water bottle to walk to the 1.8km length of the damn before making your way through the Peter Hallinan Mountain Bike Precinct. There are options from 1.3km to 3km trails that take you through the undergrowth surrounding the dam and providing walkers with that break away from uni they so desperately deserve. We recommend tackling the trails before rewarding yourself with breakfast, as the café’s serving sizes 69
leave no first, or second stomach empty. Grab your water bottle and your appetite and enjoy the glory of the Gold Coast hinterland. Average meal price: $14 Latte price: $4.50 (regular) Writer’s choice: The buttermilk pancakes with roasted walnuts and banana are the fluffiest things since bunnies.
Commune & Burleigh State School Farmer’s Market • Commune 6.30am - 3pm 1844 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads • Burleigh State School Farmer’s Market 7am - 12noon every Saturday 1750 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads There are some places that are too good to not share with the world and Commune in Burleigh Heads is one of them. The authentic, down to earth vibe is just one of the elements of the restaurant that makes it so incredibly special. Their menu is full of the seasons’ best produce and their
creative fusions of flavours are well worth the drive. Using locally sourced produce and serving their homemade preserves, Commune is synonymous with heaven. When your stomach is full to bursting, take a 650-metre stroll down to the local state school and wander around the gorgeous farmer’s market. The fantastic variety of local produce is not only delicious, but also incredibly affordable with ten mandarins going for just $3. I met fouryear-old Charlotte here who advised that her favourite part of the market was the gluten free chocolate and hazelnut cake from This Little Piggy Went Baking, insisting that it was ‘scrumptious’ but was unwilling to share said scrumptious cake. With produce, baked goods, jewellery and other
Get the hell outta here
wonderful things to fawn over, this gorgeous little market is the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. Average meal price: $11 Latte price: $3.50 (regular) Writer’s choice (Farmer’s Market): The Antipasto Shop- if beautiful olives and fetta is your thing, spend some time getting acquainted with owner Demitri Pepi over some quality nibblies. Writer’s choice (Commune): No one does an eggs benny like commune and their hollandaise sauce is what inspired Shakespeare (probably).
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