Human rights, sociology and top tech news

Human Rights Day was 10 December and the Australian Human Rights Commission presented its awards in 10 categories, including those below. Great to see Ian Thorpe recognised, and also the excellent online news & issues resource The conversation and TV’s informative The project.


Human Rights Medal Winner 2012

Ian Thorpe

“Fighting for better services for Indigenous children in remote communities across Australia has delivered the prestigious Human Rights Medal for 2012 to Ian Thorpe OAM. For over a decade, Ian has worked as a passionate advocate for Indigenous people with his Fountain for Youth charity, which works with twenty-one remote communities in the Northern Territory.” He began this charity in 2000 when he was only 18 years old. He is also Co-Patron of Close the Gap campaign.

Thorpe’s recent autobiography This is me: the autobiography reveals how he has coped with depression and would be a valuable addition to high school collections.

Print and Online Media Award
Professor Sharon Pickering and The Conversation Academic Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers series – Series of 14 articles published in The Conversation between June and August 2012 (details below).

Saving lives at sea: The Conversation’s asylum seeker expert panel makes its findings and states what it believes to be a fair, humane and workable policy approach. Includes links to the award-winning articles – good authoritative resources for social science & “issues” courses:


Asylum seekers & Aust:

Infographic displaying global populations of refugees from 1975-2010. Using UNHCR data, every population the UNHCR has counted over 35 years is charted on this spinning globe, highlighting where refugees settled, and where they came from:

Global refugee facts:

All asylum seeker links:

Literature (non-fiction) Award
The people smuggler by Robin de Crespigny – Penguin Australia, May 2012.

“The story of one man’s epic struggle to find a safe place in the world. When Ali Al Jenabi flees Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers, he is forced to leave his family behind in Iraq. What follows is an incredible international odyssey through the shadow world of fake passports, crowded camps and illegal border crossings, living every day with excruciating uncertainty about what the next will bring….Eventually he must confront what he has been forced to become.”

Television Award
Age of UncertaintyThe Project – Network Ten – Produced by Hamish MacDonald and Sam Clark – Screened over April and May 2012.

The Human Rights Day Oration was delivered by James Spigelman, Chairman of the ABC and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW: ‘Where do we draw the line between hate speech and free speech?’ (audio & transcript):

Some more resources ….useful for sociology, geography, popular culture…

Australia Street

If Australia was a street of 100 households, what would it look like and who would live there? What about employment, religion, education, births, deaths and marriages? All these stats and more are included in this animation:

Aust. St explained:

Julia and the “mummy” bloggers

It was another morning tea this week for Julia Gillard and 25 the country’s most influential female bloggers, whose sites reach 2.5 million people (similar sites were important in the Obama campaign).

“Sites represented included:

Eden Riley (Sydney Writers’ Centre award Best Aust. Blog 2012); Mrs Woog (Woogsworld); Nicole Avery (tips for organising the chaos of family life); the writer of My Mummy Daze (juggling motherhood and a family business); the mother of four boys, one with special needs, who writes allconsuming; Fairfax’s EssentialBaby (largest online parenting site in Aust.); iVillage (Mia Freedman –Mamamia -has the local licence); Women’s Agenda (created by Crikey journalist Angela Priestley); Kidspot (News Ltd site that aims to simplify parenting and offer mothers a place to talk to each other); and the Fairfax site Daily Life.”

Eden Riley was crowned Australia’s Best Blogger at the 2012 Sydney Writers Centre Blog Awards. Her blog is called Edenland. She writes of spirit, redemption, addiction, and truth. Eden has been blogging for five years and has been named as a Voice of the Year at America’s largest social media conference for women, BlogHer.

CNET: the 100 biggest tech stories of 2012

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask….iPad mini, Windows 8, Apple maps, MakerBot, Instagram, Google Glass, Zuckerberg, Assange..…

CNET: the 10 best & most influential tech products of 2012

Galaxy S3 (best device); iPhone 5; Google Nexus 7; iPad Mini; Motorola Razr; Windows 8; Microsoft Surface; the MakerBot 3D Replicator (3D printer that prints whatever you design – toys, jewellery, models etc).

Best of 2012

Lots of end-of-year roundups & lists appearing…


Yahoo Australia Year in Review 2012

Viral videos, most clicked stories, entertainment, sport etc

Includes Top Searches of 2012:

1. London Olympics 2. Kim Kardashian 3. Apple 4. Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson 5. Earthquakes 6. US presidential election 7. Hurricane Sandy 8. Israel & Palestine 9. Brownlow Medal 10. End of the world.

Most searched M & F celebrities: Kim Kardashian and Brad Pitt.

Most searched countries: Aust, then Iran, China, Thailand…

Most searched movies: Avengers, Hunger Games, Twilight Saga…

Full list:


The most asked questions in Australia in 2012 according to Google search suggestions

Includes: Why is my internet so slow? and What is Gangnam style?


The top 12 trends in Australia 2012

Book: Umm…50 shades of grey; Ingredient: quinoa; Pop group: One Direction; Technology: from digital to real world; Word/Symbol: # …..



Gangnam Style: the most viewed YouTube video ever

900,073,389 + viewers can’t be wrong; now outranks Justin Bieber’s Baby.

Top 25 YouTube videos ever: Not surprisingly, they are all popular songs – except for Charlie bit my finger : – )


Time magazine’s top 10 everything 2012

For the true list-lover…..55 wide-ranging lists – arts & entertainment, pop culture, social media, health, science etc. US focus but hey.


Time magazine’s 50 best websites 2012

Not really mainstream sites; some  are interesting, others are rather obscure.

Full list:


50 best websites includes:


Like Pinterest for education. Users collect web resources and share their knowledge by creating Learnist boards — which can include text, videos, essays, games and audio clips that answer questions and expound on topics. A good tool for the flipped classroom. iOS app available.

Examples of education-focused Learnist boards:

A BBC Learnist board:


Persuasive Games

Founded by game theorist Ian Bogost. “Games communicate differently than other media; they not only deliver messages, but also simulate experiences”. The website has free “advergames” – games specifically built for “persuasion, instruction and activism”. Includes Killer flu (how the flu virus spreads), Fatworld (obesity’s relationship to socioeconomics), Windfall (building wind farms).


Codecademy (Chrome, Firefox)

The interactive, social and easy way to learn how to code.

Learn new words and play games to improve your vocabulary.



Presents the top 15 trending YouTube clips and lots of other good videos. Comment-free with a focus on HD. Yes, very easy to fill in time here J

Science fiction – supercut of over 100 sci fi films:

Quirky – A history of western music in 16 genres:

More than falling dominoes – This too shall pass by OK Go:

Further up yonder: a message from the International Space Station: